The small town of Menifee, Arkansas, has been banned from writing speeding tickets for the next year. In Menifee, an audit found that traffic fines comprised over half of the town’s revenue.
“Clearly, they were writing substantially more tickets than other communities that were similarly sized,” 15th District Prosecuting Attorney Tom Tatum told THV 11. Tatum worked on the audit of the town’s finances, which found that the city took in over $120,000 in traffic fines during 2020 alone.
Menifee Mayor Gary Green faults Menifee Police Chief John Randall for this statistic, as Randall was the lead person from the police force that wrote all these tickets.
“When I hired him, I said, ‘We can’t write tickets 10 miles and under,'” Green told THV 11. “But yet, these guys [were] writing tickets 10 miles and under.”
“Because to me, he’s incompetent,” Green continued.
Randall disagrees with Mayor Green’s characterization, telling THV 11, “The only reason why I could see he’s got harsh words for me is that I’m enforcing the laws in Menifee.”
Randall claims the audit did not consider the fines from before 2020 that weren’t paid in full until 2020. Judges had instituted payment plans, and Randall claims that some of the extra revenue brought in wasn’t from the audit year.
“Chief Randall was given permission from the mayor and city council to go after past due and unpaid tickets,” Hammond told THV 11. “The tickets were written by officers who no longer work for the city.”
THV 11 got the full record of tickets written by the Menifee Police Department between January 1, 2018, and August 24, 2022. Zero warnings were given by Menifee police at that time. One officer wrote a staggering 771 traffic citations alone, although he was a bit of an outlier, given that the next-highest number of citations written by one officer was 263.
“It’s disheartening to hear when so many communities lack trust in law enforcement, that some police departments are still funding municipal operations in the name of public safety through the collection of fines and fees. Like the plot of a bad ’70s movie, the speed-trap town is apparently still a thing in America. With speed enforcement now banned in Menifee, the result is counterintuitive to the original purpose—public safety,” Faribault, Minnesota, police Chief John Sherwin told The Drive.
Unfortunately for those who think that the place is now a lawless utopia where we can speed as we please, the laws still apply in Menifee, even if Menifee’s police force can’t write tickets when you break them. The ban on the Menifee Police Department writing up traffic citations only lasts for a year.