Legislation giving deputies ability to enforce speed limits needs approval

Published 1:44 pm Friday, February 21, 2020

There’s not a person who has a drivers’ license that does not breath a sigh of relief when they are speeding down a county road, see a patrol car and then notice it is “just a sheriff’s deputy.” Not to worry. No radar equipment in that vehicle.

That, though, might change soon if a bill in the Legislature wins approval.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Tom Weathersby (R-Florence), would allow sheriff’s departments in Mississippi to use radar speed detection equipment on public streets, roads and highways outside of the city limits.

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When a majority of the highways and roads in any county are outside of city limits, there is no logical reason why those law enforcement agencies who are tasked with protecting the public safety cannot enforce the most paramount of traffic safety laws, speeding.

“Speeding complaints are one of the most frequent complaints the Warren County Sheriff’s Office receives and something that we can do the least to address,” Warren County Sheriff Martin Pace, who supports the legislation, said. “The public has a right to feel safe traveling county roads just as they do on city streets or on state highways.

“Mississippi is the only state in the nation that prohibits county law enforcement from professionally enforcing speed limits,” Pace continued. “I hope the Legislature finally addresses this antiquated prohibition.”

During each legislative session, there is always common-sense legislation that for one reason or another fails. This proposed legislation seems common-sense to us, and it would be a shame if the bill fails. 

It is our hope that our local legislators, State Rep. Oscar Denton, State Rep. Kevin Ford and State Sen. Briggs Hopson III cast their vote — when given the chance — to support this measure.

Our deputies need this legislation, need this equipment to better protect and serve all of Warren County.