Florida cities looking to get rid of "speed trap" designation

Published: Jul. 18, 2017 at 5:02 PM EDT
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By: Mike Vasilinda | Capitol News Service

July 18, 2017

LAWTEY, Fla. (CNS) -- In the United States, AAA Motor Club says there are only two cities it calls "speed traps" -- Lawtey and Waldo, Florida.

Now, the driver-centered organization says it's considering hanging their designation.

In 2015, the City of Waldo abolished its police force after officers admitted fulfilling ticket quotas was a reality. The City of Lawtey has only four full-time officers and Police Chief Shane Bennet, who was elected in 2014 after the previous chief retired after 52 years.

"The City of Lawtey, on a citation that's a hundred and ninety six dollars, only gets about thirty six dollars of that," says Bennet. "So it's not the cash cow that people think it is, and quite certainly its not our goal. Our goal is traffic safety."

Officers in Waldo and Lawtey average 17 tickets a day; one for every thousand cars that passes down US 301.

Bennet has asked AAA Motor Clubs to reconsider their "speed trap" designation.

"We don't want to be a speed trap designation," Bennet says. "We don't think we are a speed trap designation."

In a statement, AAA Vice President Kevin Bakewell said, "Given the disestablishment of the Waldo Police Department, and what appears to be more reasonable leadership in Lawtey, we are revisiting their designations."

One question AAA has asked: How many tickets go to locals compared to outsiders?

Bennet says the answer isn't a winner for the small town. Locals are outnumbered 17-to-one on Lawtey roads every day of the year.