In Stringtown, Oklahoma, south of McAlister, city police are on the job – but they are not allowed to patrol highways looking for traffic violations in the town of 400. That could include US Hwy. 69 and Oklahoma Highway 43, dubbed Reba McEnteire Ave. through parts of Stringtown.
Stringtown cops found themselves on the wrong side of the law after the Oklahoma attorney general determined that more than half of the town’s revenue derives from traffic citations. Under Oklahoma law, that makes Stringtown a speed trap.
Texoma television station KTEN reported this is not the first time the state has shut down Stringtown’s speed trap. Oklahoma state troopers say Stringtown cops were previously suspended from patrolling highways several years ago because of speedtrap-law violations.
The current suspension, set in place January 1, continues until April 1.
Valley Brook is No Speed Trap, Maybe
An unofficial investigation last year of Valley Brook, Oklahoma, just south of Oklahoma City, failed to find evidence of a speed trap, even though most of the city’s revenue derives from police issued citations.
In Valley Brook, eight full time cops and five part-timers protect and serve a population of under 800 residents by writing citations that generate hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue annually. NewsOK.com – a Website associated with The Oklahoman – reported their investigation found only 8 percent of tickets in a nine-month period of 2013 were speeding tickets. The concluded Valley Brook is no speed trap.
Reporters might have failed to find proof that Valley Brook is a speed trap based on the number of speeding citations, but they might have looked in the wrong place. Oklahoma’s speed trap law, adopted in 2007, doesn’t say anything about speeding tickets.
Under 47 Okla. stat § 2-117 specific public officials may request an investigation by the Commissioner of Public Safety if they believe traffic-related enforcement practices of a municipal law enforcement agency are being conducted “for the purpose of generating more than fifty percent of the revenue needed for the operation of the municipality.”
The Valley Brook Police Chief told NewsOK.com most of his officers’ work targets on out-of-towners – especially those who frequent his town’s two strip clubs. The report suggests tickets are more likely for license and registration infractions than speeding. Frequent marijuana citations were observed at a spot-check of a municipal court session that generated “wads of cash” for the small town, according to NewsOK.com.
Free Consultation: Oklahoma Criminal Attorney
When local police are motivated by something other than upholding the law, the way they enforce the law can be corrupted. When traffic citations are designed primarily to enrich city budgets, the cases they bring to court may be tainted.
If you have been charged with a crime in a situation where police acted improperly contact the Wirth Law Office criminal defense attorneys for a free consultation at (918) 879-1681 or toll free at (888) Wirth-Law. If you prefer written correspondence, you may submit a question through the form at the top right of this page.