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Response to ‘Speed Trap’

Mr. Robinson: I first wish to thank you for taking the initiative to become involved with the political process. Our country is great because people like you work to voice concerns and build consensus toward better governmental policies. Purposefully-driven governmental policies can improve the lives of all our citizens. Public understanding of exactly why proposed governmental policy changes can be beneficial to our citizens is a key aspect of our political process.

Of course, no driver is happy to receive a traffic citation, and there should be no financial root in any officer's decision to issue one. That said, some traffic laws are necessary for safety. If our county has the legal alternative in place to issue county ordinance-based citations in lieu of issuing citations for similar infractions under the state code, then the citizens of Crawford County benefit by keeping that money for our county instead of sending it to Indianapolis.

I should explain that traffic violations (class C infractions) are written at the police officer's discretion. Currently, if the officer decides to issue a ticket, the majority of the fine goes to the state's fund. The county ordinance citation stops that payment to the state and keeps the money for our county. By enacting the proposed ordinances, we not only keep the money in Crawford County, we have the option to make the fines lower than the state's are for a similar infraction, thereby saving our citizens money directly. Finally, we can also save our citizens from BMV license points and the extra insurance premium expense that can often follow a state code violation.

The citizens elected me to be a good steward of our county's financial best interests. Accordingly, I am focused upon alternatives to make all of our county departments run more efficiently. I was on the committee that made the Ambulance Service changes in which the county has increased its insurance billing and now provides more and better services at no additional taxpayer expense. I will continue to work diligently toward improving our county.

These ordinances are an idea that is past due. A majority of other counties, cities and towns in the state are already taking advantage of this valuable legal tool to retain their traffic citation revenue. Why give it away? The legality of this idea has already been upheld throughout our state. I am quite sure the county's attorney stands ready and able to provide all necessary and proper legal treatment necessary in order to put the proposed ordinances into full force and effect.

The opportunity we have to create the proposed ordinances is a mutually advantageous one, for our county, our citizens and even every driver cited under them instead of being cited under state code. It is a win-win solution for everyone! As always, I welcome your comments and ideas to benefit Crawford County and all who live here.

Stephen Bartels
Crawford County Council
June 06, 2012

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