6 Ekim 2014 Pazartesi

Finally, a notorious speed trap city in the south gets busted by the state, and it's police chief and interim chief resign under investigation of ticket quotas and embezzlement

Waldo Florida, just East of Gainesville on the 24 has a population of 1000, one traffic light, 7 cops, and was raising $400,000 dollars a year, through 12000 tickets, and that's one third the towns income.

AAA reports this town as having 2 of the worst speed traps in the nation. 1 on state hwy 301 and one one state hwy 24 to Gainesville, and the speed limits go from 65 to 35. In 10 mph increments. You've probably seen this before, the cops are under each speed limit sign, and you better be way under the speed limit to pass unnoticed. These are locally adjusted speed limits, and up to the city to post, enforce, and collect revenues on, at their discretion. There's where the dollar signs just go full klaxon for city managers, mayors, and police chiefs, just like a Bugs Bunny cartoon.

According to the complaint by the officers, the chief required 12 speeding tickets per cop, per shift, to keep their jobs. http://news.yahoo.com/waldo-suspends-2-police-chiefs-quota-claims-082259586.html

A couple of weeks after the Florida Dept of Law Enforcement investigate the police chief, and he was suspended, the town's interim chief, Cpl. Kenneth Smith, was also suspended after five of the department's officers told the City Council that he was mishandling evidence, taking city property for personal use and imposing a strict ticket quotahttp://www.news-press.com/story/news/2014/10/04/notorious-waldo-pd-now-officially/16679601/


and if you've clicked on the links, and read how the local Sheriff was taking over for the disbanded police dept, you ought to know that when they refer to the other town the Sheriff had to step in and cover, it was because THEY too were ridiculously corrupt, so much so that this March they were the poster boys for the most corrupt city in the US, on CNN. http://www.cnn.com/2014/03/09/us/hampton-florida-corruption/index.html?hpt=hp_c2

The town has even extended its city limits 1,260 feet down the width of a busy highway in order to lay claim to any and all traffic violations--end their accompanying ticket fines--that occur there. (on the 301)

The sight of Hampton Police sitting alongside U.S. 301 on lawn chairs and pointing their radar gun at passersby bas become the norm on the outskirts of town. They became infamous for ticketing anyone and everyone they possibly could for even the tiniest of infractions and between 2010 and 2012 raked in an unbelievable $616,960 in fines. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2577200/Welcome-Hampton-Florida-pop-477-The-speed-trap-town-corrupt-state-lawmakers-want-wiped-map.html

Hampton's peak year came in 2011, when 9,515 speeding tickets brought in more than $253,000.

That was the year state Rep. Charles Van Zant got his speeding ticket. He says he drove directly to the courthouse in Starke and paid it. And, he insists, he carries no grudge. But later, he observed, "When I got my ticket, you couldn't hardly pass by Hampton without getting a ticket. You can say that's law enforcement, but no. That's banking using the U.S. highway system."

Is it clear that speed traps and police corruption aren't rare, in fact, the corruption in Florida is easily the match for any southern state, according to a watchdog organization called Integrity Florida. The group's 2012 study revealed that more than 1,760 of Florida's public officials had been convicted of corruption since 1976. The mayor of Hampton was just busted for selling oxycodone, which he's been addicted to for years. Poor bastard, he was hit in the back with a forklift, and fell off a roof.

Hampton set up its speed trap, just like its neighbors, Waldo and Lawtey. Since Hampton has no schools, homes or businesses along 301, traffic safety really wasn't the issue. The focus always was on revenue -- and state and county officials say that's where the city went wrong. It's the crack that allowed corruption to creep in and take hold.

The city doesn't pay its bills on time, if it pays them at all, the audit says. It doesn't balance the checkbook or withhold employee payroll taxes or hold elections when it should. It doesn't maintain insurance on city vehicles.

All the ticket revenue can't be accounted for, and obviously didn't get used properly for maintenance of the Fire Dept engine


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