Palmyra's Police Chief responds to "speed trap" criticism

A St. Louis woman received a speeding ticket on Highway 61 in an area that drops from 65 to 55 miles per hour.

Palmyra's police chief is responding to extortion allegations and criticism over what some refer to as a speed trap.

A St. Louis woman received a speeding ticket on Highway 61 in an area that drops from 65 to 55 miles per hour.

The controversy started when that driver was asked to pay a voluntary donation of $100 to something called the law enforcement fund.

A St. Louis attorney says that's illegal and is now accusing the city of extortion.

Chief Eddie Bogue said he has a problem with people calling that area a speed trap, especially when he says five people have died there during the past 15 years.

Bogue said his department simply wants to keep drivers safe

I take offense to people when they try and cast blame on the police and accuse us of having speed traps when they, in fact, are the ones violating the ordinances and statutes of the state," he explained. "We here at the police department, we just enforce the ordinances and enforce the laws by issuing a citation or a summons to the violator and after that procedure, we're not really involved."

If anyone has any better ideas on how to save lives and prevent serious injuries along that stretch of highway, Bogue said he will listen to those ideas.

Here is Bogue's complete statement:

In response to the Palmyra Police Department and the officers here being referred to by some media outlets and attorneys, I would to clarify a few things and state some facts.

First, I would like someone to define to me what a “Speed Trap “actually is? If a “Speed Trap” is an enforcement tool used by police officers in areas where the speed limit is clearly marked and where officers are sitting, in plain view of motorists, on or near the roadway where traffic violations routinely occur, I would beg to differ this is not, by my definition of any kind of trap. This is simply officers assigned to high traffic areas to enforce violations committed by the motoring public.

Is a “speed trap” defined when a police officer is running radar on a segment of highway in an attempt to prevent the motoring public from excessively exceeding the well posted speed limit, protecting the residents of Palmyra in which at least 75% of the residents travel each day?

Or, maybe it is the officers patrolling the highways for excessive speeding and other moving violations to hopefully prevent the death of a motorists due to a motor vehicle crash?

This “Speed Trap” area in question is the same location where 5 people have lost their lives in the past 15 years, in part to motorists committing traffic violations related to speed and failure to yield. I’m sure the families of these individuals who were killed really wished there was a way for a violator to be “trapped” before there loved one was killed.

Last year alone in Missouri 870 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes on our roadways. Speed is one of the major contributing factors in these fatalities and disabling injuries. From 2012-2014 speed attributed to a total of 898 fatalities and 4,406 serious injuries.

As the Chief of Police for the City of Palmyra I was hired to do a job, part of my job is to safeguard the public by directing our officers to enforce moving traffic violations committed by the motoring public. Traffic enforcement is an integral part of any police officers duties, for reasons the general public has no concept or understanding.

Furthermore it is very upsetting and disappointing to me to be accused of trapping people who are clearly violating the traffic laws, risking the lives of innocent people and themselves.

I long for the day when people will take responsibility for their own actions or better yet don’t blatantly break the law. If anyone has any better ideas how to save lives and prevent fatal and serious injury traffic crashes, please share your ideas, I will listen.

Chief Eddie Bogue
Palmyra Police Department

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