Missouri St. Senator Eric Schmitt talks to Bill Durham about his crackdown on speed trap towns.
A Missouri State Senator brought his campaign against small town speed traps to Jackson County Friday. State senator Eric Schmitt of Glendale called the little Jackson County town of Lake Tapawingo, “one of the most notorious speed traps in the state,”.
Schmitt’s bill , cracking down on municipal courts using traffic tickets as a major money maker, has cleared the State Senate without a negative vote.
Schmitt says 89% of Lake Tapawingo’s municipal revenue comes from traffic fines, court costs of bond revocation money.
“I don’t think you have to be a rocket scientist to see what’s going on. This is a revenue generation operation,” Schmitt told reporters Friday. The small town’s mayor, however, challenged Schmitt and his claims. “He’s an idiot’< snarled Mayor Rocky Queen.
Queen and Police Chief Jim Cross says their town total revenue is more than a million dollars, much more than Schmitt claims.
Cross said the city money generated by the tickets is around 30% which is the current limit.
Under Schmitt’s bill, the cap for city revenue from traffic fines would drop to 10% over a two year period. He saifd it would end the practice of “taxation by citation”. Police Chief Cross denies the speed trap charge.
“I think we’re strict, but fair. We issue a lot of warning tickets, too,” he said. Lake Tapawingo’s reputation as a speed trap is well established. “Lake Tapawingo tries to pull over anyone and everyone,” said Travis Crutcher.
Crutcher says he was ticketed once for not having the correct number of bolt attaching his license plate to his car.
“They get people going to and from work. East and west,” said area resident Bill Durham.
He says watches the traffic stops along highway 40 right outside his front door.