Sheriff Mayfield: Radar necessary for county deputiesPublished 12:04am Wednesday, January 16, 2013
NATCHEZ — A bill filed with the Mississippi House of Representatives would allow sheriff’s deputies in some counties to use a tool long denied them — speed radar.
But even if the latest version of the proposal, a perennial issue, passes, Adams County wouldn’t see any changes.
That’s because the measure, authored by Rep. Robert Johnson (D-Natchez) would only apply to counties with populations of 95,000 or more.
Currently, on state roads only the Mississippi Highway Patrol has the authority to use radar to check vehicle speed.
Adams County Sheriff Chuck Mayfield said he believes deputies in Adams County and other small-population areas should have access to radar.
“This is an issue that comes up every year, and I think it is odd that they are only thinking about doing it in larger counties, because smaller counties have problems in certain areas where (radar) can be used,” he said.
While Adams County doesn’t have the manpower to devote deputies solely to speed monitoring on the roads, the sheriff said having radar would allow deputies to write tickets as a deterrent to speeding in problem areas.
“When we have complaints in an area like Liberty Road, where people call us and say that drivers are just speeding through there, we will send deputies out there to monitor it, but they can’t just stay there, and without radar there is not a whole lot they can do except flash their lights at (suspected speeders),” Mayfield said.
Using the speedometer in a deputy’s patrol unit to check speed when catching up with a suspected speeder won’t hold up in court, he said, because the speedometers aren’t calibrated to be specific enough for that purpose.
While deputies can’t write tickets for speeding at present, they can charge someone who is obviously excessively speeding with reckless driving, he said.