Parish sheriff’s office says traffic patrols curbing fast drivers

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 16, 2004

VIDALIA &045;&045; Speeders beware &045;&045; the Concordia Parish Sheriff’s Office has stepped up traffic patrols in the parish.

In mid-December, the CPSO assigned two deputies specifically for traffic violations &045;&045; excessive speeding, DWIs, drugs on the highways and underage drinking. The two, Sgt. Todd Ainsworth and Deputy Ronnie &uot;Tapper&uot; Hendricks, are canvassing rural routes for excessive speeding and underage drinking.

Manpower was an issue before the extra patrols began, but not now.

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The patrols are a result of concerns from parish residents.

&uot;(They are due to) complaints we received,&uot; said Sheriff Randy Maxwell, &uot;and it was something we wanted to do for some time.&uot;

Most of the complaints, Maxwell said, were in the rural areas, on Louisiana highways 15, 565 and 129, where much of the extra patrolling is taking place, along with the Lake St. John area.

The deputies also work on certain areas that are needed as well, like construction zones. And, sometimes they go into neighborhoods where they get complaints, to &uot;be seen,&uot; Ainsworth said.

So why is speeding so important to police? Those areas also have high fatality rates for accidents, both deputies said, mostly due to the excessive speed. &uot;Wrecks are going to happen but I think it may cut down to the fatality part of the wreck,&uot; Ainsworth said.

From Jan. 1 to Jan. 15, the two have written 13 tickets with the highest speeder clocked at 80 mph in a 55 mph zone.

Ainsworth estimated he makes about five to six stops a day and Hendricks about 10, whether they are warnings or ticketed stops.

&uot;Since we started this in the past month, we’ve seen a decrease in a lot of our speed,&uot; Ainsworth said.

But, Ainsworth and Hendricks said the increased patrols are successful and have slowed people down.

&uot;For one thing, it’s getting people’s attention,&uot; Hendricks said. &uot;I’ve seen a change and it is working very, very well.&uot;

Both Hendricks and Ainsworth have attended classes to help them with traffic patrols. They are radar certified and have learned a lot about narcotics stops, from searches to how to look out for suspicious vehicles.