Speeding is speeding in Vidalia

Published 12:03 am Wednesday, June 20, 2012

VIDALIA — Under Vidalia Police Chief Arthur Lewis’ watch, 35 mph means 35 mph.

In an effort to trump speeding, stop sign violations and careless operation in Vidalia, the police department is assigning two officers to focus strictly on traffic.

Sgt. Samara Malone and Sgt. Craig Simmons will be placed on special traffic detail for the department.

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Previously, Lewis said his department allowed an approximate 10 to 15 mph leniency window for speeding offenses on Carter Street, where the speed limit is 35 mph.

“We’re not going to have speed traps or meet any quotas — we’ll let it be up to the officers’ discretion,” Lewis said. “The speeding is getting ridiculous, so we’re going to enforce the law.”

Apart from the speed demons, Lewis said several residential areas are becoming dangerous when motorists don’t obey stop sign rules.

“Along with these trouble spots we’ve been monitoring, we’ve also been monitoring the whole city for traffic stop violations,” Lewis said. “Especially during the summer when all the kids are out of school, the residential area stop signs need to be honored.”

And while the traffic citations issued are under the officer’s discretion, Lewis said residents shouldn’t worry about his officers letting it go to their heads.

“We video tape the vehicle and the officers, so if we get a complaint on an officer, we take it seriously and will discipline them if necessary,” Lewis said. “Tickets are written (based) off the attitude of both the driver and the officer.”

The two officers, who have more than two years of experience with the department, will work between the office at the municipal complex and the old office on John Dale Drive, which now serves as a substation.

The substation houses a patrol captain, the TRIAD program, the juvenile program and school resource officers.