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Letter: The Ticket to Temptation

To the Editor:

When I read the story headlined “Hartford Calls In Ticket Revenue” (front page, Aug. 7), red flags went up by the thousands. You see, there are three small towns in central Florida, Waldo, Stark and Liberty, that use revenues from “speeding” tickets to fund their entire yearly town budgets.

What you don’t know is they flag down all out-of-state drivers and fine them hundreds of dollars on trumped-up charges of speeding. I speak from experience.

You are guilty if the arresting officer was trained in the use of radar, he calibrated the unit at the beginning of the shift and the unit was calibrated after the completion of the shift. All other factors are not considered, even if the arresting officer did not have radar in his possession at the time, nor did any other officer use radar during the so-called “speeding” incident.

How does this apply to our lovely town of Hartford? There is a tremendous temptation to overstep or to sidestep the law as those Florida towns have done for years. The above paragraph speaks loudly: If I arrest you, you are guilty. In my case, as well as in those of thousands of other innocent out-of-state drivers, I was not speeding.

I am not saying the Hartford police are unfair. I only bring up the point that if the ticket revenue becomes a cash cow for the town, there might be a temptation to increase the number of tickets. The Selectmen have the power to make that decision. You can take it from there.

I have great respect for our police departments, and I encourage them to continue to protect and serve as they do so well. I make it a point to drive responsibly for several reasons. It is the law. I do not have the money to pay a fine. I do not want to put my beautiful wife’s life in harm’s way. And the police have enough to do without my stupid contribution to their otherwise hectic day on duty.

Bill Summers

Canaan

Related

Hartford Calls In Ticket Revenue

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Hartford — Selectboard members unanimously passed an ordinance last night that will allow the town to collect fines from traffic tickets issued by the Police Department on the four state highways in town. Following a brief public hearing, Selectboard members said it only makes sense for the town to get compensated for the enforcement efforts of its police officers. Money …