Small Arkansas Town Banned From Writing Speeding Tickets Because They Already Wrote Too Many
The small town of Menifee, Arkansas has a population no more than 300. However, it has been attracting national attention after an audit discovered something peculiar by the amount of revenue the town pulled in from speeding tickets issued in 2020.
“Clearly, they were writing substantially more tickets than other communities that were similarly sized,” says Tom Tatum, 15th District Prosecuting Attorney.
According to the state of Arkansas, only 30% of a city’s revenue can consist of traffic citations. According to the audit, nearly half of Menifee’s revenue came from speeding tickets, totaling over $120,000.
As far as who is responsible for this controversy, there is a lot of finger pointing by the powers that be.
Menifee Mayor Gary Green says Police Chief John Randall is responsible because he took writing traffic citations too far. “When I hired him, I said, ‘We can’t write tickets 10 miles and under,'” says Green. “But yet these guys was writing tickets 10 miles an under.”
However, Randall says the only reason why Green feels the way he does is because he is simply doing his job. “The only reason why I could see he’s got harsh words for me is because I’m enforcing the laws in Menifee,” Randall said.
As far as the amount of money collected by the town in 2020, Randall says that much of the funds collected during that period of time resulted from uncollected dues and fees prior to that year.
“When they went to court, the judge set them up on a payment plan,” Randall said. “They didn’t pay their fine off until 2020, where it looks like we brought in a large amount of money just for that year.”
So what about the actual tickets written by the Menifee Police Department?
From January 1st, 2018 to August 24th, 2022, a record of traffic citations showed that 771 of them were written by one officer. The next highest amount of tickets was 263 by a separate officer. Lastly, the records show that within that timeframe, there were zero warnings issued. This was a practice Randall had officers use since he was hired as Police Chief.
But who is truly responsible for this? Menifee City Alderman Derrick Hammond says he is taking responsibility for the controversy because he and the city council gave Chief Randall the green light to pursue overdue and unpaid tickets. “The tickets were written by officers who no longer work for the city,” says Hammond. “We as a council failed to make sure that happened and now face police sanctions for a year.”
As a result of the audit, the Menifee Police Department will be banned from writing speeding tickets for an entire year.
Although Police Chief Randall disagrees with the ban, he says he will respect the state’s decision.
Randall said that while he doesn’t agree with the decision, he will respect it.