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Published: Thursday, January 31, 2019 @ 5:00 PM
— Two Clark County villages lead the list of Miami Valley communities for police traffic enforcement, based on the number of citations per capita. According to data from the Ohio Supreme Court, North Hampton and Tremont City hand out the most tickets.
Local drivers say both communities have the reputation as speed traps, but local authorities deny it.
Jarrod Campbell, North Hampton chief of police, said the per capita data does not tell the whole story of enforcement, given that a state route runs right through the center of town.
"Any time you come into a small town the speed limit is going to drop. The signs are out there. It's visible," Campbell said.
Jerry Baker, of Springfield, who drives through North Hampton regularly, said the town's reputation of overzealous enforcement has been widespread for decades. "Yes. It's out of control many times," Baker said.
He added the main complaint is that people were caught speeding while they were trying to slow down from going 55 miles an hour outside of North Hampton to the posted limit of 35 mph once inside the village.
Campbell said though that enforcement effort kept streets safer for other motorists and pedestrians.
At the same time, Campbell said his department has been able to recover numerous guns and stashes of illegal drugs found in cars they have stopped. He has the support of resident Lisa Neff, who lives on West Clark Street, Route 41, where enforcement is focused.
Neff told the I-Team without the police running radar there, traffic would be dangerously fast. Neff said she is a cautious driver, especially in North Hampton.
"I go 35. Sometimes I go 30," Neff said.
The nearby town of Tremont City was tagged by the National Motorists Association as one of Ohio's top 10 towns for speed traps. The association's Jim Walker said the entire state is filled with areas where enforcement is unfair to drivers.
"Ohio is...most areas...a border-to-border speed trap. The posted limits are set 10 or more below the safest level. And it makes enforcement very profitable," Walker said.
Defense attorney Mark Babb said, despite what law enforcement authorities say, he believes speed traps do exist. He advises clients that if they are pulled over by police and a speeding ticket is inaccurate or unfair, the driver should not argue with the office. Instead, said Babb, the driver should contest the ticket in court.
If you want to blow the whistle on a speed trap in your community, now is your chance to have the I-Team investigate.