New bill would give more police right to ticket on interstates

CLANTON, AL (WBRC) - By Emily Luxen

CLANTON, AL (WBRC) - Alabama state lawmakers will consider a bill in this legislative session that would give police officers in small cities the ability to give speeding tickets on interstates.

Currently, police officers in cities with less than 19,000 people can not issue speeding tickets along interstates. Officers in several towns across Alabama said they like the idea and think it would help keep roads and drivers safe.

"We've done a good job here since 2008 to reduce fatalities," said Clanton Police Chief Brian Stilwell. "This is another step, and another tool to reduce injury accidents and fatality accidents."

Chief Stilwell said his small department doesn't have the manpower to have an officer on I-65 at all times and would not use this as an opportunity to set up speed traps.

"A lot of people say it's a revenue generator for the city or speed traps," said Stilwell. "I have a 26-man department and we did 26,000 calls last year. I don't have time to turn I-65 into a speed trap."

In the east Alabama city of Heflin, Police Chief Jerry Waldrop agreed safety is the number one priority for officers. He said if this bill passes, it will help them do their jobs.

"I don't care if we ever write a traffic citation on I-20 as long as we can slow people down and stop the behavior that puts others in danger," said Chief Waldrop.

Officers in Jemison, Thorsby and Vance also support the idea. They are hopeful state legislators will discuss and vote on the issue in the upcoming legislative session.

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