While researching this post, I came across the story of Turbeville, SC. This town is a small town that sits astride the route between I-95 and Myrtle Beach, a popular tourist destination. This town passed an ordinance that allows the cops in the town to write speeding tickets that are much higher than the state penalty for speeding: Up to $500 each.
The way it works is that the speed limit drops from 60 mph to 35 mph in a matter of a half mile or so. Cops sit there and catch motorists (tourists, mostly). They threaten to arrest them and give them 30 days of jail time. Then they offer to let them go in exchange for paying cash to the officer.
The officer didn’t arrest Hudson for driving without a license, instead he made Marques an offer.“He asked me for $488, so they can let me go,” he said.“So, it was either you pay the money or go to jail?” Barr asked.“Or go to jail, yep,” Marques said.The chief gave Marques a receipt for the bond
he posted, then allowed one of the other men in the van to drive away
from the scene.“At the end though, you decided: either you comply, pay the ticket or you go to jail?” Barr asked.“Yeah, I pay the ticket, I don’t want to go to jail because I’m working, so I just pay him cash,” Marques told WIS.
According to the report, the reporters watched the chief of police write 8 of those tickets in just two hours. All but one of the drivers was from out of state and paid the fine rather than stay around to go to court. Lucrative for the city. This way, the city keeps the entire fine, while writing an actual speeding ticket causes them to split the money with the state.
The town encompasses only 1.3 square miles and has a population of only 766 people. This town has 4 cops that write $650,000 a year in traffic tickets. (pdf warning) The total city budget is $1.9 million a year, with traffic tickets comprising a third of the city’s income.Even more amazing is that the per capita income of the city is $13,465, and the per capita cost of city government is $2,482, or about 18%.
It is things like this that make me believe that we are becoming a third world, banana republic police state. Since this is illegal under state law, how are the cops in this case any different from any other armed robber?