Leadfoots beware! Radar coming to town

Published 5:00 am Friday, May 4, 2007

It’s time to slow down when passing through Wesson, and not justto enjoy the scenery, but to keep from getting a ticket.

In the past, Wesson has not had the population required to allowpolice to run a radar to pick up speeders.

However, following a recent annexation, Wesson Mayor Alton Shawsaid the town is finally big enough to provide some updated backupfor police when dealing with motorists who just won’t slowdown.

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“You don’t actually have to go by the numbers from the lastcensus,” said Shaw. “You just have to be able to prove in courtthat your population is above 2,000.”

Wesson has had a particular problem in that its population wasbelow the needed 2,000 on the books, but the daytime traffic withCopiah-Lincoln Community College students and commuters is up toaround 4,000. With the annexation, the problem is solved.

Shaw said speeding has become quite an issue in his town, whichis student-heavy.

“We have a large day population because of the students, and alarge amount of traffic as a result. Our only control so far hasbeen the stop signs,” he said. “We’ve always had residents complainabout people speeding through town, and this is a good way to startto get it under control.”

Two radar units were ordered Thursday and are expected to arrivewithin the next week or so, officials said. The equipment will beput into use as soon as it arrives.

The Wesson police are glad to have the backup.

“Radar is a good deterrent not only to speeders, but also toaccidents,” said Officer Phillip Sterling. “It helps any time youhave another weapon to slow down traffic, because it helps cut downon accidents.”

Police Chief Steve Carlisle said using the radar will beimportant, but public awareness will also play a major role inslowing people down.

“We get so many complaints about speeding,” he said. “We’rehoping that just people knowing that we’ve got the radar will be abig deterrent.”

Officer Chad Sills said he already had some good ideas for wherethe radar will come in handy.

“I do know it’s a big problem now on certain roads, like GroveStreet,” he said. “Kids haul down that road like there’s no speedlimit. It will also help a lot on Sylvarena Road.”

Carlisle also pointed out that more traffic stops lead to morearrests for other crimes.

“It will help us apprehend people for other serious infractionsas well,” he said. “Many drug arrests begin as traffic stops.”

But officials promise that the addition of the radar will notchange the fact that Wesson Police do not have a ticket quota.Carlisle said that will stay the same, and that his officers willbe careful not to abuse the use of the radar systems.

“We certainly will not have a quota system,” he said. “Theofficers are already trained to know when people are speeding. Whatthis will actually do is just give them something they can show themotorist.”

Sterling said while the new equipment is exciting, its use is tobe kept in perspective.

“The point is not to arrest people or to write more tickets, asit is just to promote safety,” he said. “And we’re excited to havethis new weapon in our arsenal.”