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BPD to crack down on speeders — Police to ‘run radar,’ write tickets on Jackson

While Brookhaven aldermen ponder lowering the speed limit on South Jackson Street to 20 mph, Police Chief Kenneth Collins plans to step up patrols in the area and arm officers with a radar gun and ticket books.

The posted speed limit is 30 mph. Several homeowners have asked for it to be lowered because of the number of families with children who live in that area.

“I’ve had some people want the speed dropped to 20 mph,” Collins told the board Tuesday night. “But I’m coming into some resistance on it. I was thinking that maybe we could start writing tickets and up the patrol, and maybe put out signs ‘Kids playing’ and maybe ‘Joggers present.’ That way we have a reason to write tickets then. Somebody’s going to be angry, but if somebody gets hit, they might as well get angry. We’re going to pick up patrol and start writing tickets on that street. We’ve got too many people and kids present all the time.”

Mayor Joe Cox suggested Collins “run radar” for a while and get the signs up.

“Usually when we set up somewhere, people don’t speed,” Collins said. “With technology, they know you’re there within three minutes. We just have to keep moving. Roadblocks don’t work anymore. We have to hit and move. Hit and move constantly. We do roving roadblocks usually because technology rats us out real quick.

Lindsey Abdalla, a resident on South Jackson, attended the meeting with two friends. She said they walk in the area often and would appreciate a lower speed limit.

“We’re going to do the best we can to keep you safe,” Collins told her.

“There’s 22 children right now on that street. I’m pregnant and it’s only increasing,” she said.

“You’ll see us start writing tickets there so some of your neighbors are going to be angry,” he said.

“That’s fine, as long as the kids are safe,” she said.

Collins said they are also cracking down on children and teenagers playing basketball in the streets.

“We’re stopping kids from playing in the streets before one of them gets run over,” he said. “We’re moving goals out of streets. You need a city permit to play basketball in the street. Drivers are almost hitting some of them because they won’t move.”

In other business Tuesday night, aldermen:

• Approved a written request from Matt Hall for a six-year ad valorem tax exemption for Hall & Company and We Frame It. Tax exemptions are allowed for businesses in the central business district with new structures, improvements or renovations. Criteria is based on cost of improvements, new jobs created and increased sales tax, said City Manager Samantha Melancon. The exemption was approved by a 4-0 vote. Alderwoman-at-Large Karen Sullivan was absent and Ward 2 Alderman Shannon Moore and Ward 6 Alderwoman Shelley Harrigill abstained from the vote.

• Accepted the resignation of Joshua T. Nations from the Brookhaven Police Department effective July 9.

• Hired Dustin Campbell, of Brookhaven, as a certified police officer with a salary of $30,402.26.

• Approved $1 an hour raises for three employees in the Public Works department: Jeremy Berry, James Buie and William Hughes.

• Voted to go into executive session to discuss a personnel matter concerning the police department. Collins met with the board. Following the closed-door meeting, they voted to suspend detective Penny Banks with the Brookhaven Police Department for two days without pay for insubordination.