Medina’s traffic ticket records examined
Posted: Monday, October 20, 2008 10:03 pm
JACKSON (AP) — Police records from four small West Tennessee towns show that their police departments write tickets to local residents at more than twice the rate of Medina police officers.
This summer, two former Medina police officers, Jeffrey Luther and Chris McNabb, sued the town of Medina, claiming Mayor Vance Coleman told them to write tickets only to out-of-town residents.
Medina city officials deny the charge and say they don’t tell their officers who should be ticketed.
Medina Police Department records show that the city’s officers wrote 85 percent of 431 tickets to out-of-town residents from March 1 to Aug. 31. Coleman and other city officials say those numbers are not unusual because the major routes through Medina are heavily traveled, and Medina residents are more aware of the speed limits around the town.
The city had 2,926 residents as of February, with both state Highway 152 and U.S. 45E running through the town.
The Jackson Sun newspaper examined ticket records from four similarly sized towns during the same six-month period.
Humboldt and Brownsville officers wrote tickets to local residents at the highest rate, 53 percent. Henderson officers wrote 44 percent of their tickets to in-town residents. And Selmer officers wrote 32 percent of their tickets to city residents — the lowest rate of all the towns, but still more than twice the percentage of local tickets that Medina officers wrote.
“Medina does not have a ticket-writing policy,” Coleman said. “As mayor, I do not have the right to tell officers who to write tickets to. It is not part of my job.”
Chief of Police Jerry Morris said the percentages in other towns do not show that Medina officers are choosing who they ticket.
“I am not responsible for what other towns do,” he said. “We do not know where these people live when we stop them.”
Morris said officers do look at driver’s licenses before they write tickets. “But that doesn’t mean we target certain people,” he said.
Information from: The Jackson Sun, http://www.jacksonsun.com