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March 3, 2006

Morrison, Colorado - Speedtrap of the Rockies

Way back in 1994, the town of Morrison, Colorado decided to incorporate the land to the south of them. Why? Revenue. Why else. They gobbled up the land to the south so that they could start taxing the Cooley Gravel pit (now Aggregate Industries). But they didn't stop there. They gerrymandered their city limits to include a stretch of highway 285. Why? More revenue.

And nothing generates revenue like a cozy little speedtrap. How much revenue? For obvious reasons, Morrison doesn't break out their court fine revenue as speedtrap extortion vs. revenue from 'bail bonds' and 'dogs at large'. According to the court clerk, Morrison raked in a respectable $175,052.85 in court fines in 2005. Not too shabby for a town of less than a thousand people.

Unfortunately, setting up speedtraps in a tight mountainous canyon causes an increase in accidents, but, hey...who cares about public safety when there are people to be fleeced, right?

Morrison's Revenue by year:

Posted by Peenie Wallie on March 3, 2006 at 3:43 PM


From Rand Simberg's blog a few years ago:

a police union says that police officers and their families should be above the law, at least when it comes to traffic infractions, including speeding.
While this is outrageous in itself, it would seemingly put the lie to the notion that the purpose of such laws is for public safety, since it's no "safer" for a police officer's wife to speed than it is for anyone else.

The link to the original story no longer works, but you can read excerpts of it here and here.

Posted by: Robert R. on March 3, 2006 at 9:21 PM


Police Defend Actions Taken In Officer's Traffic Stop
Officer Is Suspended For Two Days

DES MOINES, Iowa -- Police spokesmen from two departments are defending a traffic stop last fall involving a Des Moines police officer.

KCCI received an anonymous letter in the mail Thursday from someone who provided detailed information about a months-old West Des Moines police traffic stop of an off-duty Des Moines officer.

Now, both departments confirm the stop happened, and they defend how they handled it.

The stop happened shortly after midnight on Sept. 22 on the freeway in West Des Moines.

A West Des Moines officer clocked a car at 99 mph in a 55 mph zone. The officer pulled over the car and learned it was an unmarked Des Moines police car. Police said Des Moines police narcotics Officer Stewart Drake was driving.

"He could smell some alcohol and he had bloodshot eyes," said West Des Moines police spokesman Lt. Mike Ficcola.

West Des Moines police called in the Des Moines Police Department's supervisor on duty, who came to the scene and picked up the Des Moines officer.

"Apparently, he had an attitude with the officer, so he thought instead of writing him a ticket and going through that, that it would be better served to call Des Moines and have Des Moines deal with him internally," Ficcola said.

"The watch commander on duty came out to that location and had a conversation with the West Des Moines officer, and subsequently ended up taking that officer home," said Des Moines police spokesman Sgt. Todd Dykstra.

The West Des Moines officer did not test Drake for alcohol or ticket him.

"Traffic stops, arrests, for the most part, is officer discretion," Ficcola said.

"The officer was not on duty, he was speeding excessively and he was driving a city vehicle. As a result, those actions are inappropriate and the administration took the actions they felt was appropriate for the situation," Dykstra said.

Des Moines Police Chief Bill McCarthy suspended Drake for two days and stripped him of his city-owned take-home car.

"The officer has served his two-day suspension, and the take-home vehicle has been taken away from him, so he no longer has a city vehicle to drive, and in our minds he served his punishment," Dykstra said.

Ficcola said that Drake apologized to West Des Moines Police Chief Jack O'Donnell and to the two West Des Moines officers involved in the traffic stop.

West Des Moines' police spokesman said his chief did not launch an internal review because the department gives its officers discretion in handling traffic stops.

Posted by: Robert R. on March 4, 2006 at 8:13 AM

I understand the need to enforce laws at all levels but I don't think the police department is doing anyone a service if the adopt a predatory attitude. Its one thing to give a ticket or arrest someone when a violation or other law is observed to be broken in the course of duty. Its quite another to be laying in waiting at the most likely spot to catch someone. It is like hunting over a bait or chumming for fish. Both are illegal in some states. Morrison Colorado does not appear to have any social/moral concerns or issue with what they are practicing on otherwise law abiding citizens.

Posted by: Tom on June 17, 2013 at 8:13 AM

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