Sheriff's Department, Residents plead for radar

By Patrice Clark – bio | email

JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Jackson County Sheriff's deputies say they need radar guns to catch speeders, but the state legislature keeps shooting down the bill. County law enforces are banned from using speed detectors on rural roads. Now, local officials and fed up neighbors are joining the fight for radar.

Gulf Park Estates' neighbors say speeders just zoom by all day because there are no deputies running radar. Without that law enforcement too, they say they often see drivers go 30, 40, even 50 miles over the speed limit.

"They use it as a test street to see how their cars are running and how fast they can run it," resident Woodrow Gibbs said.

"It is like Nascar here. There have been two major wrecks on Beach View already. I think there was one Saturday; there was a car on its side," resident Tammy Crema said.

According to the Sheriff's Department, more than 100 accidents happen on these streets every month. 90 percent of the accidents are speed related. Sheriff Mike Byrd says something has to be done to stop this problem before it gets any worse.

"It is a matter of safety," Byrd said.

Byrd's says the smartest way to improve road safety is to run radar on county roads, but his deputy's hands are tied because legislators put the brakes on every proposed bill to change the law. He wishes lawmakers would reconsider.

"We need this tool to slow people down. "

County Supervisor John McKay is also a fan of using radar.  He says and many of his board members have fought for new legislation for a decade.

"That is something that needs to be passed," McKay said.

McKay and Byrd say they will continue pushing for the radar detectors until the state gives the green light, and they encourage others to do the same.

"Get involved by calling the state legislators and say, 'Get this passed for Jackson County, so we can use radar.'"

McKay says board members have added stop signs and speed deterrent devices in several neighborhoods to combat the problem.

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