Radar Bill Big On Sheriffs' Wish List

The sheriff wants to put the brakes on the speeding problem on Harrison County roads. But he says sometimes, he feels helpless.

Sheriff George Payne said "Your hands are tied, and what is so sad about it is our own legislature's tying our hands in some of this".

That's because for years, bills that would have allowed sheriff's departments to use radar guns to catch speeders have died in legislative committees. Sheriff Payne says deputies need this life-saving tool more than ever.

Sheriff Payne said "One death is too many to me. If we had a radar bill, I think we can continue to reduce our fatalities and our accidents with injuries and the severity of those injuries. There's a lot of growth in the county. We have a lot of neighborhoods in our rural areas now that are just like neighborhoods in the city".

Representative Roger Ishee of Gulfport also wants deputies to have access to radars. He plans to introduce another radar bill next month, and he hopes changes in the make-up of the legislature will help push his bill through.

Rep. Roger Ishee said "This bill has been killed in subcommittee over the last four years by one gentleman who was not re-elected this year. So there's the possibility of a new subcommittee chairman that will present it the full committee. If we can get in out of committee, I believe we can win once it hits the House floor".

One of those who will lobbying hard for the bill is Sheriff Payne. Sheriff Payne said "We're going to be working with the legislature again to convince them the right thing to do. The right thing to do for Mississippi is to give us the ability to enforce the speeding laws to save lives".

Right now, only city police departments and the state Highway Patrol have permission to run radar. There is one exception. Out of the 82 counties in Mississippi, only Lowndes County can use radar to nab speeders.

By: Trang Pham-Bui