Covert Traffic Operation Stirs Controversy – Officials Release Results
HERNANDO – Last week the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office conducted a 5-day traffic enforcement operation, targeting aggressive drivers, speed limit violators and a number of moving violations (ORIGINAL ARTICLE).
Not everyone was happy with the way they conducted the operation, especially those who received citations. Here are some comments from the last article we ran.
Donna – People shouldn’t be so critical. You’re protecting all of us… Great job!
Kevin – I support marked vehicles on the road doing traffic enforcement. I do not support using subterfuge to try to ticket as many people as possible and rack up the fines.
Tony – Hopefully speeders once ticketed on county roads will get the message to stop driving reckless, there are enough accidents in Hernando Co. as it is.
George – Pathetic way to take money out of the working man’s pocket. This kind of police procedure is organized crime via the sheriff’s office and we are the targets.
We spoke to Sgt. Scott Lamia who heads the Sheriff’s Office Traffic Unit and he says “Who wants to be on the road with someone who has no license no insurance? And to those who feel the operation was a type of entrapment, Sgt. Lamia asks the question “… so do those people only obey the law if they see a marked patrol car?” He also reiterated a comment he made from the previous article “I don’t want my friends or family being hit by a driver doing 85 mph in a 45 mph zone.”
Several people accuse the Sheriff’s Office of using the covert tactic to make money. The Sheriff’s Office provided a line-item breakdown, showing where every dollar received from a citation is allocated.
According to an example of a $164.00 citation, only $2.00 goes towards a special statewide fund that is occasionally drawn out by the Sheriff’s Office for training purposes. The remainder of the citation goes towards programs like Teen Court, Brain and Spinal Cord research, and an epilepsy trust fund. The largest portion of the fine goes towards court costs, clerk fees, and other judicial assessments.
The Sheriff’s Office says the operation resulted in 377 total traffic stops, 233 citations, and seven arrests. Of those arrests, three were for driving under the influence and four were for driving on a suspended license.
Some of the highest speeds recorded during the operations were 83 in a 45 on Mariner Blvd and 84 in a 45 on Spring Hill Drive.
Officials say they plan additional operations like these in the future.
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