Legislators in Mississippi want to allow more law enforcement agencies to enforce speed rules via speed radar.
State law limits the use of speed radar detection equipment to the Mississippi Highway Patrol, city police departments and the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Department. Cities with populations of fewer than 2,000 are prohibited from using radar on their public streets, while populations of more than 15,000 can use radar on federal highways within their boundaries.
The first bill, SB2300, would allow sheriffs to use radar enforcement based on the county’s population. More specifically, radar would be limited to sheriffs in counties with at least 140,000 people.
The provision would apply to DeSoto, Harrison, Hinds, Jackson and Rankin counties.
Sheriff departments would be limited to two radar guns. Radar could not be used within 500 yards of a speed limit change or the boundary line of a municipality or county.
Revenue collected from citations would be earmarked for local schools.
A separate bill focuses on enforcement efforts in Rankin County.
The bill, HB41 would permit the sheriff’s department to use speed radar on roadways outside the limits of municipalities in the county.
If approved by the Legislature, voters in the county directly east of Jackson, Miss., would decide whether the enforcement tool would be used.
Rep. Tom Weathersby, R-Florence, is the sponsor of another bill to allow sheriffs in all of the state’s 82 counties to use radar on certain roads.
HB42 would authorize sheriffs to use the devices only on public streets, roads and highways of the county lying outside the limits of municipalities.
Population threshold revisions
Two bills pursue changes to the population thresholds to use speed radar.
The first bill, SB2001, would amend the requirement that cities eligible for radar use on public streets have a population of at least 1,500 – down from 2,000.
The second bill, HB901, would authorize municipal law enforcement in communities exceeding 7,000 residents to use radar on federal highways within their boundaries – down from 15,000.
All speed radar bills are in committee. LL