Speed-Trap Sanctions Stand

US 65

Twentieth Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney Luke Ferguson said Wednesday that he would not lift speed-trap sanctions against the small town of Damascus.

That means the sanctions, which started in May of last year, will remain in effect through the end of 2018 for the town, which lies along U.S. 65 between Conway and Branson.

The sanctions prohibit Damascus police from patrolling U.S. 65 or Arkansas 124, both of which run through the town of about 380 residents.

As it stands now, Arkansas State Police and sheriff’s offices in Faulkner and Van Buren counties handle traffic patrols there.

In a letter to Damascus City Attorney Beau Wilcox, Ferguson said he based his decision on two factors.

“First, the extent of the abuse of police power discourages me from removing the sanctions. As demonstrated by the original findings from May 2017, no reasonable method of calculating revenue would result in a finding that Damascus was not clearly a speed trap according to the relevant statue.”

The letter continues “Second, the city’s proven lack of oversight…”

“With a population of only 382, Damascus employed up to eight full-time and part-time police officers,” Ferguson’s letter reads in part. “To compare to two other small cities also located on Highway 65 in the Twentieth Judicial District, Clinton has a population of 2,602 and employs seven full-time and two part-time officers, and Marshall has a population of 1,355 and employs three full-time officers and one part-time officer. The police force in Damascus and their policing activity were extremely disproportionate to the reasonable public safety needs of the city.”

Designed by Reinhold Technology Solutions