Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Question in the school zone

As many of you know in Sikeston, we have the new DAEOC Head Start at the corner of Wakefield and North West; therefore, there is a 20-mile-per-hour speed limit in the school zone as there is in any school zone. And I have seen tickets given out, but it doesn’t seem to be enforced when there is a police officer with no lights on driving three times that speed limit, at least. There’s one, in particular, driving a brownish-gray, unmarked car with the lights in the back window and side. He has come by two days in a row going every bit of 60 mph with our children out there. They are fenced it, but there’s still a speed limit. And the way I understand, the police officers must abide by the same rules we do unless their lights are on in an emergency. He had no lights on, two days in a row. And we do see people going by that maybe don’t know about this school zone going maybe 30 or 40, but this man went by two days in a row at approximately 60- or plus-miles an hour. I know there are laws and they have to protect and save, and they are our law men, but they should abide by the law; they should not be above the law, especially in a school zone. The speed limits in a school zones are there for a reason. The children and people’s safety. Just because you’re a police officer doesn’t mean you can drive there 60-70 mph in a 20 mph zone with no lights on. And they wonder why they get no respect from the community. Thank you for allowing me to speak out.

The Standard Democrat contacted Sikeston Department of Public Safety Director Mike Williams for a response, and he said: “It is true that we have been addressing this new school zone since this new ordinance was passed for DAEOC. Since that time, we have had our day shift patrols enforce speeding in this area. Having said that, we certainly expect our police officers and other officers traveling through our jurisdiction to abide by this new speed zone. Speeds you are talking about are not acceptable even if the officers are responding lights and siren. Officers, while driving lights and siren, have the legal right to drive in excess of the legal limit but only if this action does not endanger life or property. Driving at 60 mph through a school zone with children present nearby would obviously endanger life. We take complaints like this seriously, regardless if it is a citizen, officer or other. If you see anyone driving in this manner, we ask that you immediately contact us so we can investigate. If we find that it is one of our officers driving like this or another nearby agency, we would certainly handle this in an appropriate manner. You can reach us 24/7 at 471-4711. Thank you.”