On Wednesday an Arkansas prosecutor ruled that the police force in the town of Damascus is in violation of speed trap laws and must therefore stop patrolling the highways, including Highway 65, which runs through the city.
Prosecuting Attorney Cody Hiland wrote that “the City of Damascus is hereby ordered to cease patrolling all affected highways within the jurisdictional limits of the city.” If the police force in Damascus continues to patrol and issue tickets, they will be found in violation of a Class A misdemeanor. After one year, the city can petition to have the sanctions lifted. In the meantime, the Arkansas State Police, the Faulkner County Sheriff’s Office, and Van Buren County Sheriff’s Office will share the responsibility for enforcing traffic laws in Damascus. The police force in Damascus is still allowed to respond to any citizen’s calls for assistance.
Hiland’s ruling comes after an Arkansas State Police investigation found that more than 30% of the state’s yearly financial expenditures were funded by revenue from traffic tickets, which is a violation of the Arkansas Speed Trap Law. That investigation began in June 2016 after Hiland’s office received complaints about a speed trap in Damascus.
Highway 65, which runs through Damascus, is a widely-utilized route between several Arkansas cities.
A city can also be found in violation of the Arkansas Speed Trap Law if more than 50% of speeding tickets are for violations of 10 m.p.h. or less over the speed limit. Damascus was not found to be in violation of this provision of the law.
The city of Damascus has categorically denied the Hiland’s findings and has filed for an injunction.