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Thread: How many policemen should a small town have?

  1. #1
    Cyburbian
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    How many policemen should a small town have?

    Sorry if I seem to be inundating cyburbia with questions this week, but how many policemen should a financially strapped town of under 500 people have? We have just increased to four part-timers. They give a lot of speeding tickets, but there is very little crime here. I guess the tickets may pay their wages, but nearby towns are yelling speed trap. On the other hand, people do go through here at very high speeds. What are the implications, if any, of such a situation?

  2. #2

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    If there is indeed a safety problem, it sounds like your town is killing two birds with one stone: safety plus revenue maximization. Is that a bad thing, really?

  3. #3
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by BKM
    If there is indeed a safety problem, it sounds like your town is killing two birds with one stone: safety plus revenue maximization. Is that a bad thing, really?
    Nope, not at all. In fact, it has made a noticeable difference in how easy it is to get on the highway. Just, so many are complaining about it that I wondered if there is a down side (beyond it taking me an extra thousandth of a second to get home).

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
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    I lived in a small village of 400, and they had ONE cop. That was more than enough, and he also maximized revenues by catching speeders. You quickly knew to wave and get to know him so he'd recognize you as a local.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Plus Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    There are two small towns in north central Florida that have been labeled by AAA for years as speed traps. The towns readily admit that they get the majority of their funding from speeders. Travelers are advised to avoid those towns. Seems like they're shooting themselves in the foot.

  6. #6
    Corn Burning Fool giff57's avatar
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    We are a town of 1470 and we have 0 cops. We contract with the county for service. I would say that towns of your size would normally have 1-2 officers. The speeding thing is no problem. If the law is being broken, people have no room to complain.
    “As soon as public service ceases to be the chief business of the citizens, and they would rather serve with their money than with their persons, the State is not far from its fall”
    Jean-Jacques Rousseau

  7. #7
    Cyburbian AubieTurtle's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by giff57
    We are a town of 1470 and we have 0 cops. We contract with the county for service. I would say that towns of your size would normally have 1-2 officers. The speeding thing is no problem. If the law is being broken, people have no room to complain.
    When I lived in Agoura Hills, California (around 20,000), the city contracted with Los Angeles County for police services. I'm wondering why the city needs such a contract since it is part of the county and the county provides police services to those living outside of cities so why would the residents of a city have to pay twice?

    I can think of some possibilities such as county taxes are less in cities or that state law requires cities to provide police services but I don't know if either is the case.

    As far as the original post goes, the only down side I can see to your current situation is if the officers start getting bored with writing speeding tickets and go around looking for other ways to use their authority where it isn't needed. I still remember a bored officer pulling me over for speeding through the park when I was nine. This wasn't a nice park, it was basically a dirt lot with a couple of patches of grass. But there was a posted speed limit of 5 MPH in the parking lot, so he decided it applied to the entire park. I didn't get a ticket but it always seemed to me that the officer really had nothing better to do.
    As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron. - H.L. Mencken

  8. #8
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by AubieTurtle
    ...the only down side I can see to your current situation is if the officers start getting bored with writing speeding tickets and go around looking for other ways to use their authority where it isn't needed.
    There's a little town down here where the policeman got so bored he kept pulling over people on the state highway nearby. The judge kept throwing out the tickets, but he just kept writing them anyway. Not sure whatever happened to him...

    Thanks, everyone.

  9. #9
    Corn Burning Fool giff57's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by AubieTurtle
    When I lived in Agoura Hills, California (around 20,000), the city contracted with Los Angeles County for police services. I'm wondering why the city needs such a contract since it is part of the county and the county provides police services to those living outside of cities so why would the residents of a city have to pay twice?
    It really is a level of service issue. We and all but one other city in the county have a formal agreement. While the county would have to respond to emergencies without an agreement, we get much better service by formalizing and subsidizing it.
    “As soon as public service ceases to be the chief business of the citizens, and they would rather serve with their money than with their persons, the State is not far from its fall”
    Jean-Jacques Rousseau

  10. #10
    Do you also have police protection from county sheriff and/or state police? If no, then 1 cop per shift would seem appropriate, meaning probaly five or six full-time sworn law officers. For that, you'll need to nab a lot of speeders.

    Quote Originally posted by AubieTurtle
    <snip>
    I can think of some possibilities such as county taxes are less in cities or that state law requires cities to provide police services but I don't know if either is the case.
    <snip>
    Well, I pay city taxes at a much higher rate than county taxes, and I pay county taxes. City dwellers typically get scr3wed in that they consume far less county services than they receive, yet they help subsidize those living in sprawl.
    On pitching to Stan Musial:
    "Once he timed your fastball, your infielders were in jeopardy."
    Warren Spahn

  11. #11
    Corn Burning Fool giff57's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Gedunker
    Well, I pay city taxes at a much higher rate than county taxes, and I pay county taxes. City dwellers typically get scr3wed in that they consume far less county services than they receive, yet they help subsidize those living in sprawl.

    In Iowa, the county budget is split into two main funds, General Basic, which everyone on the county pays and Rural Services which city folk do not pay. This was done to address the double pay problem.
    “As soon as public service ceases to be the chief business of the citizens, and they would rather serve with their money than with their persons, the State is not far from its fall”
    Jean-Jacques Rousseau

  12. #12
    Cyburbian
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    Do you also have police protection from county sheriff and/or state police? If no, then 1 cop per shift would seem appropriate, meaning probaly five or six full-time sworn law officers. For that, you'll need to nab a lot of speeders.
    I guess we would. Yes, I believe we also have protection from the county sheriff. But have never had much for them to do here beyond catching speeders, aside from the rare domestic dispute or very rare theft. I wonder if the speeding ticket payoff will go down as the locals learn we are enforcing the new speed limit (we have just had a temporary speed reduction for an experimental 6 month period).

    The speeding thing is no problem. If the law is being broken, people have no room to complain.
    That's right. Our unhappy neighbors have lower speed limits in their towns than we do, even at the new experimental rate.

  13. #13

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    I can't remember for sure, but I am not sure the fines in UT go the city. A number of Western states send the fines into the school fund so that the city doesn't directly benefit from a speed trap.

  14. #14
    Cyburbian Rumpy Tunanator's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Gedunker
    Well, I pay city taxes at a much higher rate than county taxes, and I pay county taxes. City dwellers typically get scr3wed in that they consume far less county services than they receive, yet they help subsidize those living in sprawl.
    That is what happens here.

    OT: They are talking about taking the money generated from tickets in towns, and sending it to the state. NYS really is giving it out to everybody lately . Won't happen in the city though, although even if you are not guilty, you are guilty.
    A guy once told me, "Do not have any attachments, do not have anything in your life you are not willing to walk out on in 30 seconds flat if you spot the heat around the corner."


    Neil McCauley (Robert DeNiro): Heat 1995

  15. #15
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by Lee Nellis
    I can't remember for sure, but I am not sure the fines in UT go the city. A number of Western states send the fines into the school fund so that the city doesn't directly benefit from a speed trap.

    According to the council, the town is getting the greatest portion of the fines. Maybe only because we set up a town justice court a couple of years ago...?

  16. #16
    Cyburbian jordanb's avatar
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    Taxes are pretty high in the Peoples Republic of Cook County, what with our socalized medicine and all. But every inch of land in the county is incorporated in an effort to avoid being annexed by someone else, so it's not really a problem. Everyone pays the County, and they redistribute the money to whichever city you're in, after taking their cut.

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