Athens police back on patrol of speeders - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Athens police back on patrol for speeders

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ATHENS, TN. (WRCB)  --  It's just another Monday in Athens as thousands go about their day. But drivers better watch their speed, an Athens police officer may be right around the corner.

"They do enforce the speed," says driver, Ken Montgomery.  

So far this year, officers issued 6,982 traffic citations. During the same time last year, 3,899 citations were written; 5,477 for the entire year.

Channel 3 wanted to know, why the jump?

"The general conclusion they jump to is well the city must need money or things like that," says Captain. Rob Davis.

He heads the Athens Police Traffic Department and says the increase in citations is caused by a couple of factors.

"Since Jan. 1, 2012 we have reinstated a traffic program with the police department here," says Davis.

That means two patrol officers devote their entire day to patrolling the streets and catching speeders. Davis says programs like this have cut the number of speed-related fatalities throughout the region by nearly 70 percent since 2006.

However, when staffing in Athens was cut a couple years ago, the traffic department lost their patrol officers.

"Unfortunately programs like this are the first to be impacted," says Davis.  

However, even before the staff cuts the highest speed ticket year was 2005, when 6,852 people got a speeding ticket. This year is well on pace to be the new record.

"Our average speed on a citation from January through the end of September has been 17 miles over the speed limit," says Davis.

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