Belmont leaders put radar issue up for vote

By The Associated Press

BELMONT — Belmont voters will decide whether the local police department can run radar to control speeders, especially in school zones.

WTVA-TV in Tupelo reports that Police Chief Donald Reno asked the Board of Aldermen to consider radar previously without success.

Reno said radar is a law enforcement tool.

“We have rape kits to do rape, drug kits to do druggies, fingerprint kits to do fingerprinting, but yet we’re still responsible for all the traffic violations, and we have nothing to do that with,” Reno said.

The board of aldermen voted this week to place the issue before voters at the next city election on June 4.

Police officer Amanda Null monitors school traffic every morning but that’s just about a far as it goes. She does not have radar to issue a ticket for speeding.

“I’m over there every morning. Usually, you can even go as far as turn your blue lights on to slow people down, and usually, you don’t even see them brake,” Null said.

Reno said Belmont had four fatalities in 2010 and 121 accidents. In 2011, there was one fatality and 113 accidents reported.

Should radar be approved by voters, Reno said the complaints and the traffic will slow down after a period time.

Local residents had some different opinions.

“I think it will be fine if it’s done fair. I don’t see anything wrong with it,” Teresa Bennett said.

“There’s too many that speed and can get away. When they have the radar, they can catch them then,” Nancy Garrison said.

“The business people in Belmont do not need one customer run out of here because of radar. The police force we have now can handle this without radar,” Jim Byram said.