an open letter to the mayor and city council of sandy springs, ga

dear sirs and madams:

i would like to address an issue with you; namely the current speed limit on georgia 400 and your jurisdictions attitude toward enforcing it. first let me start by saying that georgia 400 is perhaps the safest designed major interstate in the metro area. it has only 7 exits between the perimeter and the end of the county line and only two within your jurisdiction. further the ingress and egress merges are long, straight and clearly visible. and yet curiously the speed limit remains 55 mph through your jurisdiction when it is higher in other areas throughout the metro.

why do you do this? is it for the safety reason? if so, why is the speed limit higher in other jurisdictions? and why don’t they take the aggressive approach to enforcement on the same road that you do? today you had more than 7 police officers on the road that i counted; three standing on a bridge with radar guns where no one would see them and slow down, so so much for deterrence.

by the way, what percentage of your police force does that represent? i would imagine its pretty high. surely speeding on georgia 400 is not the biggest public safety threat in sandy springs. also how unsafe do you think it made it when all of those drivers slammed on their brakes at a high rate of speed when they saw your officers on the bridge?

i can only conclude that the low speed limit and your devotion of SO MANY police resources can only lead me to believe that you are using the law as a revenue generator. frankly, i think this is unfair and wrong. if you need money for your operating budget, raise the taxes on your citizens or put a toll on the road, but i cannot support you in using a public safety law to fill your city’s coffers.

until the speed limit is raised to 65 mph or you drop your aggressive enforcement of the 55 mph limit and settle into a pattern of enforcement similar to your metropolitan counterparts to the north, i am refusing to purchase anything within sandy springs city limits.

your police department may catch me some day and i’ll pay the fine, since i agree with the ‘don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time’ sentiment, but i hope that the money you get is offset by the lost sales tax revenue from my little boycott.

i am inviting others who have been pulled over or feel similarly about this issue to do the same.


james h.

8 Comments so far

  1. Matt (unregistered) on January 24th, 2007 @ 10:22 pm

    Good points, though you might want to pay attention to correct capitalization, blog style nonwithstanding.

  2. dayna (unregistered) on January 25th, 2007 @ 8:28 am

    Feeling somewhat chastened by my ticket yesterday, I drove up 400 today much closer to the speed limit. It was, perhaps, the most terrifying experience I have ever had on that road. Even staying in the far right lane, cars were whipping by me. It isn’t safe to drive the speed limit on that road. That’s what makes me so irritated about the random enforcement of the limit.

  3. Rashid Z. Muhammad (unregistered) on January 25th, 2007 @ 9:31 am

    The greatest power that the cops have is in their ability to selectively enforce the law.

    The cynic in me thinks that they selectively enforce the speed limit so that when the month gets into its final week and tax revenue ain’t so hot they can launch their “protection money” racket.

    On the other hand though, clearly the cops have limited resources to perform a fairly difficult job. While I think that the difficulty has more than a little to do with extraneous laws on the books (ignorance is no excuse my arse), there is no question that they have lots to do.

    In the case of enforcing the speed limit, it could just be a case of random sampling where they enforce it just enough to keep people honest – if averaging 30MPH over the speed limit, a felony by the way, could be considered such – but don’t obsess over it.

    I think we know that, like most things, the answer is probably in the middle.

    Also, I think that the actual speed limit number has to do with the proximity to the city. You may have to be so many miles out before it can legally get up to 65 or 70 MPH.

  4. cody (unregistered) on January 25th, 2007 @ 9:43 am

    as a resident of sandy springs, i’ve ready article after article regarding just how many police were hired in the sspd. apparently, they hired so many and the police have given so many tickets that the court system can’t handle all the tickets. so i would say that 7 is probably not as high of a percentage of the city police department as you might think.

    they have also said that since forming the pd, they want to ensure everyone driving through ss notices the presence and knows what a safe city it is. so, fair warning, they are out and in full force. you will get a ticket if you speed in sandy springs.

  5. james (unregistered) on January 25th, 2007 @ 9:48 am

    all well and good, but i am still sticking with my boycott.

  6. Tatiana (unregistered) on January 25th, 2007 @ 10:36 am

    When SS became their own tidy little town, many police officers from other jurisdictions transferred to their PD. Including many from my PD (Atlanta). At this point, they’ve got so many officers, they don’t even know what to do with them.

    You’ve seen them during rush hour, ushering traffic around. It’s supposed to make the traffic flow better, but if you pay close attention, you’ll notice that most of them direct the flow in what is basically an exact mimicry of the actual traffic lights at the intersection. Basically, the lights are calibrated well enough to deal with rush hour traffic.

    I’ve concluded that SS has way more cops than they know what to do with, which is why they give them redundant jobs like this to do, and why they will sit seven cops deep on a hwy, just to patrol two exits. So I don’t think it’s SS officials trying to make more revenue. I think the issue is that the cops don’t have anything else to do.

  7. Robert (unregistered) on January 25th, 2007 @ 12:26 pm

    A great visual aid is A Meditation On the Speed Limit – Google Video.

    This movie should be required viewing for those who decided the speed limit.

  8. james (unregistered) on January 25th, 2007 @ 12:43 pm

    oh robert, how right you are. i thought of reenacting that on 400 in sandy springs while i was on the treadmill.

    think we could recruit volunteers at the next apwbwgttd?

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