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Saturday, May 9, 2015

The Mantua, Utah Speed Trap

Tickets funding this small town's revenue

Our drivers have to pass through here on a daily basis. Using speed traps for the primary purpose of revenue generation is just wrong! He's basically writing tickets to pay his salary. All the local and regional people are well aware of this situation, so all the town cop does is trap motorists who are not familiar with the area. The southbound side of the highway is a down slope and a driver unfamiliar with the area can easily be unaware that his car/truck is speeding up if not watching the speedometer. Help support the fight for motorist's rights by joining The National Motorists Association. You can join for free at this Link.

Article and video thanks to and Chris Jones. Links provided:

April 28, 2015  (KUTV) If you’ve ever driven Sardine Canyon, between Brigham City and Logan, you might be familiar with the little town of Mantua.

But, with a population of 741, the town is less known for its hospitality than its vast ticket writing. 

“The cop down there is like a sniper,” said Sheri Leishman, whose husband has been ticketed multiple times on the stretch of road. “Everyone knows he comes right out of nowhere and slides right in.”  

In Mantua, police wrote 2,185 tickets in fiscal year 2014. That helped the town bring in more than $221,000 in speeding fines, which makes up more than a third of the town’s $649,000 revenue.  

So how does this compare to other similarly situated Utah towns?  

Take neighboring Williard, also in Box Elder County. Its population is three times that of Mantua — with three times the number of highway to patrol. But in fiscal year 2014, Willard wrote only 706 tickets. 

“The main thing with speed is the excessiveness on it,” says Mantua Police Chief Mike Johnson, who is also the town’s mayor. (He is paid $42,000 a year to be chief, but is unpaid as mayor.)  

In 2012, the Utah Department of Transportation had to write a strongly worded letter to the town warning them that the location where they camp out was being torn up by the town’s patrol cars.  UDOT told the city their actions were “creating an immediate safety issue,” and the town did eventually fix the problem.

Johnson says their speed enforcement is critical. Not only does it reduce speeds on the highway, it helps support a police department that is a constant presence in the small town, he said.  

But, in 2014, the town’s police made only a few dozen arrests unrelated to speeding. Among the most recent citations: fishing without a license.

With the meager crime rate it begs the question:  Does the town of Mantua have an addiction to speed?  

The fees collected by the town help support Mantua’s two part-time officers, the full-time chief, a court judge and a court clerk. The highway, and the tickets that come from it, stand as a major revenue source funding a large chunk of the town government. 

“We could [still] have both of those,” Johnson said, “but it would just be a lot more limited. There is no doubt that we benefit somewhat by the highway.”

The chief is quick to point out if you are not impressed with the work he and his two part-time officers do in the town, then look at dangerous Sardine Canyon, where speed is a killer. 

“Everything we do basically comes back to safety of motoring public,” he said, noting UDOT began making an effort to make Sardine  Canyon more safe about 15 years ago by reducing speed limits, adding rumble strips and barriers.  

Fatalities have been reduced by 93 percent since the improvements to the roads have been made, according to UDOT statistics.

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