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Midway police not milking traffic for funds
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Editor,  I have read the 15-second snippets of “character assignations” of the Midway Police Department in the Sound Off column and I needed to get the facts straight.
You ask, “Who will write a song for the Midway police force..?” I shall write that song! Title: “Ode to the Best Police Force in Georgia,” composer: Terry Doyle, Midway concerned and involved citizen.
First stanza: After the claims of excessive citations, I requested the breakdown of the citations issued from Mayor Emmons of Midway over a period of time. Here are the ones ending the week of Sept. 4.
Tickets: Speeding. Two 15 over, one 17 over, one 19 over and one 22 over. Also one suspended tag/decal. One no insurance. Five defective equipment. One DUI. One no tag on trailer. Two improper parking on I-95 ramp. One window requirement. One Georgia move over law. One failure to maintain lane. One doing business without a license. One seat belt. Three peddling. One no license. Two solicitations. One headlight. Two loud music.
Warnings: Seven speeding 10 mph over. Two tag lights. One expired tag. One sign ordinance. One failure to stop at sign. One Georgia move over. Two loud music.
When you review the above, keep in mind these are not necessarily single citations. A speeding stop could also generate a no insurance ticket and/or a no license ticket. Or the failure to maintain lane could lead to a DUI ticket. They are separate citations but could result from one stop.
Loud music could be from a home stereo late at night. And doing business without a license, peddling and solicitations are not traffic related violations.
The prudent and rational person would not see these as excessive citations for a week. Why did some get tickets and some warnings? If it was something like defective equipment you can bet money they got a warning previously and ignored it. There is no cash flow for warnings. You emphasized the “taillight out over the tag” citations. If a car is stolen, how do the police read the tag? If the bank is robbed, how does a witness get the tag? If a child is killed by a hit-and-run driver, how do the bystanders get the tag?
Recently, Officer Brandon Baxter pulled over a vehicle for tag lights out. He was just going to issue a warning. The driver took off running into the woods, abandoning the vehicle. He traced the driver to a local motel. The driver was an escaped convict from an Illinois prison.
The Midway police don’t make the laws, the legislatures in Atlanta do. They don’t interpret the law, the judges do. They simply carry out their oath of office to enforce all laws tempered with fairness, equality and impartiality.
Second stanza: Where does the money go? Only 40 percent stays in Midway. The other 60 percent goes to the county and state. Here is a list of some of the agencies that get a portion of those fines. Brain and spinal injury trust fund; children’s trust fund; crime victims emergency fund; indigent defense application fund; local victim’s assistance program; drug abuse treatment and education; drivers education and training; peace officers, prosecutors, indigent defense, probation supervision fees; county jail; county law library; bond forfeitures and crime lab fee. Sixty percent of the remaining 40 pecent goes to the city general fund for operating costs. Only 16 percent of the fine, or $16 out of every $100, ever reaches the Midway Police Department. Out of that $16 they have to pay the court costs, the judges and the court clerks’ salaries. If someone is arrested for DUI or other offense, they have to pay the county sheriff $34 a day for every day the prisoner is in the county jail.
So now you know why the Midway police are driving hand-me-down police cars instead of fully equipped 2009 Dodge Chargers, as you inferred.
I have spent over 15 hours researching and accumulating all the facts and data for this song. Can you spend 15 seconds to call Sound Off and leave a thank-you message for our exceptional Midway police officers?
Better yet, stop by as you pass and thank them personally. Our brave volunteer firefighters are right next door and they too deserve your gratitude.
For clarification, I am not a member of the Midway police force nor am I employed or appointed to any level of Midway city government. I am simply a citizen who is concerned enough to learn about my city, investigate the facts before I speak and, in some small way, defend the best police force and volunteer fire station in the state of Georgia.

Terry Doyle
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