Bankston Getting Flood Of Complaints Over New Speeding Ticket Camera; Will Bring Issue Back Up And Vote No; Henry Also Switching

Thursday, February 20, 2014

County Commissioner Chester Bankston said Thursday he is getting a flood of complaints about a 5-4 vote to allow the sheriff's office to use laser video cameras to catch speeders and send them $50 tickets by mail.

He said he has decided to bring the issue back up next Wednesday.

"My butt's chewed up. This time I will be voting no," the District 9 commissioner said.

Commissioner Larry Henry had the same reaction, saying he is switching his vote.

He said, "We had a combined meeting with both the agenda session and regular meeting, and there was really not enough time to study this. With the agenda session, we have a week to get feedback from the community."

Commissioner Henry said he was attracted to the program because some of the funds were to be used for driver education for young people. But he said, "There's not enough revenue involved to have any kind of effective program."

He also said, "I have always been opposed to government surveillance, eavesdropping and any kind of invasion of privacy."

Commissioner Henry said, "We will probably take this out next week."

He said he tried to table the issue on Wednesday morning, "but they wanted to go ahead and vote on it." 

Commissioner Bankston said, "I have been hearing from too many constituents. I listen to my constituents."

He said residents feel the program is "fee grabbing" and that those who get tickets should have contact with someone charging them rather than just getting a ticket in the mail.

Commissioner Bankston said it was not too late to reverse the program. "No contracts have been signed."

Voting in favor on Wednesday were Commissioners Henry, Bankston, Greg Beck, Marty Haynes and Jim Fields.

Voting against were Tim Boyd, Warren Mackey, Joe Graham and Fred Skillern.

Sheriff Jim Hammond said the initial two cameras would be used mainly on dangerous narrow roads where it is unsafe to pull speeders over.

He said half of the revenue would go to the firm supplying the cameras, Applied Technology Partners. Of the $25 going to the county, half of that would be used to pay for young people who live in the unincorporated county to get driver's training.

 


TBI Launches Innovative Program To Protect Agents, Forensic Scientists From Fentanyl Risks

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation launched a program on Monday, to provide a potentially life-saving resource to its special agents who might come into contact with fentanyl. In recent years, law enforcement agencies across the country have reported an increase in exposure to the powerful and potentially deadly painkiller, primarily in heroin recoveries. In recent months, ... (click for more)

Police Say Man, 39, Dropped Off Girl, 14, For Sex At East Brainerd Motel

Police say a 39-year-old man dropped off a 14-year-old girl at an East Brainerd motel after an undercover officer arranged for sex. The office had answered an ad for escort services on the Internet site Backpage. John Harper Farmer Jr., of E. 5th Street, was charged with promoting prostitution, contributing to the delinquency of a minor and driving on a revoked license. ... (click for more)

Republicans And Fox News Are Creating An Ebola Crisis

It seems that the Republicans and Fox News are at it again.  They are calling for “closing the borders” in order to protect us from the Ebola virus.   They are spreading fear and angst among the populous in order to blame the Obama administration with failing to protect the citizenry. Isn’t this the same crowd that claimed there were weapons of mass destruction in ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: UT Ain’t Heard Nothing Yet!

Just moments before Florida would seal a football 10-9 victory over Tennessee in early October, the student section in Neyland Stadium stooped to a new low when it vociferously chanted, “F*** you, Florida! F*** you, Florida!” It was shocking, a loud and vulgar display of all that sportsmanship isn’t, and served as a great embarrassment to Knoxville and the university. Jimmy Cheek, ... (click for more)

Tennessee Wasted No Time Shifting Attention To Alabama

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – L ittle time had passed following Tennessee's 34-3 loss to Ole Miss on Saturday night before the challenge that lies ahead this week crossed the mind of the UT staff. In past years, a loss of that type could have had a lasting impact on the psyche of the team. But  Tennessee coach Butch Jones   still sees his team progressing, both mentally ... (click for more)

Ooltewah's Riley Hickman: 2-for-2 Wins At Cleveland And Talladega

The “Hustler” Riley Hickman of Ooltewah hunkered down this weekend and picked up a pair of wins in Dirt Track competition. Friday night the # R1 “Hickman Manufacturing, American Billett, Austin Trucking, Tucker Mobile Home Service, Allstar Graphics, VP Racing Fuels, RH Designs, Competition Racing Equipment, A-1 Towing, MRC” sponsored CVR / Vic Hill powered machine ... (click for more)