LPD introduces ‘warning policy’ for traffic tickets
By LPR Staff
In answer to past criticism that Lockhart Police Department officers do not issue traffic citations fairly, the Lockhart Police Department has recently begun using ‘warning tickets’ in addition to the department’s standing Uniform Traffic Enforcement Policy.
Though LPD officers have long been authorized to issue w
arnings, those warnings have consisted of regular citations with the word “Warning” written across the top. Police Chief Mike Lummus announced last month the department has ordered and begun using a different form, which clearly states, “This is a Warning!”
“There have been situations in the past where someone received a warning ticket, but their copy of the ticket did not have the word ‘warning’ written on it,” Mayor James “Jimmy” Bertram said. “We don’t know why it has happened that the officer’s copy did and the citizen’s copy didn’t, but Chief Lummus decided to start using these citations to keep that from happening again.”
According to Lummus, officers may issue warnings at their discretion for a number of violations within the Uniform Traffic Enforcement policy. He expects, however, most will be issued for speed-related moving violations.
Under the policy, officers should offer a 9 mph “window” for drivers in all areas except school zones and residential areas. This means that drivers may travel up to nine miles over the posted speed limit without being ticketed, unless conditions including heavy pedestrian or bicycle traffic, rain or ice render a need for slower speeds to ensure safety.
In school and residential zones, a 4 mph “window” is allowed.
Warning citations, Lummus suggested, may be used in these situations to remind drivers of the correct speed limits or other traffic rules existing in the area they are stopped.
It is likely, with Tuesday’s passage of an ordinance allowing the use of neighborhood electric vehicles (NEVs), that the Lockhart Police Department will issue warnings to citizens out of compliance with that ordinance until the public becomes familiar with it. However, drivers operating any vehicle unsafely on Lockhart streets should be aware of the possibility the officer will skip the warning and go straight to writing a ticket, if the situation warrants such an action.
“Our most important job is keeping the people safe,” Lummus said. “And that’s what we’re trying to do here. We don’t always want to come down hard on people, we want to remind them of the laws and that those laws exist for a reason – that is to keep drivers and others safe on the streets.”
For information Lockhart’s Uniform Traffic Enforcement Policy, contact the Lockhart Police Department at (512) 398-4401.