A few years ago a traffic stop for speeding led to a driving under the influence charge and the solving of a murder here in Bradley County.
Many arrests are made by deputies for all types of crimes because of traffic stops. They are made for speeding, taillights out, running stop signs, running red lights, or for many other traffic violations.
We receive complaints daily of people speeding, or driving recklessly on our county and state roads. The Bradley County Sheriff’s Office deputies respond by going to the area to run radar and observe traffic. The deputy has the discretion to issue a warning citation, or a regular traffic citation.
Traffic citations almost always impact a family negatively.
Sometimes, when someone receives a citation, a family who can’t afford it may have to go without necessities for a week or two — so we take issuing them seriously.
Yet, there are times when the only deterrent is to issue a citation.
Often, a traffic stop will result in a person being arrested for carrying drugs and/or drug paraphernalia.
Sometimes, burglaries are solved through traffic stops as well as wanted people being taken into custody.
So, traffic stops have served law enforcement and the community well.
I have admonished that all of our deputies be courteous, kind and respectful to all citizens and Bradley County residents.
I want them to be ambassadors for our county. I want them to be judicious in writing both regular citations and warning citations
When a regular citation is written, the only person who can dismiss it is a judge.
It is illegal for a sheriff to attempt to do anything with a citation once it is written.
But, as sheriff, I can see that the traffic stop is performed with courtesy, and that the citizen is treated with dignity.
One of our goals as a law enforcement agency is to serve in such a way that our fellow citizens will be proud, and that even our critics will at least respect us.
Our Bradley County patrol cars are equipped with cameras that record the video and audio of traffic stops.
Old cameras used to record over themselves every day or two, but the new cameras can make a permanent record.
When the driver of a vehicle is stopped for a traffic violation and an inquiry is made through the National Crime Information Center (NCIC), a record is made of this in the NCIC, and can be brought up in the future.
This includes the date, time and place from which the deputy made the request.
Please remember, as we make traffic stops they are an integral part of both preventing and solving crimes.
The next time you see one of our deputies making a traffic stop, he or she may be doing only that, or preventing or solving some crime.