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Menifee police banned from writing speeding tickets for a year

An audit revealed that over half the town's revenue came from traffic violations— and now officers are prohibited from writing speeding tickets for the next year.

MENIFEE, Ark. — The town of Menifee is fairly small, with a population of 274, but something big has been going on.

"Clearly, they were writing substantially more tickets than other communities that were similarly sized," said Tom Tatum, 15th District Prosecuting Attorney.

Tatum was one of the individuals who audited the town and discovered some surprising results.

According to Arkansas state law, no more than 30% of a city's revenue can come from traffic citations.

This has not been the case for Menifee.

"Nearly 20% over that 30% threshold, and so clearly, they were writing too many tickets," Tatum explained.

Over $120,000 was collected during a 2020 audit, leaving people wondering whose fault it was— though the answer depends on who you ask.

Menifee Mayor Gary Green said that he was fed up with the situation, and blamed it on Menifee Police Chief John Randall.

"When I hired him, I said, 'We can't write tickets 10 miles and under,'" Menifee Mayor Gary Green said. "But yet these guys was writing tickets 10 miles an under."

Green wasn't mincing words and didn't have kind things to say about Chief Randall.

"Because to me, he's incompetent," Green added.

Randall wasn't at the police station, so we called him for comment, and he said that Green's statements are unwarranted.

"The only reason why I could see he's got harsh words for me is because I'm enforcing the laws in Menifee," Randall said.

Randall said that the audit doesn't tell the whole story, and added that the money collected came from uncollected dues and fees from years before 2020.

"When they went to court, the judge set them up on a payment plan," Randall said. "They didn't pay their fine off until 2020, where it looks like we brought in a large amount of money just for that year."

We requested a record of tickets given by the Menifee Police Department from January 1, 2018, to August 24, 2022. 

During that time frame, the data showed that 771 citations were issued by just one officer.

The next highest amount of citations was at 263 citations.

The data also showed that there were zero warnings given in that time period, something Randall said he had encouraged officers to do when he was hired.

As for who's at fault, one person did come forward and claim responsibility. 

In a text, Menifee City Alderman Derrick Hammond stated, "Chief Randall was given permission from the mayor and city council to go after past due and unpaid tickets. The tickets were written by officers who no longer work for the city."

Hammond went on to add, "We as a council failed to make sure that happened and now face police sanctions for a year."

The Menifee Police Department will now be now banned from writing speeding tickets for a year.

Many will remember Damascus had a similar sanction placed on them a few years back.

"In a year from now, we can get things back to normal for them," Tatum said.

Randall said that while he doesn't agree with the decision, he will respect it.

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