You might have seen what appears to be a lot more traffic stops going on in Harrison over the last few months, but Police Chief Chris Graddy said it’s not because of any new policies he’s set.
A police daily log from 7 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 14, through 7 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 15, shows officers made about 65 traffic stops.
When Mayor Jerry Jackson took over in January, he presented an outline of objectives for his first six months in office. One of those was creating a plan to reduce speeding in the city.
Six months later, he issued an update on those objectives. Jackson said officers are not aggressively pursuing speeders, but they are committed to enforcing traffic laws. Traffic tickets written are up 40% this year over last year.
The daily log shows that most of those stops are routine. In many cases, those stops are initiated due to the driver not wearing a seat belt, but they could also be for a broken taillight, expired tags or other violation.
But in some cases, a simple traffic stop could lead to something else.
For instance, an officer on a stop about 9:45 p.m. Wednesday was notified the license plate on the vehicle had been reported stolen more than two years earlier. A 19-year-old male subject was arrested for theft by receiving and possession of drug paraphernalia, then later released after posting $1,295 professional bond.
Another stop just after 12 a.m. Thursday led to the arrest of a 46-year-old man for improper display of tags, inadequate insurance, possession of controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia and obstructing governmental operations. He was later released after posting $7,690 professional bond.
“I’ve not instituted any new traffic directive,” Graddy said, adding that the officers are just working harder.
The only major policy he has changed is the reintroduction of sobriety checkpoints at various locations and times.
Those checkpoints — a total of five since the program started July 3 — have led to at least eight DWI arrests, along with some warrant arrests or other criminal violations, Graddy said.
Officers were trained by representatives from Black River Technical College prior to beginning checkpoints, Graddy said. Policies adopted by the department align with those of Arkansas State Police.