I would like to comment on the current push by at least three members of the local city government who are determined to pass an ordinance that will tack two dollars to each traffic ticket to fund a tattle-tale program called crime stoppers. What has happened to our good citizenship and moral standards that dictates that we should be paid to report crimes and criminals to law enforcement agencies? It appears to me that one who asks for money to help enforce the law is of questionable character himself.
It is common knowledge that law enforcement officers sometimes get a little too aggressive and write tickets for frivolous violations that do not endanger the individual ticket recipient or the public., but overall they do a good job for the citizens of Water Valley and Yalobusha County. Those on the city or county board will not be given tickets for minor violations; therefore they will not have to pay the extra two dollars, but that is simply a political perk. It should be remembered that members of a governing board also represent those who might be given citations and should not write them off as bad citizens. The thinking behind the issue is that violators are petty criminals and should pay for their own demise. Two dollars is not very much to some people, but fines have become too expensive already, and minor violators should not have to pay citizens for performing a civic duty.
We just returned form a trip through Arkansas where signs along the highways request the driving public to report those who litter the road. A telephone number is posted on the sign, and there is very little trash along the highways; therefore, one could assume that the program is working for them, and it could work for us.
Other governmental agencies in our geographic area have a crime stoppers program designed to pay those who report criminal activities and identify the perpetrator, but we as citizens should do our civic duties and report crimes. This is actually a two dollar tax added to any ticketed violation. This is a tax on those who can least afford it, and the idea that this is none of the police chief’s business as was stated in the board meeting is ludicrous. Every ticket issued in the city is his business, and Water Valley is lucky to have the current chief and should support him.
I hope that we can turn a different direction and get the citizens more involved in crime prevention and law enforcement without having to pay them at the expense of those who can least afford the additional burden.
/s/ Lannon Franklin
Water Valley, MS