South end of town, sits in parking area of a house

Gifford, South CarolinaFeb 15, 20220 Comments

Northbound on Columbia Hwy N/US-321, just past a cotton field on the right, the speed suddenly drops from 55mph (no prior warning sign) to 45mph and then in less than 100 yards drops again to 35mph (again, no warning sign). The sole cop in town sits in an unmarked, black car under a tree in the parking area of a house on the right side of the road, pointed South, just past the 35mph sign, targeting drivers headed northbound. They only stop vehicles with out of state tags. They wait until you are North of the town to pull up behind and pull you over, about 1.5-2miles past the alleged infraction point. While I was observing, I saw 2 out of state vehicles pulled over at the same location for the same alleged offense in less than 1 hour. The cop indicates a speed of >25mph over the 35mph limit and then, depending on how nice you are to her, she may “reduce” that to somewhere in the >10mph and <25mph range, which becomes a $128.75 ticket with 4 SC points (if your state recognizes SC points). She will, of course, be “nice” enough to point out you can just pay this fine online, no need to show up to court in 2-3 weeks. Of course, if you are not “nice” and “polite” then she will hit you up for a higher speed (no, you cannot see the radar or verify the radar calibration), a greater fine and then they will look for other things wrong (check your insurance card, check your lights, check your tires, etc.). So, be sweet and polite and say nothing else. Pretend you like paying their salary, because you are. This is clearly the only revenue generation for this tiny town, which has a population of 300 with nothing but cotton fields surrounding it.

Let’s do some quick math on this: If the sole cop generates 2 tickets at $128.75/ea per hour = $257.50/hr x (conservatively) a 5hr ticket generation window for a 8hr shift = $1287.50/shift (they probably only operate day time hours only, conservatively) x 30days/mth = $38,625/mth or $463,500/yr. And that is being conservative with numbers. They could easily double that to nearly $1M in revenue per year if they “work” a little harder. I’ll bet their town budget figures for minimum revenue of around $400,000/yr for “traffic enforcement” revenue.

This is a total scam. Oh, sure, the speed limit signs exist, but, there are no warning signs of an upcoming speed change. Many of the towns along US-321 have the same scheme going on. They have nothing else to do but generate tickets in this old, Southern cotton farming town.

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