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Zero tolerance policy for speeding on post

Department of the Army police officer Terry Dishman stops traffic so a parent and her child can cross the street before school at Ursa Major Elementary Sept. 5.
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Sharon McBride
Fort Richardson PAO

What’s it going to take to get people to stop speeding on post?

According to Capt. Wayne Brewer, a Directorate of Emergency Services police operation officer, more than 100 speeding tickets are issued on For Richardson every two weeks.

Drivers are speeding through school zones, zooming along physical fitness routes and careening through housing areas, Brewer said.

“People won’t think about the consequences of speeding until it’s one of their children who gets hit by a car,” he said.

No pedestrians have been hit or injured in the past four years, he added. There have been a few close calls in the housing areas.

 “We’ve just been lucky,” Brewer said.

He said he’s not sure why everyone is in such a hurry.

“It’s always rush, rush, because I think it’s just a fast-food world we live in,” Brewer said. “But people need to stop and think, and most importantly, slow down.”

Military police and Department of the Army civilian police serve on Fort Richardson and  have a choice of what kind of citation to issue if they catch someone speeding, Brewster said. 

Officers can give out an armed forces military ticket, which is forwarded to the Soldier’s commander for corrective action or a civilian citation, which can carry a fine and assessment of points governed by Alaska statues, Brewer explained.

According to Percy Jones, a criminal law paralegal in the Office of Military Justice, more than 70 civilian citations with associated unpaid fines have found their way onto his desk since the beginning of the year.

It’s important to note that’s just the number of unpaid citations, Jones said. If speeders pay their fines or don’t contest their tickets he doesn’t have to process them.

Most people think speeding on post is no big deal, until they have their driving privileges revoked or they have to pay a $75 fine and have points assessed to their license, Jones explained.

If a driver is caught speeding in a school zone, he can lose his driving privileges for up to a year, explained Brewer.

Prior to the school year, new school crossing signs and lights were installed, Brewster said. Also, the school zone times were shortened. Current times are from 8 to 9:30 a.m. and 3 to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

“It’s used to be until 6 p.m. but we had it revised, because it’s highly unlikely children will be walking back-and-forth to school at that hour on a daily basis,” Brewer said.

PT route times have not changed and are still from 6:30 to 7:45 a.m. Monday through Friday.

On Fort Richardson, a suspension policy letter signed by Col. David Shutt, the Fort Richardson Garrison commander, is given to the offender when he is issued a ticket. The letter clearly outlines the time frame for probable suspension or revocation of on-post driving privileges, and, in some cases, if the driver is a visitor he can be permanently barred from post.

According to garrison policy, the suspension will not take effect until 14 days after the issuance (except in cases when driving under the influence is involved) to allow the individual time to request a hearing with the garrison commander.

This can be in addition to whatever consequences the Soldier’s commander gives out as punishment for speeding.

If issued a civilian citation, the driver can appeal the speeding ticket in an Anchorage courtroom or decide to pay the associated fine, if any, and/or fight having points assessed against their license.

“People also need to know this is a federal court downtown,” Jones said. To date, no one had been successful in having their citations or fines overturned by the federal judge.

“We are at 100 percent,” Jones said. “It’s kind of hard to argue with the results of a radar gun.”

Contrary to popular belief, military and DA civilian police do not have a daily quota to meet when issuing tickets, Brewer said.

“We have had people accuse of profiling too,” Brewer said. “Tickets are issued equally across the board, civilians, service members and family members; we don’t zero in on one specific group.

“It’s not a rank issue either, it’s not just young privates getting tickets,” Brewer said. “Just don’t speed, and you don’t have to worry about getting a ticket, and more importantly, you don’t have to worry about running over someone’s child. We are out there to try to prevent that.”