Newly created West Sullivan police promise not to become 'speed - KMOV.com

Newly created West Sullivan police promise not to become 'speed trap'

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CRAWFORD COUNTY, Mo. -

A tiny town along I-44 has created its own police department which has sparked concern among residents as to how it will afford to operate. But the village Board of Trustees promises the department won't become a nuisance.

With the recent fallout from Ferguson many departments were scrutinized because they struggle to find qualified officers and are tempted to write too many tickets in order to pay the bills. West Sullivan, which sits in Crawford County between Sullivan and Bourbon, started their own police department just this week.

Residents remember when Bourbon had a reputation of being a speed trap and this new department in West Sullivan has prompted concern that it will become a speed trap. However, others are glad to see the department.

“There's a lot of stuff that goes on in the community,” said resident Alecia Martin, “so having that makes me feel safe for me and my children.”

Martin is one of the 300 residents of West Sullivan - a town less than a half-square mile in size. The town sits in the far corner of Crawford County and deputy response times can often run 10-20 minutes. But due to his proximity to the interstate and the city of Sullivan, homes and businesses in the small community are not immune from crime.

To combat the crime problem, the village first hired security guards that had to call 911. But as the village grew so did the tax base. This week they transitioned to a fully licensed police department with one full time officer and three part time officers. Already they've seen a reduction in speeding

“I'll be sitting in the car and have people pull up to me,” said Officer James Newcom, “and thank me for being here. They're proud we're here.”

The village trustees said they've heard the concerns about a speed trap and promise they have a modest plan.

“Just get as much coverage as we can,” said President of the Board of Trustees, Jim Turntine. “Have a few police officers here to make our community better – to protect our people and our belongings.”

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