An effort to expand the use of speed radars in Mississippi is on its way into becoming a full-fledged law, as the State Senate voted 31-19 to approve a bill that would give county sheriffs the authority to use radar detection devices and has moved to the House of Representatives.
The Senate Bill 2206, sponsored by Senator David Baria (D-Bay St. Louis), would allow sheriffs in all counties to use speed radars on roads within the jurisdiction of the board of supervisors for maintenance and construction. Sheriffs could only use the devices on public streets, roads, and highways of the county lying outside the limits of municipalities.
Meanwhile, House Bill 571, which would expand speed radar use only enough to allow the sheriff in Rankin County access to the equipment, is currently pending approval in the House Local and Private Legislation Committee.
Current law states that speed radar usage is limited to the state’s Highway Patrol, city police departments, and Lowndes County sheriff’s department. Meanwhile, speed radars are prohibited in cities with populations fewer than 2,000, while those with a population more than 15,000 can only use these devices on federal highways within their jurisdiction.
The call for radar use expansion has been historically debated in the state. Supporters say it would help curb speeding and save lives, while opponents claim the enforcement tool could be used to set up speed traps and rake in revenue from tickets.