OHP investigate and disband Stringtown police for speed trapping

By: Allison Harris Email
By: Allison Harris Email

STRINGTOWN, OKLAHOMA -- Oklahoma Highway Patrol disbanded Stringtown police for making too much money from writing traffic tickets.

A five mile stretch of U.S. 69 is at the center of the investigation.

Oklahoma's speed trap law requires that cities make less than half their revenue in tickets.

OHP Captain Jeff Sewell says that's a problem for small towns, like Stringtown, with a population of 410.

"They have no other means for revenue. They had a store there, the store shut down. They had an eating place, it shut down. So they really don't have a place. Nobody puts any businesses up there," Sewell said.

But there is one corner store where employees are concerned about the lack of law enforcement.

"You know, people breaking in, you know, breaking stuff, stealing stuff," store employee Cindy Smith said.

Meantime, OHP and the Atoka County Sheriff's Office are patrolling Stringtown.

Sewell says residents have reason to be concerned about 911 response time.

"It may take a little bit more time now," Sewell said.

People in Stringtown expressed similar concerns back in 2007, when the police department was first investigated for speed trapping.

News 12 looked at Stringtown police files from 2012 and 2013, which show that most drivers who got speeding tickets were moving 10 to 15 miles over the speed limit.

Many in Stringtown want to see their officers back on the streets.

"I'm very concerned that if they don't come back, I might decide to move where there is more patrol," Smith said.

OHP says it'll be at least April before Stringtown police are back on patrol.

We reached out to city leaders for comment, but they did not respond.


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