Cars from a variety of police departments, including Columbus were invited to be in the Traffic Safety Symposium car show. (photo submitted)
Cars from a variety of police departments, including Columbus were invited to be in the Traffic Safety Symposium car show. (photo submitted)

Archived Story

Columbus top Governor Highway Safety point-getter

Published 4:54pm Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The Columbus Police Department, which has seven officers, gained recognition earlier this month for accumulating the most N.C. Governor Highway Safety Program points in the state.

Coming in second place behind Columbus was the Charlotte-Mecklenberg Police Department, which has 1,685 sworn officers and 550 civilian personnel.

The Columbus Police Department was recognized at the annual North Carolina Governor’s Highway Safety Program Traffic Safety Symposium, held in Winston Salem Feb. 4-6 for being the top points earning agency in the state.  Points are earned from the Governor’s Highway Safety Program through participation in events related to traffic safety campaigns such as Booze It and Lose It, No Need 2 Speed, Click It or Ticket, as well as the BikeSafe NC motorcycle education program.  The points can be redeemed for equipment, vehicles and other items related to traffic safety at no cost to the agency.  The Columbus Police Department was the 10th highest points earning agency in the state in 2011.

Columbus Police Chief Chris Beddingfield said being affiliated with the N.C. Governor’s Highway Safety Program saves countless taxpayer dollars for equipment a department as small as Columbus could not obtain.

Through the program, Columbus is also in its second year of a grant that helps pay for Lt. Nick Stott’s position, along with his vehicle and equipment necessary for traffic enforcement. The grant paid 85 percent of Stott’s salary the first year, 75 percent the second year and will pay for 50 percent the third year, as well as for the vehicle and equipment.

Additionally, the Columbus Police Department was recognized for being a 100 percent reporting agency with the North Carolina Governor’s Highway Safety Program.  Last year was the third consecutive year the department has been a 100-percent reporting agency.

  • DoNotGiveInToEvil

    You know what the worst part is? It isn’t that our local police department is beefing up their checkpoint and speed-trap equipment in the name of “highway safety.” It’s that they can do all this and still stay in business!

    In a free society, a firm “serving and protecting” people in this fashion would suffer heavy losses in the voluntary marketplace and be forced to change in order to retain their customer base or else go bankrupt. When folks who don’t want to be randomly stopped or fined for harming no one can vote swiftly with their dollars rather than the occasional ballot, it makes quite a lot of difference.

    What we’re looking at has nothing to do with voluntary interaction, though. We’re talking about “the public sector” — where up is down, black is white, and aggression against the innocent is an Orwellian contest to see who can be called the “top Safety point-getter!” And you’re stuck with it, citizens of Columbus. No competitors are allowed.

    There is a better way.

  • fallingman

    Hey, maybe they can buy a tank like so many other municipalities are doing. We’d be MUCH safer then. And we could have our own SWAT team and act like little soldiers. How fun would that be? More points!

    Look, getting drunk drivers off the road is one thing, but the rest is almost pure harassment for the purpose of making money and “earning points.”

    The presumption underlying this nonsense is that what they’re doing promotes safety. I challenge that. Just because someone is going a few miles over some arbitrarily determined and silly speed limit doesn’t mean you’re endangering anybody. I contend that virtually everybody speeds in Columbus. It’s hard not to. Some are ticketed. 99.9% are not. Are we safer? Hardly. Speed traps aren’t about safety. They’re about raising revenues.

    The real safety issues come from people using cell phones and texting and otherwise NOT PAYING ATTENTION…or acting like idiots. Yet how many are ticketed for those actual safety issues? I would venture to say none or nearly none. No, it’s all about speed and whether you wear a seat belt, because those are easy offenses to flag. And yes, I always wear a seatbelt and any speeding I do is garden variety 42 in a 35 zone the rest of the population.

    Lastly, my girlfriend was coming back to Hendersonville from a concert in Tryon and was pulled over by Columbus Police for no apparent reason. She wasn’t speeding and wasn’t driving erratically. All equipment on the car was functional. He wanted to know if she’d been drinking. She doesn’t drink. She held up a water bottle and perkily said…”water” and he let her go. It was obvious she was perfectly capable of driving. He was polite, but what was that about?

    It’s a violation of civil rights as embodied in the 4th amendment of the Constitution. Remember that battered and abused piece of Americana that used to be the law of the land? There has no be probable cause. we tolerate these abuses, but we shouldn’t.

    I’ll be glad to avoid Columbus. It’s a cookie cutter little interstate fast food stop where you have to go to interact with the wretched local government. It has no appeal whatsoever.

    Maybe if we could get a little more Andy Taylor and a little less Barney Fife, I might reconsider.

  • Pingback: Feel Safer, Now? | The Wild West

  • polkliberty101

    This is how a small department like this gets new equipment that they would not otherwise be able to get. This makes it easier to set up roadblocks in the dark and in other hidden places where hundreds of people going about their business can be stopped and harassed. And in turn allows them to raise lots of money in tickets and fines. Imagine if we could generate revenue like that in these hard times? Why can’t Columbus have a special reduced tax gasoline price as a result of this? That way the citizens and workers who the police are supposed to be serving can be the ones the benefit instead of the ones to be taxed!

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