2017 traffic tickets in central Vermont
By Katy Savage
Locals aren’t surprised that Vermont Public Radio recently found both Bridgewater and Plymouth had the highest traffic ticket counts in the state last year.
Jim Haff got a ticket for going 10 miles over the limit in Bridgewater last year.
“I forgot I was in that one section of the highway,” said Haff, a Select Board member in Killington. “They give out a lot of tickets,” he said, adding, “That’s nothing new.”
Haff isn’t alone.
The sheriffs have a contract in Bridgewater for about 12 hours a day, seven days a week. The 936 resident town received about $199,987 in revenue from 2,381 tickets in 2017, according to VPR.
“I don’t think it’s terribly good for Bridgewater,” said Bridgewater’s newest Select Board member Lynne Bertram.
Bertram suggested the number of hours might be excessive.
“I think it’s overkill,” she said. “I don’t think we need to have that much coverage.”
Attempts to reach Bridgewater’s two other Select Board members, including chair Nope Martin, weren’t successful.
Both Plymouth and Bridgewater about broke even in 2017 in traffic ticket revenue in what it paid out to employ the sheriffs for that same period of time. The town receives about half the ticket revenue while the state receives the other half.
Locals expect to see a sheriff at the Bridgewater Mill Mall on Route 4, where the speed drops from 50 mph to 35 mph then to 25 mph and at the former Plymouth School parking lot on Route 100, where the speed drops from 50 to 35 mph.
The Windsor County Sheriffs Department issued the most tickets out of any other law enforcement agency, the VPR story found.
The sheriffs have contracts with Barnard for eight hours a week, Cavendish 12 hours a week, Reading 8 hours a week, Sharon 16 hours a week, Royalton for 30 hours a week, Bridgewater 76 hours a week, and Plymouth 84 hours per week (or 12 hours every day).
“We’re contracted with the town for doing quite a bit of enforcement there,” said Windsor County Sheriff Mike Chamberlain when asked about VPR’s findings. “I think the numbers speak for themselves. There’s a lot of people who speed through Bridgewater.”
Plymouth select board Chairman Ralph Michael said the coverage is needed.
“People are speeding down Route 100 at speeds of 50 or 60 miles per hour,” he said. “That’s a safety problem.”
Plymouth, like Bridgewater, has used the Windsor sheriffs for the past 20 years or so.
“We, being a small town, can’t afford to establish a police force,” Michael said.