(Batesville, MS) Shemekia Ford says she doesn’t see many Mississippi State Troopers on the roads, unless she’s making a trip well outside of town.
"Most of the time if I’m headed to Memphis, I will see some state troopers," she said.
Mississippi State Troopers have been spread notoriously thin across wide areas for years.
Now, the Mississippi Department of Public Safety has decided to turn over traffic enforcement along a stretch of I-55 to the city of Batesville.
"It is what it is. We’re got to do it. We’re gonna do what we need to do, and it’s to help protect the citizens,” said Batesville Police Chief Tony Jones.
It’s been done in other, larger towns like Southaven and Hernando for years.
Why is the Highway Patrol turning over traffic enforcement to Batesville?
The short answer is that Batesville is big enough now to take on this responsibility. The move also frees up troopers to spread out and cover more state highways.
The thing is, Batesville doesn’t have the money to add more officers, so they’ll take on the interstate in addition to their regular duties.
Police Chief Tony Jones says this is not about speed traps.
"It’s not setting up roadblocks. It’s not setting up there running radar or set up speed traps or something. Our whole purpose is to make the roads safer," he said.
Drivers like Ford like to hear that. She's not bothered about the change.
"It doesn’t, because I go the speed limit," she said.
The change goes into effect along the six miles of Interstate 55 within Batesville City limits at midnight on New Year’s eve.