JOHNSON CITY, TN (WJHL) – On the first half-day of the school year in Johnson City, police officers issued six speeding tickets in school zones and they’re urging drivers to slow down.
Johnson City students returned for a half day of school Wednesday, but they go back Thursday for a full day.
Bristol, TN will also have its first full day Thursday. Kingsport returns to school this upcoming Monday.
“Unfortunately we did do a fair amount of work in the school zones this morning,” Sgt. Jim Tallmadge of the Johnson City Police Department said.
Tallmadge said this year was, sadly, nothing out of the ordinary and speeding is a problem. “There’s still always some people that miss the signs and miss the reminders and that sort of thing,” Tallmadge said.
Officers use radar and laser guns to catch speeders.
JCPD patrolled Northside Elementary, Cherokee Elementary and Science Hill High School for the first half day of the year. Between 6 a.m. and 1 p.m. officers issued six speeding tickets, one for improper passing, two written warnings, and one physical arrest for reckless driving and evading arrest.
25-year-old Brock Godsey was taken into custody near Northside Elementary.
“I think it’s highly alarming to have that many tickets in one day,” Johnson City resident, William Byrd said. He said he’s concerned, years ago he even added speed warning signs in his neighborhood to urge people to drive slow.
“It’s come to the point where you wonder about even the driver beside of you. are they paying attention?” Byrd said.
His neighbor, Jill Rawles said she wants to see more police officers on patrol near Cherokee Elementary.
“There are days when police are out to help you get across the street, but there are times when they are not and you’re kind of taking your life in your own hands,” Rawles said.
Sgt. Tallmadge said officers rotate between different school zones each day, they can’t have officers at every school every day because they don’t have enough officers.
“We usually allow the officers to kind of self initiate and go where they feel they can do the best good and that just helps as far as the randomness because that’s a big part of it obviously we can’t be at every school zone, every day both morning and afternoon so we need kind of that uncertainty, that random aspect that we use for patrol as well,” Tallmadge said.
It’s a problem that’s been around for a while and Tallmadge said they’re doing everything they can.
“We want people to remember that the kids are there and we would hope that people would obviously obey the speed limit voluntarily, unfortunately sometimes we have to be there to give a little bit of a reminder,” Tallmadge said.
Tallmadge said last year they wrote the most tickets in the Northside Elementary school zone, then came Ashley Academy, then Science Hill.
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