By Matt Agorist
For years, locals knew that the stretch of road running through the village of Arlington Heights was notorious for police officers separating motorists from their money.
Neighboring officials even went so far as to label the town a “speed trap.” In spite of being the smallest community in the county, the village of Arlington Heights had the busiest court in the region and even the state – thanks to the Arlington Heights police department and their disreputable speed trap.
According to a 2007 report from the Enquirer, the overwhelming majority of cases (93%) that pass through court in Arlington Heights, are for traffic fines alone.
Despite issuing and collecting a record number of traffic fines, the money from those fines never found its way to the village bank account. The clerk of courts and the deputy clerk of courts, with the help of the ticket writing cops, enriched themselves to the tune of $260,000 before they were finally caught in October.
Even thought he was met with backlash from the Arlington Heights Police department, Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters, who called for the dissolution of the village in 2012, said that referring to the village as a “speed trap” is appropriate.
“Basically, they were setting up speed traps on I-75 to fund the municipal workings of that village – which they then stole,” he said. “I can’t quite put my finger on it, but there’s something off about a village that’s maybe a mile long setting up speed traps to raise money that then is used to fund a bunch of public employees. It just rubs me the wrong way.”
What Deters is describing is the basic function of every police department across the country. Everyone from the street cops to the mayor depends on drivers being extorted for traffic violations. It’s what pays their salaries.
Luckily for all the residents of Hamilton County, on Friday, the Arlington Heights police department was disbanded as a result of their years of revenue collection for criminals.
With the revenue collection arm now dissolved, the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office will begin patrolling the tiny village.
“You get to a point where it just doesn’t make sense anymore,” Deters said. “I think they’ve taken a hard look at what they’re doing out there, and if they’re letting the sheriff do it now, they made the right call.”
Matt Agorist writes for TheFreeThoughtProject.com