By Bonnie Culverhouse
Minden Police officers are taking a giant step toward slowing speeders from I-20 through a program called STEP.
Safety Traffic Enforcement Program is set up inside the parish limits of the interstate, according to Minden Police Chief Steve Cropper.
“Speeding ticket fines are set up to be split among the City of Minden, the judges’ office, Minden Police Department and the Ward Marshal’s Office,” Cropper said.
“It’s a deterrent for speeders coming from Shreveport,” he continued. “We’ve had a ton of them come from Shreveport or Bossier to our stores and steal. If they see those units sitting out there, they might just keep going.”
There is the additional benefit of just slowing drivers.
“They are flying through there,” Cropper said.
MPD purchased two “ghost” Dodge Chargers as their STEP units. The department’s logo is painted on the side of the vehicle but then covered in white paint, so it is not readily visible.
Cropper said one is on the road while the other is awaiting installation of electronics.
“We are getting electronic license readers,” he said. “It will eliminate the time frame it takes for the officer to write the ticket. They swipe the driver’s license and print out the ticket.”
There is one benefit to the ticketholder, the chief said.
“If they pay their ticket before the court date, it doesn’t go on their record,” he said. “These people are getting a ticket and an hour later, they’re stopping at a phone somewhere, going online and paying it.”
When the program was less than a week old, Cropper said around $10,000 in fines had been paid.
“So far, 98 percent of the tickets are out of town … out of state drivers,” he said. “That’s what the program is designed for – not to get the local people.”
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