BRICE, OH (WCMH) — The Village of Brice is a dot on the map, about 64 acres. It’s home to about 112 people.
Last year, the village’s police chief said his department issued nearly 4,300 citations. The majority of them were for speeding. That’s 38 tickets for every man, woman and child who calls the village home.
NBC4 Investigator Tom Sussi reports there’s a push from state lawmakers, law enforcement and union officials to slam the brakes on the village’s three-person police force.
Ohio State Rep. Hearcel Craig (D-District 26) said enough is enough.
“It’s inappropriate and it’s something we simply cannot tolerate.”
Village of Brice Police Chief Bud Bauchmoyer told Sussi you’ve got to be driving at least ten MPH over the speed limit to get a speeding ticket in his town.
“I honestly believe we are not going overboard with what we are doing,” said Chief Bauchmoyer in a sit-down interview with Sussi.
Sussi: “Do you know how many traffic citations your department wrote last year?”
Chief Bauchmoyer: “4,270 paid citations.”
Sussi: “What does an average ticket go for?”
Chief Bauchmoyer: “$125.”
In total, that is more than a half of million dollars in citations.
“We spend a lot of time…we are known for working traffic.” Bauchmoyer said.
Sussi said, “Outsiders call it a speed trap.”
“Well, speed trap, if you look at the definition, implies that law enforcement is hiding behind something or they are changing the speeds by a mechanical means. We do neither.”
Sussi replied, “You were hiding these cameras inside traffic barrels at one time.”
“We put a traffic barrel over the camera to protect it from the weather,” said Bauchmoyer.
“That’s not sneaky?” Sussi asked.
“We were still sitting there and visible,” said Bauchmoyer.
In 53 years behind the wheel, Linda Willison told Sussi she’s received just one traffic ticket. In happened last year in the Village of Brice.
“I got to the sign that says you’re entering the 25 miles per hour zone and I hit my brakes.”
Since there is no advance notice of the abrupt speed change, the Village of Millersport councilwoman was too late. A Village of Brice police officer caught her on one of the village’s hand-held speed cameras.
“It’s a laughing stock and brings a discredit upon us as a profession,” said Columbus police officer Jason Pappas, who is also president of Fraternal Order of Police Local 9.
“We do not support them in any way, shape or form, and hope we can work with legislators and be able to remove them from being able to have any law enforcement activities out there.”
Sussi asked Chief Bauchmoyer, “What kind of crimes are you responding to?”
Said Chief Bauchmoyer, “I’ve had domestic issues, I’ve had unhappy customers, businesses.”
“When is the last time the Village of Brice arrested someone?” asked Sussi.
“I have not arrested someone since I took over as Chief,” Bauchmoyer responded.
He took over in December of 2015.
Sussi continued, “Do you think the Village of Brice needs its own police Department? “
Chief Bauchmoyer responded, “They absolutely have the right to have their own police department.”
The state’s largest police union and lawmakers said the village abused that right by issuing nearly 4,300 traffic citations last year.
“This is a disservice to the motoring public and it’s a disgrace to law enforcement,” said Rep. Craig.
Rep. Craig is co-sponsor of House Bill 125. The objective of the bill is to stop small towns and villages, like the Village of Brice, from establishing its own traffic citation fines and overseeing appeals. That would be handled by local municipal and county courts.
“It’s not good public policy and it’s not something we can certainly tolerate or support in the legislature,” said Rep. Craig.
Chief Bauchmoyer said he doesn’t tolerate speeders. He told Sussi, “If you don’t want a ticket, slow down. If you can’t slow down, don’t drive in my town.”
According to numbers provided to us by Chief Bauchmoyer, the village of Brice generated $533,750 in citation revenues last year.
The village contracts with Brekford Traffic Safety company in Maryland. Among other things, the company provides the village with speed cameras, mails out the citations and handles billing.