The Utah County Sheriff’s Office Eagle Mountain division wants residents to have the information necessary to understand traffic and speeding enforcement.
Eagle Mountain City perennially contracts its law enforcement services through the Sheriff’s Office. This is done to improve efficiency and for a cost savings to Eagle Mountain residents.
Sgt. Spencer Cannon, public information officer for the Utah County Sheriff’s Office, answered several questions pertaining to speeding enforcement in Eagle Mountain.
Do officers with the UCSO have a quota they must meet for citations given?
Several residents in Eagle Mountain and other areas of Utah County have wondered if officers are required to give out a certain number of traffic citations each month.
“No, there’s not,” says Cannon. “In fact, …it’s against the law to give quotas.”
Sgt. Cannon says there is not a requirement or a limit on how many tickets an officer can administer, provided officers are not issuing tickets to motorists who did not commit any violations.
Instead of providing officers with a quota, the Utah County Sheriff’s Office expects its deputies to handle their responsibilities in order of highest priority. A deputy’s first priority should be responding to any ongoing calls that require law enforcement’s attention. According to Cannon, these calls could be any number of scenarios, such as a burglary, public disturbance or an automobile accident.
“When they don’t have those kinds of things that they’re responding to, they’re supposed to spend time out and about being visible, driving through areas,” says Cannon.
He says that it is the hope of the Utah County Sheriff’s Office that if more officers can spend time in the visibility of the public, it will encourage more people to slow down and drive cautiously.
“Ultimately, we think people ought to follow the traffic laws because it’s the right thing to do,” says Cannon. “But if they’re not going to do it because that’s the right thing to do, let’s have them slow down because they’re afraid of getting caught.”
In a study conducted out of Louisiana State University Medical Center, researchers found that physical police presence is the most effective strategy of speed reduction. The study showed that even the presence of an unmanned police vehicle reduced the number of motorists exceeding the speed limit by more than 30%.
“You know, I’ve been a cop for 32 years. When I’m driving down the road and I see a cop, I get nervous,” says Sgt. Cannon.
Are incidents of excessive speeding increasing?
Eagle Mountain residents have been made aware of a few isolated incidents of excessive speeding on local roadways, with three in the past two months.
In September, a driver was stopped for exceeding the speed limit by 60 mph on SR-73. In October, one motorist was stopped for driving 56 mph over the limit on Eagle Mountain Blvd. and another for going 39 mph over on Ranches Pkwy.
Sgt. Cannon says these events are not necessarily increasing in frequency but depend on the time of day and whether the motorist is aware of police presence.
“I would have a sense that we probably aren’t seeing an increase as much as we are just catching a few more right now,” says Cannon.
Cannon says that motorists are more likely to speed during rush hour when trying to make it to work on time or in certain remote areas where fewer cars may be on the road.
The Utah County Sheriff’s Office seeks to mitigate these incidents by spending extra time in areas where excessive speeding has shown to be a problem.
Cannon says that if officers dedicate “some extra time making traffic stops and writing tickets, then those kinds of violations tend to go away, for at least a short time.”
For Fiscal Year 2023, Eagle Mountain City allocated additional funds to the Sheriff’s Office in Eagle Mountain to hire three additional deputies.
Can a driver have their car impounded for excessive speeding?
A motorist can have their car impounded for several reasons, such as street racing or driving under the influence. In cases of excessive speeding, however, it is up to the officer who makes the citation.
“In my experience, if I have somebody that’s doing 121 mph in a 65 mph zone, I’m going to impound their car for expedition of speed,” says Cannon.
In the cases of the recent speeding incidents, Sgt. Cannon was not able to comment on why the motorists’ cars were not impounded as he did not have adequate relevant information.
What are the numbers for this year?
As of mid-October, the Utah County Sheriff’s Office had made 4,412 traffic stops, with 560 of those stops in September of this year.
Between Jan. 1 and Oct. 10, 2022, 116 DUI arrests were made in Utah County, with 13 of those arrests in September.
2,057 citations have been issued so far this year, with about half pertaining to more than one violation. The total number of traffic violations to date for 2022 is 3,386.
Important Information for residents
For crimes in progress and life-threatening emergencies, dial 911.
Individuals who would like to report crimes not in progress or request domesticated animal control services, residents should contact the Sheriff’s non-emergency dispatch at (801) 794-3970.