41 Speeding Tickets with "Secret Code" Dismissed in Louisville, KY
Updated: Jul 5, 2019
Louisville Officer Ray Sutherland issued numerous tickets to drivers in Jefferson County, Kentucky, charging them for speeding 5 miles per hour over the speed limit, INSTEAD of the actual speeds of 15 to 25 mph over the posted speeds. That looked like a favor to the motorists who received the tickets, right? But for his own records, he would write a 4 digit code on the ticket like "4387". The first two numbers were meaningless, but the last 2 numbers were the actual speed he clocked of a driver.
What is going on here? Apparently, Officer Sutherland was protesting the "Drive Safe Louisville" program implemented by the Jefferson County Attorney's Office. The DSL program raises funds for the local court and the county attorney's office by allowing people to avoid traffic convictions by attending an on-line traffic school. Why would an officer oppose traffic school? Apparently, some officers in the Louisiville police department believe that the option of taking a traffic school course removes their discretion at issuing tickets for really serious offenses. Over 3.5 years, almost 25,000 drivers took the on-line course and had their tickets dismissed. So, Officer Sutherland protested the DSL program by issuing tickets for a simple 5 mph over the posted speed, thus allowing people to just pay the ticket (and not having points on their license). This avoided the need for a ticketed driver to use the DSL program!
Quite honorably and ethically, the county attorney's office contacted all motorists who received a ticket with the "secret code", dismissed their tickets and refunded the fine if it had been paid, even though they had been driving faster than reported. The reason is that the ticket MUST state the posted speed and the speed that the driver was clocked at. And, these 41 tickets were clearly deficient!
Here is the link to the original story in the Courier-Journal: