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Police try to stop speeding in Boonsboro

December 28, 1997

Police try to stop speeding in Boonsboro

By BRENDAN KIRBY

Staff Writer

BOONSBORO - Rich Mills used to drive stock cars and daredevil motorcycles, but since moving to town less than a year ago, he said Main Street has provided too much excitement.

Mills, 63, called Main Street "a race track" and said traffic blows through town past his house at a frightening clip.

"The speed here is horrendous," he said. "My concern is somebody is going to get wiped out."

But after cars and trucks blast through Boonsboro, Mills said, they conspicuously slow down once they reach Middletown, Md. He said he does not understand why Boonsboro cannot cause a similar reaction among motorists.

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"We have three resident deputies here. What's wrong with them?" he said. "What we need is a few speed traps."

While speeding has remained a persistent problem, law enforcement officials insist they are addressing the issue. Washington County Sheriff's Department 1st Sgt. Doug Mullendore said all three of the town's deputies target traffic violations in town.

"Each one of them are running radar on a daily basis and on different shifts," he said.

Although he did not have specific statistics, Mullendore said enforcement has picked up since the town's third deputy started work in February.

Mullendore said each of the deputies also has other responsibilities. But he said traffic enforcement is a priority on Main Street and other roads in town. He said deputies vary their location and the lengths of time they operate, but normally set up shop for at least an hour.

Still, Mills said he has not seen the results. He said his neighbors, too, have complained.

"They can't get over the speed, but no one does anything," he said.

Middletown's top elected official, Bill Thompson, said it is no secret how the town eliminated its speeding problem. He said cars used to routinely whiz through town until officials paid for a resident deputy about a year and a half ago.

"We said his No. 1 priority was to stop speeding on Alternate 40," said Thompson, who holds the title of burgess. "The problem in town wasn't burglary or disorderly conduct. The problem was people speeding."

Thompson said the deputy wrote ticket after ticket - about 400 a month in the beginning - until drivers started to slow down.

"He finally got their attention," he said. "He became quite famous in a short period of time - notorious, rather."

Boonsboro Mayor Charles F. "Skip" Kauffman Jr. said his town is taking a similar approach.

"We have been talking to our deputies, too," he said. "I think you'll find it to be our No. 1 priority, too."

Kauffman, who lives on Main Street, agreed traffic moves to fast. He said he worries when his wife leaves the house.

"Sometimes, it's Russian roulette getting out of our driveway," he said.

Part of the problem, however, is that the speed limit varies up and down Main Street, Kauffman said. He said the town has asked state officials to change the limits.

"It's a matter of getting a uniform speed limit and better concentration on enforcement," he said. "It's just all different speed limits. We want one uniform, slow speed."

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