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 Town of Kiowa adds confusing new speed limit sign! 

The Trap Zone!

Kiowa is known for its speed trap which  primarily revolves around the school zone.  The school zone is active  during the morning and afternoon Monday thru Thursday during the school  year.  When the school zone is in effect, the town speed limit drops  from 35mph to 20mph.  When entering the town from the east side on Hwy  86, the speed limit drops from 65 mph to 50mph to 35mph to 20mph in  quick succession.  The police typically set up their speed trap along  the highway inside the school zone on either side of the street or they  set up in the US Post Office parking lot on the east side of town with  their radar guns.  Rarely do the police set up on the west side of town  as people are already slowed down as they approach the school zone from  the west heading uphill into the school zone from that direction.  Prior  to entering the town from the west side the speed limit drops from  55mph to 50mph as drivers crest the hill and then plummet downhill into  the town's 35mph speed zone.  Either way you enter the town, from the  east or west, you will be going downhill and have to slow down quickly  with heavy braking to comply with the speed limit changes.    Traffic  tickets can run hundreds of dollars in fines and are no doubt used to  fund the operation of the town court system as well as funding the  operation of the police department.   This can be debated from both  sides of the fence and can't be proven either way.   The town government  says they(the police) are there to protect you.

 I am not a lawyer and this is not legal advice so do you own due  diligence regarding traffic stops & interacting with police! censored youtube video


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Citizen Complaints!

Over the years, I have heard numerous  complaints.  After all, nobody I know likes getting a speeding ticket  so complaints are to be expected!    Locals complain that speeding  tickets are issued for 1-2mph over the school zone  limit!  This may be  within the letter of the law but is definitely testing the 'spirit' of  the law which is supposedly all about public safety.  My experience has  been that 90% of the time there are no children on the sidewalks or  trying to cross the street during school zone hours.  If it is that  dangerous, why don't the parents of the school children accompany their  children to and from the school?  Certainly the same school children can  be crossing the streets outside of those hours.  Why can't the school  get parents to act as crossing monitors during school hours to ensure  the safety of their own children?  Too busy maybe?

One driver  reports that during one of these school zone speeding stops the Chief of  Police, Sam Swofford, asked certain questions that raise privacy and  constitutional concerns.  In addition to presenting 'papers' like  driver's license, vehicle registration and proof of vehicle insurance,  the driver was asked where he/she was going?  According to criminal  lawyers this question does not have to be answered and probably  shouldn't if you don't want to be asked other personal and private  questions like what you had for your last meal and what your favorite  form of entertainment is.  During the same stop for 'speeding', the  driver was also asked "Do you have any guns or knives in your car?"     Further scolding was meted out by the chief about not texting on a cell  phone and driving as it is against the law!  Thanks chief!

Another  town citizen complains that he was treated rudely by one of the town  policemen for a supposed traffic violation which involved making a right  turn without signaling due to a faulty turn signal.  The citizen says  he used a hand signal while turning.  The officer then demanded a  drivers license in the driver's driveway in spite of having known the  driver as a long time town resident!  Papers please pilgrim, its the  law!


Protect Yourself!

Dash cameras are a great and  inexpensive insurance policy that anyone who drives a car can afford.   Cameras can protect against insurance fraud as well as recording any  contact with police during traffic stops which may be used for your own  defense.  Good ones can be had for around $50 that record in high  definition.  This link can give you some options: DashCamTalk

Filming police is not illegal unless it interferes with them performing their duty.  Personal cameras can be used to record them despite their protestations if  used from inside your car during a traffic stop, on public sidewalks,  in public places, etc.  The police are recording you while they are on  duty!   They have dash cameras as well as recording devices on their  bodies while on the job.    Colorado is a one party  consent state for recording conversations.

 Both the Kiowa Chief of Police Sam Swofford and Town Administrator   Michelle Oeser refused to answer any questions about the conduct of  traffic stops by the town police.  The town administrator said that the  police are there "to provide law enforcement" and that the town would  not respond to any of my questions!  According to Michelle Oeser, the  Town of Kiowa has better things to do with their time than respond to  citizens who might question how some of their employees conduct town  business!

What's The Beef?

Why should citizens be concerned about  this type of behavior by their police?    It is a nationwide trend for  decades of an increasing police-state mentality by police at all levels  of our society and it leads to a NAZI style of militaristic government.   We should all be keen to protect our freedoms and liberty from  encroachment no matter where it comes from!    Answering questions by  police during a 'routine' stop is an individual choice but keep in mind  that police aren't pulling you over to discuss the weather or the latest  Bronco's football game.  They are on 'official'  business and consider  you a criminal who must be dealt with  appropriately.  They are coming  to your vehicle after stopping you wearing body armor, a large caliber  open-carry handgun, handcuffs, audio and video recording equipment to  record everything you do and say, communication equipment to call out  the national guard if necessary and a sometime imperious demeanor.  They  are loaded for bear so to speak.  Perhaps some police rely on their  intimidation factor to ask you questions which are really none of their  business like 'where are you going'?  The only questions you have to  answer from police are your name, address and date of birth.  Once you  begin answering any other questions you open the door for more and have  reinforced the police mentality that they can ask just about anything  they want to ask you.  To be sure, refusing to answer police questions  won't endear you to them and could have an influence on whether or not  you get a ticket.  Be polite, but realize that answers to questions can  and will be used against you by the 'authorities'.  I decide whether or  not I should answer any other questions by police but I realize that  they don't like what you are doing or they wouldn't pull you over in the  first place.  Questions like 'Do you have any guns of knives in your  vehicle' are normally way out of line and are intended to escalate the  routine traffic stop to something more serious and costly to you.  Think  about that question and consider how best to answer it.  If you say No   to that question(whether you do or not) then you have waived your right  to privacy and it is none of the officer's business unless you have a  criminal intent.  I would answer by asking 'Am I free to go or I don't  answer questions or am I being detained?'   I would repeat this as often  as necessary.  What if you answered Yes to the question of having guns  or knives in your vehicle?  As far as I know, it is still legal(so far  in Colorado) to carry guns and knives in a car for protection and it is  typically no business of the police if anyone does, so long as it is not  criminally intended.   So what if a driver has guns and/or knives in  their vehicle and they answer the police in the affirmative regarding  that, then what?  Might the police then ask the driver and occupants of  the vehicle to step out of the vehicle while they do a search?  Would  this then be a warranted search?  Would the police be justified in  searching a vehicle during a routine traffic stop because the driver  simply admitted that they had a gun or knife in their vehicle when  asked?  Might the police then look for drugs or other items they might  deem dangerous?  Police have been know to confiscate any cash in  vehicles they search and it can be a lengthy and costly effort to get it  back!

 Most of the contents of this page appeared in the Dec. 2014 Prairie Times (p.19) news.  A Mr. Totten then responded to that article in the same news paper the following month.  See my response to Mr. Tottens' letter to the editor in the Prairie Times(p.22) of Jan. 2015.   Mr. Totten took me to task on my letter to the editor of the Prairie  Times of Dec. 2014.  Mr. Totten defends the police questioning of  drivers being asked any questions whatsoever by police during routine  traffic stops   citing Supreme Court decisions. 

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