CANTON, OH - The Ohio Highway Patrol is the guardian of the state`s roadways, its troopers providing a watchful eye as travelers push the posted speed limits.
Their attention is focused on many a freeway, but they are never far from Belden Village.
“They're always out there and I watch my speed limit very carefully,” said Abigail Woodward, a lifelong resident of Canal Fulton.
Woodward told ITEAM Reporter Lorrie Taylor the Patrol is known for running a speed trap on the northbound side of 77, around the Pro Football Hall of Fame Bridge.
“I basically think it's 24/7 when I'm up there cause I always see them so I'm really careful,” Woodward said.
“It's all about safety, the more we can slow people down to the posted speed limits the more lives we save,” said Lieutenant Leo Shirkey from the Canton Post of the Ohio Highway Patrol.
The Lieutenant did not deny his troopers stake out the northbound side of '77 near the bridge beneath Dressler Road.
“No denying it?” asked Taylor.
“No denying it, whatsoever,” said Shirkey.
However, he did deny any attempt to hide from speeders.
“You don't appreciate the term speed trap?” asked Taylor.
“There's really no such thing for the highway patrol, what we would call a speed trap, we are visible,” the Lieutenant insisted.
Patrol records showed troopers in the Canton Post made close to 31,000 stops in Stark and Summit Counties last year; 2/3rds of the drivers were cited, close to 1/3 were sent on their way with a warning.
“We'd rather educate them as to what they're doing and hopefully correct the behavior, that way, if not, if a citation is the only way to correct that behavior so be it, we`ll issue that citation,” said the Lieutenant.
Motorists who find themselves northbound on '77 heading toward the Pro Football Hall of Fame Bridge should beware. The Lieutenant said troopers shoot lasers, which means they can target automobiles and trucks about half a mile away. Anyone darting in and out of traffic will be easily seen.
“You don't mind that we're telling people where you're parked?” asked Taylor.
“No,” responded Shirkey, “You can tell people where we're parked, you could probably advertise this every day and the violations will still be there every day.”
Speed trap or not, Abigail Woodward said it's not always such a bad thing.
“It makes it safer, so it makes me watch what I'm doing, so I figure everyone else is watching what they are doing so I feel safer,” she said.