Chief: New Ellenton no speed trap

COLUMBIA, S.C. -- New Ellenton has not turned into a speed trap, says Police Chief Johnny Hamilton, refuting a recent allegation that 1,500 tickets had been issued in one month in the 2,234-person town.

There were only 146 infractions last month, according to municipal court docket listings for the town, located just south of the city of Aiken.

The charges are mostly speeding violations but also include assault and battery, driving under the influence, malicious injury to real property and other charges. In October there were 195 citations, and in September, there were 82, according to records.

In fact, added Hamilton, “I’d challenge anyone, if they got a ticket in New Ellenton for less than 5 mph (over the speed limit), I’ll pay it for them.”

An accusation that the police department had issued 1,500 speeding tickets appeared on the public forum page of a local publication. The individual who posted the complaint also alleged the citations were a department effort to collect revenue.

But Hamilton, chief since 2006, said only about 30 percent of a $180 ticket actually ends up in municipal coffers, and the rest is sent to the state.

Sarita Chourey can be reached at (803) 727-4257 or sarita.chourey@morris.com.

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