Jefferson County Sheriff Nels Sorensen came before the Jefferson County Commissioners on Tuesday, addressing a claim that the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office has been unfairly targeting the road leading to Endicott Clay Products.
“We are not targeting them,” said Sorensen. “We’ve worked that quite a bit, but there has not been a citation issued, which there should’ve been many for that. There’s been speeds up to 69 miles per hour on that road and no citations. So this targeting stuff is BS. My people are out there trying to get people to work and home alive.”
Sorensen stated that deputies watch the roads all throughout the county, all in an effort to ensure that people remain safe. The targeting claim was raised by Ryan Parker, CEO at Endicott Clay Product, during a meeting between him and Jefferson County Commissioner Mark Schoenrock. Schoenrock reported Parker’s concerns during the commissioners meeting Tuesday.
“They (Parker) have a view that we are excessively enforcing the speed limit on that road,” Schoenrock said. “I told Ryan I don’t know what our law enforcement policies are, but it’s the sheriff’s call where he maintains his law enforcement personnel. I do know that we have deputies out there to enforce the speed limit. He (Parker) did bring up that concern with me; he thought we were excessively targeting hard working people coming to work in the morning, going home in the afternoon.”
The commissioners discussed the speed limit on the road, which is currently set at 35 miles per hour, and whether they should raise the speed limit. Sorensen stated that the 35 mph speed limit has been that way since 2015. The road sees large amounts of traffic daily, according to Jefferson County Highway Supervisor Terry Blas, reaching an average of 1,306 vehicles traveling that road per day.
“It’s not just cars,” said Blas. “You’re mixing cars, pickups, trucks, farm machinery all together on that little stretch. It’s at 35 miles per hour now, and I’ve seen highs of 50 miles per hour.”
After some discussion, the commissioners agreed that they should leave the speed limit where it is currently set. Sorensen stated that his deputies will continue to enforce the speed limits in the county, and that they have been instructed to issue citations.
“In the past, we’ve gotten complaints from employees at the brick yard that people are driving too fast,” said Sorensen. “We’re not targeting them any different than we do (Highway) 103 or the Plymouth blacktop or the Meridian School. You never know where you’ll find us at.”
During the meeting Tuesday, the commissioners also discussed leaving the 40 mph speed limit along the “unofficial detour” that was used while the bridge on Highway 136 was under construction due to the traffic through that area. The highway department will post permanent signs along 566th Avenue, 711th Road and 565th Avenue.