If the officers worked five days a week, 50 weeks a year, that comes out to 28 tickets a day.
When the Whipkey brothers started working in Gauley Bridge -- Shawn in December 2002 and Heath in March of 2003 -- the number of speeding tickets rose dramatically.
| In 2002, Gauley Bridge reported issuing 28 speeding ticket convictions to the DMV for the entire year.
| In 2003, the number rose to 268.
| Last year, Gauley Bridge police issued 1,528, according to DMV numbers.
As the number of speeding tickets has risen, so has the percentage of fines, fees and court costs that make up the town's annual revenue.
In the 2002-03 fiscal year, fines, fees and court costs made up just 3 percent of the city's budget. That number jumped to 26 percent in the 2003-04 fiscal year.
Dale said that generally speaking, a little more than 50 percent of the revenue collected by a city in fines, fees and court costs comes from speeding tickets.
Town officials did not return calls from the Gazette-Mail for this story.
It's also not clear if Gauley Bridge is reporting all of the speeding ticket convictions from which the city collects fees.
The Gazette-Mail asked Gauley Bridge officials for a copy of the city budgets for each fiscal year from 2002-03 through 2009-10 and a breakdown of the fine revenues regarding traffic and speeding tickets for each of those years.
The city sent copies of its annual budget, but not a breakdown of fine revenues.
When the Whipkey brothers worked in Summersville from 2000 to 2002, the town reported just 3,488 tickets to the DMV -- far fewer than the 12,319 speeding tickets Summersville records showed at the time.
Speeding tickets that are written out may be disposed of in two ways so as to not show up on the DMV statistics, Dale said. Many cities have a diversion program where drivers can take classes, pay fines and get tickets resolved without having them submitted to the DMV and having points taken off their licenses.
Or, drivers can take tickets to court and be found not guilty, Dale said.
"Really, there is no way of knowing how many tickets are issued," he said. "There's no reconciliation of that, ... but the law requires convictions be sent to us unless there is a diversion program."
Michael Bell was driving with his father through Gauley Bridge last summer when he was pulled over and issued a ticket. Bell said he paid the $150 fine but never got a notice from the DMV that the ticket was reported.
He says he was going about 30 mph and didn't see the 25 mph sign.
"If there is one, it's either posted high or it's hidden," Bell said. "I would've gone back there and looked for it, but I was mad. I was riding my brakes."
Reach Gary Harki at gha...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5163.