Ferris Police and the I-45 Speed Trap

I live in Ennis and frequently take Interstate 45 North to Dallas. There is never less than 2 police cars hiding between State Highway 34 and Interstate 20 looking for speeders. Most often these cops lurk on bridges and on ramps hiding from unsuspecting motorists.

On I-45 The speed limit goes from 65 to 60 in various spots. However, if you travel less than 70 you will be frequently passed by traffic. It is obvious that the Speed Limit on I-45 has no basis in promoting safety or in driver reality. There is nothing dangerous about driving 75 on I-45. Not that I would ever intentionally break our State’s divinely inspired traffic laws.

I blogged earlier that I wanted to use open records to highlight the I-45 speed trap and the shameless money grab by local municipalities. I often see Garrett, Palmer, and/or Ferris police on I-45.

However, I lacked the time and energy to handle more open records work. Luckily, the Ellis County Observer did all the open records work for me.

Here is the Ferris Speed Trap by the numbers.
Ferris Texas- Population 2,157
Ferris Municipal Court Revenues per month 2008- $60,333
Citations Per Month 2008- 408.

A town of 2,100 generates $60k a month by writing 400 tickets a month. In Texas ticket quotas are supposed to be illegal. However, any government agency (including police) that can generate revenue will be exploited. It’s much easier for politicians to raise money through traffic tickets rather than by taxing residents. Instead of getting visitors, business, or residents to come to Ferris they have chosen to use the power of government to steal money from drivers.

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18 responses to “Ferris Police and the I-45 Speed Trap”

  1. John Oglesby says:

    How do you fight against something like this? Obviously, the town has found a nice revenue stream that no city employee will ever object to. The tickets are not targeting locals, so no townspeople are affected.
    My first thought was to vow never to employ, or hire any citizen of these towns. If they are economically impacted, they may influence the city. But there are so few of them that they are safely diluted into the DFW workforce.
    I can’t think of any incentive for these towns to alter their practices. Nor can I think of a way to create an incentive. I sure would like to, though. Experiencing a speed trap town is one of the most disgusting, sleezy feelings I’ve ever had.

  2. El Rey says:

    I wonder if we could put up a billboard just outside of Ferris letting everyone know to slow down for the sleaziest town West of Hazard County. (Dukes of Hazard reference – gratis)

    And yes, I am bitter. Ferris and Palmer have taken my hard earned dollars in the past…

  3. W. W Woodward says:

    Several years ago while working as a police officer in a small west Texas town of 1008 population I was advised in a city council meeting by a city alderman to, “Leave the locals alone and just write the out of town yahoos.”

  4. Jerry Hayes says:

    I was one of those tickets… 10 mph over the speed limit at 1am in the morning.

  5. gdwatkins says:

    I would like to add my two cents. There should be a law change that prevents local authorites from profiting from major highway traffic tickets. Obviously this not the intent of our State and Local Governments to allow local deptartments to be maintained by speeding tickets. We have a similar situation in Richwood, Texas on State Hwy 228B. A real joke 50 mph on this 4 lane divided highway.

  6. Maddog says:

    There use to be a law that said tickets written on the interstate and state hwys by local police, the local municipality only got to keep $10.00 the rest went to the state which stopped a lot of this. I think it got sunset on they should bring it back.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Got a ticket today…
    64 in a 60
    This is B.S.!!!

  8. CLiff Crites says:

    I thought there was a law that a city on an interstate highway had to have a population of 25,000 or more to work the highway…..I guess not

  9. SailorMoon says:

    I am a Ferris resident, and get on I45 at Wilmer. However, I was ticketed recently in downtown Ferris for running a stop sign. I stopped!! This cop is a real p**** with an attitude. Will be fighting it for sure. I also work in downtown Dallas and see the Wilmer and Dallas County sheriffs writing more tickets than I see Ferris cops…..

    You make this drive every day and you learn where they are. They’ve been doing this for the 10 years or so that I’ve been here. I’m sure every state has its share of speed traps. I’ve lived in a few and they do. Whatcha gonna do?? 😉

  10. Bobbie says:

    I usually go straight through down town ferris and the traffic was backing up this am so i decided to turn left on wood st. right before the corner, there was an officer kent parked Illegally in the church parking watching for this and said there was a no left turn sign posted, which i have never noticed nor am i familiar with thier streets except the 2 , I normally go on and i still did not see the sign from where he pulled me over, he gave me a ticket instead of a warning which is what he should have done under my circumstances that I explained to him he even had the nerve to thank me for being courteous to him, I will show him courteous with a law suit now!!!, and so I drove back down the street to find the sign, it was way before the street and being that i am not familiar with ferris streets, i did not see it and by the time i had decided to turn left the sign was back behind me, this is a trap being that the officer was sitting waiting for someone to do this, is alsoa huge problem,he also let another driver go right by us this morning that did the same thing, while i was there and he didnt bother to flag him over, I quess I made his quota. so maybe its a every other car thing, or a female /male thing, or maybe just another corrupt police dept and city making their quota it is april 28th end of the month so they had to make that quota, i would love to file suit against this police dept and city for setting all of these traps. Is Fraud and violation of our rights

  11. bobbie says:

    Ferris officer sitting at church again 2nd day in a row watching the no left turn corner to meet that end of the month quota. The media is now involved and pictures given.The city of ferris admitted to me today this is a common complaint to move the no left turn sign closer to the corner, But they never will ,they wouldnt make any money out of it.The city also admitted the chief of police requested the state to put it there.I need a good attorney to fight this 195.00 ticket all the way to the top and win not loose to where I am paying the city 200 plus him 100. Need real attorney that can really HELP !!! me and the cause!!! and stop this illegal quota they have going on.I would rather go to jail than pay them Sh”””””T

  12. Amanda says:

    I was indeed one of these I live in Houston and make the Dallas trip almost monthly. I know the speed zones so well yet last month I recieved a speeding ticket in Palmer for 10 miles over the limit then no kidding 7 minutes later a speeding ticket from Ferris for 4 miles over the limit and cited for my flasshers still flashing bacause I was just pulled over. I’m so tired of how petty they have become.

  13. B says:

    I am a Ferris resident and I can tell you that they will and do write tickets to the locals. They hide in every nook and corner and write absolutely absurd tickets. It’s really obvious when you drive a truck for a living. I’ve driven over a half a million miles since 2001 and I’ve had exactly 3 tickets in that time. Guess where? 2 in Ferris and one in Wilmer. All three of them written buy a still wet behind the ears cop.

  14. citizen rights/bobbie says:

    Do you know if any Ferris residents have received tickets for driving to their homes on S. wood st. headed east into town from red oak turning left at wood and 6th st ?
    I have researched this no left turn sign within 5 towns and seen over 20 of these same signs,and ferris has their posted improperly according to the Texas Manual on uniform traffic control devices for streest and highways . and department of transportation laws /also the state article 6701d,vernons civil statutes states that all signssignals/markings shall be uniform and be located so far practicable according the the manual,and re evaluated often,Ferris has failed this,100%. this manual reguires them to comply to this manual.The cities I have researched have this sign posted correct, at the corner,or on the intersection, and if there are 2 signs, the one is prior to the corner ,and the other at the corner,which is what the guidelines state and is correct. Ferris is in violation of this state manual and state laws.They have violated citizens rights by doing this. The ticket I received I am fighting in court,and will file charges against them. if needed.This has caused me such emotional distress worrying about the ticket,the court,and the fact that it is all over a neglegent city,sign posting.I cant even sleep due to worry and not knowing what will the court try to do to me,since I cannot afford this ticket, not to mention morally and legally should not have to. The state laws states if the city has improperly posted this sign that they cannot give a enforce a violation due improper placement. So they have violated several laws according the the MUTCD (traffic manual/state and cival laws).They owe me for all of my grief,and time and money I have spent researching their errors. Anyone with any info on how the city has been neglegent please comment.
    R3-2 Sign in violation
    Section 2B.19 Turn Prohibition Signs (R3-1 through R3-4, and R3-18)
    Except as noted in the Option, where turns are prohibited, Turn Prohibition
    signs shall be installed.
    Turn Prohibition signs should be placed where they will be most easily seen by
    road users who might be intending to turn.
    If No Right Turn (R3-1) signs (see Figure 2B-3) are used, at least one should
    be placed either over the roadway or at a right corner of the intersection.
    If No Left Turn (R3-2) signs (see Figure 2B-3) are used, at least one should be
    placed either over the roadway, at the far left corner of the intersection, on
    a median, or in conjunction with the STOP sign or YIELD sign located on the
    near right corner.
    Except as noted in the Option, if NO TURNS (R3-3) signs (see Figure 2B-3) are
    used, two signs should be used, one at a location specified for a No Right Turn
    sign and one at a location specified for a No Left Turn sign.Sec. 32-202. When devices required for enforcement.
    No provision of this chapter for which signs are required shall be enforced against an alleged violator if at the time and place of the alleged violation the official traffic-control device or sign is not in reasonable position and sufficiently legible to be seen by an ordinarily observant person.

  15. Veronica says:

    I don’t understand this. Get mad because you break the law…and then get even more mad when you get a ticket for it…but wreck and kill someone and their children…and then who’s fault is it??? Pick your battles.

  16. Robert Guest says:

    It’s not a choice between obeying the law and killing a family. I can assure you that no families were in danger when I was ticketed.

    It’s a common fallacy that most traffic enforcement is designed to save laws. Believe me, I was a prosecutor. Speed traps are about revenue, not safety.

    I’ve picked my battle, and it’s exposing Texas highway robbery.

  17. A says:

    I received a speeding citation at 11:53pm last night (according to my citation) at I45 between Malloy Bridge and Mars. When the cop pulled me over, I knew I was caught for speeding, but what I was trying to figure out was what was the speed limit? There was a sign a few feet in front of me that said 65MPH, and I could have sworn the last sign I saw said 70MPH, when the cop said the speed limit was 60, I was shocked.. I didn’t remember seeing a sign for 60MPH. I had been driving for over 5 hours and had been up for an additional 24 hours, and was about 45 minutes from home so that could probably be why.

    Now when the cop pulled me over, he had asked me if we was with the car in front of us, I said no. As soon as I said that he called on his radio and out of no where another cop car comes by with his lights on, going after the car that was in front of us. (I’m not sure if he even clocked my speed or just assumed my speed was the same as the car in front of mine, but oh well) When the cop had “clocked” my speed his lights were completely off, he didn’t turn his lights on until after we went by him, and by lights I don’t mean his red and blues. I couldn’t even tell if his parking lights were on because his car was facing the opposite direction of traffic in the emergency lane/median. He followed us for a little bit, and then decided to finally pull us over.

    I’ve read up a lot on the City of Wilmer and how they make their money is through citations. Now, what I was wondering is if I were to go into court and plead not guilty, would I still be stuck with this ticket and the points on my license. Apparently saying “it’s a speed trap” does not work for this city.

    I was reading up on speed traps, and entrapment and I wasn’t sure if what the cop did was considered entrapment.

    I’ve been researching as much information as I can about traffic laws, etc. but it seems that cops are allowed to have their lights completely off while running their radar. In some places I’ve read that they have to have their cars on though (which I assume is why he had his car facing the opposite direction of traffic)

    It tickles me to see how the city explains this trap as something to alleviate fatalities on that strip, when a cop in the pitch black night with no lights on could have easily been hit.

    Also, I know this is extremely late, but I read your other blogs, and Mac’s are definitely amazing computers.

  18. Pete Tranter says:

    I’m no fan of lawyers, but I’m glad this trap continues to get attention. Like many others, I’ve also been tripped up by the variable speed limit on I-45 North around Ferris. Despite ‘only’ being 10 mph over (on an empty road at 11pm on a Sunday), the officer went straight to his revenue generating pad, without any chance of a warning. I’m a big supporter of the LE community (they are one of my biggest customers), but this kind of petty trickery doesn’t due the force’s public reputation any good at all.

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