Panama City Police "Speed Trap" Is Legal

By  | 

Wednesday, several viewers called News Channel 7 to complain about what they say was an "illegal speed trap" set up by the Panama City Police Department on Highway 231.

Viewers who called claimed an officer with a laser gun positioned himself behind an electrical box next to the highway, radioing police up the road in an attempt to catch speeders.

But a local attorney says the operation is completely legal, and the law doesn't require officers to be in the open at all times.

Panama City Police Chief John Van Etten says the four-lane Highway 231 near the Panama City Mall is a congested area with a high number of crashes and fatalities.

He says his officers caught some motorists going 15 miles per hour or more over the speed limit.

"It may have been more of his posturing by the building that grabbed some folks attention, but the people that go that got their attention were the ones doing over 60 miles per hour in a 45 zone, so I hope it got their attention and I hope we got folks slowing down."

Wednesday, police wrote 21 traffic citations; 18 of those were for speeding and eight were warnings.