In response to the signs that Gary Stolba posted on Hwy 76:

I would like to thank Gary Stolba for his efforts in assisting the Willow Springs Police Department in slowing traffic down and his contribution to Highway Safety. However, I do not appreciate his lack of respect for Law Enforcement, or the community, in his attempts to publicly humiliate one of our Police Officers.
We enforce traffic laws to change driving behavior and save lives. Speed and aggressive driving are the primary cause and factor of fatal crashes in Missouri. National Institute of Highway Safety reports that there are 99 fatalities and 7507 injuries everyday from car Crashes in the US. In Missouri from January to June 2022, there have already been 413 deaths, and the holiday season will raise that number.  
In that stretch of roadway on 76 Hwy, we have had several serious Crashes, some Fatal. Recently there was a head on crash in front of the 76 Apartments. Speed has been a factor in several of those crashes. 
I call them crashes because people make a conscious decision to Speed, Drive Impaired, Drive Aggressive, and Drive Distracted. When they cause and Crash, it is no accident!
Mr. Stolba Has related that we are losing business due to our “Speed Traps”, and no one wants to shop in our city anymore. I would like to know why City Hall or the Police Department hasn’t received this complaint. Our City’s Sales Tax has increased by 25% over the last year, which is a good indicator that our businesses are making sales. I would not want my family injured or killed because of the lack of enforcement of traffic laws ... just to bring in the almighty dollar. 
Mr. Stolba would infer, based on his comments, that the Law only applies to a certain group of people. Maybe, he should get behind the solution, and not be part of the problem!
A large percentage of other crimes are discovered during traffic contacts. For example, the Oklahoma City Bomber was captured because he was stopped for no license plate. 
Officer Jim Hedlesten has 60 years in Law Enforcement, 30 of those as a State Trooper. Last year he was awarded Officer of the year by the Missouri Law Enforcement Traffic Safety Advisory Council and is well respected among his peers. He brings a wealth of knowledge to the younger officers within this department. 
On average; Officer Hedlesten stops people that are traveling 15 MPH or over the posted speed limit. He is not hiding out, which is an actual “Speed Trap” by definition.  
No one likes to get a ticket, but if you make a conscious decision to break the law, and if caught, then at least take responsibility for your decision. 
Police Chief Wes Ellison
Willow Springs Police Department
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