Cornersville I-65 tickets in spotlight

Friday, January 25, 2013

By Clint Confehr

Senior Staff Writer

At least two Cornersville officials take a stand that's different from state Rep. Billy Spivey's position against town police patrolling Interstate 65.

It looks like a speed trap that people have been ducking for years, thereby reducing commerce in Cornersville, Spivey says. It looks like the town is trolling the turnpike for revenue.

Responding to voters before and after his election in November, the Lewisburg lawmaker has asked questions and opposes town police patrolling I-65 between Exits 22 and 27.

It's a public safety issue, not a source of town revenue, Mayor Amis Davis said. Furthermore, Davis and Town Administrator Taylor Brandon say town police only write tickets for violations in a one-mile section of I-65 at Exit 27, the one with Texas T Campground on Lynnville Highway.

Spivey finds that hard to believe.

Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security on Tuesday approved Cornersville's application for interstate authority in I-65's one-mile section at Exit 27.

In April of 2010, Cornersville sought Highway Patrol permission to patrol I-65 within its jurisdiction, pointing out state troopers will be helped by town police and scarce highway patrol resources could be used elsewhere.

"Cornersville's police officers currently use I-65 between exits 22 and 27 as a shortcut between northern and southern city limits," Brandon wrote to THP Maj. J.R. Perry. "The five-mile trip goes to eight miles if the interstate is not used."

Authority to patrol on I-65 was subsequently granted.

Nov. 28, CPD Chief Todd Bone sought renewal of the authority. Jan. 4, THP Col. Tracy Trott replied: I-65 between Exits 22 and 27 isn't in the town, so renewal was denied, but Bone could reapply to patrol I-65 and its ramps in Cornersville. Jan. 14, Bone reapplied. Jan. 22, Trott advised Brandon town police could patrol between mile markers 26.8 to 27.8 north of Alabama.

See details on page A6.