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Deer Trail resident proposes citizen-run speed traps in small eastern Colorado town

Mayor pumps brakes on proposal
Deer Trail resident proposes citizen-run speed traps in small eastern Colorado town
Posted at 3:36 PM, Jun 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-01 19:41:42-04

DEER TRAIL, Colo. — Sometimes the quiet eastern Colorado town of Deer Trail isn’t so quiet.

“People blowing through stop signs, doing highway speeds down city streets,” said resident Phillip Steel.

Fed up with the lack of speed enforcement, Steel posted an open letter to the Arapahoe County sheriff on social media expressing his frustrations.

“One of my neighbors bought their own speed gun,” Steel said.

In Steel's letter is a proposal for residents to take the law into their own hands, aiming at a new kind of justice.

“We’re going to start performing citizen’s arrests,” Steel explained. “If somebody’s endangering life or safety, Colorado does have a statute that talks about citizen’s arrest. We will start doing that.”

There are others who share Steel’s frustration.

“It would be nice if people could respect the law a little bit and watch out for the little guys,” said a resident with small children.

Deer Trail's mayor agrees that not everyone obeys the posted speeds, but he says there’s a much better way to get people to slow down, including possible speed bumps on the town’s main thoroughfares.

“That is one of the things we are looking at,” said Mayor Judd Behren. “They slow me down when I see them. I don’t want to hit them too hard.”

Behren says the town can’t really afford a cop of its own, so it contracts part-time patrols through the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office.

“They are understaffed and doing the best they can do for us,” Behren said.

Steel isn’t so sure.

“They just sit and chill out over by the cemetery,” he said. “They need to work for the living people, not the dead ones.”

As for that proposal to chase down speeders, the mayor says slow down.

“I don’t think taking the law into your own hands would ever be a good idea,” Behren said. “You’re liable to have two cars speeding down the road at 50 miles per hour instead of one, which would make that way more dangerous than it already is.”

But Steel is starting to believe it’s the only way.

“If the sheriff’s department isn’t doing it, we’ll do it ourselves,” Steel said.