The Speed Traps Of Summer - Rosendale, Wisconsin
I'm a law and order guy. As such, I recognize that drivers should obey the posted speed limit at all times.
At the same time, I can't stand it when some police departments decide to use traffic laws to generate revenue rather than to protect the community as the laws were originally intended to do. Accordingly, as a public service and in an effort to save you both some money and points, I've decided to occasionally devote a column on the web page or a segment of my radio program to our area's most notorious speed traps.
When talking about speed traps, the first community that comes to mind is the Fond du Lac County village of Rosendale, population 923. Rosendale has been described as arguably The Speed Trap Capitol of North America.
Rosendale is what could affectionately be termed a one-horse town located on Highway 23 between Fond du Lac and Ripon. I personally drive through Rosendale at least a couple of times a year on my way to play golf at Lawsonia in Green Lake (no, I've never gotten a ticket - at least so far). If you're heading to Green Bay for a Packers game from Madison or other places west, chances are you've probably driven through Rosendale too.
According to the Fond du Lac Reporter, Rosendale police wrote 1581 speeding tickets in 2007. To put that in perspective, Fond du Lac police wrote only 404 during that same period. Traffic citations generated $72,036 for the Village of Rosendale last year.
Can you say "speed trap"?
When I talked about this on my radio program the other day, I was swamped with callers who had gotten tickets in Rosendale. What struck me most though was the number of callers who said that they had received tickets for only going 2 or 3 miles over the limit! If true, officials in Rosendale should be ashamed of themselves.
The speed limit drops dramatically (and quickly) when entering Rosendale on Highway 23. If cops are giving tickets for people driving 55 (or even 45) in a 30 mile zone, fine. Excessive speed like that is a public safety issue - especially given that there are a couple of schools along the highway in Rosendale. On the other hand, issuing tickets for going 33 in a 30 mile zone is about revenue generation, nothing more.
Rosendale seems to revel in it's well deserved reputation as a speed trap. You can even purchase a t-shirt at the community gas station that reads; "Rosendale-Just The Ticket". Parents coming home from dropping their children off at nearby Ripon College are said to be especially easy pickings for the over eager law enforcement officers of Rosendale.
Rosendale's law enforcement excesses are no secret. In just the last few months, the Fond du Lac Reporter has sponsored an outstanding discussion on the question of whether vigorous (even overzealous) enforcement of the speed limit in Rosendale is in the interest of the community. I can only conclude from what I've seen that Village police believe that it is and have absolutely no intention of changing their ways.
Therefore, if you have to drive through Rosendale - be warned. Slow down to a crawl! You motorists are Rosendale's cash cow and the authorities there are eager to milk you.
If you have a notorious speed trap of your own that you'd like me to alert listeners and readers about, send me an e-mail at the station. I'll do periodic speed trap updates as warranted.