Squad car

Question: How do law enforcement officials determine whether someone gets a ticket or a warning?

Answer: Whether you get a speeding ticket or warning during a traffic stop largely depends on the officer who stops you, according to Dubuque County Sheriff Joe Kennedy.

When he worked road patrol, for example, his philosophy was that if he stopped someone going at least 15 mph over the speed limit, the driver would definitely receive a ticket.

The attitude of the driver also can play a role in whether someone receives a ticket and the extent of the citations, Kennedy said. Ultimately though, officer preference plays an important role, he said.

“We try not to micromanage our deputies in that way,” Kennedy said. “They make their own decisions.”

Dubuque Assistant Police Chief Jeremy Jensen also said officers look at the totality of the situation when deciding whether to give someone a ticket.

“A lot of people want (to know), ‘How fast can I go before you’re going to give me a ticket?’” he said. “And there’s not (a standard for that).”

Police Department policy includes guidance that officers consider factors such as road conditions, whether the violation was intentional, the seriousness of the violation and the extent of injury or property damage.

The policy states that written warnings are appropriate “in cases where the officer believes the violation by the motorist was inadvertent and/or does not constitute a serious infraction and the officer believes a written warning will serve to deter future violations.”

Citations are appropriate for violations that are more serious or intentional, that result in injury or property damage or “when the officer determines the violator’s prior traffic history and/or the violator’s demeanor with the officer indicates that a verbal or written warning would have little impact on deterring future traffic violations of a similar manner.”

Question: Does the City of Dubuque have a plan for the open field just west of the floodwall and south of the Grand Harbor Resort?

Answer: City officials hope they someday will be able to develop a public-private partnership to complete a project on the site, according to City Manager Mike Van Milligen.

In a statement to the Telegraph Herald, he wrote that officials do not yet know what that project might be. However, they do not want condominiums or apartments in the space.

“Someday the right project will come along, and until that time, the city just needs to be patient with a site like this that is so unique and rare,” Van Milligen wrote.

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