Fault Lines
19 October 2017

Brinkley Police Chief Edward Randle: 107mph Is All Fun & Games

November 10, 2016 (Fault Lines) — It’s all fun and games for Brinkley Police Chief Edward Randle and the Arkansas State Police as Brinkley is stopped for speeding. A state police dash cam video shows the trooper approaching Randle’s truck and laughing. It’s immediately apparent the trooper recognized the chief as both began to laugh about the traffic stop.

When the trooper approached Randle’s truck, he can be heard in the video laughing as he apparently recognizes who Randle is. The trooper does not ask for any identification. His first question was “Where are you going so fast?” Randle responded that he was headed to the game. He clarified to THV11 that he was scheduled to referee the Clarendon-Marvell football game that evening.

In the video, Randle can be seen driving through a 55 mph zone and into a 45 mph zone before pulling over. Despite the chuckles, the trooper says the Brinkley officer had been following Randle for miles and had requested assistance stopping the speeding vehicle. Randle immediately turns to give the Brinkley officer a hard time:

“I know you didn’t call the State Police!” he says.

All three officers share a few laughs as they banter back and forth about Randle’s speed. The Brinkley officer told Randle he was locked in on radar at 107 mph. Randle responds his truck will only do 95. Amidst the laughs, the officer told Randle that he was doing 90 miles an hour and yet Randle was still pulling away from him.

A few more laughs and about 45 seconds total, the trooper and officer walk away saying, “See you later, Chief.” And of course, Randle immediately drives off; he has a game to get to after all. No citation. No warning to slow down. No call in to dispatch. Just fun and games.

Fun and games at least until the media obtained the video. In the aftermath, Randle defended himself:

Randle believes his traffic stop, and the fact that he did not receive a ticket, should not be a public issue.

He mentioned that he has worked in law enforcement for nearly three decades, and that he knows better than to endanger the lives of other drivers, or his own, by driving recklessly.

Nearly three decades of law enforcement and surely he knows how to navigate the roads, even at high rates of speed. Likely to have been involved in high speed pursuits from time to time, he must be uniquely qualified to exceed the speed limit and make it to the game on time. Besides, he simply doesn’t deserve a ticket:

Randle said he doesn’t deserve a ticket, saying Trooper Williams didn’t observe him speeding and the Brinkley officer who reportedly spotted him earlier was outside city jurisdiction, so he couldn’t have pulled him over. The dash cam video obtained by KATV didn’t show the speed the officer was going.

The Brinkley officer was out of his jurisdiction, though we don’t know exactly where the pursuit started and where Randle was clocked at 107. And, Trooper Williams didn’t observe him speeding. Never mind what Williams said on video:

As the trooper entered his car, the officer asked him how fast he had Randle driving. The trooper responded, “71 at the curve.”

No doubt about it, Randle was speeding. He even admitted he was speeding, though he quibbles that it could be 107 mph:

Police Chief Ed Randle said he was speeding, but he denies going 107 miles-per-hour.

“I may have been going a little over the speed limit, but I wasn’t going too fast,” said Randle.

He claimed his truck does not allow him to go past 95 miles-per-hour.

“It could be a malfunction in the radar. It could be a number of things; I don’t know.”

Oh, that’s it! The radar malfunctioned. It happens. Randle is an expert witness after all; he knows the radar can and does malfunction. Perhaps after his three decades of experience, he may retire and become a defense expert in traffic stops and malfunctioning radar equipment. But I digress.

So, he wasn’t speeding. But if he was, it wasn’t that fast. And the radar must have malfunctioned. In either event, Randle just doesn’t think this should be a public issue. He was in his personal vehicle and it’s up to the officer to decide whether or not to issue a ticket.

Randle is, of course, correct. The officer has complete discretion in determining whether to issue traffic tickets. In the grand scheme of law enforcement, discretion is a good thing; citizens can receive warnings rather than costly citations. Yet, there was never even a warning, just a few laughs. It’s all fun and games when you’re the police chief and you don’t have to answer to anyone. Especially when you claim this is not an issue of public concern. Too bad the mayor has called for an investigation.

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