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Destin struggles with ongoing speed problems, gets grant dollars for additional law enforcement

“We do have a speeding problem in Destin. We have this problem with speed and aggressive driving,” Captain Fulghum said. 
During the Destin City Council meeting on Monday, Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office Captain Jason Fulghum provided an update on speed enforcement within Destin city limits.

During the Destin City Council meeting on Monday, Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office Captain Jason Fulghum provided an update on speed enforcement within Destin city limits.

  • In a November meeting, the council approved installing flashing stop signs on Kelly Street at its intersection with Spring Lake due to speeding issues. Suggestions were made to increase accountability for the sheriff’s office to crack down on drivers still speeding through intersections.

“The last council meeting, y’all had some questions about accountability for our speed enforcement,” Fulghum said.

Statistics show that 49% of all traffic enforcement in District 3, which includes Destin, takes place within the city limits. An additional 20% takes place in unincorporated parts of the city, along with traffic coming to and from Okaloosa Island.

  • Fulghum estimates that 69% of all District 3 traffic enforcement is targeted at traffic-related problems in the city of Destin.

Regarding the stop sign at Waverly Circle and Gulf Shore Drive, Fulghum said 22 hours and $879 of taxpayer money was spent on targeted enforcement, resulting in only one citation issued for running the sign. He told the council that data shows no traffic crashes at that intersection over the past decade.

  • “Going back 10 years, we have never had a traffic crash at that intersection,” he said. “So basically we spent $879 to look at a problem that didn’t exist.” 

On Kelly Street between Main Street and Beach Drive, where speeding complaints were received, the city’s speed study found the average speed was 32 mph. Additionally, there was only one traffic crash in that area in the last 5 years.

While one vehicle did reach 90 mph, Fulghum said the chances of catching that driver with targeted enforcement were “so remote that it’s not worth spending another $879.” But he said routine speed enforcement will continue in that area.

“We do have a speeding problem in Destin. We have a problem with speed and aggressive driving,” Fulghum said. 

  • Recent data ranked the per-capita speeding in Destin in the top 25% statewide, which is why the sheriff’s office obtained an overtime grant for additional targeted speed enforcement without any added costs for the city or county.

“That’s why we went out and got a grant so that we could pay overtime to guys to sit down there and do it because that’s the fiscally responsible way to approach it,” Fulghum told the council. “It’s not costing the city a dime. It’s not costing the county a dime. The federal government, through the state, is paying for that enforcement.”

2 Responses

  1. Any comunity has issues with speeding.
    Where Destin has blown it is a very poor conceptual understanding of a balance between a planned dependancy on tourism dollars supporting primarily out of state rental property investors and quality of life for residents which many residents are not dependant on tourist dollars. The busy mix of time strained tourists, stop lights, stop signs and pedestrian crossings adds a heavy dose of impatient hurry up and wait to the never ending crowded lanes of traffic full of late construction workers , fustrated locals and tourists running out of “down time”. The traffic issues will only get worse and the result will be that many people get a ticket for their tourism strained impatient driving while creating more impressions that Destin is a fully carpetbagged community whose existence was created soley for sucking tourism dollars to support mortgage payments for out of state rental property investors at the expense of quality of life for residents while creating Floridas best known speed trap community .
    Destin is many things but a quality place to live it is not. Thanks to elected officials that have had no clue to grow a world class community in a world class location.
    The results are a wasted opportunity in a very short time. Every local person that isnt being quoted feels the same way.

  2. Absolutely agree we are know for the quote ” come here on vacation, be put on probation, and come back on violation,,” we have many issues that need to be dealt with but police focus on all the wrong things and seem a little to over happy when they catch them one as I have heard them say myself. We aren’t fish cops ! They seem a little to trigger happy and when they get that badge they get some im above u bad ass authoritive additude which only puts pep om defensive and makes the community not like police not trust police we shouldn’t hate our communities supportive protectors ! What happen to the days when cops listens and helped and didn’t treat u like u were a major criminal cause of some minor offense . At one time I almost choose that as a career until I saw the direction they were going and how dirty they were becoming make me and most pep sick. And this is what my hard earned money goes to

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