In an effort to solve the traffic and parking issues on the Emerald Coast, Walton County locals Steve Burnett and Curtis Spagnola are launching Gulf Coast Go – a fleet of double decker buses and smaller trolleys that will travel along Highway 98 between Okaloosa Island and South Walton and along Scenic 30A. The official launch date will be during Spring Break of 2018.
I’m a man of routine. I leave for the office at roughly the same time each day and, for the most part, drive the same route to work.
This route involves taking Beal Parkway to Downtown Fort Walton Beach.
During my daily commute I pass the International Community Church. Anyone familiar with driving toward Highway 98 on Beal Parkway knows exactly where I’m going with this…
See, the church sits on the right side of the road and appears just after a bend in the road. You start to come down a slight hill and once the trees get out of the way…BAM! The church appears.
The position of the church and their parking lot makes this a great location for police officers to sit. You see, the speed limit is 35mph.
Yes, that’s right…the speed limit is 35mph on that stretch of Beal Parkway.
I found this out one evening after leaving the gym and was all too excited to be heading to Moes. I mean, that’s why I workout…so I can eat tacos and burritos.
There I was cruising at a moderate 50mph as a City police officer approached. I tapped on the brake a bit and then quickly realized I was in for it as I saw the officer’s car make a u-turn.
All of the lights, all of the lights 🎤
To quote Kanye I saw “all of the lights”.
Cop lights, flash lights, spot lights
Strobe lights, street lights…
You already know what happens next. I received a ticket and a “have a nice night, Mr. Williams”. I had no idea that the speed limit was 35mph.
I now drive exactly 35mph on Beal Parkway and couldn’t care less if I make anyone behind me mad. But not everyone realizes the unexpectedly slow(er) speed limit given the amount of drivers I see pulled over in this exact spot.
And I feel like the cops know it.
The police officer who decided to not ruin everyone’s morning…or their cup of coffee ☕️
For the last week now there has been a police officer sitting in the International Community Church’s parking lot. This officer has backed their car into the parking lot allowing them to face oncoming traffic headed toward 98.
Brake lights shine as drivers panic and check their speed, hoping to not get pulled over.
The police officer turns on the red and blues and flashes the headlights, letting everyone know that they are going too fast and to slow down.
That’s it. No one was pulled over. Just a warning.
And it’s been like this for about a week.
I’m not saying that police officers should only give out warnings. Please don’t get this confused. What I am saying is THANK YOU!
It’s like this officer knows that we aren’t meaning to speed. We are just somewhat caught up in getting to work, or an appointment. It’s like this officer knows I have a mean cup of coffee and a Chick-Fil-a biscuit that I’m going to absolutely crush once I get to the office.
It’s like this officer just…knows.
I have no idea what the motivation is or how long this will go on. But I just want to thank this Fort Walton Beach Police Officer for taking it easy on the morning commuters at the bend on Beal Parkway.
Sergeant Michael Hogan was kind enough to let us know in the comments that the officer is MPO Jeff O’Dell.