Increased traffic raises concerns for the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office

FRANKLIN COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) — Traffic is a big problem for drivers in Franklin County. Sheriff AJ Smith said it’s been a problem since he was elected in 2016.

“For July 4, almost 20,000 cars went to the island, that’s a lot of cars,” Smith said. “In 98 for a week, 40 or 50,000 cars traveling.”

You need more help to handle the problem.

“Give me someone here because I have a limited number of deputies and I’ve had to take two deputies and put them on full time,” Smith said.

Specifically, he wants to see more Florida State Highway Troopers.

“Get seen here because people will slow down when they see an officer or police officer and that’s just another vehicle to help enforce the number one complaint I’m getting,” Smith said. “All I ask is to have one here who can work accidents, handle traffic and provide the service that they are supposed to provide.”

Speeding and distracted driving are two situations that are frequently seen.

“I was traveling on the east side of the county a week ago, I got passed on a double yellow line on a curve between Carrabelle and Arc, that’s unacceptable,” Smith said. “I stopped it. He got a ticket.

Smith also said response time from soldiers can be slow.

“So when I ran for sheriff in 2016, one of the complaints I got was that when someone has an accident here, the Highway Patrol was a long time coming, so they wanted me to work accidents and I was like, sure. I’ll have officers work accidents, who wants to wait an hour and a half for a patrol car,” Smith said.

Smith said he contacted Highway Patrol leadership about his concerns and they promised to provide further assistance. Meanwhile, Smith makes the most of his resources.

It has a deputy assigned to traffic surveillance and all patrol cars are equipped with radar.

“We also have message boards that we put up, we also have speed trailers that have online radar that shows your speed with blue lights that we put up in neighborhoods,” Smith said.

Sheriff Smith said the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office receives traffic complaints daily.

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