It's time to slow down when passing through Wesson, and not just to enjoy the scenery, but to keep from getting a ticket.
In the past, Wesson has not had the population required to allow police to run a radar to pick up speeders.

However, following a recent annexation, Wesson Mayor Alton Shaw said the town is finally big enough to provide some updated backup for police when dealing with motorists who just won't slow down.

"You don't actually have to go by the numbers from the last census," said Shaw. "You just have to be able to prove in court that your population is above 2,000."

Wesson has had a particular problem in that its population was below the needed 2,000 on the books, but the daytime traffic with Copiah-Lincoln Community College students and commuters is up to around 4,000. With the annexation, the problem is solved.

Shaw said speeding has become quite an issue in his town, which is student-heavy.

"We have a large day population because of the students, and a large amount of traffic as a result. Our only control so far has been the stop signs," he said. "We've always had residents complain about people speeding through town, and this is a good way to start to get it under control."

Two radar units were ordered Thursday and are expected to arrive within the next week or so, officials said. The equipment will be put into use as soon as it arrives.

The Wesson police are glad to have the backup.

"Radar is a good deterrent not only to speeders, but also to accidents," said Officer Phillip Sterling. "It helps any time you have another weapon to slow down traffic, because it helps cut down on accidents."

Police Chief Steve Carlisle said using the radar will be important, but public awareness will also play a major role in slowing people down.

"We get so many complaints about speeding," he said. "We're hoping that just people knowing that we've got the radar will be a big deterrent."

Officer Chad Sills said he already had some good ideas for where the radar will come in handy.

"I do know it's a big problem now on certain roads, like Grove Street," he said. "Kids haul down that road like there's no speed limit. It will also help a lot on Sylvarena Road."

Carlisle also pointed out that more traffic stops lead to more arrests for other crimes.

"It will help us apprehend people for other serious infractions as well," he said. "Many drug arrests begin as traffic stops."

But officials promise that the addition of the radar will not change the fact that Wesson Police do not have a ticket quota. Carlisle said that will stay the same, and that his officers will be careful not to abuse the use of the radar systems.

"We certainly will not have a quota system," he said. "The officers are already trained to know when people are speeding. What this will actually do is just give them something they can show the motorist."

Sterling said while the new equipment is exciting, its use is to be kept in perspective.

"The point is not to arrest people or to write more tickets, as it is just to promote safety," he said. "And we're excited to have this new weapon in our arsenal."