- Associated Press - Saturday, May 2, 2015

MANTUA, Utah (AP) - The tiny northern Utah town of Mantua has become known as a speed trap.

One-third of the Mantua’s $649,000 in revenue last year came from the nearly 2,200 speeding tickets their police force dished out, KUTV in Salt Lake City reported (https://bit.ly/1P7H6xT ).

Mantua is a town of about 700 people located 60 miles north of Salt Lake City. U.S. Highway 91 runs through Mantua, connecting Brigham City to Logan further north.

By comparison, the nearby town of Willard issued 706 speeding tickets in 2014. Willard’s population is more than twice the size of Mantua, and it also has a highway running through it.

“The cop down there is like a sniper,” said Sheri Leishman, whose husband has been issued speeding tickets several times in Mantua. “Everyone knows he comes right out of nowhere and slides right in.”

Mantua Police Chief Mike Johnson, who is also the mayor, acknowledges that the revenue helps fund the small town. It employs Johnson as police chief, two part-time police officers, a court judge and a court clerk.

“There is no doubt that we benefit somewhat by the highway,” said Johnson, who makes $42,000 as police chief and is unpaid for his mayoral duties.

But he points out that the police focus on speeding helps reduce accidents and keeps residents safe.

“The main thing with speed is the excessiveness on it,” Johnson said. “Everything we do basically comes back to safety of motoring public.”

The Utah Department of Transportation wrote a letter to the town in 2012 telling them that the location where they camp out looking for speeders was being damaged by patrol cars.

The state agency called it an immediate safety issue. The town fixed the problem.

The police department made only a few dozen arrests last year that weren’t related to speeding. The most common citations were for fishing without a license.

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Information from: KUTV-TV, https://www.kutv.com/

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