Is the Montgomery County police overstaffed? I didn't think so, until I encountered a genuine 24 Karate Speed Trap.

I use the word "trap" advisedly. I define a "trap" as stationing a cruiser on a heavily traveled thoroughfare that posts a totally unreasonable speed limit -- such as 25 mph instead of 30 or 35 mph. I am quite willing to pay any charity a fee of $5 for each car that passes on Pliers Mill Road in Silver Spring during any given hour at a speed of less than 30 mph -- more likely 35 mph.

I was charged with driving 37 mph in a 25-mph zone -- a reading that will be questioned based on the way the radar unit was operated. I most certainly did drive faster than 25 -- more likely 30 or 31 mph.

Traffic Engineering informs me that unless and until it gets complaints, all roads in the county's residential sections are posted at 25 mph; a case in point is Arcola Avenue, which used to be posted at 25 mph, but after there were some complaints the speed limit was raised.

I will not mention that old saw that the two officers operating this trap ought to be out catching criminals; traffic enforcement is important. Of course, it ought not to be used as a pure revenue-raising technique but should concentrate on violations that affect public safety -- drunks and high-speed violators.

When I get to court I will argue that 25 mph is an unreasonable speed limit on a heavily traveled thoroughfare.

ERIC REISFED Silver Spring