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Monday, March 19, 2018

Law Enforcement Officers

     Generally I support all law enforcement officers because they do a job that is sometimes dangerous and it's one I would not want to do. But my experience has been that even in non-threatening situations they are rude, arrogant and not very bright and are incapable of using any independent judgment. While I am at it, let's throw in TSA officers at the airport.

      On two occasions I have had the pictured knife/nail file/scissors key chain, which is about one inch long, confiscated because it is a “weapon.” Once upon entering the courthouse and once upon entering a county fair. Seriously?! I could do more damage stabbing someone with a car key or a pencil.
     In fact, several years ago my wife served on jury duty at a trial where the defendant was involved in a fight with another bar patron and during the fracas stabbed his assailant through a winter coat with a similar key chain knife.  The charge?  Attempted murder!  He was acquitted.

     A few weeks ago, I accompanied my wife (she was driving) when she took her mother home. Because it's easier for her mother to sit in the front seat, I sat in the back. After dropping her mother off, I remained in the back seat. On the way home we stopped at a shopping plaza and a Sheriff's deputy pulled my wife over claiming she did not come to a full stop at a stop sign that was actually on private property. She got a lecture about coming to a full stop and a good way to make sure you do that is count one one thousand, two one thousand, three one thousand. But, his real concern was why was I sitting in the back seat? Was she an Uber driver, he wanted to know? He asked, “Why is that man sitting in the back seat? Is he drunk or on drugs?”  Being satisfied with the answers, he let her go with a warning to drive carefully. Really? What concern was it of his why I was sitting in the back seat?

      Another thing that galls me is when I see local police sitting on Interstate highways trying to nab speeders in order to make money for the communities through which the Interstates passes.

      The State Highway Patrol is a statewide law enforcement agency charged with the responsibility of enforcing traffic and criminal laws on public roadways and on state-owned or leased property as well as vehicle inspections, school bus inspections, commercial vehicle weigh stations, conducting aircraft and vehicle crash investigations and providing security for state facilities. Thus, the Highway Patrol has jurisdiction over all public roadways, including city streets.

      Still, we have local police to patrol city streets, so today I was really peeved to see a Highway Patrolman lurking along a two mile long stretch of “rural” street.  I call it "rural" even though it is actually within the city limits. Being in the city limits means the speed limit is 25 miles per hour, but nobody drives at that speed along that stretch of road. Here's a view of the road:

      On my return trip the patrolman actually had someone pulled over and was writing them a speeding ticket. My guess is they were probably doing like most people along that stretch and driving 35-40 miles per hour.

      OK, legally the Highway Patrol has jurisdiction along this street, but couldn't his time be better used out patrolling the State highways, the turnpike or the interstate and letting the local police take care of the city streets? Surely the people I see cruising those State highways at 80-90 miles per hour are a bigger menace than people hitting 40 on a low traffic volume stretch of street like in the picture.

      Such behavior might not be a big deal, but in the words of the late comedian Bernie Mack, it makes my butt itch!

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