To Protect and to Serve

Old 03-25-2009, 10:51 AM
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Default To Protect and to Serve

....or to generate cash for the state/municipality? Personally I have noticed many more seatbelt/speed traps in the last few months. The roadblocks really pizz me off. It reminds me of being in a controlled state when you are stopped for no reason and asked for your id. Reminds me of those old Nazi movies where they would shout "show me your papers!".....

Motorists beware: In some communities, police are issuing tickets during these hard times at a rate higher than ever in what critics say is an attempt to raise revenue in order to offset budget shortfalls.

Take, for example, the metropolitan Detroit area, which has been reeling economically much longer than has the rest of the country. The number of moving violations issued has increased by at least 50 percent in 18 communities in the metro area since 2002 — and 11 of those municipalities have seen ticketing increases of 90 percent or more. During that time, Michigan has cut revenue sharing to communities by $3 billion. Officials are scrambling to balance their budgets amid the tumbling economy, and some people say the authorities are turning to traffic cops for help.

The president of a state police union isn't pretending it doesn't happen. James Tignanelli, president of the Police Officers Association of Michigan union, says, "When elected officials say, 'We need more money,' they can't look to the department of public works to raise revenues, so where do they find it? Police departments.

"A lot of police chiefs will tell you the goal is to have nobody speeding through their community, but heaven forbid if it should actually happen — they'd be out of money," Tignanelli says.

Police Chief Michael Reaves of Utica, Michigan, says the role of law enforcement has changed over the years. "When I first started in this job 30 years ago, police work was never about revenue enhancement, but if you're a chief now, you have to look at whether your department produces revenues," he says. "That's just the reality nowadays."

Motorists such as George Hilliard are outraged at the ramped-up traffic enforcement. Hilliard, a 49-year-old warehouse worker who's been laid off, says he got a ticket last year near his home in Dearborn Heights on a section of road where the speed limit drops suddenly from 45 to 35 mph. A few weeks later, his son got a ticket on the same stretch of road. A few weeks after that, according to Hilliard, his other son got a ticket in the same spot.

"The cops sit out there and pick people off, one by one," Hilliard says. "They're catching people left and right. There's a McDonald's right there, and they pull people in there all day. They'll give you a ticket for going five miles over the speed limit. They're making so much money off people, it's ridiculous." Driving 5 mph over the limit is a $90 ticket in Dearborn Heights and tacks two points onto the motorist's driving record.
Garrett TeWinkle of Seal Beach, California, was headed to a wedding in Ohio recently when he was given a speeding ticket in Taylor, a few miles from Detroit Metro Airport.

"I was astounded to get a speeding ticket," TeWinkle says. "Even my wife, who is my harshest critic, says there is no way I was driving as fast as the officer said. I hadn't had a ticket in years.

"I had been under the impression that Michigan was trying to promote tourism," TeWinkle says. "Great way to make a first impression — no wonder the state's economy is in the porcelain."

Kathleen Weckler of Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, feels the same way. Last year, on her 80th birthday, she was on her way to the dentist when a police officer in nearby Birmingham gave her a ticket for running a red light. Weckler insists she didn't run the light — "but you can't fight them. It's their word against yours," she says.

"I told one officer that I used to tell my children that police officers are their friend — but with the [ticket] quotas, they are not any more," Weckler says.

Some police officers, such as Sgt. Richard Lyons of Trenton, Michigan, say they don't like being pressured to write more tickets.

"That's not what I got into law enforcement for — to hand out chintzy tickets," says Lyons, a 21-year veteran. "Things have changed from when I first started in this job. There was a time when you'd come in, do your job, and go home.

But I've never felt pressure to bring revenue to the city like we do now.
"It's a whole different ball game now," Lyons says. "They're trying to use police officers to balance the budget on the backs of drivers, and it's too bad. The people we count on to support us and help us when we're on the road are the ones who end up paying the bills, and they're ticked off about it. We might as well just go door to door and tell people, 'Slide us $100 now since your 16-year-old is going to end up paying us anyway when he starts driving.' You can't blame people for getting upset."

Jack Walker of Flint was given two speeding tickets within a few weeks of each other last year while driving in Orion Township. He says police are more aggressive than ever about stopping motorists.
"It's getting ridiculous: Police are using us as their fundraiser, and it's not right," Walker says. "They have more important things to do."
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Old 03-25-2009, 11:04 AM
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Speed traps everywhere I go in MA & NH lately...revenue enhancement, pure and simple.
Old 03-25-2009, 11:17 AM
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I thought that it was obvious to everyone that they are to collect supplimental taxes and make sure that everyone is obedient to the state. Saw this article this morning, apparently the State does not like competion when siezing money.

The DEA isn't going to let this one go. Thousands of dollars in drug money went flying out the window as a couple of suspects tried to ditch it during a chase. Now authorities want the cash back from the San Diegans who picked it up.
Sorry San Diegans, this was not part of any economic stimulus plan. The only thing it's jumpstarting is an investigation by the DEA.
The DEA tells News 8 they'll review police video, news footage and pictures and video clips they've received from people who captured the faces and license plate numbers of drivers who stopped on the highway, risking their lives for some quick cash.
The DEA says it's going to make contact with these people, and is also talking to the district attorney's office and the U.S. Attorney's office about options it may have to press charges.
"They're guilty of potentially a number of offenses from money laundering to obstruction of justice, to removing money subject to seizure," criminal defense attorney Michael Pancer said.
Pancer says don't risk it.
"You might as well turn the money in. It's just not worth even the slight potential you might be criminally charged," he said.
For one man, stopping to pick up cash has already gotten him in trouble at work, as he predicted. He's the driver of an MTS access bus, which services disabled passengers. His employer, First Transit, tells News 8 he has been interviewed and reports he turned in the money to a police officer on the scene, but has been put on administrative leave while they investigate. The bus he was driving was empty.
As for the missing money, the DEA won't say how much is missing, but says you still have time to return the cash to the DEA or San Diego police with no ramifications - just do it now.
Old 03-25-2009, 11:18 AM
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no kidding, small towns and even larger ones here in SC all seem to put up insanely low speed limit signs in area's that don't justify the low speed. I have no problem obeying the posted limits for the most part, but it drives me crazy to be forced to basically ride the brakes on a flat road just for the sake of avoiding a ticket.
Old 03-25-2009, 11:38 AM
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Originally Posted by KJS View Post

Motorists such as George Hilliard are outraged at the ramped-up traffic enforcement. Hilliard, a 49-year-old warehouse worker who's been laid off, says he got a ticket last year near his home in Dearborn Heights on a section of road where the speed limit drops suddenly from 45 to 35 mph. A few weeks later, his son got a ticket on the same stretch of road. A few weeks after that, according to Hilliard, his other son got a ticket in the same spot.

"The cops sit out there and pick people off, one by one," Hilliard says. "They're catching people left and right.
Like farther, like sons.

Hillard may be able to get all of those tickets tossed and money refunded for himself and others. It requires Hillard (or anyone else) to spend the time to request a copy of all tickets issued in that spot over a given time period, then challenging the citations as inappropriate because the road is not set up with an appropriate speed limit or doesn't have an appropriate length of road to slow down in.
Old 03-25-2009, 02:30 PM
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I have had plenty of run-ins with LEO's...

Not a single time has been for protection or service....Hopefully that will change one day.
Old 03-25-2009, 05:02 PM
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i do dock building . yesterday the local sheriffs marine patrol passed 2 expensive boats to pull over one of my work boats for a "safety check'. when dnr or the coasties do it you show your pfd's and whistle and they wave you on. not yesterday- the first thing they asked for was ID. my guys don't normally carry their wallets because they get wet problem-we'll just call your info in. one of the guys had a warrant for unpaid traffic ticket so off to jail he goes. end of safety check. over $1000 to get him out.
my wife told me later that she had observed numerous construction/work trucks pulled over yesterday as well as roadblocks that seemed to be targeting the less affluent members of society-people who may have warrants for unpaid fines or a bad check.
the more fortunate members of society-us-sometimes forget how hard it is to survive on a blue collar paycheck. the economy sucks right now, many are unemployed or are only working a couple days a week. how can the gov't expect some poor soul to give up 1/3 of his monthly income for a speeding ticket right now?
Old 03-25-2009, 05:03 PM
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Actually at roll call with the Sheriff about two weeks ago he instructed us to go very lightly on traffic tickets as the fines have gone way up and the economy is down... Course most of the rank and file has backed off of them anyway....I have never been a big ticket writer personally but sometimes there are those that need them because of the circumstances...
Old 03-25-2009, 05:18 PM
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The NCHP has been more active where I am. Every day, both to and from work I see someone pulled over. Saw a HP cross a median to get a guy doing 60 in a 55. Used to be 65 wouldn't even get a blink from them. Around here we call them the Armed Revenue Service.

Used to be you had to rob a bank or shoot someone to go to jail. Now unpaid traffic tickets will get you arrested. As time goes by the LEOs will continue to lose the support of the community that they are supposed to serve.

What happened to Sherrif Andy Taylor that we all loved and respected.

Why do I feel afraid of a LEO even I have'nt commited any crime.

Last edited by JGarman; 03-25-2009 at 06:01 PM.

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