April 26, 2001
"Pull THIS over, Officer."
by mike <firstname.lastname@example.org>
I must first say that I have a tremendous amount of respect for most police officers. Working alongside many during my career as a paramedic, I have praised their ability to put a patient under arrest or simply carry things.
I do still have a beef with one of their primary functions - issuing traffic citations. Depending on the circumstances and where you are, police can often be motivated by factors other than public safety.
Take the situation I was recently in, for example. I was pulled over for speeding (75mph in a 55 zone) in Clarence, Iowa. Clearly I deserved a ticket; I didn't make any effort to talk my way out of it, nor do I plan to contest it in court. However, I called the County Prosecutor's Office to ask a question about it and was told they're willing to reduce the offense to a non-moving violation (parking next to a water hydrant) if I paid double the fine. PFFT!
I was stopped for exhibiting unsafe behavior - not for having too many air fresheners in my car. Is everything in the justice system based on how much money the court can extort from me? Granted, I took the deal, but honestly. This means that next time I get pulled over for speeding (and there WILL be a next time), I won't have anything on my record! How does THAT keep me from repeating my bad behavior? It's like giving a seeing eye dog a treat after leading a blind person into traffic.
Published: April 27, 2001