Saturday, November 28, 2009

Musings: Good Examples

The crickets were still chirping and a few random stars were out when Koko and I went walking this morning. Soon, though, they gave way to bird song and a bright flush of yellow that turned a brief, light shower into liquid sparkles before the sky turned grey again.

I had just about reached home when I ran into my neighbor Andy, being pulled up the road by his daughter’s dog, whose exuberance was matched only by Koko, who gave each passing car that exceeded the speed limit a good talking to.

I’ve been especially attuned to speed limits since getting a ticket in front of Coco Palms two weeks ago. The lieutenant who stopped me didn’t know exactly how fast I was going, even though he was clocking me (cop talk for tailgating), but I did, and it wasn’t “considerably higher” than the 25 mph speed limit, as he maintained, but more in the realm of a few miles above. Still, as he informed me: “The judges have said we can ticket people for going two miles above the speed limit.”

OK, so legally and technically you can, I thought, but why would you when the hazards are created by people going 10, 15, 20 miles over the speed limit?

Anyway, before handing me the ticket, he asked if I had any questions, and I said yes, because I always have questions, and I’d experienced the following scenario many times: What should you do if you’re driving the speed limit and a cop is following really close? Should you just pull over and let him by, or keep going the speed limit and make him pass?

If you can’t read the license plate of the car behind you, that’s tailgating, he said. So if you observe a cop doing that, you should get the license plate number and call in a report, then we’ll take action against the officer.

Right, I thought, recalling the last time I’d called to report reckless driving by an officer. The dispatcher was rude and incredulous, asking how did I know the cop wasn’t on a call, to which I replied, well, isn’t that why their cars are equipped with lights and sirens? Then the dispatcher said maybe I’d like to think about whether I wanted to make such a report, and if I did, well, call back and ask to speak to a supervisor.

Needless to say, I did not, especially since two local friends expressed horror at the prospect. But that was before Chief Perry came in to clean house, so perhaps things are different now. Or not.

Do you have any other questions? the ticketing cop asked, citation in hand. Gesturing toward the stream of pau hana traffic flowing northbound over the Wailua River, I said, just one: do you really think everybody is going 25 mph over the bridge right now?

No, he acknowledged sheepishly, he knew they were not, but by targeting drivers randomly for tickets, they hoped to instill a level of paranoia that would cause them to strictly adhere to the speed limit, thus slowing traffic overall.

Of course, he didn’t put it exactly like that, but that was the gist.

So with that in mind, I decided to observe the cop who was driving behind me on Kuhio Highway yesterday as we headed north toward the Wailua River. First, he passed me quickly, so I knew he was going considerably faster than the new 40 mph speed limit, and he didn’t slow a bit as he entered the 25 mph construction zone — where a speeding ticket can cost you $250, plus a $47 “education fee — on the bridge. In fact, he kept zipping right along until he braked to pull into the lane to turn onto Kuamoo Road.

Needless to say, it rankled. And I couldn’t help but wonder whether it wouldn’t be more effective in slowing traffic overall, while building some much-needed respect for the police force, if the cops actually drove the speed limit, routinely, consistently, setting a good example for us all.

Instead, as I’ve seen repeatedly, they just drive any kine and get away with it.

What kind of role model is that?


palolololo said...

I've seen more officers on Oahu than I can count using their sirens and flashing lights to blast thru an intersection then turn everything off and continue on. I called HPD on that once and got pretty much the same response: "give us your name,address,location,etc and we MAY get back to you.But rest assured,you're now on our radar screen, so be very very careful"
I decided not to continue the call

Anonymous said...

I remember seeing a car pulled over there in the middle of the day...thinking a bit odd because at that time no one can even fly through there with all the traffic. Perhaps you are already on their radar....?

Anonymous said...

meanwhile there was a stabbing in Haena in the wee hours friday nite in Mikala place

Anonymous said...

Joan said; "I couldn’t help but wonder whether it wouldn’t be more effective in slowing traffic overall, while building some much-needed respect for the police force, if the cops actually drove the speed limit, routinely, consistently, setting a good example for us all."

Don't you know popo's are above the law? The Cops don't care about "slowing traffic" they are on duty to shakedown the public. Try calling Chief Perry with the police car lic # and I'm sure he'll get right on it. NOT!

Dawson said...

"If you're not cop, you're little people."
Blade Runner

Anonymous said...

fight the ticket.

arrange for a court date

have your time in court

explain to the judge

settle for less speed

maybe the cop won't come

make 'em earn their fees

worked before

Anonymous said...

Sounds to me (in addition to the above comments) they are using this type of traffic stop as a "fishing expedition" for drugs/alcohol, as this type of "action" is a lot less work than conducting a real investigation.

But have no idea why then just a "warning" was not given!

Anonymous said...

It all depends on the cop. On the BI, I got stopped for doing 70 in a 55 zone and got a warning.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if there was profiling going on - Joan getting pulled over.

Anonymous said...

"It all depends on the cop."

No sir we don't have quotas anymore. We used to have quotas, but now we're allowed to write as many tickets as we want.