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Law enforcement priorities.

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posted on Oct, 16 2006 @ 11:42 AM
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This is something that has been on my mind for quite some time, and wanted to see if anyone is interested in discussing it here.
A little background: I live in a small town, with 6 other smaller towns close by. There are a lot of police officers that patrol the area.
On a Saturday nights between 7 PM &the early morning hours, it's nearly impossible to drive without being pulled over by a police officer, I am a law abiding citizen, but always manage to be stopped and questioned, and, occasionally fined for something, (the other night, it was window tint, wich, wasn't very dark). Ok, thats fine. Also, in this area, there is a serious drug problem. Mostly oxycontin, and other high strength perscrition pain killers. The age group that uses these drugs range from 15 to 50m &over. There are two unsolved murders in town, drug related, everyone KNOWS who did it, the guy is also a big drug user, and seller, and is walking. All the citizens are afraid of him. It's harder to drive at night around here then it is to do drugs without getting in trouble. I think it's really messed up. With all the drug related issues, the cops are focussing in on the people driving through town doing 5 over the posted speed limit and hitting them up with $250 fines, and having serious attitude problems. I am on the local fire &rescue, and am at the scene of a lot of serious auto accidents, usually alcohol related. Many times, the State Police come to the scene, and pardon my language, but are total pricks to us firefighters. I, as well as a few other of the firemen used to donate money yearly to the P.A.L., but since having dealing with one to many asshole cops, we have stopped. Police officers are turning the good people against them. I get pulled over and fined for doing 29 in a 25, and the guy up the street is making meth in his house &selling it to teenagers, and gets away with it, over &over. There was a big article in todays paper here, that is talking about how great of a job the police are doing with catching speeders on the road, and that in one town, fines are madatory in many cases (no more verball, or written warnings). It seems to me with the other problems, pulling over people for minor driving infractions would not be at the top of there list of things to do. At night especially, you always have a cop tail gaiting you, then they pull you over, and despite how polite I ALWAYS am, and how fast I have my license/registration &insurance card ready, they always give me horrible attitude and make totally un called for remarks. I don't do drugs and I'm not involved in any illegal activities, I am always so tempted to say something to the officer about how they should be going after the people selling dope &really breaking the law, but thats like pissing with a skunk. You can't win. I never had anything but respect for cops, as I know they have a tough job, but damn it, do it right, don't harass people. Go after the criminals, don't make good, law abiding citizens feel like the criminal. I want to write a letter to the Maine state police and tell them how I feel, and that I no longer contribute there athletic league &why.
My next door neighbor, an 85 year old man, was pulled over &fined $250.00 for speeding in town, (45 mph in a 35) about a week ago, at the same time, my little brother knows a 16 year old girl who injects drugs into the corner of her eye, smokes pot, and does pills, and never gets in trouble. wtf? is it just me, or is local law enforcement really failing at it's job?


what are your thoughts?




posted on Oct, 17 2006 @ 12:35 AM
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Sounds to me more like something you should be posting anonymously about on a local discussion board rather than a worldwide forum, but I'll bite.

This is pure speculation on my part, just to give you some ideas. I've worked in Army law enforcement for 12 years and the city for 6 years, so I'm sure there are more experienced people out here willing to take a stab at this.

1) My overall suspicion is that there is something wrong somewhere high in the PD, whether it be the Chief, a narcotics detective, or a senior officer. I use the term "something wrong" very loosely, because it could be something as simple as laziness, or as awful as paid corruption or bribes. Assuming this, I would recommend you take your concerns up with the town/city government, as in the Selectmen, Town Manager, Mayor, City Council, or whathaveyou. Going to PD brass with your concerns could make living in the area a bit difficult for you, shall we say, if the person you are speaking to happens to be one of the tarnished badges, if you get my drift.

2) I am guessing that the officers conducting these stops are trying to do the right thing, what we here in MA call the "bag of hands phenomenon." That is (based on a true story that happened in MA), you never know what you will find when you make a MV stop, so you might as well stop every vehicle you possibly can. You are fishing for that elusive bag of hands (which really was found on a routine traffic stop), that one observation that can mean the difference between a speeding warning and a major drug bust on a routine MV stop. They probably feel pressure from a straight-arrow top level PD official who wants the problems taken care of.

3) Unfortunately you have to face the fact that many in law enforcement look down upon the fire profession. Some of my closest friends are FFers and I personally respect any FF as much as any police officer; I truly do not understand why some are the opposite. One of my close friends is one of those officers who absolutely loves to harp on the FFers, using his own list of half-truths...I won't get into that here. I think this issue opens up a whole new can of worms and can be a thread in and of itself, and I do not think it is worthwhile to pursue it here.



posted on Oct, 17 2006 @ 02:32 AM
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In any job youre going to find jerks. It sucks when those jerks are allowed to enforce laws.

I work for a PD and a Fire Dept. So I deal with this issue of Police vs Fire everyday.
Ive heard and seen arguments on both sides and some have validity, some dont. Either way I think its stupid and unhealthy that there is such a rift between the two.

On to your issue.

I can only speak from my experiences, your mileage may vary....

I find that in general, cops dont really like making traffic stops. Usually a "dragnet" of stops means; crime in the area has spiked and the bag of hands mentality is being used to randomly find something or someone that has something to do with the rise in crime.

Or..

Complaints or recent accidents have prompted the Brass to come down on the patrol officers to stop everything that moves. Have a traffic fatality in a small town and see traffic stops go up 500%.

Complaints by town officials or local residents can pressure a chief to have his officers crack down on speeders. Now, quotas are not supposed to be used but those are for tickets. I personally know of departments that mandate "x" amount of stops per shift. Now a stop is a stop, it does not mean give a ticket it just means stop a car for a legal infraction. In other words, show your presence to the town and at least give the appearance of working towards solving the problem.

Dont get me wrong, sometimes this is EXACTLY what a town needs and it can help solve traffic and crime issues in a town. Other times it looks like Gestapo tactics.

Bottom line, a spike in traffic stops comes from the top, not the guys on the street.

As far as officers being total jerks and not giving warnings and ticketing 80 year old guys....well, there are jerks everywhere. My department gives warnings FAR more than tickets. We have officers who dont write a single ticket a year, others write 300. Most officers gladly give breaks to FF personell but if they become a problem they will drop the axe.



posted on Oct, 17 2006 @ 04:27 AM
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The fact that there is friction between the PD and the FD is a revelation to me. I wuld have thought that each would have more empathy for the responsibilities of the other.

As for a solution, I was going to suggest sitting down with the Chief, or having your boss sit down with him, and maybe work the situation out. A ticket for 4 miles over limit is ridiculous. You could always take the charge to court; if enough people did that, maybe the PD would ease up a bit.

But I defer to the experienced voices here. They know what goes on behind the scenes a lot more than I do.



posted on Oct, 17 2006 @ 04:44 AM
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Originally posted by SwatMedic
I find that in general, cops dont really like making traffic stops. Usually a "dragnet" of stops means; crime in the area has spiked and the bag of hands mentality is being used to randomly find something or someone that has something to do with the rise in crime.


Yes, very true where I work.



Dont get me wrong, sometimes this is EXACTLY what a town needs and it can help solve traffic and crime issues in a town. Other times it looks like Gestapo tactics.


True as well.



Bottom line, a spike in traffic stops comes from the top, not the guys on the street.


My point exactly!



As far as officers being total jerks and not giving warnings and ticketing 80 year old guys....well, there are jerks everywhere. My department gives warnings FAR more than tickets. We have officers who dont write a single ticket a year, others write 300. Most officers gladly give breaks to FF personell but if they become a problem they will drop the axe.


Absolutely. We have a month by month count, as well as highway safety grant patrols, which are four hours of overtime patrolling a specific area and needing to write at least twelve citations (NOT warnings) in that period. So it is just too bad if a nice elderly gentleman happens to drive through that area at that time. But trust me, the officer will notate the circumstances and operator's attitude on the back of the agency's copy of the citation, and the motorist would certainly have it dismissed if he chose to fight it.




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