Friday, October 22, 2010

More Anecdotal Evidence!

This humble blogster and his wife, accompanied by the family canine (a Belgian Malinois named Osita) recently returned from a near transcontinental road trip. I use the term "near transcontinental" due to not having included the People's Republics of Kalifornia, Oregon or Washington in the itinerary. Over the years we have taken to avoiding the interstate highways and their tedium, opting instead to utilize the surface roadways when practicable.

The downside of selecting this option is the necessity of adhering to the lower speed limits assigned at the caprice and avarice of local politicians and suffering the tortoise like traffic flow in the myriad of smallish jurisdictions.

On the next to last day of our most recent trek we had occasion to be following an overly mature female motorist proceeding east bound on a rural two lane highway in eastern Arkansas at a speed of 42 miles per hour in a zone marked with an eye toward revenue enhancement by a 55 mph limit. After some interval we arrived at a zone with a broken yellow center line admitting of legal overtaking and passing. Observing the nearest oncoming vehicle to be at a distance of 1.25 miles your brave blogster accelerated to a speed of 66 mph and passed the geriatric motorist and observed the oncoming vehicle to be none other than a white sedan sporting a red and blue light bar and the markings of the friendly revenuers of the Arkansas State "Police". I noted the troopers car to execute a "U" turn as I passed and we resumed a safe speed of 63 mph after overtaking the little old lady. Suffice it to say that the trooper was very soon on our rear bumper an lit up with "cherries and blueberries" not to mention alternately flashing high beam headlights.   

We executed a safe stop at the nearest shaded right shoulder and awaited the approach of the minion of Arkansas' finest. The trooper appeared extremely agitated and proceeded to describe my 8 mph "speed" violation of the 55 mph posted limit as the "crime of the century" after which he demanded my drivers license and insurance card. I produced the necessary documents along with my Los Angeles County retired Sheriff's ID card in order to preclude any subsequent difficulty caused by the Glock .40 cal auto pistol which is always present in the drivers door pocket when traveling.  He handed back the ID card with the terse exclamation: "all this tells me is that you should know better" and returned to his patrol unit to fill out the paper work. At this time Mrs. Leonidas remarked: "you're going to get it THIS time".

Five minutes later the trooper returned and ordered me to sign the document which I did, noting that it was an Arkansas State Police "Courtesy Warning Notice" of a "speed violation".

It was a relief to learn that the supposed "crime of the century" was really only a minor revenue issue which the trooper was willing to "overlook" when perpetrated by a retired so called "brother LEO". I am gradually becoming ashamed of how my former career has evolved into a revenue generation scheme for politicians and bureaucrats.


Nick Rowe said...

In the great state of Tennessee, your humble brother was driving at the legal 65 mph speed limit. The speed limit changed to 55, so I applied pressure to the brake to slow down.

I was in a turn, going under and overpass. As I emerged on the other side, there was a motorcycle highway patrolman with a line of cars he had pulled over. He was just standing beside his bike, pointing people over to the side.

My speed was just slightly over 55 and, as I said, I was slowing down just having passed the sign. This was a true speed trap.

I never paid the ticket. I wrote a letter to the governor of Tennessee telling him what crooked police officers they had there.

Unbeknownst to me, they had sent word to my native Colorado which had suspended my drivers license. But I had already moved to another state which apparently did not get word of this infraction.

I got a drivers license and registered my car in two states without incident, but when I attempted to get a drivers license in California, I learned of my suspended license from 15 years earlier.

It took a few phone calls to Tennessee and Colorado, but eventually they expunged my record because the statute of limitations had expired. Colorado waived the fee for reinstating a suspended license.

The long arm of the law stretches out far and wide through space and time.

I have been given just a warning for most of my traffic stops, either because I identified myself as a soldier or was merely polite and contrite to the officer.

In the case of the Tennessee trooper, there was no way I was going to be anything but indignant with that jerk.

I got a parking ticket in a Colorado town where the closest sign indicating a two-hour parking limit was a quarter mile away. I've had four parking tickets in the Bay Area when my car was legally parked and the meter was paid.

Recently, the City of San Francisco assessed the value of my home at 11.8% more than the price I paid for it this year. I had already called to correct the record and thought it was done, but apparently the tax collector never got the message.

I sincerely believe they are deliberately overtaxing people and just hoping they don't notice and pay the bill.

Howlsatmoon said...

Delightful story telling...I can just imagine Mrs. Leo saying that. I apologize for the laugh at your expense.

Nick, I had a similar problem with a "go2hell, ain't gonna pay it" ticket in Arizona, circa 1985.

I emigrated to the Union of Kalfornia in '86, and found through AAA that my 'Zona license was suspended.

I went to the DMV and told them I needed to take both the written and driving tests, as, being a feller from the hinterlands, I had never bothered to get a license....never had to drive on public thoroughfares.....

Although they looked at me most quizzically as I was in my thirties.....I took the tests and got the License.....

Jon said...

Never did understand why here in The Peoples Republic of Kalifornia more people don't refuse to sign the Citation. Heck if I have the time I don't mind the embarrassment that I cause the offending Officer when we get in front of the Judge.

My favorite was a Motorman in your old neck of the woods. I had a friend who had gotten a citation for Speeding and a write up on Equipment. I went with him to Court to help him keep calm (AA buddy). You know the routine, Lawyers first, then Jumpsuits and finally Pro Se.

I found it odd that one Officer had 3 cases represented by Lawyers, he had 5 of the Jumpsuits, and 28 of the Pro Se. I knew one of the Lawyers and latter that afternoon I went to his office and inquired as to the Officer in question. His answer to me was: "Don't even get me started on that Jerk. If you were to fart on the sidewalk he would Cite you."

So on my own I found out his shift and Patrol Area. Got him at the end of his shift on his Friday and when it was all over 4 days later (yes he left me hanging on his weekend) I had succeeded in getting this Good Man a 120 day suspension without pay (his Shift Commander was ordered to take a Vacation Day but no Reprimand,yes I can be nice to an overworked Public Servant). My cost was just a wonderful 3 day stay at Grey Bar Hotel with amenities at no expense. Heck. they even delivered my Motorcycle from impound to the Court House at no cost. Later the Lawyer I spoke to told me that they had to dismiss 6 DUI Citations because word had gotten out on the Lawyer Grapevine that the Officer would be out for a rather long time and was now Impeachable.

miriam said...

Here's my take on the constant irritation of being stopped for not doing anything dangerous: