Thursday, November 4, 2010

Ya Just Can't Make This Stuff Up

Two incidents in under 48 hours, BOTH individually worthy of comment, public ridicule, and scorn, but taken together, indicative of just how large the problem of law enforcement is in Prince George's County, just based on the examples these officers are providing on our roads...

On Tuesday, I was being driven around by my daughter (THAT alone deserves a blog of its own!) as my knee rehabbed. We were on our way to lunch at Wendy's off of Route 3 by Route 50, coming across Mitchellville Road. As we sat at the light waiting to cross, she looked over, and commented that the African American female officer driving the marked PG County squad car was clearly talking on her cell phone, without benefit of a hands-free device!

Embarrassing enough on its own, and it could and should have been the end of our notice. But, it so happened that this officer was on her way to Wendy's, and ended up in the drive-thru line in front of us, still talking on her cell phone. And she was still in front of us, still on the phone as she sat at the stop sign, waiting to turn left onto the side road that would take her to Route 3.

THIS became a point of dangerous contention when she pulled out to make the left into traffic, completely oblivious to the car turning left INTO Wendy's cutting in front of her with the right of way! And even though her actions caused the other driver to hit the brakes loud enough that they audibly squealed, she continued to drive away, blissfully distracted!

In case anyone is actually reading this blog, and is in a position to care or do something about it, it was car # 4273, carrying special PG tag # 2397 at midday on November 2 -- election day! But I am NOT holding my breath....

But wait, today, 2 days later -- and I am now beginning to drive myself around. Driving to work just after 11 AM, in the rain. Concerned about conditions and my ability to brake quickly if necessary, so I was driving even more carefully and more aware than usual.

Approaching the speed trap on North View, I noted that I was doing under 35 mph, so I was was shocked, in the relative darkness, to see the flash of light as I passed through the trap zone. That is, until the dark blue Ford sedan went whizzing passt me, and I realized that HE had set off the camera.

It was only then I saw the concealed blue and red lights in his rear window, and started to wonder about the question I have always had -- if there are 2 cars in the trap, how does the camera and radar work to make sure the RIGHT one is ticketed?

And then I realized that if there ISN'T a good answer to my question, that even though HE set off the trap, I am likely the one who will draw the ticket! So, as he sped past, before having to stop at the light at Nottingham, where he turned right, I committed his plates to memory -- Maryland tag MXW 243.

While I can hope that he was on a call, responding silently, and therefore the whole thing will get wiped off the record, is there anyone else, given the track record in this county, who wouldn't be more than a little paranoid right now in my position? And again, given my repeated complaint about officers' freedom to use their cars on off-hours for personal usage, how can anyone be sure he was even on-duty?

And even more seriously, in respect to BOTH incidents, if vehicular homicide by an officer is only punishable by a traffic citation for excessive speed, as was the tragic case in our town not so long ago, can anyone expect this officer, even if the system works properly and correctly identifies the proper vehicle, to be fined in this case? Or the other officer to even be reprimanded?

Don't worry -- I will keep you posted -- and I will fight any citation I receive...