Thursday, July 17, 2008

Ipopa Ponders Police Paralyzing Parkways

When you’re on I-465 and there’s a slowdown in traffic, it’s 50/50 whether it’s caused by an accident/disabled vehicle or a member of the law enforcement fraternity going 60 in a 55. Just as with the rest of us, some police officers drive 75 in a 55 (like me), and some go close to the posted limit (probably because they’re paranoid some indignant soul will report them for going over the posted speed limit).

Whenever you encounter what I call “cop clusters,” you always see at least four cars in each lane behind the officer except for one guy/gal with the temerity to not only get next to the officer,
(s)he goes in front of the squad car. HOWEVER...this person always makes sure not to gain more than car length per every ten seconds.

This scenario plays out so frequently, I’m left to ask if there's some recognized speed over which I can exceed a police officer before he has to give me a ticket for just being too gutzy? Put another way, at what speed can I safely exceed his/hers and consider him/her a total (crotch-related anatomical part) for giving me a ticket?

Discuss amongst yerselves.



Anonymous said...

Well, let me just say that having once dated a police officer in another major city (also with outer beltway).... he and his officer buddies enjoyed a good round of "Stack 'Em".... Drive a full loop at 55 and see how many cars could get lined up behind the patrol car.

As officer was approaching completion of the full loop, another cop would drive by in the outer lane to count the cars.

I'm just sayin.

varangianguard said...

Mathematically speaking? There is no way to determine wht you ask. Why? Because the answer would be littered with subjective variables that would make it nigh on impossible to come up with standardized plan.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's "The Highway Safety Book", suggests that the minimum threshold for stopping a vehicle to be 5MPH over the posted limit.
This is because Federal standards for speedometers allow a 5% plus or minus error rate in manufacturing standards. Effectively then, if your speedometer is 5% high, and the police car's speedometer is 5% low, then you would end up with a 10% differentiation between your perception of your speed and that of the police car.

So, if the posted speed limit is 55 MPH, you really should be able to "get by" with actually going at the real value of 60 MPH without crossing the suggested Federal threshold for being stopped.

B-u-t, in reality, most police don't seem to be quite "up-to-speed" with suggested standards for enforcement guidelines, or their personal prejudices override what many of the rest of us might consider "common sense", or that local or state police management preferences seemingly deny Federal competence in setting guidelines, or perhaps minor traffic enforcement is the sum total of an individual's competency in public policing practices.

Whatever the case, unless the exhibited behavior is an egregious transgression, it would really behoove the police to ignore it in favor of saving their valuable time for responding to what the majority of the public might consider "real" crimes.

In my opinion, if the police appear to have little else to do besides stopping drivers for minor traffic enforcement offenses then we, as taxpayers, are being expected to lay out some serious cash for people to act like elementary school hall monitors.

Now, feel free to correct me here, but I am under the impression that there is some serious crime occurring around Indianapolis and the police seem to be unable to stem the tide, as it were. Well then, it might be perceived that someone is incapable of assigning personnel resources in a competent manner to address this kind criminal activity. Instead, it appears that personnel resources spend more time fishing for transgressions by citizens able to pay fines and court costs, over fishing for persons who might actually be a menace to the public weal.

Until that changes, I wouldn't pass a police car if I were you. Unless, of course, you're a Democratic Chief Deputy Mayor, "ready-to-pop" pregnant, a nice old lady, or a fellow polic officer. You're "golden" then.

Anonymous said...

Legally-the speed limit is just that a LIMIT. You can be ticketed for going 56 in a 55. I don't know anyone who has been, but it is perectly legal to do so. The five mile an hour cushion (cops use the expression "five you're fine, ten you're mine) is both custom and to allow for slight mechanical error.

Also, we can talk on and on about traffic stops being a waste of time and a diversion from "real crimes," but anyone with experience in the criminal justice system knows that a majority of arrests start from traffic offenses. They know that traffic stops are an excellent interdiction tool to determine who is carrying illegal contraband, and they are an excellent way to keep a eye on what is really going on in a neighborhood. It sucks to get a ticket, but imagine what it would be like without the police there at all.

varangianguard said...

Since it appears that there are more police out looking for serious criminals on arterials and highways, for the poor victims of home invasion, murder, and the like, I would posit that they would have felt no different about having a police department, or not. The police certainly did them little, if any, good.
I can't imagine that their last thoughts as they were gunned down in front of their children was that the police were protecting them by stopping suburbanites for going 1MPH over the posted limit along 86th St.

True Conservative said...

anaonymous 608 pm july 18:

your arguement might hold water if IPOPA was not talking about the interstate. When I went to the academy we were told any police officer worth his or her salt could follow someone for 4 blocks and find a valid traffic violation to stop someone. The only reason for a police officer to be on the interstate is to get from point a to point b faster unless they are called there. The state police needs to be abolished. They cost more than they collect and in the day of modern police forces they bring nothing to the table.