Thursday, March 09, 2006

Law Enforcement

A local TV station obtained video of a routine traffic stop where a woman received a ticket for going eleven over the speed limit. She initially refused to sign the ticket (despite being told it was not an admission of guilt) and then was put under arrest.

The woman had already signed the ticket (at which point it is not known) but the officer persisted with his attempt to put her under arrest. She refused to get out of the car so he pulled her out of the car by force, pulling her hair. She was charged with resisting arrest, assault and obstruction.

The city for which the officer works has viewed the video and is comfortable with the technique that the officer used in handling the incident. I wish I could say the same thing.

I believe that the officer acted within the policies and laws, but is refusing to sign something really an offense worthy of arrest? You don't even have to sign paperwork to be divorced in this state, why should refusing to sign a ticket be a big deal? Especially when it is really just a promise to respond.

What amazes me is how the law is setup to arrest people who are just easy picking. If your house is broken into and your posessions are stolen, the police will show up and make a report and then give you a case number. The reason for the case number is so you can give it to your insurance company. How much actual investigation do they do? Aside from looking around to see whether the burglar dropped his wallet or left a signed confession you can expect them to do nothing.

Oh but if you don't sign a traffic ticket then you can be arrested and pulled out of your vehicle by your hair. There seriously can be no provision to issue a citation even without their signature? Can't they just do what UPS does and just leave a note saying it's "on the back porch?"

I'm just concerned that law enforcement has come down picking the low hanging fruit. Police do not investigate real crimes (theft or force), but instead aggressively arrest people who have done next to nothing, or what they have done is to themselves only (drug arrests).

In the end we're left with the erosion of respect for law and those who are charged with enforcing it. Maybe a change in focus would make people resent the police less so that the routine traffic stop doesn't become an overblown case of civil disobedience.


Jessica said...

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PlatinumGirl said...

The police are a little high-strung these days. In these parts, it's not because people won't sign tickets, but because a lot of people seem to think shooting a police officer at point blank range is the appropriate response to being pulled over. Though I think the woman should have just signed the damned ticket, I don't think he was justified in pulling her out of her car by her hair. His actions obviously didn't fit the situation.