Cops are human, too
March 18, 2009
Imagine my thoughts today as I passed a Woodstock officer returning to the police station on Lake Avenue, when I noticed that he had not signalled his right turn into the employee parking lot. There was no vehicle exiting the parking lot, none following him closely, none waiting to turn in front of him.
Not a big deal; right?
However, recently unsignaled right turns are costing Woodstock drivers $75.00. No Warnings. If you get stopped, you get a ticket. Two drivers have had their letters published in the Northwest Herald. How many more got similar tickets but didn't write to the paper?
Failing to signal a turn is a traffic violation, but it's not a heinous crime. While it might merit a traffic stop, in most situations a Warning will suffice. It's a "wake-up call" to the driver to be more alert. A courteous traffic stop and reminder will go a long way, and it will go much further than a $75.00 ticket.
It's not a big deal that the officer didn't signal. There is no reason to make a big deal over this, except for what appears to be a new Zero Tolerance policy at the Woodstock Police Department. If you fail to signal and an officer spots you, you will get a ticket!
Perhaps Chief Lowen would be willing to clarify in writing, in a press release posted on the Police Department's webpages of the City's website, that
1) there is no ticket quota for beat officers or traffic officers;
2) the officers have discretion to issue Warnings, rather than giving tickets on every traffic stop; and
3) there is no revenue-generating scheme in place at the Woodstock PD.
I say we want fair, firm, impartial traffic law enforcement in Woodstock. Drivers should not have to worry unduly about being stopped or ticketed every time they drive on Woodstock streets.
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