|Before I continue with running down the services our police officers provide, I want it to be known that I understand that a police officer's job can be very difficult, and I commend them for putting up with what they do. I would't want their job for any amount of money. And there are honest officers out there, I've met a few. But many of them are crooks and bullies too, just like the people they're supposed to be protecting us from!
The first issue I have with the cops is, where the hell are they? I remember many years ago, when going on trips with my parents, we would often see a patrol car hiding off to the side of the road, whether in town, or on the highway, looking for speeders and other violations of the law. That's one of their jobs.
But in recent years, with all the miles I put on, rarely do I see a patrol car watching the traffic. I make a 60 mile trip to Marinette WI twice monthly, on Hwy 41 which is busy and accident-prone. Perhaps once a year I'll see a cop or two out there. The speed limit is 65, but everyone goes 80. And in most cases, the police won't stop you for going 10 over the limit.
For one week in mid-summer, the police get some kind of special grant (more tax dollars) for traffic enforcement. Then they'll have people pulled over left and right on Hwy 41. All year they do nothing about speeding, and people get used to driving faster than they should. Then for that one week, they stop anything going 5 mph over the limit. But after the grant dries up, it's back to the Indy 500!
I thought President Clinton put 100,000 more cops out there. I'm sure we're paying for them. Around town, once in a while I'll see two cop cars parked along side each other in the back corner of a parking lot somewhere, most likely they're talking about the Packers or some other highly official business. They don't park out near the road, where they could be distracted by a speeding car or something. And the Ashwaubenon police won the award a few years ago for "the most beautiful squad car", VERY important! I see some are driving around in big SUV's now too. I've noticed that it no longer says "TO SERVE AND PROTECT" on the squad cars around here. Perhaps they don't do that anymore?
On the other hand, they can get carried away, too. Not long ago, in Green Bay, a couple kids ran off on foot, with the cash box from someone's garage sale. The cops were actually preparing to lift off in a helicopter to track them down! There probably was $44 in the cash box, and the cops were going to spend thousands of dollars to get it back! Fortunately, they caught the kids before the chopper lifted off. I wrote a letter to the editor in our local paper about this. A week or so later, someone else wrote a reply to my letter, saying that the cops use the helicopter to catch "felons", without resorting to "dangerous high-speed chases". Of course anything in the mainstream media has to be dramatized. The kids weren't felons, they probably got a slap on the wrist in court. And as I said, they were "on foot" so I don't think the speeds involved in a chase would've been dangerously high! But that's your Tax Dollars At Work!
I've also learned that the cops really pick on younger drivers, especially if they're driving an old junker. At least they used to. Now I think they pick on donuts instead. In my young days of driving an old beater, I was always being pulled over for a light being burned out, loud muffler, or just simply a "suspicious vehicle". But when I moved up to newer-looking trucks, the harassment ended. But it could be just a coincidence that law enforcement just happened to end at that time too.
Just so you know, the white line added to the outside edge of the pavement in recent years, is supposed to be so you can tell where the edge of the lane is during fog or heavy rain. It is sometimes called a "fog line". But the cops have a different use for it. If you happen to veer over it a little, as I have done when making a turn, a cop will pull you over and say "you went off the road back there". Another dramatization. Then they'll use it as an excuse to check you for drunk driving, and perhaps a ticket for not using seat-belts.
Speaking of tickets, they can lead you to court. I should write another whole page about the court system, but for now I'll sum it up right here. The court system is a means for the government to get more money from you. I believe the whole deal with the "judges" and "lawyers" and "plea bargains" is a BIG dramatization! First of all, the cop almost always charges you with several things. Then when you go to court, the actors come out and take away a charge or two, and call it a plea bargain, which according to the script, you're supposed to accept, because most people do. If you don't accept, then you're bucking the system, and they'll lock you up and throw away the key! In some cases, the judges and lawyers go into the secret 'judge's chambers'. I think they have a slot machine back there. They pull the handle and the machine gives them the "sentence". But most cases can be resolved, whether you did anything wrong or not, by YOU giving some of your money to THEM! That's what they call "justice"
I've actually wound up in jail over a minor traffic ticket. Back in 1987, well before I ever touched a drop of alcohol, I was at a red light in Aswaubenon that refused to change for me. (see <signals>) When I finally went through it, with no other traffic in sight, at 1am, I got the ticket. The local cops, as well as the Brown County traffic dept., were well aware of problems with the signals. But this particular cop was either stupid, or more likely enjoying the money he was pulling in for the city at this intersection. He wouldn't let me prove that the signal was malfunctioning. So after we left, I returned to the intersection, parked my truck, called the police and requested that a different officer come to confirm that the light wouldn't change. To make a long story less long, here's what happened. My truck sat at the red light for nearly an hour. During that hour, several more squad cars arrived, from both Ashwaubenon and Brown County police, including the original officer, who ordered me to leave within 30 seconds. I explained that I can't, because the light is red, and I had just gotten a ticket for going through it. He called for a wrecker to come tow my truck away from the red light! And put a parking ticket on it! There had to be at least 8 cops there, and NOT ONE would acknowledge that there was a problem with the signals!
When the tow truck came, I directed him over to all the squad cars in the gas station parking lot, and started up my old junker. When I turned on the headlights, an unmarked county squad car drove over from the lot, and pulled up along side of me. That caused the light to change to green. I decided I'd better go home, but as I pulled away from the light, the unmarked squad ILLEGALLY made a left turn in front of me, from a "straight-ahead-only" lane, forcing me to turn onto the wrong side of the divided highway, to avoid hitting him. With no other traffic in sight, and no lights or sirens, I proceeded down a block to the next road, where I got back on the proper side of the highway. THEN came the lights and sirens! So I pulled over, and got out of my truck. At this point, the cops grabbed me and threw me down face-first on the gravel shoulder. There was a cop actually standing on my back. They cuffed me and hauled me to jail, and had the wrecker tow my truck away. I ended up with charges from both Ashwaubenon and Brown County.
My sister came up with $800 to bail me out at 4 in the morning, as I had to be at work the next day. When I went to the towing company to pick up my truck, the same guy was there that towed it. I asked if he would be a witness as to what happened, but he said "I didn't see anything". I'm sure that's because his company had the towing contract for the county, so he couldn't say anything bad about them. The very next evening after all of this happened, I went back to the intersection, this time with a rented camcorder. It was apparent that the Hwy. Dept. had been there working on the signals that day, but they still weren't working right. So I sat in the gas station lot for a couple hours taping the perpetual red light, and all the cars just going through it. I even got written statements from a few of the drivers, and the girl in the gas station said she gets a kick out of watching how long some cars sit there before going through it.
But the biggest surprise came while I was trying to figure out how to change the battery on the camcorder. Two Ashwaubenon squad cars approaching the intersection from the opposite side, where the signals work just fine. They didn't have their flashing lights on, and didn't even slow down for the red light, just blew right through it! So I followed them, right to the police station. I went in, and I told the officers that I thought that they had to obey the law just like everyone else, unless they're on an emergency. I was told that "we supersede the law", when I questioned their authority to just ignore red lights, he said "we have awesome authority". Wish I had the camcorder with me for those statements. These were different officers than the one that gave me the ticket, so I know that that department has at least 3 bullies. The following evening, I got brave. I called the Ashwaubenon police, and said that I wanted to demonstrate the problem with the signals, and ONLY if the cop that gave me the ticket was not on duty. They sent out a real nice cop, who said he heard what happened to me, and couldn't believe it, because they ALL know that the light never worked properly. He gave me a written statement to that effect. (So far the score is ONE nice cop to THREE bullies.) I tried to get maintenence records for the signals, but the county said that would require a "subpeona". I thought only presidents needed those!
I went to the first court hearing in Ashwaubenon, prepared with the videotape of the malfunctioning lights, the statements from drivers and from the nice cop, and the girl from the gas station, with me as a witness. In this "episode" of court, the judge didn't care about any of that, or even pay attention to my explanation of the situation. His solution was that if I pay the $15 parking ticket plus court costs, he would drop the red light ticket. Like a sucker, I fell for it. The case just before mine was same cop, same intersection, same charge, same night. The teenager there with his mom paid the fine and left. That's what the cops hope for. Pay the fine and leave. That money must go into the donut fund.
But the County court was a bigger "act" yet. My sister came with to recover her $800 she had paid for my bail. The judge said "what are you talking about, there's no charges here that warrant any kind of bail". As a matter of fact, the whole jail and bail thing I went through was just an act of "we supersede the law" with our "awesome authority". The cops had no business towing my truck or putting me in jail. There was even no official record of her paying my bail, and she had to go through a lot of BS to get her money back. Then came the police report. It said I "was ordered to REMAIN at the intersection by the Ashwaubenon cop, that I drove at a high rate of speed down the wrong side of a divided highway, with other traffic and pedestrians present". And it went on to say that "I refused to pull over for the officers, and they had to force me off the road, and that I then refused to get out of my truck, and a fight broke out, causing injuries to (my) face"
Talk about the cops getting their stories straight, including twisting the facts completely opposite of the truth. That must be another meaning yet, of "supersede". So at this court, with my money sucking that's-all-they're-good-for attorney with me, I had to be a sucker again and take a plea bargain. The charge: "failure to obey an official signal". $90 plus costs. Nineteen years later, I still haven't figured out which official signal I failed to obey!
So when you hear the phrase "We have to believe the officers because the officers have been truthful in the past", give it lots of thought. I am witness to the fact that some cops outright LIE! And don't be a sucker like I was, take it to the Supreme Court. I imagine they have a huge slot machine there.
Oh, and what about those signals? Yeah, a month or two later, they tore up the intersection and replaced the sensors under the pavement. They work great now! If you didn't do it yet, click on the "signals" link about half way down this page, and learn all about how signals work.
Of course this all happened Pre-Rodney King, so trying to go to the news media and accuse the cops of wrongdoing was futile at the time. The newspaper wouldn't even publish a $400 PAID ad, asking for other people who were ticketed at that intersection to contact me.
In recent years, I've observed a few changes relating to the way an officer parks their squad car while making a traffic stop. First I noticed them parking with the ass-end of their car hanging out into the traffic lane. I'm sure the thought was that this provides some protection for the officer, but my first thought was that the squad car was asking to be hit, and possibly pushed into everyone and everything. Perhaps that happened, as I don't see them parking that way anymore. Then I noticed around my town that stopping a car for a burned out headlight now requires at least 3 squad cars, with all lights flashing, parked in a row behind this serious law-breaker. The latest I see now is two squad cars parked along side of each other, blocking most of the road, to write up someone for a loud muffler. Gotta be tax dollars at work here!
Speaking of flashing lights on squad cars, I wonder if the glove-compartment light flashes on and off. Every other light on the car sure does. And though they say they will ticket me for flashing my high-beams for a half a second at another driver, it's perfectly OK for the headlights on the squad car to be continuously flashing back and forth between high and low beam for 10 minutes, blinding everyone around.
I see that it's apparently no one's job, not even the cops, to report malfunctioning or burned out traffic signals. I'll see burned out signals in Green Bay go unrepaired for months. And back in 2003 or so, on a bi-monthly trip I make to Marinette, WI., I often saw both the yellow and green light on at the same time, on a signal on a busy state highway. Further observation showed that 3 yellow lights in the opposite direction failed to work sometimes also. After a few weeks, I finally reported it to the Highway Department, and it was fixed immediately. I called the department back to find out what the problem was, and they said that 6 MONTHS EARLIER, someone had knocked down a signal, and when it was replaced, 2 wires were swapped around by mistake. How many cops must have gone through there in 6 months?
Just recently there was a situation in Green Bay where 4 cops fired 33 rounds at an unarmed man, killing him. The cops stopped his vehicle in connection with a fight that had occured a few minutes earlier at a tavern. According to the police, the man made motions as if he were pointing a gun at them, after exiting his vehicle, then took off running. The gunfire also resulted in an innocent bystander being quite seriously injured. This case stirred up a lot of emotions in Green Bay, but the police assured us that they are investigating the case to see if the officers acted properly. Of course I was not there and did not see what happened at the crime scene, but I know for a fact that when the police investigate themselves, the result is always the same, "the officers did nothing wrong, they did just what they are trained to do."
The investigation is complete today. The officers did nothing wrong. I guess the "gun" turned out to be a cell phone. Suicide they say.
I also noticed in the newspaper story that apparently people nowadays no longer contain blood, it was merely "red fluid" on the sidewalk at the shooting site. That's a good part of what's wrong with today's society. People are brought up thinking life is a video game, and when things go wrong, you can just push the reset button and start over. Pretty soon instead of saying someone was "killed" or is "dead", they'll be saying he "ran out of life". But if it's just "red fluid" that he needs, no problem, they sell it at the auto parts store.
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