Friday, July 23, 2010

Here;s To You, Mister Safety/Revenue Officer Guy!

Reeeeal Men of Geeeenius!

The Austin Police Department has announced an 18-month progrm of enhanced enforcement of the law, and I for one think it is brilliant. There is a very strong negative reaction from some of the citizenry, to whom I can only retort: "Then why don't you slow the [deleted] down in a construction zone!?"

The idea is to put APD officers in construction zones, dressed up as construction workers (and yes, the Village People jokes are rife) with a radar gun on a tripod as if it were a surveying instrument. Some [deleted] goes blasting through the construction zone -as they do every day- and the plainclothes officer calls ahead to his buddy who then issues a citation for speeding. Make that, speeding in a construction zone with workers present, for a DOUBLE fine. At the pilot location, tickets were issuing at a rate of 15/hour. So let's see: a $150/ticket * 2 for a construction zone * 15/hr * 4hrs of rush-hour = a nice little benefit for the city's $10M+ lacking budget.

Jeff Ward was quick to decry it as pointless the first day, because after all, who would know until it was too late? People are going to speed anyway, right?

Yes but (and remember that "yes but" means "no") if for a YEAR AND A HALF people around town are made to think that a construction zone = double fine tickets because there might be a COP there, people will be MUCH less-inclined to speed in construction zones. The safety of construction workers being a nice side-benefit to the enforcement of the law, I fail to see how this is a bad thing. Sure you will have to go slower. Leave earlier already - this includes me, by the way, with a stupid 45-in-a-60-zone construction zone for several MILES of my commute. I'll deal with it, and so will thousands of Austinites, by getting into the habit of slowing down in construction zones. Then I hope, when the year and a half are over, we will all have a safe new habit to live with.


But it puts the officers at increased risk!

You mean the officers who routinely walk around parked patrol and citizen/suspect cars in traffic every day? The ones who just might catch a bullet for saying "good morning ma'am" when a window rolls down? Those officers? Risk is part of being a police officer, and this is only a different type.

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