By: Joseph Cox
The other day, as I was being given a ticket by a state trooper, I started to think about all of the times I have seen a police officer speed. I began to wonder why we put up with it. I know it is a small issue given the crimes that the police are needed to investigate, and the work they must do, but even with all of that I wondered is it right, and if not, why do we as a people overlook it?
It seems that police officers find it within their rights to overstep the bounds of state laws so long as they aren’t that big of an issue in the public eye. How did this happen? Upon graduating from a police academy are they given a certificate granting them immunity from prosecution so long as the crime is small? I, for one, know that it is not right for a state trooper to use his state owned vehicle to speed, all the while pulling us over and gladly handing us citations for one violation or another. When a human being slips on a uniform and pins on a badge there is no agreement between the citizenry of the state and the office for which that person works for that acknowledges the right of the person to commence committing small, but dangerous crimes.
At this point in thought I began to wonder, well, if you don’t like it, what can you do about it? The conclusion I came to was rather simple actually. We, as citizens, are allowed to monitor police communications via scanners. Why can’t we use our rights to also be allowed access to police GPS records that pertain to speed? By doing so, we could match information from one source with the GPS information and be able to tell if the patrol officer was speeding legally. If the officer was chasing after someone that was speeding, or was on their way to an emergency call we would be able to tell if the trooper was using their state owned vehicle legally. It would be a lot of work on the part of the citizenry, but nearly no effort by the state would be required. Being allowed this right to check in on our police would not violate the rights of the citizenry any more than they are by allowing the public to own a police scanner.
Well, that is my two cents on the topic. I know a lot of you will look at it and scoff due to how small of an issue it is considering other issues we face, but I believe that change begins slowly and usually starts off with small things.
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I’d (Ademo) like to respond to Joseph and say that though his idea is a good one it’s most likely impossible for a few reasons. First, the police (the government) aren’t going to allow you undeniable access to information on their officers. That’s assuming the technology Joseph speaks of is in every police cruiser, which it probably isn’t. Second, police departments (and government agencies in general) are always withholding information requested by the public. So even if this information was available the police would be reluctant to hand over evidence that proves guilt or violations of the law.
Just my two cents, what do you think of Joseph’s idea?