We screw up, you pay

Between September, 2009 and November, 2010, half of the breathalyzer devices used for DUI enforcement by the Philadelphia police were improperly calibrated. Because of this negligence, as many as 1,147 people charged with drunk driving will get second trials. Here’s what Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey has to say: “We screwed up, folks… We screwed up, plain and simple. And now we’re paying for it.”

Ramsey is incorrect. The officers responsible for this debacle are not really paying for their actions. None of them will be expected to cover the cost of the new trials. None of them will be expected to pay damages to people whom they wrongfully arrested. These and most other costs incurred by the police are really paid for by taxpayers.

When Ramsey says “we’re paying for it,” what he really means is everyone but the police are paying for it.


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