Saturday morning, I was flying down 95 towards Richmond.
Over-caffeinated and late for a race, I had to make up as much time as possible. I won’t say how fast I was moving, but I covered ground like my car had wings.
Nothing puts a grin on my face the way hitting 100mph does on an open stretch of highway.
… and nothing takes it away quite as quickly as what happened next.
Out of the corner of my eye, I spotted it. A dark car. American. Chevy. Charger.
You know the ones. All black, unassuming, except for that spotlight on the side-view mirror, with a driver wearing a hat that can double as a shrimp cocktail plate on game day.
A cop for sure. Trooper.
The hidden blue and reds weren’t flashing yet. But he was creeping up on me fast. I figured if he didn’t have the lights on as he approached then he didn’t know my exact speed.
So I did what any rational, warm-blooded American would… I slammed on the brakes and changed lanes as my heart nearly burst from my chest. It was a close one.
I’m jinxing myself for saying this, but I have never gotten a speeding ticket. I know by God, my luck is going to run out sooner or later.
Sons of bitches get sneakier every year
And that’s precisely their intention. To blend in as best they can. Trap you. Shake you down. And make some money.
Forget serve and protect. The new motto is tax and collect.
And business is booming.
Between speeding and other traffic violations, law enforcement across the country generates upwards of $7 billion a year.
In other words, if the “bobbies” were publicly traded, they’d qualify instantly for Blue Chip status.
… just from the money they collect in traffic tickets.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock the past several months, you’re aware of the jaw-dropping reports flooding out of Ferguson, Missouri.
I still have a hard time wrapping my head around it. A town with 21,111 people gets issued more than 11,000 tickets a year!
In other words, your odds of not getting a ticket in Ferguson are about the same as not getting herpes after visiting a brothel in Thailand. You know you’re taking a major risk just for even entering.
And we’re finding out that this sort of corruption is nothing new. Police departments across the country are actively incentivizing their patrolmen to issue as many tickets as possible.
They want you to break the law.
Ticket revenue is so valuable that the NYPD is being told that they get no sick time, overtime, or vacation unless they meet a quota. They can’t even take lunch breaks if their ticket numbers aren’t up.
For some municipalities it’s the very life-blood of their operations.
So it’s no wonder that corruption in law enforcement is more rampant than in a game of Battleship.
In some states, however, it’s quite the opposite. Local law enforcement gets absolutely nothing from the revenues generated from traffic violations. It all goes to the state’s pot.
… which has police getting ever more lax about enforcing ANY of the traffic laws. The way they see it, there’s nothing in it for them. So why bother?
And that’s causing another area of frustration. Lack of funding.
In Las Vegas, Nevada’s top judge recently told state lawmakers that the supreme court was going to run out of money by May 1st, because police aren’t issuing enough tickets.
Apparently, citations are down more than 21% since 2010.
Think about that for a moment.
The court system, which is designed to ensure justice is served, relies on the injustice of a policing system that rewards mobster-style shakedowns.
Protect and serve?
More like hustle and rob!