Anatomy of a Traffic Stop

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Eugene O'Donnell, professor of law and police science at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, and former police officer and prosecutor, on why street policing is really important to keeping crime down, but is also very dangerous.


Eugene O'Donnell
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Comments [1]

Roanld Bourque (pronounced as Burke) from Brooklyn, NY

Since speeding is so prevalent on local streets and highways, I often wonder why there are not more highway patrols stopping speeders. What do the police consider to be speeding - 5, 10, 15, 20 mph above the posted limit? As with the tunstile jumpers, police know that people who speed and go through red lights are likely to be breaking the law in other respects. You might think that someone carrying drugs or running guns would be careful about calling atention to themselves by doing 80 mph in a 50 mph zone. But felons tend to have such contempt for all laws and regulations that they will not restrain themselves on the highway. Though the police are fully aware of this type of compulsive feloneous behavior, I don't see that there is any significant effort to stop some of the most reckless speeders that I see almost every time I drive.

The worst of the worst do not have to be persued at high speeds by police cars. They can be spotted and tracked by police helicopters and then intercepted after they leave the highway. With the existing equipment on NYPD helicopters, the license plate can be read an photographed from a helicopter several hundred feet above the roadway. Why can't the same technology used to photograph cars running red lights be applied to capturing speeders? Such a system would pay for itself, through fines, in the first week in use. But then it might reveal that the off-duty police officers are among the worst scofflaws.

Jul. 18 2007 08:28 PM

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