Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Protect And Serve, Right?

My dad, when he was on the MA State Police, used to hate the people that asked him, "With all the murderers and thieves out there, why are you wasting your time pulling me over for speeding?" His usual retort was "I've already caught my quota of murderers and thieves, and now I'm working on my quota of @$$holes." It's hard, though, not to wonder about the allocation of police resources when you hear a  story like this:

Police Threatening To Arrest Anyone Who Sleds On Popular Hill In Methuen
METHUEN (CBS) – A very popular sledding hill for families is now off limits in Methuen.
Police are no longer allowing anyone to sled down the Greycourt Park hill located behind city hall.
Officials say this past week, three people were seriously injured when they collided with trees that are in the middle of the sled trail.
I can understand closing the trail to sledding. It sounds like it's not the greatest layout in the world, with trees in the middle of the route (although I have to wonder if that's a true route or just the path of least resistance...). Closing the trail would limit the town's liability - leaving it open gives tacit approval for folks to go sledding; with that approval comes liability. It's not right, but in today's litigious society, that's the reality.

But it's the fact that they've got police patrolling the hill that's mind-boggling. I understand closing the trail. I understand locking the gate. But to allocate police resources to actively patrol the area? Look, if it's closed off, with police tape cordoning off the area and the gate to the parking area locked, that's as clear a sign as you're ever going to get to keep out. Taking police officers off the street to make sure kids aren't sledding down the hill doesn't seem to be the best use of public protection resources.

In fact, I'd wager it might have the opposite effect. You have now made the hill even more of an attractive nuisance, as it's going to become the "cool" thing for teenagers to sled on the hill in defiance of the police patrol. I'm sure everyone remembers that one spot where everyone hung out doing age-inappropriate things (ahem) - how many times did the police raid that spot? And yet you still went back, right?

Heck, I'd wager it'll become a rite of passage to take a few runs down that hill without getting caught by "the man"...

That is all.


Exurbankevin said...

Admittedly it's been 30+ years since I've sledded, but I don't recall a whole lot of trails in my neighborhood that didn't have some kinda of tree or other obstacle to avoid. The danger is what made it fun!

Old NFO said...

Yep, just going to waste time and effort, rather than actually DEAL with the problem in a coherent manner...

Anonymous said...

The problem is not knuckleheads running into trees while sleding. It's that by some strange reasoning of lawyers and juries that the city is libel for it.


Angus McThag said...

The crime v speed enforcement has been solved in New Port Richey, FL.

They have specialized traffic units who do nothing but collect that sweet revenue from 3 over or slowing to 0.05 mph at a stop sign instead of complete stop with two second pause.

The crime side of the police department is starved for funding because they don't bring in any revenue. Murder, arson and violent crime are COSTLY! Drug investigations bring in Uncle Sugar Dollars so woe unto you if you have a bag of "spice" synthetic marijuana (State Legal, outlawed by county ordinance).

Ed said...

And if you want to see an irritated police officer that is behind you at a stop sign, come to a complete stop. Do not forget your directionals if your are turning. Look left, slowly count 1 Mississippi, 2 Mississippi, 3 Mississippi, look to right, slowly count 1 Mississippi, 2 Mississippi, 3 Mississippi, then look to the left again, then take your foot off the brake and slowly proceed at 10 MPH under the speed limit with both hands on the wheel at 10 and 2. The police car will then pass you at great speed. Do not forget to smile and wave!

If you see a police officer observing an intersection with a stop sign waiting for some driving error, perform the same drill to alert those that are following you.

Drake said...

After the Marines, I didn't become a cop because I couldn't see myself (a serial speeder) writing traffic tickets.

8Notch said...

Seriously, is it THAT hard to bail out of a sled, yelling "Mayday", when your descent goes awry?