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Article posted Feb 07 2014, 4:01 AM Category: Big Brother/Orwellian Source: Techdirt Print

Former Cop Proposes Law That Would Allow Officers To Ticket You Without Ever Leaving The 'Safety' Of Their Vehicles

by Tim Cushing

Well, we know for sure that one person thinks this is a good idea, but if this bill passes intact, it will only further confirm the theory that legislators are unable to think more than one step ahead. (via The Consumerist)
An Oklahoma state senator has filed a bill to allow law enforcement officers to issue electronic citations for traffic, misdemeanor and municipal ordinance violations.

A former police officer, Sen. Al McAffrey, said Senate Bill 1872 would protect law enforcement personnel during traffic stops.

“Allowing officers to issue electronic citations will help better protect them. If they don’t have to approach vehicles during traffic stops to give people tickets but can simply email traffic violation citations directly to the district court clerk then they’re less likely to get into a dangerous altercation,” said McAffrey, D-Oklahoma City.
Officer safety must always be the first (and apparently, only) consideration when drafting legislation, at least when it's a former cop doing the drafting. McAffrey doesn't seem to have considered exactly how awful this plan is -- or just doesn't care.

McAffrey wants to make sure officers are safe, but seemingly has no similar concerns about the public. Ticketing someone electronically -- without ever interacting with the driver -- will make the roads less safe. What if the driver is under the influence? There's no way for the officer to make this determination without an interaction. What appears to be a minor moving violation may actually be the symptom of something more serious. The officer also won't be able to determine whether the driver is licensed to operate a vehicle. Worse, the automated process will send the ticket to the vehicle owner rather than the actual driver, and negatively affect the wrong person's driving record and insurance rates. And as for the "threat" McAffrey seems so worried police officers might confront, does it really make sense to protect the officer but leave the arguably dangerous person free to cause harm elsewhere?

Ultimately, the worst side effect of this bill is that it will lower the bar for ticket writing. Officers will be able to write more tickets for more violations (even minor ones that would previously go unnoticed) simply because they won't be slowed by interactions with the public. Removing this friction will increase the number of tickets issued, whether truly warranted or not. Traffic cams spit out tons of tickets because the "decision" is binary and wholly removed from public interaction. Cops with an e-ticket platform will likely become indistinguishable from the unblinking eyes watching over many American cities. And once this new way of policing kicks in, the cities utilizing the method will find the increased revenue hard to resist, which will prompt even more questionable legislation and tactics further down the line.

Here's more on the justification for this absurd piece of legislation from McAffrey:
“Routine traffic stops are one of the most dangerous times for officers to become injured because they don’t know what kind of situation or individual they’re approaching. They’re walking up blind,” said McAffrey. “We need to provide better protection for them by not putting them in harm’s way unnecessarily. By allowing them to submit electronic citations, they’d no longer have to leave the safety of their car.”
Well, if we want them to be truly safe, just blanket the state with cameras and allow those to issue the citations. We all know what a bang up job the cameras do, and this way no officer needs to be troubled to exit their vehicle, or perhaps even bother driving down to the station to clock in. After all, as we're all aware from countless seat belt PSAs, most accidents happen during short commutes like the daily drive to work. And why limit them to traffic citations? Enough cameras will certainly net a few felonies and calls into dispatch can be handled via an online questionnaire. ("Are you in danger?" [ ] Yes [ ] No [ ] Undecided) We can't have officers "walking blind" into domestic violence incidents or putting themselves in harm's way by interacting with citizens trying to report theft or a missing person. Let's ensure these officers are never forced to navigate the deadly streets of Anytown, OK ever again.

Read the bill: SB1872 (PDF)

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Comments 1 - 6 of 6 Add Comment Page 1 of 1

Posted: Feb 07 2014, 4:56 PM

19255 These people took this job knowing that safety isn't certain in all cases. The assume all risks. If they don't, then Its time to leave that profession. None of these officers were forced to put that uniform on. Stop babying them.

Posted: Feb 07 2014, 4:59 PM

19255 Maybe we should also put inflated airbags around the interior and exterior of their newly purchased military assault vehicles and squad cars. That'll keep em safe.

Posted: Feb 08 2014, 3:46 PM

7585 Maybe they could just stay home in bed and dream about ticketing? Or we could have deliver the ticket to your home by drone? We could save a lot of gas if we actually didn't have to put the police officer in a vehicle.

Posted: Feb 08 2014, 9:35 PM

7690 I am so tired of these bullies that who have no problem extorting/brutalizing/killing what they perceive as weak targets yet turn into cringing cowards when they are called on it.

Fire them, In fact take everyone with a government job with them. Time for a reset.

Posted: Feb 09 2014, 1:15 AM

71199 Cops are pigs. They drive fast themselves, but they're cops so they can do what they want. That's not fair, and this take that right one step further. Where are cops going to get tickets for speeding. I'm all for this law passing, only if the install speed monitoring devices to monitor the pigs speed limit. Then that pig can get a ticket as well. I see these pig in their takehome cars with their pig loving wives and spoiled children all of the time.

Posted: Feb 09 2014, 8:38 AM

766 What incredibly stupid comments and an irrational and unthinking article!

What a GREAT law this would be!

What you half-wits aren't considering is that this would PREVENT a great deal of police abuse of citizens. If you had bothered to THINK about it, you'd see this as a VERY POSITIVE benefit to the "suspect(s)."

In fact, because it keeps police away from the vehicles, I suspect many jurisdictions would NOT want to enact such a law because it precludes their "sniffing out" further law-breaking, such as drug use and/or possession. Cops love the adrenaline rush and WANT to get in people's faces and "find" something. Writing tickets and arresting "bad guys" is what makes their juices flow. This law would be GREAT for the public and it would also be better for cops mental health, because the stress they have does affect their health in a negative manner, which includes their mental and emotional health.

This law would be WONDERFUL to have enacted nationwide! It would SIGNIFICANTLY LOWER POLICE ABUSE.

It's one thing to be critical of bad police behavior. But to jump at the opportunity to criticize when you ought to recognize the DIRECT benefit to the public not be subjected to abusive cops is WHOLLY A GOOD THING and it's pathetic that you can't see that.
Comments 1 - 6 of 6 Page 1 of 1

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