Have another donut. How about doing some work?

September 16, 2008

I recently wrote a column on police details and the complete sham presented by having cops wander about speaking on their cell phones and drinking coffee while progress grinds to a halt.

But, it’s not usually the progress of the hole diggers or line workers. The progress that is stifled is that of the rest of humanity. People in cars waste endless hours waiting for the police to pay attention and efficiently wave traffic through lights and around construction.

It’s even worse when more than one cop is working a detail. More often than not, the two cops are giving conflicting hand movements and regularly ignoring the existing traffic signals. Not only is this unsafe, it’s also infuriating for someone to wait three light cycles while the cops just jabber to each other while doing nothing.

Today I experienced a new level of frustration when I went to the polls. In a school parking lot, where speeds are regulated at 5MPH, no fewer than five cops waved people in and out of spaces and generally gummed up the works.

It doesn’t hurt that so many people can’t drive or park an SUV, but why add police to the mix?

Is it a law that cops have to be at polling stations? If so, will that change with yesterday’s state decision to put flaggers at detail locations and eliminate the cost of paying cops overtime to do the work?

I wonder. As we all know, there’s plenty for cops to do, so why are they being wasted at a school parking lot.

Go find speeders (it’s 15MPH in my city’s downtown and people regularly go 30+ there). Teach drivers that aggressive driving is a punishable offense. Spend some time outside a bar and arrest a few drunks as they come out and get into their cars. Any of these would be preferable to a cop on a phone eating a donut and drinking coffee beside a large pile of dirt.

Even spending some time putting tickets on illegally parked cars would be time well spent in my book. How ’bout it 5-O? Thanks for listening.

More to come…