TIME IS MONEY!! Police bias against low income citizens.

If it's news, but not politics, then it goes here.

COPS: Fair and neccessary or in need of new regulations?

Fair/neccessary.
1
33%
Need a change in policy.
2
67%
 
Total votes: 3

m_venk
Forum Addict
Posts: 219
Joined: Sun Aug 10, 2003 6:45 am
Contact:

TIME IS MONEY!! Police bias against low income citizens.

Postby m_venk » Thu Dec 04, 2003 5:32 pm

kurt_w wrote: See, for example, former NH state legislator and gun-nut Tom Alciere, who repeatedly advocated killing police officers. (As one of many examples, in 1998 he wrote a letter to a newspaper, in response to the murder of a police officer, saying "There's nothing wrong with wasting cops. They go around threatening innocent, random people at gunpoint, and they whine about it when one of us humans kills a cop.")




No offense to anyone or anything or their cousins, but cops do "run around threatening innocent, random people at gunpoint" all day long. I don't so much agree with Tom Alciere's sentiments, and I'll also go so far as to admit that there are some really good ones out there, and even that some of the shitty ones show themselves to be inclined to act decently every once in a while, if the incentive is right (i.e., a busty girl in the drivers seat, either that or a guy with a crew cut and some stupid bumper stickers)... But it seems like every time I turn around, those bastards are wanting $2000 or $3000 dollars from me for something, and I've never been in a fight, been caught in the possession of illegal drugs, driven under the influence, sped, or even run a red light. (Not when they've been looking, anyway, lol).


The problem is never so much as 'what I've done' as it is 'what I haven't paid for', and this figure has proven to be exponential. Whenever you get a ticket that you don't have any money to pay for, they set a deadline for payment and if you don't meet it the cost goes up; shorty after they take away your car's registration, and quickly thereafter they move on to revoking your driver's licence. Then you get another ticket for driving around with an unregistered car; then of course they always take the time to notice that you're license has been pulled as well. This is always right about the same time that I start to feel like they're all driving around threatening random people at gunpoint, - which they are.

Near Antigo, WI, I was pulled over in just such a way, given another quick $400 worth of tickets and transported 8 miles into town so that I could "call someone"... Of course I had no one to call, so I had to walk all the way back, hop in the car, after scoping out the nearest back roads, and then start up and bolt as soon as no cars were coming, just to keep from having my car towed (yet again)... (This is one of the worst towns in the state for getting randomly pulled over). Of course, this took a good 8 hours out of my day.


I have had my license revoked and reinstated in this way something like 6 times during the last 3 years (3 times during the last 12 months) and am considered to be a high risk driver despite the fact that I've never had a speeding ticket and never been involved in a car accident. More of this and I won't be able to get a license at all because of a manditory 5 year suspension the state might choose to enforce. However, even then I'll be forced to continue driving and trying to stay ahead because it's impossible to make a living otherwise. The worst part of this equation is that I could eventually see prison time for being a 'repeat offender'...

Currently there is a warrant issued for me because of these tickets in Antigo; while trying to get ahead, I could be pulled over at any time and incarcerated for at least 20 days or so (so much for my rent, job, etc...) I know this because it has happened often enough in the past (the last time I was stuck in the city jail for 35 days), and I am greatly dismayed. Furthermore, if I do get pulled over again, this means the cops'll be plugging me for yet another quick $4-500, and still have to go to jail, not be able to pay the new tickets because of not being able to work, and then face yet another warrent, just like this one. Do I want another 100,000 of them out there on the streets? No way in hell.

This tendancy on the behalf of the nation's police departments to target and take advantage of the poor (police stations collect something like $70 per day from the state for one incarcerated citizen... Uh, I mean, criminal...) is very discouraging to any of us who would be asked to think of police officers in a more optimistic way. I am no criminal, no drug addict, no pimp, no brawler, no drunken driver, domestic abuser, no sex offender... But I'm sure going to see a lot of these people whenever I get caught for my great and unforgivable crime of not having enough money to pay for all these tickets. As a non-criminal, I'm almost surprised myself to look back and notice that these cops are choking me for upwards of $2000 each and every year since I decided to get my driver's licence.

Almost. However, the policies all start to become very clear when you're stuck playing checkers with Snoop Doggy Dogg's pimping midwestern cousin all day long. TIME IS MONEY. TIME ... is money. Think about it. For anybody who's ever had to get arrested unfairly (either for something they didn't do or by virtue of yet another of society's many oversights...) these sentiments of Mr. Alciere's ring very true. It's an invasion, a violation, an outrage. After that point, even the entirity of his callous phrase starts to make a lot of sense.

Beautiful individuals rarely become police officers. How could they with these policies, and worse, their quotas? Police science is a rather discriminatory study, I would say, and I shudder to think what they teach some of these officers in training, and to see the results either up close and personal or on the streets in places like Seattle a couple years back. Storm troopers with halos, that's what it ammounts to. I should start taking collections, LOL. :wink:

roadkill bill
Forum God/Goddess
Posts: 1700
Joined: Thu Dec 19, 2002 12:33 am
Contact:

Postby roadkill bill » Thu Dec 04, 2003 6:14 pm

Well, you must have done something to get the ball rolling in the first place. They didn't just randomly suspend your license for being an idiot. (Although maybe they should.)

Got a parking ticket you didn't pay? Forget to pay for registration in the first place? Taillight out? OK, they should have given you a warning on that one.

But guess what. You gotta take care of these little things or they get to be big things. Driving a car - having a valid registration and license - is a priviledge, not a right. Cars can be very dangerous things to both their drivers and other people on the road. That's why you need a license to drive.

If you aren't smart enough to not get your license suspended a dozen times, perhaps you are too dumb to drive. Deal with it.

m_venk
Forum Addict
Posts: 219
Joined: Sun Aug 10, 2003 6:45 am
Contact:

Postby m_venk » Thu Dec 04, 2003 9:01 pm

roadkill bill wrote:Well, you must have done something to get the ball rolling in the first place. They didn't just randomly suspend your license for being an idiot. (Although maybe they should.)

Got a parking ticket you didn't pay? Forget to pay for registration in the first place? Taillight out? OK, they should have given you a warning on that one.

But guess what. You gotta take care of these little things or they get to be big things. Driving a car - having a valid registration and license - is a priviledge, not a right. Cars can be very dangerous things to both their drivers and other people on the road. That's why you need a license to drive.

If you aren't smart enough to not get your license suspended a dozen times, perhaps you are too dumb to drive. Deal with it.




The fines are all too over the top; it's all about profit margin in the 'law enforcement INDUSTRY'... you don't think $2000 per year is a lot?

snoqueen
Forum God/Goddess
Posts: 12972
Joined: Fri Feb 14, 2003 11:42 pm

Postby snoqueen » Thu Dec 04, 2003 11:27 pm

m_venk wrote:The fines are all too over the top; it's all about profit margin in the 'law enforcement INDUSTRY'... you don't think $2000 per year is a lot?


The fines are probably set by local ordinances, so it's the village board (taking Antigo as an example) you'd want to bitch about, or maybe the municipal court, instead of the cops. The village or town board sets the amounts for various local fines and violations and directs the cops to crack down on picky enforcement so the municipality can get extra income and maybe not have to raise taxes. The dollars raked in by the municipal court are not necessarily all put back into law enforcement.

Everybody's favorite village in Dane County for overdone traffic enforcement is Cambridge. It has its own listing on the Speed Trap Exchange:

http://www.speedtrap.org/speedtraps/ste_city.asp?state=WI

(A good site to peruse if you've got a heavy foot.) Antigo isn't even listed, by the way. You didn't say why you got picked up, but they aren't known as a big-time speed trap. The way you tell it, they're just small town jerks.

There are plenty of reasons to keep an eye on the behavior of cops, but in this type of case the police are at the end of a long line of other decisions leading to your complaint. So many people routinely skipped out on local fines the state empowered the DOT to withhold your driver's license if you had outstanding tickets -- this dates back to when they finally put all the counties into a single database enabling any cop to key in to your record in seconds. Before, ignoring tickets was easy because it was nearly impossible for any one municipality to keep track of what you'd done in all the others. So part of your gripe is with the state and DOT.

Law enforcement DOES get to keep whatever is seized from drug dealers, so that can get out of hand and turn into a cop mini-industry pretty fast. That's another matter.

m_venk
Forum Addict
Posts: 219
Joined: Sun Aug 10, 2003 6:45 am
Contact:

Postby m_venk » Fri Dec 05, 2003 1:05 am

Thanks, queen, glad for the input. Antigo, by the way, wouldn't be what you'd call a 'high volume' sector; however, anybody traveling north on 45 is eventually going to be stuck driving through this god forsaken hole in the ground, and they'd better drive carefully when they get there. I drove through there 30 times or more in 2002. The thing about it is that an entire segment of the highway is diverted to run right though the town, starting 14 miles or so south of it. This whole area is policed pretty thoroughly before, during and after each traveler's unfortunate little detour. It really sucks when you're in a hurry because it always takes at least 30 minutes to drive through this whole town because you're really better off driving at least 5mph below the limit (especially at 2am when I'd get there half the time). To make it worse, there's a red stop light waiting for you at the end of practically every city block, and you've got to crawl along at this wretched snail like pace on your way to wherever you're going. Meanwhile, there's a cop at every corner or every other parking lot with his lights turned off, just waiting. I'd say a good percentage of the city's annual revenue has got to come from unfortunate out of town travelers, and they bank on it. So they have a lot of cops there even though there isn't any violent crime to speak of, and it's impossible to have an accident with all those stop lights and low speed limits.

Hiring more cops to prevent more "crimes" is like a self fulfilling prophecy. The more there are, the more money the city is going to rake in for all the extra tickets they write out. And when little towns like Antigo and Crandon and Rhinelander start spending millions and millions on building new, high tech jails, you know that they're keenly aware of the benefits of increasing their 'output'... The more they hire, the more they'll need, and the more money the city is going to rake in. Prices on tickets continue to go up and up even though they know this won't be any sort of deterrant to drivers. There's always that burnt out tail light or cracked windshield or almost-late employee driving 50 in a 30... Mostly it's the speeders and cops know they can count on them to always be speeding because people are always late for something eventually. No matter what kind of ticket they might get, they'll often feel compelled to take the risk no matter what, this is human to play on the odds.. So, to me, the cops are the instruments via which the powers that be decide to profit on the definate characteristics of human nature.

So who gets the ticket? This is where my gripe about lower income citizens comes in. On the average road full of cars, you can pick out any number of them in the midst of one sort of violation or another... We all exceed the limit here and there, we all slack off on the occasional stop sign, we all drive a little too close to the other cars once in a while. A cop parks himself on the dark side of the road knowing that he can give out as many tickets as he's ambitious enoughh to write. He sets the limit, although the notion of quotas is well known to all. But he doesn't have any incentive to write out a ticket to every other car that passes, he just has to write enough tickets to meet his quota and to make the police's presence known without outraging the public with noticably excessive ticket writing, so to an extent he's got to pick and choose.

This being the case, it's only natural that the drivers who get the most tickets are the ones whos vehichles are in one way or the other the most noticable. Brand new sports cars driven by fortuitous young 16 year olds are a nutorious favorite of theirs, and you see this all the time. However, even more noticable than them are the older cars, dents and all, possibly a cracked windshield, a bent fender, a taped up window, a scratched up paint job, a burnt out signal light... My cars have always been just outragious and so I've noticed this tendancy quite a bit.

Being noticable is the worst thing a driver can do on a heavily policed road, and the less money you've got in your car, the more noticable you are. See, now, if I'd had an extra $2000 per year to spend on my car, maybe I wouldn't be getting so many tickets to begin with. But for me, I've noticed that I get these tickets and I've got to look at them and set them on my desk next to my grocery budget, my electric bill, my rent, phone, etc and ask myself just where the hell this new $500 handout to the local city police is supposed to come from. And of course if it doesn't get paid, they get their money from the state when they arrest me anyway.

Driving in Madison, I'm not so worried. I've had so many outrageous cars down there, and I mapped out my own, cop-free routes to every place in town. For me, it's preferable because there's plenty of what I call 'cover'... Meaning a thousand other cars on the road both in front and behind me. I can use these vehichles as a disguise from predators, increasing the extent of my protection by increasing my proximity to other vehichles. The police in Madison are also not quite as bad on the personality scale, either, especially down town. I'm just going off on a tangent because it occurs to me again just how much moolah these bastards are jerking me for, and I wondered if others have had similar complaints...

alcobeat
Senior Member
Posts: 57
Joined: Thu Jul 10, 2003 5:41 pm
Location: Parts Unknown
Contact:

Re: TIME IS MONEY!! Police bias against low income citizens

Postby alcobeat » Fri Dec 05, 2003 5:47 am

m_venk wrote:




I have had my license revoked and reinstated in this way something like 6 times during the last 3 years (3 times during the last 12 months) and am considered to be a high risk driver despite the fact that I've never had a speeding ticket and never been involved in a car accident. More of this and I won't be able to get a license at all because of a manditory 5 year suspension the state might choose to enforce. However, even then I'll be forced to continue driving and trying to stay ahead because it's impossible to make a living otherwise. The worst part of this equation is that I could eventually see prison time for being a 'repeat offender'...




You're definetely a 'repeat offender' as far as being an administative headache, that is for damned sure. I used to work in a circuit clerk's office (traffic court), dealing with people (via the phone, in person, and in the mail) who had received traffic citacions. When i first started the position, I was absolutely blown away by people who had gotten themselves into such messes--with multiple license and registration revocations, multiple offenses for driving with no insurance (this was in Illinois, not WI), DUIs and the like.

It was routine for me to spend a half hour on the phone with one person, enumerating the computer screen-full of unpaid tickets they had accumulated. I had the pleasure of telling hundreds of people that "Yes, sir, there is currently a warrant out for your arrest."

I thought I was a pretty compassionate clerk--when people would call and give me a sob story about not being able to pay a speeding ticket, I could always extend their payment deadline so their fines would not go up, or worse, be turned over to the sec. of state so they could put a hold on the license/reg. I think in most circumstances, you can get an extension on paying your fines, you just need to establish contact and be honest.

Besides, if you feel your ticket(s) were issued in error or because of discrimination, you NEED to CONTEST them. Don't just sit there and let them lapse into where they start negatively impacting your everyday life. Get legal assistance. If you can't afford a lawyer, you could try to call a Public Defender (especially if you are facing misdemenor/felony charges), or seek help through a legal service for low-income individuals.

I'm not sure what exactly you were ticketed for if it was not speeding--but you have to understand that the police have a right (if not a duty) to enforce traffic laws at will. If you didn't stop completely at a stop sign, that is grounds for a ticket. If you didn't signal your intent to change lanes, that is also ticketable. And while it is true that not everyone gets a ticket every time they break the law--you're not necessarily being discriminated against just because a policeman pulls you over for breaking a traffic law.

And as I had to repeat to so many folks back in the day...."Driving is a right, not a priviledge." You need to be proactive about your situation.
I'm not sure any of these can help, but it never hurts to try, either. Local non-profits may be of some help also.


http://www.legalaction.org/
http://counties.traffictickets.com/wisconsin.html
http://www.lsc.gov/

roadkill bill
Forum God/Goddess
Posts: 1700
Joined: Thu Dec 19, 2002 12:33 am
Contact:

Postby roadkill bill » Fri Dec 05, 2003 10:33 am

m_venk wrote:you don't think $2000 per year is a lot?


I didn't even pay $2000 for my entire last car! What are you doing, running them into trees every week?

You can get a shitty car for cheap - like $2000 for the whole package - and have to deal with a few repairs every once in awhile. Or you can get a nice shiny new(ish) car and have everything work fine and dandy - but it's going to cost you an arm and a leg. Take your pick.

Then, don't park illegally. Don't speed. Don't run red lights and stop signs. Yield to pedestrians. Signal your turns. I haven't gotten more than a parking ticket in 10 years, and I drive a complete hunk or junk.

And stop being such a fuckin' whiner! They should lock you up just for your attitude!

Magill
Forum Addict
Posts: 198
Joined: Thu Jun 19, 2003 10:49 am
Location: Minneapolis
Contact:

Re: TIME IS MONEY!! Police bias against low income citizens

Postby Magill » Fri Dec 05, 2003 11:08 am

alcobeat wrote:And as I had to repeat to so many folks back in the day...."Driving is a right, not a priviledge."


Did you mean to reverse that?

m_venk, your situation sucks, but from what you've said, it seems you're responsible for it. Not paying tickets, driving an unregistered vehicle, and driving without a valid license are all things you've chosen to do. It's a sad fact that most people need a car to get to and from work. But if you need to be able to drive, then you need to follow all of the rules.

alcobeat
Senior Member
Posts: 57
Joined: Thu Jul 10, 2003 5:41 pm
Location: Parts Unknown
Contact:

Re: TIME IS MONEY!! Police bias against low income citizens

Postby alcobeat » Sat Dec 06, 2003 2:50 am

Magill wrote:
alcobeat wrote:And as I had to repeat to so many folks back in the day...."Driving is a right, not a priviledge."


Did you mean to reverse that?


Yes, yes I did. Thanks for pointing it out.

That's what I get for posting in the middle of the night after not sleeping for awhile....

Darthcrank
Forum God/Goddess
Posts: 523
Joined: Sat Aug 16, 2003 1:26 pm
Location: bus stop on Gorham

Postby Darthcrank » Sun Dec 07, 2003 7:30 pm

M Venk...

The best thing for you to do is to find a job where you don't have to drive.

#2. Move to a different state, preferably one that doesn't share info with Wisconsin.

When I lived in llinois, I drove a considerable amount on the weekends in the middle of the night through rural areas and racked up enough tickets to have my license suspended for 30 days.
Lo and behold, I moved to Wisconsin, traded my Illinois licence in for Wi. and I had a clean record instantly. In the last 13 years of living here I have had only one speeding ticket and a couple of parking tickets.

So change your lifestyle, your driving habits, even your locale. It *will*make a difference.


Return to “Headlines”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: DCB and 4 guests