The good Doctor detects an ulterior motive from this questioner, whose query regarding the off-duty locations of highway patrol officers' official vehicles was answered in the December 2011 issue.
We constantly hear that all law enforcement organizations are dedicated to saving tax payers’ money. So why do the Ohio State Highway Patrol officers take their marked cars home overnight?—Thrifty in Loveland Dear Thrifty:We? Would that be the royal we? The candidates’ we? You and Mrs. Thrifty? Or would the we who are constantly hearing about the fiscal policies of the Highway Patrol be yet another cadre of crabbed, bitter, vindictive residents of Greater Sprawlia who believe that government is a giant conspiracy to rob them of the earnings of their honest labor doing—what is it exactly that you do? Oh. That’s right. You sue.
The Doctor can pick up your governmental fear-and-loathing radiation through the fillings in his teeth. He is, therefore, very aware that you and Mrs. Thrifty will have trouble understanding that sometimes governments establish sensible policies. The Urban County Government of Lexington/Fayette County, for example, collectively realized that sending their patrol cars home with peace officers not only increased the time the cars were on the streets—slowing down all traffic within sight to a crawl—it also extended the presence of the machinery of law enforcement into the neighborhoods where the peace officers resided. You should try to understand that the sight of a patrol car that sets your internal teakettle to whistling elicits a different reaction from a cat burglar strolling down the street. Instead of firing off a comment to the online edition of a newspaper, the cat burglar keeps on strolling to another, less heavily patrolled county.
The Ohio State Highway Patrol is happy not only to have its cars out on the streets where people can see them, it is happy to know that in the event of an incident on one of the state’s crumbling highways, its peace officers can leap up from supper, dash to the patrol vehicle in the driveway, and speed to the scene of the crime/disaster/emergency with lights blaring and siren howling—which is what most of us want for our public safety tax dollars.
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