‘Highway Robbery’

Astounding! The numbers presented in “Highway Robbery” (May, 2007) are simply astounding! I never imagined that the Village of Arlington Heights, Ohio, could issue enough citations over one year that every man, woman and child living there could have four of their very own.
But let us examine the obviously biased and misleading view of the writer, Felix Winternitz. He attacks every Mayor’s Court in the local area without performing any valid research. And the numbers “crunched” by Cincy Business magazine, while entertaining, are completely useless. In the chart, “Trial by Mayor: Odor in the Court!,” Mr. Winternitz intends to show that police departments are issuing more than their fair share of citations based on the amount of residents and vehicle accidents where injuries occurred.
If this was the sole statistic available, Mr. Winternitz may have accomplished his goal. However, a majority of traffic accidents never result in any type of injury other than to a person’s pride and property. There were a total of 358,127 traffic crashes in the state of Ohio in 2005, meaning that a resident driver has a 3 percent chance of being involved in an auto accident every time they start their vehicle. In 72 percent of these cases, speed was a contributing factor to the cause of the accident, if not the primary cause. The chances of a person being injured in an automobile accident greatly increase with every mile per hour over the posted speed limit.
Arlington Heights, for instance, has more than 74 million vehicles travel through its jurisdiction each year, more than 82,000 times its population of 899! Using the raw number of cases provided by Mr. Winternitz (3,772), and assuming the every single case is a speed violation, Arlington Heights police issued citations to less than 0.005 percent of the total traffic flow.
Most part-time and auxiliary officers often maintain other full-time employment. When called to testify in court, those officers often lose an entire day's worth of pay from their main employment. As a part-time or auxiliary officer, why would I wish to issue citations knowing that when subpoenaed to court I would lose at least one-fifth of my paycheck for the week?
Finally, Mr. Winternitz, if you choose to abuse your position in the media to destroy the relationship existing between citizens and their Police Officers and governments sworn to protect them, please do it with factual, unbiased information and informed, intelligent opinions. Remember: "Speeding tickets. They’re inevitable" — unless you take your foot off the gas!
— Robert Wright

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