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When Lawlessness Prevails

Posted by Rick · September 7th, 2005 · 4 Comments

Before getting into the substance of this post, let me offer a disclaimer, or caveat, if you will.

Today, I will take the Chief of Police of the City of Clovis — Jim Zulim — to task for encouraging people to believe that might makes right, that it’s okay to use the power of your office for your own personal reasons regardless of how things should be done and for causing the Clovis Police Department to abandon its duty to the citizens of Clovis.

But I want to also be clear that I share his irritation. I understand the forces that have driven him to turn the police department towards helping him with (at least) one of his own personal pet peeves.

According to the Fresno Bee,

Clovis Police Chief Jim Zulim got tired of watching other motorists drive by him on Highway 168 through Clovis as if his car were standing still. — Marc Benjamin, “Pedals coming off the metal” (September 7, 2005) The Fresno Bee.

As I said, I share Zulim’s irritation. I drive that route daily, literally risking my life on a motorcycle. If you’ve ever heard of the bizarre phenomenon of folks not seeing motorcyclists, imagine what happens when they’re doing 90 miles per hour — especially if they happen to be weaving in and out of slower traffic to do it.

But as the Bee goes on to note,

[W]riting tickets on freeways is a duty generally reserved for California Highway Patrol officers.— Marc Benjamin, “Pedals coming off the metal” (September 7, 2005) The Fresno Bee.

And while the Clovis Police Department is out on Highway 168 dealing with Zulim’s pet peeve, there are fewer Clovis police providing services to the citizens of Clovis who pay their salaries.

Perhaps in Third World countries, it’s proper for police chiefs to commandeer a police force for their own personal vendettas. The United States, however, (until recently) has operated according to specified rules and procedures. The prevalence of “me first” speeders on Highway 168 springs from the same ailment that is apparently driving Zulim: Damn the laws. Damn procedures. Damn the way things are normally done. I’ll do what I want. And if others don’t cooperate with me, I’ll force them, whatever it takes. Yes, even if it’s outside my normal sphere of influence.

The difference here is that Zulim has his own police force.

But when the world degenerates into the kind place where who you are and what you can command — or get away with — is the rule, then we all lose.

Zulim should prevail upon the Highway Patrol to step up their activities in the performance of their assigned duties along Highway 168.

The Clovis Police Department has its own jurisdiction and its own people to serve and protect.

Categories: Law and Legal Issues


4 responses so far ↓

  • 1 nick meyer // Sep 8, 2005 at 11:51 am

    The police officers that are on the 168 are traffic motor officers assigned to traffic detail. That portion of the freeway is within the boundaries of the City of Clovis and the majority of motorists are Clovis residents driving to and from work. So what is the problem. These are not officers taken away from their normal duty. These are traffic officers upholding the traffic laws within their jurisdiction.

  • 2 Rick Horowitz // Sep 8, 2005 at 12:54 pm

    If you read the story, you’ll see that they are doing duties that are normally done by the CHP.

    They may be traffic officers, but their normal duties include writing tickets and handling traffic issues on the streets of the City of Clovis.

    While they’re sitting out on the freeways (assuming they actually are), they aren’t handling the speeders and traffic issues in the city itself.

    More importantly, though, was the point demonstrated by the way in which the officers were assigned. The police chief got a stick up his butt and thought, “You know? I control an entire police force. I’ll just reassign some cops, because this pisses me off.”

    As I noted before, that’s exactly how Third World corrupt police organizations operate. The guys who “call the shots” make decisions based not on any rational appreciation for the needs of the community, but based upon what personally irks them.

    So, to answer your question, that’s the problem.

  • 3 Mike // Sep 8, 2005 at 4:49 pm

    Not much less evil than what the City of Fresno is doing. I agree that people traveling 90MPH pose a safety hazard, but this situation did not arise from numerous complaints directed at the CPD – rather it arose from the personal peeve of the person in charge.
    Fresno on the other hand is issuing traffic tickets as a method of generating revenue. If you know what the definition of a speed trap is, Fresno is guilty of this on a large scale. And yet, as much as I disagree with the fact that they are using citations as a method of revenue generation, I have more of an issue with people that roll over and accept it. As a matter of being a citizen, it is not a good idea to simply accept authority but rather to hold authority accountable for their decisions and actions. Issuing illegal tickets should have the people of Fresno up in arms. Instead, they pay the tickets. Add another wing to City Hall – finish the Klingon Battle Cruiser that is parked downtown – make it a monument to apathy…

  • 4 Sean // Oct 8, 2005 at 7:29 pm

    Speeding drivers, I regard as being spoiled — besides ironic. (“Speeding for what and why?” one might not need to ask — perhaps, supposing the answer would be, most often, “I don’t know”, or perhaps something like, “Gee, it’s fun to drive this flashy hunk of plastic-and-metal! so fast down road! zoom-zoom!”)

    If slower driving-speeds would occasion any more fuel efficiency, I bet that any given news agencies would pride themselves about covering it — just thinking so, here.

    (As I recall, I’d heard at least one CUSD math teacher, suggesting that a reasonable driving speed does lead to better fuel-economy. I might be surprised if speeding drivers would hear and/or listen to reason about so much, “but who knows”)

    If bureaucracies — be they made for law enforcement or otherwise — if they are floating around like so many balloons without strings, then perhaps the nearest representatives to them will be able to remind them of their obligations. (I am afraid that the bureaucracies’ members might not listen to the common people, with anything more than a nod — if even in that much. The clout of a reasonable representative — well, to heck with concern about politics and “versus”. Some things just need to be addressed.)

    I cannot regard education as a panacea, but it seems that a good education is of help — at least, if not in most, for consideration. The people considerate would be far better as drivers?

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