Sunday, January 9, 2011


I have been forced to join that infernal 'Social-Network' FaceBook.  I have been staying away from it intentionally, not into herding with the group, and I simply abhor the mundane remarks, spawning further mundane remarks, ultimately ending in disconnected conversations.  However it appears that most of my former co-workers have decided it is easier to stay in the loop on their days off with FaceBook, rather than e-mail.   Resulting in my receiving an informal order to get on FaceBook, no-one checks their e-mail anymore.    So I did.   It's not all bad.  It enabled me to finally speak to a friend I had not seen since I left work.


Who is now this ERIC.

Houston, you have no problem.  You have Eric.
[In cowboy hat and boots *sigh*]

Which makes me want to add that he was educated in France, and along with the majority of the 'old guard' I had the pleasure of working with, is extremely bright.  I add this due to the national publicity one applicant received when he appeared on the David Letterman show claiming he was too ''smart to be a cop,'' in our city.   He had been turned down due to being over qualified, the powers that be deciding he would not stay as soon as he was offered a more lucrative position related to his education.

When I first began dispatching in the city, the winter parking rules were put into effect around the first of November.  On short or narrow streets parking was allowed on one side of the street only.  It was decided that if it was an odd year, winter parking would be on the odd side of the street.  Which created problems every January, as odd became even, or vise versa, confusing a lot of residents.   This confusion led to plow operators becoming unhinged when they could not plow the streets with cars on both sides of the road (apparently you can confuse some of the people some of the time, but not all of the people, all of the time).    Which in turn led to their calling us to send the police.  The police would respond, then call in license plates.  We in turn would figure out who owned the vehicle, try to call them and have them move the vehicle, and when worst came to worst, the police would be forced to leave a ticket on the vehicle.  Even though technically the vehicles creating the problem could be towed away, this was avoided unless absolutely necessary.

The day would come when the powers that be decided switching from odd to even with the year was far too confusing, and the decision was made to make it odd or even, the year the winter actually started, all year.  Which made it a whole lot easier for the plow operators, and a whole lot easier for us not having to listen to them whine.   And not have to waste police man hours on searching for confused people whose vehicles were on the wrong side of the road.   At this juncture it is crucial to note, these rules were only strictly followed by the city during actual storms.   Snow regulations didn't become Marshall Law until one lone confused person parked on the wrong side of the road during a storm.  The rest of the residents of that street had parked on the correct side of the year in question.

It was a wicked Nor'easter that was blowing through, the plow operators had been out for nearly twenty-four hours and were just plain tired.  So around  3AM, on the second day of the storm, through the blowing snow, a plow operator spied a vehicle parked on the wrong side of the road, just in time to swerve and avoid it, in the process taking out the sides of about fourteen vehicles parked on the correct side of the road that fateful year.   Despite the disaster, an air of civility was still maintained in attempts to contact owners to move vehicles during snow storms.  To this day, Winter Parking Regulations are only in effect there during storms.

The city I worked in was a lot smaller in area than the city I live in now, and although the population is nearly the same, it is not so compressed here, though there certainly are narrow streets.  The mill rate here is through the roof, which probably explains the sheer number of on duty police at every hour of the day and night. A lot more manpower than I was ever able to have the pleasure of working with.  

And so it would happen, that a neighbor would call around the end of October to inquire if I knew when the 'Winter Parking Regulations' went into effect here, as her son was staying with her during the week, due to a job transfer.  I didn't know, so she called City Hall, and was advised that the regs. went into effect November first.  What that employee neglected to tell the woman was November 1st, at 2400 hrs.   Midnight.  Meaning if they went to bed before midnight on October 31st, they would awaken on  November 1st.   Not a lot of non-shift workers understand this, through no fault of their own.  Consequently there was a twenty dollar ticket on the woman's son's vehicle the morning of November 1st.  With no snow storm in sight.

Somehow I couldn't imagine cops in a busy city being this ticket crazy, until I remembered the city ordinance ticket money is just about the only police generated income that does not go directly into the state's general fund, but into the city's.  The city is the benefactor of the monetary fines.  But with the money this city collects in taxes alone due to a 29.4 mill rate, it didn't make sense.  At least until I checked to see if a friend had gotten back to me regarding a private message I sent her on FaceBook.

One of the retired 'Old Guard' had posted the following on FaceBook which popped up on my page, regarding the city I used to work in, and in which he still resides...

"Man, this city is just crazy. Public Works has a guy driving around in a pick up taking photos of people shovelling snow into the street. Then they sic the cops on the people and make them shovel the snow back onto the sidewalk! Whatever happened to crime fighting? People getting shot and stabbed all over this city and this is what the cops are doing? They just got done making my neighbor shovel the snow back."

{He fails to mention  that if said person forced to 'double-shovel' has a heart attack due to the added exertion, the resulting law-suit would be astronomical. Most folks remember back when things were polite, and are probably acting accordingly. If you shoveled it into the street, the bucket loaders would eventually show up to put all the pesky white stuff into a dump truck to haul away.}

Well, there you have it, even a retired cop is astounded.   If they do not 'catch' the offender, a ticket is issued to the homeowner.  The proceeds of which go directly back to the city.

And that my friends, is the sad State of the Union.....

The good news is, we were spared the brunt of last nights storm.  We only got two inches of heavy, wet snow.  My daughter on the shore got seven inches and has been whining all morning.  Someone throw her a towel, the waterworks are pouring through the phone....

1 comment:

  1. We awoke to about four inches right here in Bellingham, Washington. I think it's pretty, but it kept me from getting to the movies to see "The King's Speech." I'll try again tomorrow.

    Here, they don't do anything to anybody who leaves ice and snow even in front of businesses. It amazes me.