Police Ticket Guy Who Helped Direct Traffic After Traffic Light Failure; Then Leave Without Handling Traffic

from the no-good-deed dept

Sometimes it seems that law enforcement is a lot more interested in enforcing the letter of the law than the spirit of the law. Via Radley Balko, we learn that police in Pasadena California showed up at the intersection of Fair Oaks and Huntington Avenues to issue a ticket to Alan Ehrlich. Ehrlich's crime? Directing traffic.

Apparently the traffic light went out, leading to backups of more than a mile. It was taking cars more than 30 minutes to get through. Ehrlich decided to help out -- grabbing an orange shirt and some safety flags that he had, and helped direct traffic, apparently clearing up much of the backup in about 10 minutes. It was about that time that the police showed up and issued him a citation. And... at no point did the police decide that maybe they should be directing traffic.

Amazingly, the police chief is defending all of this by saying that the force does "not have the man power" to staff someone there to direct traffic -- but they apparently have the staff to issue a citation to the guy who volunteered to help out.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Megore, Sep 20th, 2011 @ 9:44am

    THEY'RE THE BEST!

     

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  2.  
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    A Guy (profile), Sep 20th, 2011 @ 9:45am

    Hmmm....

    Fire the police chief

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 20th, 2011 @ 9:50am

    And if that doesn't happen

    Remember that the mayor can fire the police chief. And mayors can be voted out...

     

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  4.  
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    sehlat (profile), Sep 20th, 2011 @ 9:50am

    OF COURSE they ticketed him

    Does anybody really think holders of a government monopoly (and that's exactly what police are) won't react poorly to someone doing their jobs better than they do?

     

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  5.  
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    Frankz (profile), Sep 20th, 2011 @ 9:51am

    If we can't direct the traffic, then NOBODY can!

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 20th, 2011 @ 9:53am

    Eh, yes it's lame. But, lameness doesn't spontaneously erupt as often as people think. It's bred over generations of bad law.

    This is probably the result of some liability law somewhere that if the police "allow" this dude to direct traffic and he gets hit the city is liable.

     

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  7.  
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    Jay (profile), Sep 20th, 2011 @ 9:53am

    Re:

    No doubt

     

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  8.  
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    Mike42 (profile), Sep 20th, 2011 @ 9:56am

    I see where the Chief is coming from. He doesn't have the budget to properly staff his police force, and he wants the voters to feel the pain until they vote to give him more money. Also, the guy was untrained and unauthorized, and could pose a safety risk if allowed to direct traffic.

    *That said*

    If these backups are a regular occurance, it would seem that deputizing and training volunteers would be a better idea than ticketing someone who helps out. Reach out, slap the guy on the back, give him safety training, and you have just reached out to the community in a time of crisis. Instead, the Chief has just gone a long way to further alienate people from the organization which is supposed to protect them.

     

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  9.  
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    Jay (profile), Sep 20th, 2011 @ 9:56am

    Re:

    We seriously need a way to have law review besides locking it up behind lawyers, mayors, and people not known for listening to the public.

     

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  10.  
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    Jeffrey Nonken (profile), Sep 20th, 2011 @ 10:01am

    Re:

    "Also, the guy was untrained..."

    I missed that in the article. Where did it say he was untrained? Was there another article that covered that?

     

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  11.  
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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Sep 20th, 2011 @ 10:02am

    Re:

    Do they ticket construction workers when they do the same thing? This is ridiculous.

     

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  12.  
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    Jeffrey Nonken (profile), Sep 20th, 2011 @ 10:02am

    I'm curious to know what the ticket was for. That is, what law he is alleged to have broken?

     

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  13.  
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    Paul (profile), Sep 20th, 2011 @ 10:06am

    Re:

    I find that when a course of action is defended on the basis of liability, there is almost always dollars involved, and the dollars are the *real* reason.

    For example: Doctors order useless tests because of "liability"; At the same time, doctors are paid for said tests even though their time commitment is often no more than the time it takes to put a check mark on a box, and (maybe) to read the results afterward.

    For example: Cities often do not allow unlicensed food service (such as a fireman's pancake fundraiser). Cities are paid fees for such licences.

    I don't know where the money is going here. Maybe the Police don't want jobs reduced because they are not really needed? But I doubt there is any real liability reason here.

     

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  14.  
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    Cloksin (profile), Sep 20th, 2011 @ 10:07am

    Re:

    Obviously these backups are NOT a regular occurance, since the article said the traffic light went out!

    Deputizing volunteers? In L.A. county, the only deputies are of the sherrif's department, which is actually the police force in many communities that can't afford their own police force. So are you suggesting we send people through police academy simply to direct traffic at intersections where the traffic light has stopped working?

     

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  15.  
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    Phillip Vector (profile), Sep 20th, 2011 @ 10:08am

    Re: Re:

    I would even go one further.. If he had safety flags... He's probably trained in the use of them.

     

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  16.  
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    Robert Doyle (profile), Sep 20th, 2011 @ 10:10am

    Connect with Citizens: Reason to Vote

    I will shamelessly steal your quote and re-purpose it - please don't sue... (and if someone else said it first, I'm sorry, but I didn't read every post in the world...)

    Connect with Citizens: Reason to Vote.

    When people step up, government should reach out. Not to slap them down, but to ask them to help. If Joe Public can see something needs to be done and does it, don't punish him. If it is dangerous for him to do it and you are afraid of being held liable, explain it to him so he doesn't feel pissed on.

    People always get mad when you don't understand something - but not nearly as mad as when you ask them to help you try to understand something.

     

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  17.  
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    HothMonster, Sep 20th, 2011 @ 10:13am

    Re: Re:

    we should have to explain all laws to a group of kids aged between 7-9 if they think its unfair or doesn't make sense, toss it, kids(before we corrupt them) have an innate sense of justice and fair play. If its too confusing to explain to children it needs to be reworked.

     

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  18.  
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    Jay (profile), Sep 20th, 2011 @ 10:16am

    Re: Re:

    Get into an accident or park your car while the police clean up. They're saving jobs by having the police come out to you. That's Charlie Sheen thinking right there!

     

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  19.  
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    HothMonster, Sep 20th, 2011 @ 10:17am

    Re: Re: Re:

    if you know how to drive and how to cross the street what further training does he need?

    i believe he means he didn't pay the appropriate fees to whoever it is that certifies crossing guards

     

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  20.  
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    Gabriel Tane (profile), Sep 20th, 2011 @ 10:18am

    Re: OF COURSE they ticketed him

    "...holders of a government monopoly (and that's exactly what police are)"
    Semantics, but that's not entirely true. A) they are a socialized protection force (the people pay for it... even if they're not really getting a good deal for their money)... and b) citizens can enforce the law to an extent. Go read about citizenís arrest.

    But again, that's all semantics. What bothers me here is that they ticketed a guy for (I'm assuming) obstruction or interfering with traffic, and then did nothing to actually help the situation.

    I wish someone had gotten it on film.

     

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  21.  
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    Rich, Sep 20th, 2011 @ 10:21am

    Re:

    The statute against making cops look lazy.

     

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  22.  
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    McCrea (profile), Sep 20th, 2011 @ 10:27am

    Re: Re: Mr. Obvious.

    Cloksin: "Obviously these backups are NOT a regular occurance... since the article said the traffic light went out!"

    Obviously you did not read said article well, because, obviously, the article states "Ehrlich said the Sept. 8 incident wasnít the first and that the light goes out regularly."

     

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  23.  
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    Some Other AC, Sep 20th, 2011 @ 10:27am

    Re: Re:

    Actually, in the article, Ehrlich states this particular light goes out regularly.
    "Ehrlich said the Sept. 8 incident wasnít the first and that the light goes out regularly."
    And no you don't have to put them thru Police Academy. Traffic direction is mostly common sense when dealing with a basic 4 way intersection. Also, as most of us have to pass a basic driver's safety test just to get a driver's license, knowledge of basic rules, as well as common sense, would give most citizens enough background to hold a simple Training exercise on 2 or 3 weekends for anyone who wished to volunteer. Easy solution, cheap overall and bad situations become better.

     

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  24.  
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    anonymous patriot, Sep 20th, 2011 @ 10:28am

    The Dirty Little Secret.

    This story cast light on the dirty little secret of government.

    They need more money to grow their fiefdoms so they WANT traffic in chaos because it supports their claims for more officers/bureaucrats and larger budgets. The last thing they want is for some bystander to solve the problem without OVERTIME.

    The proof is in the pudding, when schools want more money, they cut teachers, not administrators because by cutting teachers they can more directly affect the children/parents. No one would notice if they cut 2 of 3 Vice Principles.

    At the post office, they cut the delivery workers, not the Post Masters because we notice when the mail takes longer to deliver. Who here has ever even seen a post master.

    The list goes on.

     

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  25.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 20th, 2011 @ 10:34am

    What is amazing here is all the comments and nobody seems to give a crap about liablity.

    If the police came by and saw this guy, gave him a thumbs up, and a few minutes later he directs a schoolbus full of children into the path of a fuel tanker truck that explodes and kills all of them, what is the liability for the police officers, their department, and the city?

    billions.

    See, in practical terms, it is cool that this guy is willing to help out and make things good. But if he is even semi-officially sanctioned or even officially tolerated, and fucks it up, then it's the city that ends up on the hook.

    I am also sure that, if the police had let him go and a bunch of people got hurt, there would be a Techdirt article about how the lazy police left an untrained person to direct traffic, proving that the police are incompetent.

    Sorry, but the real world says "liablity" and "illegal". That's all there is to it.

     

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  26.  
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    Manabi (profile), Sep 20th, 2011 @ 10:43am

    Re:

    And what about the liability the city incurs if there's an accident because the light is out and no one is directing traffic? The article states this light going out is a regular occurrence, so obviously there's liability incurred by not fixing it properly.

    And how does leaving without doing anything to fix the traffic mess do anything to reduce their liability?

    Sorry, no, this isn't about liability, the city's doing many things that are increasing their potential liability here, while stopping someone from trying to clean up the mess.

     

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  27.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 20th, 2011 @ 10:47am

    Re: Re:

    "And what about the liability the city incurs if there's an accident because the light is out and no one is directing traffic? "

    Basic traffic law: If the light is out, it is considered a 4 way stop. If drivers are unable to follow the law, there is no liablity to the city.

    I truly hope you don't have a drivers license.

     

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  28.  
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    Robert Doyle (profile), Sep 20th, 2011 @ 10:48am

    They still didn't need to ticket him

    Seriously - tell the guy to stop it and explain why. no ticket needed. No need for him to pay a ridiculous fine or fight it in court for even more taxpayer expense.

    A simple "excuse me sir, but while we appreciate you are trying to help, due to safety concerns we really must ask you to stop. Thank you for your help though and know your intentions were appreciated. have a good day, citizen."

     

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  29.  
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    freak (profile), Sep 20th, 2011 @ 10:48am

    Re: Re: Re:

    I think you're romanticizing kids way too much. Kids are self-interested little bastards before we teach them morals.

     

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  30.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 20th, 2011 @ 10:48am

    Re:

    1- Problem exists and no one gives a crap;
    2- Good natured volunteer(s) try to fix problem;
    3- Volunteer(s) go to jail?

     

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  31.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 20th, 2011 @ 10:49am

    Re:

    If the police came by and saw this guy, gave him a thumbs up, and a few minutes later he directs a schoolbus full of children into the path of a fuel tanker truck that explodes and kills all of them, what is the liability for the police officers, their department, and the city?

    If the cops ticket this guy and essentially relieve him of duty, THEN the aforementioned disaster happens, they are liable. They knew of the problem, removed a solution, then ignored the problem.

     

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  32.  
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    bjupton (profile), Sep 20th, 2011 @ 10:50am

    Re:

    I just love that we have to judge everything based on the worst case, highly implausible scenario possible.

    This sort of thinking leads to all sorts of errors of proportionality and assessment of actual risk.

    Ridiculous, magical thinking.

     

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  33.  
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    bjupton (profile), Sep 20th, 2011 @ 10:50am

    Re:

    I just love that we have to judge everything based on the worst case, highly implausible scenario possible.

    This sort of thinking leads to all sorts of errors of proportionality and assessment of actual risk.

    Ridiculous, magical thinking.

     

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  34.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 20th, 2011 @ 10:50am

    Re:

    I think the point is, the cops should have thanked the guy for helping out, then took over and directed traffic. It's the course of action that makes the most sense.

    Ticketing the guy, then leaving the situation in a mess is just moronic.

     

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  35.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 20th, 2011 @ 10:50am

    Re: They still didn't need to ticket him

    And there's how you handle it in the real world, but since the police don't work there...

     

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  36.  
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    bjupton (profile), Sep 20th, 2011 @ 10:51am

    Re: Re:

    exactly.

    he pitched in and solved temporarily a problem.

    how is this different than applying first aid even if you are not a doctor until a doctor arrives?

     

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  37.  
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    BongoBern (profile), Sep 20th, 2011 @ 10:52am

    Weird

    What's the phrase about no good deed going unpunished?

     

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  38.  
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    Cowardly Anon, Sep 20th, 2011 @ 10:59am

    Re: Re: OF COURSE they ticketed him

    Why? So that person could be charged with wiretapping and have their camera/phone broken?

     

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  39.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 20th, 2011 @ 10:59am

    Re:

    No one has missed this point. But you have seemed to missed the point the Police Officer Left!

     

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  40.  
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    Richard (profile), Sep 20th, 2011 @ 11:02am

    the force does "not have the man power"

    Reminds me of an old joke...

    Man observes thieves breaking into his shed and phones police:
    "I'm sorry sir - there is nobody available"

    A few minutes later he tries again

    "Some men are breaking into my shed so I got my shotgun and shot one of them"

    10 minutes later:

    6 police cars with flashing lights career up the drive a helicopter appears overhead.

    A policeman runs up the drive "where is the gun and the body?"

    "There isn't a gun "

    "I thought you said you'd shot someone?"

    "I thought you said no one was available"

     

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  41.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 20th, 2011 @ 11:02am

    Re: They still didn't need to ticket him

    Old joke:

    What is the difference between cops and criminals?

    The uniform.

     

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  42.  
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    gigglehurtz (profile), Sep 20th, 2011 @ 11:02am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Maybe because first we teach them to be self-interested little bastards?

     

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  43.  
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    AJ, Sep 20th, 2011 @ 11:04am

    Re:

    Ok... same situation... guy doesn't direct trafic, everyone except for one idiot treats it as a 4 way stop, and that one idiot runs into a tanker parked next to a school bus and poof everyone dies...

    So we have no liability (the driver blew up) a buss load of dead kids, and the city is free and clear...Where is the win in this?

    Who knows if he would have caused someone to blow up, perhaps he saved someone from doing something stupid. So your telling me your not going to stop and render aid to someone who was in a car crash because you might get sued because your not a doctor?... Pussy! Don't we have good Samaritan laws to prevent liability when people are trying to help anyway?

     

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  44.  
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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Sep 20th, 2011 @ 11:04am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Basic traffic law: If the light is out, it is considered a 4 way stop.

    Depends upon the state. In mine, that isn't the case (though it ought to be.)

    Also, when last I checked, the liability for accidents as in your example is on the drivers, not the person* directing traffic. It's extremely unlikely that a tanker is going to ram a school bus just because some guy was waving him on, anyway.

    (*I think there might have been an exception for cops. If so there's actually *less* liability for a civilian to direct traffic.)

     

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  45.  
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    infinity, Sep 20th, 2011 @ 11:09am

    well.

    All that should have happened when they arrived was for them to say thank you to the man and say they would take over now.. to give him a ticket and then leave was a pretty bad decision.

     

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  46.  
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    Greevar (profile), Sep 20th, 2011 @ 11:13am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Volunteers taking voluntary training to voluntarily help direct traffic when the cops are too busy keeping the peace? How dare you?! And how do you plan to find enough community conscious activists in Californ.... oh wait.

     

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  47.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 20th, 2011 @ 11:21am

    Our good buddy! The Police Departments!! Ho hoh hoh hoh hoh hohhmhohhohhohohohho

     

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  48.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 20th, 2011 @ 11:22am

    I think that police chief went to the Eric Cartman Police Academy http://youtu.be/rIVHNylH1Mk

     

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  49.  
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    The Mighty Buzzard (profile), Sep 20th, 2011 @ 11:24am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Nope, scientifically proven human developmental fact. Their id is going strong basically from birth. The ego builds up pretty quick then finishes developing over a longer period. The superego doesn't make much of an appearance early on and generally doesn't really come into a non-shithead version until the mid-twenties.

     

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  50.  
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    HothMonster, Sep 20th, 2011 @ 11:27am

    Re: Re:

    thats why J. Jonah Jameson is always bad mouthing Captain Obvious

     

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  51.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 20th, 2011 @ 11:30am

    that sucks

     

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  52.  
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    HothMonster, Sep 20th, 2011 @ 11:31am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Well, this is a highly explosive load that detonates on impact with children and there is a bus full of children 18 feet in front of me but that guy is waving me forward so lets see if I can get this rig into 5th gear in the next 15 feet.


    I know thats how I would process it...

     

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  53.  
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    HothMonster, Sep 20th, 2011 @ 11:34am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Well from my first responder training I guess he would need an orange vest that said: " I am not a licensed traffic director, will you allow me to direct you until a licensed official is available to help you?"

     

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  54.  
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    HothMonster, Sep 20th, 2011 @ 11:36am

    Re: Weird

    that is the phrase

     

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  55.  
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    Thomas (profile), Sep 20th, 2011 @ 11:38am

    just a ticket?

    I would have thought they would have arrested him for impersonating a police officer and disorderly contact, resisting arrest, beaten him, and thrown him in jail.

    just goes to show that the cops are no longer interested in helping people anymore.

     

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  56.  
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    Chosen Reject (profile), Sep 20th, 2011 @ 11:42am

    Re: Re:

    I don't know about you, but where I'm from, gas tankers and school buses full of orphans and newborns on their way to save puppies are regularly colliding and blowing up. Also, terrorists hijack 4 out of every 5 planes and lightning strikes everybody twice a day.

     

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  57.  
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    Chris Rhodes (profile), Sep 20th, 2011 @ 11:44am

    Re:

    What is amazing here is all the comments and nobody seems to give a crap about liablity.
    The courts have made it clear that the police have NO duty to protect you (even if your ex, who you have a restraining order against, has kidnapped your children, the police bear no responsibility for their deaths after they fail to respond to your plea for help). What liability is there for the city, in this case?

    Don't give him the thumbs up or any indication of approval. Don't even talk to him. No liability incurred.

     

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  58.  
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    HothMonster, Sep 20th, 2011 @ 11:48am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    isn't the super-ego suppose to be a projection of our parents and the authority figures that replace out parents? Its been a while since i studied developmental psychology.
    But having worked with a lot of children I can say they seem to have an innate sense of fairness. I think part of it is they don't have a strong super-ego to use logic traps to rationalize how unfair something is. Like one of the standard response we see on here: "Yeah its unfair but its against the law" or "the law is the law" kind of thing, kids just go, well thats bullshit.

    Freak I won't argue that they are not self-interested, they are most of the world as far as they are concerned, but if they get no benefit or punishment from the outcome they are generally fair judges.

     

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  59.  
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    HothMonster, Sep 20th, 2011 @ 11:50am

    Re: Re: Re:

    do you live in a Micheal Bay movie? I bet the special effects are awesome but overall life isnt all it was cracked up to be.

     

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  60.  
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    Chris Rhodes (profile), Sep 20th, 2011 @ 11:51am

    Obvious

    We can't expect police to handle things like directing traffic; it takes away from revenue sources like ticket writing.

    Plus, if you leave it alone, every so often a citizen like this will come along and try to help, and then you can nail him with a fine. Win-win for the state!

     

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  61.  
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    HothMonster, Sep 20th, 2011 @ 11:51am

    Re: just a ticket?

    i think those traffic signals use computers so he probably could have gotten charged as a hacker too, the local prosecutor is probably just lazy

     

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  62.  
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    New Mexico Mark, Sep 20th, 2011 @ 11:56am

    Re:

    Nice hyperbole, but you might have chosen "a truck filled with ammonium nitrate and oil" and added "children with puppies and baby seals on their way to a charity benefit" for better effect.

    Frankly, that liability exposure claim is pretty lame, too. You really need to start with trillions before you even raise eyebrows these days. But don't stop there. Try this on for size...

    decillions.

    Kinda has a nice ring to it, huh?

    Seriously, FUD like this is what feeds the downward spiral robbing us of personal responsibility, common sense, and ultimately, liberty. Take a deep breath and realize that things usually work out a lot better, especially when citizens pitch in to help and police officers offer guidance rather than always defaulting to punishment.

     

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  63.  
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    Greg G (profile), Sep 20th, 2011 @ 11:59am

    Re: well.

    ...a pretty bad decision.

    Now there's an understatement. It goes well beyond just being a bad decision.

    Probably just a cash-strapped PD seizing an opportunity to cite someone for something they might call Unauthorized Directing of Traffic. Or some other bullshit name. Just so they could cash in. Or something.

     

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  64.  
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    Mike Raffety (profile), Sep 20th, 2011 @ 12:00pm

    The man got a citation?

    YES! A citation for meritorious conduct, I hope! Does that city have a citizen's award of some sort?

     

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  65.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 20th, 2011 @ 12:05pm

    they are the "direct traffic" patent owners , just playing as patent trolls.

     

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  66.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 20th, 2011 @ 12:19pm

    Re: Re: OF COURSE they ticketed him

    Citizen's arrest has been illegal for a very long time now.

     

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  67.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 20th, 2011 @ 12:20pm

    Re:

    "This is probably the result of some liability law somewhere that if the police "allow" this dude to direct traffic and he gets hit the city is liable."

    Then why didn't one of their (who are covered by insurance) own remain on-site to direct traffic, even for a little while?

     

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  68.  
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    btr1701 (profile), Sep 20th, 2011 @ 12:24pm

    Re: Re: OF COURSE they ticketed him

    > What bothers me here is that they ticketed a
    > guy for (I'm assuming) obstruction or interfering
    > with traffic

    That's the problem with the news these days. They only superficially report on each story. Almost every time, I'm left with key question that they haven't bothered to answer. In this story, they report that he was cited but they leave the key question of what he was cited *with* unanswered.

    I can't believe it's against the law in California for non-law enforcement to direct traffic, so what was he charged with? They'll have a hard time proving obstruction or interference with traffic because the traffic was objectively flowing better after his actions than before them.

    I just wish the media would do it's job and actually report more than just the surface facts in each story.

     

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  69.  
    identicon
    S, Sep 20th, 2011 @ 12:25pm

    Re:

    "But, but . . . the children!"

    You are a disgusting animal; you used "the children" to incite an emotional response so you could cloud the actual issue at hand.

    You're the kind of sick individual who spends all day belabouring the evils of "snuff porn" because it secretly turns them on to think about it.

     

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  70.  
    identicon
    S, Sep 20th, 2011 @ 12:26pm

    Re: Re: They still didn't need to ticket him

    Better answer: sometimes criminals go to jail for what they do.

     

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  71.  
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    btr1701 (profile), Sep 20th, 2011 @ 12:28pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    > Maybe because first we teach them to be self-interested
    > little bastards

    No, it's because they're all I'd until they're taught differently.

     

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  72.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 20th, 2011 @ 12:28pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Why do we need volunteers to train for such a thing when you can just build a replacement light and carry around with you and if something breaks somewhere just pop out the damn thing, how hard is that?
    Which brings me to the point, why is that cities don't have portable backups street traffic lights?

     

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  73.  
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    Jay (profile), Sep 20th, 2011 @ 12:29pm

    Re: Re:

    Your article really scares and chills me for various reasons I can not quite explain...

     

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  74.  
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    btr1701 (profile), Sep 20th, 2011 @ 12:33pm

    Re: Re: Re: Mr. Obvious.

    > Ehrlich said the Sept. 8 incident wasnít the first and
    > that the light goes out regularly."

    Sounds like the solution isn't to train deputies or volunteers but rather to spend the money to fix the frakkin light.

     

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  75.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 20th, 2011 @ 12:36pm

    Why cities don't have emergency backup lights?

    http://www.omjcsignal.com/firstresponder.php

    If the city don't feel like it is important people could just build a emergency street signal light with leds and arduino's and use the internet to track the lights that breakdown.

     

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  76.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 20th, 2011 @ 12:39pm

    Re: Re: They still didn't need to ticket him

    Older Joke:

    What is the difference between a fool and a comedian?

    One of them does stand up.

     

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  77.  
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    The eejit (profile), Sep 20th, 2011 @ 12:49pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Mr. Obvious.

    Welcome to America, Laws of the Insane!

     

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  78.  
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    hobo, Sep 20th, 2011 @ 12:49pm

    Re: Re:

    4. Profit!

     

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  79.  
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    HothMonster, Sep 20th, 2011 @ 1:08pm

    Re: Re:

    there was a dunkin donuts in their line of sight while they were writing the ticket

     

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  80.  
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    kobyashi, Sep 20th, 2011 @ 1:25pm

    F pasadena city

    This is a california state law, guess the "nice" guy should have kept walking. Once a traffic area is no longer controlled by electronic control, it is the responsibility of the "city" to control the traffic. Once a person "member" of the city begins to control the traffic, that area must be consistantly controlled by an employee until electronic power can be restored. So in short, once you start, you cant stop until the lights are fixed.
    So yes, the Chief and police are correct in the LETTER of the LAW, but the SPIRIT of the law says, they should have thanked him and sent him on his way.

    " no good deed goes un-punished "

     

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  81.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 20th, 2011 @ 1:26pm

    Re:

    Simple. The cops tell the guy to stop directing traffic. Problem solved. No need for a ticket.

     

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  82.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 20th, 2011 @ 1:26pm

    This one need a jury trial and then a lawsuit.

     

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  83.  
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    Josh in CharlotteNC (profile), Sep 20th, 2011 @ 1:33pm

    Re:

    What is amazing here is all the comments and nobody seems to give a crap about liablity.

    Yep, some of us no longer give a crap about "liability" because the concept has been corrupted by companies and lawyers in an effort to cover up the truth in whatever situation that word is being applied to. The real words we're looking for is "responsibility" and "fault."

    "Liability" is the reason hair-dryers have warnings like "Do not use while showering." or packs of airplane peanuts say: "Warning, may contain nuts." and there's instructions on individual cheese slices to "Open here." So pardon me for not giving a crap about your corrupted concept of liability.

    In this case, the city is responsible for multiple reasons. For not fixing a traffic light that repeatedly fails. For not budgeting enough to the police to have someone available for traffic duty. Ultimately it is the responsibility of the citizens, either for not paying enough in taxes to support the services they want, or allowing the taxes they pay to be wasted on other things, or for electing representatives who have voted for those things. But that's a difficult truth to accept, so we end up with a guy trying to help out get smacked because the city would be "liable" for exactly what they really are responsible for.

    And then of course, we have the whole other idea of trying to apply liability to those who are in no way responsible. But that's for another story.

     

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  84.  
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    Douglas Smith (profile), Sep 20th, 2011 @ 1:33pm

    Re: Yep!

    That's why we call em' PIGS!

     

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  85.  
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    Markus Hopkins (profile), Sep 20th, 2011 @ 1:44pm

    Slight Correction

    The city must be South Pasadena because the only Huntington that intersects with Fair Oaks is Huntington Drive. Slight correction, but it does affect which city's officers were being unreasonable.

     

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  86.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 20th, 2011 @ 2:19pm

    Re: Re:

    a truck filled with ammonium nitrate and oil
    And Piranhas!

     

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  87.  
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    Jay (profile), Sep 20th, 2011 @ 2:22pm

    Re: Re: Yep!

    Nothing will ever keep them down.

     

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  88.  
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    Paul (profile), Sep 20th, 2011 @ 2:26pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    I don't know where the money is going. I said that. If I strongly believed this was about Police protecting the number of police I would have said that to be the case. If this is an intentional policy, I would almost bet it makes some money for someone involved.

    Of course, it *could* have been unintentional. Like just stupidly applying a law for one situation (people just stepping out into the street and directing traffic for no good reason) to another (people stepping out to solve a serious problem).

    Whatever the justification, I don't think it is about liability.

    The City doesn't incur additional liability when someone breaks or bends a law, and the police don't ticket. They can just tell the guy to quit, and warn him. People break or bend the law all the time and get warnings. The police can always issue a ticket *after* a bad outcome to protect against liability.

    A review of what I wrote doesn't yield (at least to me) anything that would warrant an accusation of "Charlie Sheen" thinking. Maybe light on details, but it wasn't deranged.

     

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  89.  
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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Sep 20th, 2011 @ 2:34pm

    Home traffic direction is killing the traffic light industry.

     

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  90.  
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    S, Sep 20th, 2011 @ 2:56pm

    Re: F pasadena city

    They're only correct in the letter of the law, as you relay it, if he STOPPED directing traffic after starting, but before the police arrived.

     

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  91.  
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    Kerry D. Christoph, Sep 20th, 2011 @ 3:45pm

    Re: Slight Correction

    It is in the city of South Pasadena - as described in the CBS article. While it's exactly where you'd think it is by the name, it is most definitely a separate city from Pasadena.

     

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  92.  
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    AnonCow, Sep 20th, 2011 @ 4:01pm

    Those that are saying that something cannot be done should not get in the way of those that are doing it.

    Or something Confucian like that...

     

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  93.  
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    Greevar (profile), Sep 20th, 2011 @ 4:02pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Money, that's why.

     

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  94.  
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    BearGriz72 (profile), Sep 20th, 2011 @ 4:40pm

    Re: Re: Re: OF COURSE they ticketed him

    "Citizen's arrest has been illegal for a very long time now."

    {{Citation Needed}}

     

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  95.  
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    Derek Kerton (profile), Sep 20th, 2011 @ 4:43pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "I can say they seem to have an innate sense of fairness"

    Bollocks. I say they have an all-consuming demand for fairness, especially whey they believe they have been treated unfairly.

    ...BUT their concepts of fairness are terribly immature, rudimentary, simple, biased in their favor, and dwell only on the short-term present time frame.

    Try picking one child up from school and buying her ice cream. Then pick up the second child, and go out for dinner. Now, only buy the second child ice cream after dinner. The first child think it's UNfair that she gets no ice cream. Even though they both did.

    I also played soccer with some 6 year olds. Some kept using their hands to stop the ball as an unintended reflex, others had the ball hit their arms by mistake. No matter. Both sets of kids would argue to their deaths that the ball did not hit their hands. Their "sense of fairness" told them that, since they didn't touch the ball deliberately, it was only fair that it doesn't count.

     

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  96.  
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    BearGriz72 (profile), Sep 20th, 2011 @ 4:53pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "portable backups street traffic lights"?

    I had never heard of or seen such a thing before, but a quick Google search and...
    http://portabletrafficsignalstss.com/
    https://www.oksolar.com/lion/Item/1608450/portable-tr affic-signals
    Now I absolutely agree! Why don't we have a few of these for when traffic signals fail?

     

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  97.  
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    EdB, Sep 20th, 2011 @ 6:08pm

    impersonating an officer

    I skimmed after 60 comments, but generally that is the problem with someone randomly choosing to do a cop's job. From the article for those who didn't read it: "After 15 minutes, South Pasadena police say they finally received a call about their newest traffic officer." Sure that was an attempt at comedy, but hey what happens when a concerned citizen decides to clean up the streets by arresting all the drug dealers and has to resort to deadly force?

    Would that be okay, or would everyone say the cops arrested the citizen due to liability concerns.

     

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  98.  
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    Tom, Sep 20th, 2011 @ 6:09pm

    Re: Re:

    Why not? You say that so incredulously, but why not offer a level of training that allows people to perform tasks such as directing traffic and let police focus on solving crimes and protecting people?

    As far as I can see the only thing stopping something like that from happening is people scoffing at the idea.

     

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  99.  
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    Jay (profile), Sep 20th, 2011 @ 7:18pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I was joking. I agree with you but noting the irony that the police just want to show the world that they don't want to do their job, nor let anyone else do it for them. In a way, that's WINNING!

    :)

     

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  100.  
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    Alice Cooper, Sep 20th, 2011 @ 8:17pm

    Re: Re: well.

    The State of California's budget is screwed on every level- no surprise at all that cops are ticket-happy. They recently doubled fees at the DMVs.

    It's always down to dollars...

     

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  101.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 20th, 2011 @ 9:04pm

    I know a city where there is an island on the main street. The island must have like 200 parking spots and hardly any one ever parks there. There is a two hour parking limit but, for years, it was never enforced. Local business owners would park in the island, so you would have a few cars, but there were far more empty spots than cars all day long, every single day.

    One day the city decided to enforce the two hour parking limit (long story, you can blame the mayor though). It made EVERYONE complain to the city and now no one can ever find a parking spot. At first, to avoid a ticket, local employees would move their car from one parking spot to an adjacent spot every so often. Eventually, they even got ticketed doing that. It's turned into a fiasco. Everyone has been asking for parking exemptions for people who work in the area and the city has been saying that they're working on it. It's been a few months now, nothing has been done. No one hardly ever has any place to park and there is this island full of empty parking spots that no one wants to park in to avoid a ticket.

    The area that I speak of is Hawthorne California on Hawthorne Boulevard. It's so sad watching the ticket person giving someone a ticket for being a car parked in a lot full of empty spots.

     

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  102.  
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    BeeAitch (profile), Sep 21st, 2011 @ 12:13am

    Re: They still didn't need to ticket him

    ...and then the police should step in and solve the damn problem themselves.

     

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  103.  
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    BeeAitch (profile), Sep 21st, 2011 @ 12:14am

    Re: the force does "not have the man power"

    I hadn't heard that one. Priceless...

     

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  104.  
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    BeeAitch (profile), Sep 21st, 2011 @ 12:16am

    Re:

    RESPECT MAH AUTHORATAH!!!!

     

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  105.  
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    BeeAitch (profile), Sep 21st, 2011 @ 12:23am

    Re: Obvious

    +1 insightful, though it sickens me to admit it...

     

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  106.  
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    PaulT (profile), Sep 21st, 2011 @ 1:57am

    Re:

    Somewhere in your rant, you missed that the central point here doesn't just seem to be that they ticketed the guy, but that the police didn't even finish the job he started. The "lazy police" didn't direct traffic, even though they were at the scene and gave a manpower excuse for not doing so. That has nothing to do with liability.

     

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  107.  
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    Butcherer79 (profile), Sep 21st, 2011 @ 2:52am

    Re: Re: Re: OF COURSE they ticketed him

    Each state, with the exception of North Carolina, permits citizen arrests if the commission of a felony is witnessed by the arresting citizen, or when a citizen is asked to assist in the apprehension of a suspect by police. The application of state laws varies widely with respect to misdemeanors, breaches of the peace, and felonies not witnessed by the arresting party. For example, Arizona law allows a citizen's arrest if the arrestor has personally witnessed the offense occurring.

    American citizens do not carry the authority or enjoy the legal protections held by police officers, and are held to the principle of strict liability before the courts of civil- and criminal law including, but not limited to, any infringement of another's rights. Nonetheless many citizens' arrests are popular news stories.

    Though North Carolina General Statutes have no provision for citizens' arrests, detention by private persons is permitted and applies to both private citizens and police officers outside their jurisdiction. Detention is permitted where probable cause exists that one has committed a felony, breach of peace, physical injury to another person, or theft or destruction of property. Detention is different from an arrest in that in a detention the detainee may not be transported without consent.

     

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  108.  
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    JN, Sep 21st, 2011 @ 5:00am

    Re:

    Sorry, if you have the manpower to go and issue a ticket, you have the manpower for them to direct traffic for a while.

     

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  109.  
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    Jose_X, Sep 21st, 2011 @ 5:37am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I wonder how extensive was your experiment and analysis. In any case, as for the soccer, we don't necessarily sense something like ball hitting hand when we are playing and our focus is elsewhere (it depends, but do notice how many pickpocketers, thieves, magicians accomplish their goals). Your mind zooms things out to give greater reality/focus to others (or just takes a break or skips a beat). If you didn't actually make the preparation to use your hand, you might be less likely to realize you used it. [None of this is to say that in any particular instance the kid isn't aware of what happened and decided to lie for some reason or other.]

     

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  110.  
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    Jose_X, Sep 21st, 2011 @ 5:44am

    Re:

    It might be a law the guy would be proud to have broken and might break it again.

    Drop by a church and you could probably almost instantly get the crowd to chip in to cover it.

    The guy could have possibly smiled and gladly taken the ticket. Frame it. Use it to direct a drive to overturn the law or shake up city hall.

    Maybe it's tax deductible.

     

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  111.  
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    TC, Sep 21st, 2011 @ 8:41am

    Directing traffic doesn't generate revenue... issuing tickets does.

     

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  112.  
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    Jimmy, Sep 21st, 2011 @ 9:00am

    Re: Re:

    Paul, Doctors also pay a lot of money in malpractice insurance. "Liability" helps no one but the lawyers.

     

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  113.  
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    Sid, Sep 21st, 2011 @ 9:09am

    Mending the Flow of Traffic?

    I once got a ticket for "mending the flow of traffic." I was on a skateboard, going downhill at 35 mph. The posted speed limit was 35 mph. However, the traffic behind me was a little (3-4 cars) backed up, following me down the hill. At the bottom, the police ticketed me. Now, for me to be "mending the flow" the cars behind me would have needed to be going faster than 35 mph, which would be speeding. So the logic is, I needed to get out of the way, so people can go faster than the posted speed limit, or I am in trouble? Hmmmmm!

     

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  114.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 21st, 2011 @ 10:13am

    And I thought Barney Fife was dead!

     

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  115.  
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    Frank, Sep 21st, 2011 @ 10:16am

    Re:

    And those idiots are probably still looking for John Gotti!

     

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  116.  
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    Paul (profile), Sep 21st, 2011 @ 10:20am

    Mending the Flow....

    If a car could not pass you on a skateboard, could they have passed a car? I doubt it.

    And a speed *limit* is the maximum you can go. It is perfectly legal to drive under the speed limit within reason. I would expect anything above 20 mph to be absolutely acceptable in a 35 mph zone, legally speaking.

    This comes from perhaps the only guy you will ever meet who had their mother take over the wheel on a road trip because, and this is the quote, "You drive too slow."

     

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  117.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 21st, 2011 @ 12:28pm

    wow this is stupid why would they do that i now know that law enforcement is retarded

     

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  118.  
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    Lee, Sep 21st, 2011 @ 12:30pm

    Re:

    How do you know the police force doesn't have the resources? Those details aren't readily available in this article. Not enough resources could be a reason, but could be as simple as the department not using their resources efficiently. It could be that the police chief is purposely doing this to use as leverage when he goes to argue for more funds that he doesn't really need if he was more efficient. This could have been a case of "not my job" by those cops and they failed to report it. Police won't think twice before protecting "their own" in this situation and the people shouldn't think twice before protecting their wallets and making sure they are getting their money's worth.

     

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  119.  
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    Heather, Sep 21st, 2011 @ 1:17pm

    ummm

    ok first of all i would sue the police department or the state of CA because that is some serious...wrongness...seriously the guy was only trying to help...it's not like he was shooting at people or something. get it together LAW FORCE...

     

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  120.  
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    George Hoenig, Sep 21st, 2011 @ 1:32pm

    WOW.

    This is unbelievable. Maybe the Police Chief should have went and directed traffic. All this is a ploy to generate revenue and at the same time cry they're understaffed. Typical "i'll cover my rear" attitude. After all, they just turn on their red lights to get through the traffic.

     

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  121.  
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    Tom, Sep 21st, 2011 @ 2:25pm

    Crime- Impersonating a peace office

    This is rather simple. He was impersonating a peace officer and directing traffic. Regardless of the intent, it is against the law.

    How often do you watch a heist film and see thieves wear a semblance of a uniform and direct traffic so a caravan of thieves get away? (not saying that is what happened here)

    You, the savvy viewer with god-like vision, wonder why citizens could so easily be beguiled by this rag-tag impression of a peace officer or security guard.

    The crime is not in the action but in the domino effect an action like this could have. The police were well within their right to give this gentlemen a citation for a number of reasons.

    It is also presumptuous to think that the officers involved in this case, were not involved in other investigations at the time. Would you have these officers stay to direct traffic if they were on the way to investigate a more serious crime?

    It is reasonable to question authority but be reasonable about how you question it.

     

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  122.  
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    Charlie Sheen, Sep 21st, 2011 @ 3:48pm

    Re:

    So what you say is: if someone trained directed by mistake that school bus to a fuel tanker, the city would not be liable. I like your logic :)

    What most people try to say here is that the police should thank the guy and give him a warning not to do this again due to liability reasons.

    Duh!

     

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  123.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 21st, 2011 @ 6:01pm

    Re: Crime- Impersonating a peace office

    "This is rather simple. He was impersonating a peace officer and directing traffic. Regardless of the intent, it is against the law. "

    Impersonating what? he was wearing a safety vest. you may want to re-read the article and re-think your comment.

     

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  124.  
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    Gilbert, Sep 21st, 2011 @ 9:21pm

    Traffic

    first of all he was NOT impersonating an officer he put on safty vest for his own safty the city can cut this n that but sure can go out and give him a citation all he was doing was clearing traffic no crime no harm you have some real live jerks to say he was impersonating WOW Jerks !!

     

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  125.  
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    Binaca Douche, Sep 21st, 2011 @ 9:36pm

    Traffic

    Similar sitch in my own neighborhood tonight. Emergency services sent Fire and Rescue to a power outage. Luckily, private security and the neighbors took care of the traffic mess our public servants made. No tickets. But no cooperation, either. Duh!

     

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  126.  
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    Chadwick Dale, Sep 22nd, 2011 @ 6:56am

    This should say something about our society and people we elect and put in charge of our communities. For starters somebody else should have been directing traffic but to issue a ticket to an innocent man who was trying to help out because our officals and policemen who were nowhere to be found couldn't perform one simple task is absolutely absurd. The person who gave the ticket should be fired and or under reform because this is completely ridiculous.
    Police should do their job that way we don't have to do it. Enough said.

     

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  127.  
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    Conartist, Sep 22nd, 2011 @ 7:11am

    This article posed an interesting debate, I understand the city has a liabilitity concerning the 'volunteers' effort to clean up the mess, but what really bothers me is that after the officer had ticketed the volunteer the officer did not stay and continue the work. (I understand that not every intersection needs an officer at the corner waiting for the lights to go out but if it is a regular occurence and it is a known fact that it causes traffic, why did that particular officer leave knowing traffic was bad?)

     

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  128.  
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    Gabriel Tane (profile), Sep 23rd, 2011 @ 6:20am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: OF COURSE they ticketed him

    Thank you Butcherer... that's why I invited him to 'go read about'... I (foolishly) assumed he would. Well, not him specifically just... you know... people.

    But since he obviously didn't read about it, I'll put him as embodiment of my imaginary list of people who should have gone and read it.

    So thank you for helping him read. :)

     

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  129.  
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    Anonymous, Sep 23rd, 2011 @ 9:51am

    Re: Re:

    Agreed. I would think somebody that had an "orange shirt and some safety flags" on hand would be more likely trained than not.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 24th, 2011 @ 10:13pm

    Not enough manpower?

    "... leading to backups of more than a mile. It was taking cars more than 30 minutes to get through."

    If you multiply the amount of cars needing to wait by 30, you get the total number of hours of time this cost members of the community. Assuming 1 lane in each direction, 1 mile of backups in each direction, and each car taking up 26.4 feet, that's 800 cars, so 400 hours of citizen's time wasted per half hour the traffic is undirected (after a half hour, 800 new cars are in the jam.) Is it *really* not worth the police's time?

    The value to the citizens of making the traffic flow, I would argue, is actually more important than almost anything else they could be doing, unless they're ALL investigating violent crimes and home invasions. If they had time to ticket the guy, they had time for one of them to direct traffic.

     

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    wes, Sep 28th, 2011 @ 11:21am

    Re:

    When the traffic light is out, you have 4 people at a time "directing traffic" by trying to figure out who should go first. Thiat is more of a safety concern than a man in a orange shirt and safety flags directing traffic.

     

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    Dave Lieberman, Mar 21st, 2013 @ 8:36am

    Wrong city in article.

    That intersection is in the City of South Pasadena, not the City of Pasadena. South Pasadena is well known for the revenue enhancements their police force bring to the municipal coffers. The Pasadena police, like most Southern California law-enforcement agencies, are relatively imbued with common sense when it comes to minor infractions.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 6th, 2013 @ 11:50pm

    Re: Crime- Impersonating a peace office

    Umm, if they were on their way to investigate a serious crime, I would prefer that they not stop at all to give a ticket.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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