Police state, Pt II
A great shot captured by QC Times photographer John Shultz as a part of a piece in the Times shows one of several arrays of high-tech equipment recently installed in Davenport designed to snare ever more motorists for speeding and/or red light violations.
The equipment is given to the city free of charge by the company which markets them in exchange for a cut of the fines collected.
This little scheme must be extremely profitable, as the same company also gave the city a mobile van equipped with their gear in which an officer sits concealed while aiming high tech lasers and cameras at motorists in order to nab violators.
The cops are nabbing anyone exceeding the limit by 12 mph for 90 days, but will then start sweeping up people going as little as 10 mph over the limit and 8 mph over in school zones.
Boy.. I don't know about you, but I'm no leadfoot around town. But if I got a ticket every time I exceeded 40 mph, I'd have a lot of tickets in a year. If this trend continues and expands and these inhuman robo-cop things were installed everwhere, there'd barely be any drivers left with a valid license.
It's a fact that there's several hilly 30 mph zones just in Moline alone where you have to ride your brakes for a very long time just to stay within the limit. You can easily reach 40 mph just coasting. Cops already frequently work these little goldmines as it is, but imagine if there was an inhuman "cop" stationed there 24/7.
It remains to be seen just how agressive the police will be with these devices.
Are these measures proper? Is the arrangement between the supplier of this equipment and the police department proper or ethical? Where is the balance between public safety and simply providing an ever increasing revenue stream (and profits). Should the profit motive be so closely linked to law enforcement?
These measures pose many questions as well as the larger question of the increasing militarization of local police departments.
A prior post on the subject and the comments from it may serve as a beginning of further discussion here.
And though it would be wrong, wrong, wrong, it's not hard to imagine some disgruntled libertarian who's sick of getting tickets breaking out his rifle and scope and simply picking off these "birds of prey" on their perches.
Are you comfortable with these high-tech, militaristic trends in local law enforcement and what it portends for the future? Once these measures are accepted, they will doubtless expand and get ever more intrusive and unyielding. (Though of course, if you're "unyielding", you'd likely get a ticket.)