Our police officers are supposed to help make our communities safer. In the case of speeding, though, our officers are more concerned about cashing in by writing tickets than taking steps to truly make the roads safer.
Jenny Anchondo (whose staff bio interestingly includes several pictures that look more like she's trying to score a job modeling than be in a professional news position) recently had a story about the five worst areas in Indianapolis for speeding. (There's also a written story here.) The station's story showed an officer hiding around the corner and using his radar gun to trap speeders that were unable to see him until it was too late.
And that is exactly the problem. Officers don't take proactive steps to make our roads safer by preventing people from speeding. Instead, they allow drivers to speed and only take steps after that damage is done.
What you see in Anchondo's story is proof that this is the case. Officers hide to catch speeders instead of staying out in the open.
What do you think would work better to keep the speed of drivers down? Hiding allows drivers to cruise along at whatever speeds they want. It doesn't slow drivers down at all. It only retroactively punishes those drivers that go fast enough to cross the threshold that the officer has decided warrants a ticket.
What if the officers didn't hide? What if they intentionally stayed out in the open? To answer that question, you only need to ask yourself what YOU would do if you were speeding and see a cop. If you're like most of us, you would immediately slow down. And so would everyone around you. Instead of everyone speeding until one person got caught, everyone would slow down and only the bold or stupid would continue to speed.
And officers being out in the open wouldn't have to be limited to where they sit on the side of the road. What if officers spent as much time on I-465 traveling the speed limit as they do hiding and waiting for someone to blow by them? Again, you know the answer. How likely are you to fly by an officer going the speed limit? You'll probably just slow down and stay behind the officer or maybe just creep by them going only a couple miles per hour above the limit.
This is evidence that officers have their priorities mixed up. Instead of taking steps that are likely to keep us from ever getting out of line to begin with, they take steps that completely allow us to get out of line and then write us a ticket for it. The priority is to ticket us first, and make us safer second. Only by staying out in the open do officers place making us safer first, and ticketing us second.
This is a byproduct of how police departments receive funding. Departments make money by busting us. This means that police departments are encouraged to let us do wrong because they can make more money because of it. Only by restructuring how the police receive money will our protectors ever care about protecting us first, and busting us later.