Thursday, July 3, 2008

Letter to Rob Smuts regarding traffic violations, July 2, 2008

This letter is from a coalition supporter, sent July 2nd to CAO Rob Smuts and Deputy Patrol Resource Coordinator Witkowski. Rob Smuts replied on July 3rd; that letter is also posted below.

Dear Rob and Lt. Witkowski,

At 5:51pm today I was standing near the intersection of Dwight and Edgewood. An NHPD squad car was coming down Edgewood Ave approaching the intersection. While the NHPD squad car was still a way's off, the light turned yellow. The NHPD car was not rushing anywhere as it was travelling at a normal speed and did not have its sirens or lights on. Yet when the light turned yellow, the squad car accelerated. The light then turned red. The NHPD squad car still had enough time to come to a stop. It did not. Instead, it accelerated through the red light. It then continued down Edgewood Ave, with no lights or sirens on.

This is far from the first time I have seen this happen at this intersection.

The New Haven community has been crying out for police to enforce traffic laws. How are they to do that, if they break them themselves?

I am under the understanding that NHPD cars may not recklessly run red lights under any circumstances, and may proceed through them at slower speeds only when rushing to an emergency. Despite my faith in the good intentions of the NHPD, given the lack of lights and sirens and the frequency, with which I have seen NHPD cars run red lights at this intersection (not to mention at Elm & York, where this occurrence is probably even more frequent), I have great trouble believing these squad cars are running red lights only when there are emergencies. Instead, I have to believe they run them for the same reasons as most drivers in New Haven: because it's a pain to wait thirty seconds for the light to turn green again.

If this is, indeed, the attitude of (not to mention the example set by) some of New Haven's finest -- even if it's only a small minority of them -- then it needs to change. I urge you to respond to the public's calls for safer streets in New Haven and send a message to the Department that traffic laws are to be enforced, not broken, by the police.

Sincerely, H.Smith, 85 Edgewood Ave.

Reply from Rob Smuts:

Please do get the car numbers, as Lt Witkowski requested. You make the obvious distinction between a car responding to an emergency and normal travel and under normal travel there is no excuse nor any tolerance foran officer failing to obey traffic (or any other) laws. Thank you for bringing this to our attention.

Best, Rob Smuts

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This doesn't surprise me at all. I see NHPD cars doing rolling stops through the intersections on Cold Spring every week. Unfortunately they are also leading by example as non-police cars do the same thing, and not surprisingly there is no enforcement on this issue.