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Could have, but didn't

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

McHenry County, Illinois

Could have, but didn't

Gus Philpott
Woodstock Advocate
July 16, 2009

A few years ago I was at a party in Denver, and a woman was wearing a t-shirt with the words, "I don't get mad. I get even."

Today I happened to be behind a Woodstock police car. The driver approached an intersection and, when he was 1 1/2 car lengths from the corner (about 30-40 feet), he signaled a right turn.

Now I know from recent experience that a driver is required to signal at least 100' before the corner.

Then he went one short block and stopped at a stop sign. At that corner a right turn is required. Did I see a turn signal? No.

Two $75.00 violations.

Now, of course, I could have honked and waved, as if I wanted to ask him a question and, when he stopped, asked him to call his supervisor to take my complaints and issue the two tickets.

Had he fought them in court and lost, add about $200 per ticket on top of the fines. A total of $550 would make a little dent in a week's pay; right? I don't know the policy at the Woodstock Police Department, but I'm pretty sure the Chief isn't going to dip into any slush fund and fork over $550 to the McHenry County Circuit Court just because an officer was on duty (even though some of it would make its way back to Woodstock).

But I didn't. Could I have? Yes. Should I have? Well, in light of my own recent experience with one of Woodstock's finest, perhaps I should have. But why take it out on someone else, who just "slipped up."

Maybe the Chief and the Sergeants of the Woodstock Police Department will conduct a refresher course for all patrol officers. If it's a really minor violation, make the traffic stop. If the driver's license and insurance are in order and the driver isn't wanted, write a Warning.

And cut out the paybacks.

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