Where are the cops?

state troopers by Dennis Cox@Dreamstime.com

State Trooper writing a ticket by Dennis Cox@Dreamstime.com
State Trooper writing a ticket by Dennis Cox@Dreamstime.com

Where's the cops?

Where are the cops?

Every day driving the twenty minutes it takes to go to work, people on Interstate 80 are traveling over the speed limit.

They jut in and out of traffic, tailgate for no apparent reason, practically side swipe individuals when they cut them off in traffic, and then have the nerve to make obscene gestures to the one who is actually the victim!

During all this highway drama, where are all the cops?

Focus on the innocent victim

They always seem to appear when the individual who is only going 5 to 10 miles over the speed limit passes them, but never seem to be around when others are going 80mph in a 60mph zone!

The worst part is when an individual does get pulled over, the cops are so rude and condescending that the person being pulled over never even has a chance to speak. The officer cuts them off, makes their speech, checks their license, and writes them a ticket without ever offering the driver the chance to say a word.

The purpose of the highway patrol

The highway patrol or state troopers are police units created primarily for the purpose of overseeing and enforcing traffic safety compliance on roads and highways.

Duties of highway patrol or state troopers include the following:

  • Traffic enforcement: enforcing laws and regulations intended to improve traffic safety, such as speed limits
  • Emergency response: securing the scene of a traffic accident by using cones and flares as well as providing first aid to the injured
  • Accident investigation: gathering evidence to determine the cause of a roadway accident
  • Commercial vehicle enforcement: enforcing highway laws related to commercial transport, including weight limits and hazardous materials rules
  • General law enforcement: assisting local police, especially in rural areas, and keeping an eye out for non-traffic violations
  • Maintenance: observing and reporting damage to the roadways, and conducting hasty road surveys after disasters or the passage of inclement weather
  • Education: providing public information, handouts and displays to encourage safe driving and usage of the roads

Where state troopers occasionally fail

There are several areas where the highway patrol across the United States could use improvement. Some of the areas of concern are as follows:

· Racial Profiling

In the late 1990s, both the Maryland and New Jersey State Police agencies were subject to allegations of racial profiling which claimed that black motorists were being pulled over disproportionately on the New Jersey Turnpike and on Interstate 95, for no reason other than race alone. Unfortunately, racial profiling occurs everywhere, not just in New Jersey and Maryland.

· Lords of Discipline

On December 1, 2003, a male state trooper filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Camden, NJ. Hopson alleged in his complaint that he was hazed and harassed by a group of fellow state troopers known as the "Lords of Discipline."

The hazing occurred when the trooper refused to falsify the facts underlying an illegal arrest of a citizen.

The complaint alleges that after he refused to support the arrest, he was physically assaulted, received threatening notes, and his car was vandalized while on duty.

On October 1, 2007, the State of New Jersey agreed to a $400,000 settlement with him for his suffering and mental anguish.

· Rape Accusation

Over the years, several women have accused state troopers of rape, whether when being pulled over in their car, or going to the home of one of the troopers as a friend.

· Sexual Assault and Harassment

Not only have women drivers been allegedly sexually harassed and assaulted by state highway patrolman, but so have female co-workers and employees.

In one incident a female trooper complained that during and shortly after her training at the state police academy, a male supervisor drew on her with a marker, whispered in her ear, and kissed her on the cheek.

The male trooper allegedly repeatedly called her, sent her text messages, and once showed up at her personal residence.

In addition, he arranged for her to be the sole female trooper assigned to the 49 member detail to honor the victims of the 2009 Pittsburgh police shooting, obtained a copy of her hotel room key, and sexually assaulted her.

After this incident, he continued to make sexual advances towards her and also shot her with pepper spray. The worst part of this story is that she also alleges that other employees of the State Police failed to investigate her complaints, and also violated her confidentiality.

Where to go to complain and get assistance

There are several places an individual can go to if they have a complaint of any type with the State of Iowa’s State topers, police, or sheriff’s offices.

 1. Office of Citizens' Aide/Ombudsman
     Ola Babcock Miller Building
     1112 East Grand
     Des Moines, Iowa 50319

     E-mail
     ombudsman@legis.state.ia.us

     Telephone 
     (515) 281-3592 
     1-888-426-6283 (toll-free nationwide)

  2. State of Iowa Department of Public Safety

      Address: Room 55 Armory, Iowa State University, Ames, IA

      Phone: (515) 294-4428

      Fax: (515) 294-0383

      E-Mail: isupolice@iastate.edu Hours: 24 hours, 7 days a week

  3. Iowa Department of Public Safety, office of the commissioner (same as above)

  4. State of Iowa Internal Affairs office

      Room168 Armory, Iowa State University, Ames, IA

      (515) 294-4428

       Email: dpsinfo@iastate.edu.

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