Archive for May, 2006

SuperCops Revisited

Wednesday, May 3rd, 2006

A few days ago, I posted a news story about police officers who make huge amounts of money by making bad drunk driving arrests — arrests which are more likely to go to trial and thus earn big overtime paychecks for the officers (“Cop Makes $172,000/year on DUI Arrests”). For those who think maybe they’re just good cops who are overly enthusiastic, consider the recent follow-up to that story:

Highest-Paid HPD Officer Also Racks Up Reprimands

The complaints range from verbal abuse to filing false time sheets

Houston Chronicle, April 30. The Houston Police Department officer who pulls down more pay than anyone in the department outside of the chief is also one of the most reprimanded officers on the force.

Last year, senior officer William Lindsey Jr. grossed more than $170,000 over $100,000 of it in overtime as a member of the HPD’s drunken driving task force. However, in his 27-year career, the department’s internal affairs division has upheld at least 32 allegations against Lindsey arising out of 23 separate complaints. Only 13 of HPD’s 4,760 officers have been involved in more than 23 complaints resulting in “sustained” allegations, according to department records through 2004…

The complaints against Lindsey include verbally abusing citizens, falsifying time sheets to reflect overtime he didn’t work and refusing to report for duty, according to documents obtained by the Houston Chronicle through the Texas Open Records Act…

But since the Texas attorney general ruled in 2000 that law enforcement agencies do not have to publicly reveal disciplinary action against an officer that resulted only in a written or oral reprimand, the number of sustained allegations against Lindsey could total more than 32…

The sustained complaint of overtime fraud against Lindsey from 1990 is noteworthy because of recent accusations by DWI defense attorneys that Lindsey and other DWI task force members manipulate the HPD overtime system…

Why risk false overtime claims when you can just make false DUI arrests?


“I stopped the Defendant because he was weaving”

Monday, May 1st, 2006

A high percentage of DUI traffic stops are justified by police officers on the grounds that the car was "weaving" — one of many possible signs of drunk driving, if the weaving is pronounced (the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration lists 19 common driving symptoms in DUI cases).  More importantly, the officer knows it is difficult to cross-examine him as there are no objective criteria for "weaving" and nothing but the defendant's word to contradict him.  Unless, of course, a camera is rolling…

Take a look at this videotape (click on "Video: unedited traffic stop"), taken from a car following a deputy sheriff who follows and finally stops another car.  The deputy appears to be the only one weaving — and constantly tailgating the car he's following (tailgating can cause the car being followed to weave and is, incidentally, another of the 19 symptoms of drunk driving).

For a continuing education, click also on the previous link, "Video: CBS4 Miami story".

(Thanks to Richard.)