Too many officers spoil the beat On patrol: A driver Transportation Authority police to monitor the same parts of I-95.

Intrepid Commuter

March 25, 1996

HERE'S A QUESTION from a woman who commutes daily from Columbia to the Inner Harbor: "Why are there two types of police officers who patrol on Interstate 95 to keep an eye on us when one would be sufficient?"

We surely think one type would be enough, but the state police and Maryland Transportation Authority Police shareduties on some highways around the state -- including a stretch of I-95 from Caton Avenue to the Harbor Tunnel Thruway (I-895).

"It's like, I just see a state police car pulling some soul over and then a couple hundred yards later I see some [other] police car with its lights flashing and pulling someone else over for a ticket," said Rita Buckingham.

The police, who work for the transportation authority and were once known as the toll facilities police, are sworn officers with full police powers. In addition to the stretch of I-95, they patrol I-895, the Fort McHenry and Harbor thruways, and the Baltimore-Washington International Airport, said Lori A. Vidil, a Transportation Authority police spokeswoman.

State troopers can and do patrol the same roads, said Cpl. Laura Lu Herman of the state police.

"For instance, when we're going home or are off duty [and driving a state police car], we're not going to overlook something because it's not in our area of enforcement. We're obligated to take some type of action," Corporal Herman said. Ana Germond, who lives on Monument Street in the Mount Vernon section of downtown, has a query that requires no research: Does anyone obey the "No-turn-on-red" sign on Monument at Charles Street?

Not many.

Not only does traffic make right turns on the red light, motorists often proceed straight through it, Ms. Germond said.

"You would think that cars might yield or slow down before they turn, but they don't," said Ms. Germond, who watches traffic from her bedroom window.

The "no turn" sign is needed and would be quite useful if anyone ever obeyed it. The intersection is busy, especially during the evening rush, and it is often hard to see oncoming Charles Street traffic while making a right turn.

Lt. J. D. Smith of the Baltimore police traffic unit said officers will monitor the intersection.

This sign is truly ignored and a worthy winner of the Intrepid One's Favorite Ignored Traffic Sign or Signal Award of The Week.

Pub Date 3/25/96

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