Howard judge's DUI get-out-of-jail free card

January 09, 2012

Reporter Peter Hermann should show us the data to justify this statement, "Motorists pulled over for traffic stops routinely suspect they're victims of a quota system designed to enhance revenue or build an officer's resume, or both" ("Judge throws out DUI case, citing quotas," Jan. 6). What is the source of that assertion? Is this Creative Journalism 101?

Mr. Herman and the judge who let a drunk driver slide need to go for a ride-a-long and see how easy it is to justifiably stop motorists. There is no need for alleged quotas. As a retired Baltimore City police officer, I can honestly say that I could have written multiple tickets and vehicle repair orders daily till the cows came home. However, if I did that I couldn't handle calls for service, back up officers, or be readily available for other assignments. My supervisor would have made a point about "discretionary" enforcement of the traffic laws, and understandably so. But I realized that, and so worst case offenders got pulled over for a ticket or a driver safety lecture.

And so what if there is a "quota" for drunk drivers? When it came to drunk drivers, there was no discretion required. The slaughter on American highways caused by alcohol-related accidents is appalling. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, from 1990 to 2009 over 327,000 people died in alcohol-related crashes. Hopefully, the young lady cut loose without penalty by this judge's ludicrous and dangerous decision will not contribute to the death toll by thinking that the get-out-of-jail-free card works all the time.

James Giza, Baltimore

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