Monday, October 13, 2014

My Interactions with the Northeast Police Department (Krugerville, TX and Crossroads, TX) and Officer Mark White

Typically, I write about eminent domain or property rights. However, I recently experienced something that needs to be shared-

I have a deep respect for most police forces and the officers that serve and protect Americans every day. It disturbs me to have to say that not all of our police forces are designed to protect and serve. Some are nothing more that a mechanism for the local municipality to take money from your pocket and transfer into theirs. I know your probably thinking that this is a guy who is upset because he got a citation, but that is not the case. I am one of those guys who works hard to obey all of the laws, I typically set my cruise to prevent speeding, and am the guy you get upset with because they actually stop for the yellow lights. However, this is not the first citation I have received, and in most cases it has been very clear that I was in the wrong, so I paid the citation and moved one. 

In this particular instance I was driving south on Texas Highway 377, through Krugerville, TX, only a mile from my home in Aubrey, TX. Highway 377 is a two lane road in most areas; however, going through Aubrey and Krugerville, there is a center turn lane. Part of this area has a full shoulder, while there is a partial shoulder of about 4 foot in others. As I was driving, the vehicle in front of me turned right. I was traveling well below the speed limit, but the vehicle in front of me basically came to a complete stop somewhat abruptly when making the right hand turn. They moved as far on the partial shoulder as they could, so to prevent a potential accident, I moved over slightly into the center lane. This practice is done everyday on this stretch of road, so I was surprised when I was pulled over and given a citation for "disregarding a no passing zone". Let's keep in mind that this was on a Sunday morning, and there was no one on the road but the three of us. The officer was in plain site, and I still do not believe that I did anything wrong. In actuality, I was avoiding a stopped vehicle.

As you may have guessed, I am not bashful about speaking my mind when I have been wronged. Therefore, I gave Northeast Police Department Officer Mark White a piece of my mind about the citation. Officer White was professional during this exchange. However, he did feel the need to lie when he was attempting to justify his actions. He stated that going around the person at 60 MPH could have caused an accident if someone was in the center turn lane. First of all if there was someone in the center turn lane I would not have went around the vehicle, and second of all I was going nowhere near 60 MPH, it was more like 45 MPH. The speed limit in that area was 55 MPH, and as anxious as Officer White was to write me a citation, if I had been doing 60 MPH, he would have written me up for that also. 

As I read the Texas Transportation Code, I got more upset. Initially, I had thought that I had been given a citation for some obscure, never enforced part of the law. However, after reading the law, it was apparent that I did nothing wrong. There is conflicting statements in the law, and what I was given a citation for was a big stretch to say the least. 

I am sure that the cronies who built this police force will attempt to justify this as some sort of safety issue, because frankly I do not believe that this was even a violation of the law. But in regards to the safety issue, 2011 TXDOT numbers show 12,500 vehicles per traveling on this stretch of Highway 377, which certainly would be much higher now. Therefore, rough math states that around 4 1/2 million vehicles a year that travel this stretch of highway. I am not sure of the number of accidents per year because of people moving into the center lane to avoid a slow moving vehicle. But I am doubtful that there is more than one or two a year, if that many, probably zero (city staff could not provide one example of an accident because of this).  Therefore, your odds of getting into an accident because of avoiding a slow moving vehicle in the center turn lane are almost 8 times greater than getting struck by lightning. So per the odds, you will get struck by lightning 8 times before you're involved in an accident on highway 377 due to someone avoiding a slower vehicle and slightly drifting into the center turn lane. I am not saying that it could never happen, just saying that the data does not support this being a major safety issue. 

Most of the people who have traveled this stretch of Highway 377 or any similar road for that matter, has done the same thing. In this particular instance I did not even need to cross into the center lane, as the vehicle in front of me got over as far as they could on the shoulder , and we were both driving smaller vehicles, so I literally could have made it around the vehicle without going into the center lane. I only did this to be courteous and not crowd the person turning right. As stated above there was no one else on the road, but me and them, so I gave them plenty of room. 

This false interpretation of the law will not make Highway 377 through Krugerville safer, but rather will likely lead to more accidents. It will cause people to slam on their breaks when someone is turning right. Instead of avoiding slower moving vehicle, people will either run over them or else stop abruptly and get rear-ended. That doesn't even take into account the numerous tractors and other agricultural vehicles that travel this route. under this interpretation, you could not go around the tractors, you would simply have to stay behind them at 20 miles per hour, which would back up traffic for miles. It would appear that this false interpretation has been made to bring in additional revenue for for the Northeast Police Department, but will cause many other problems as a result. 

In Texas when you get what you feel is a bogus ticket, you have a right to a trial by jury; however, it is not that simple. In order to fight a ticket in the Northeast Municipal Court you have to appear on three separate occasions on three separate days. Therefore, to fight a bogus citation in the Northeast Municipal Court, you have to plan on taking at least three days off work. This is an unreasonable process, and is meant that way. The average person just simply does not have the time to spend 20 hours fighting a chickenshit traffic citation. Therefore, they typically just pay the citation. 

I am not a wealthy person, but I paid the $ 279.00 citation, and my family still got to eat this month. However, there is likely many of the thousand plus people that were give hefty citations for very minor infractions, that are not as fortunate as I am, and they did have to make a choice to pay the bogus citation or make their rent, or perhaps buy food for their family. This was what is most irritating to me, when you make up the law, or take a fringe interpretation of and hope nobody fights it, you are essentially stealing. You are taking money from hardworking Texans in a way that is wrong. 

The Northeast Police Department was developed as a separate governmental agency that reports to no one between the small towns of Crossroads and Krugerville, TX. They attempted to get my new hometown of Aubrey to join this Police Department, but wisely our city council passed on this "opportunity". Although the mayors of Crossroads and Krugerville promised "significant revenue" from the formation of this new governmental entity. Therefore, it would appear on the surface that this Police Department was specifically set up to provide an income stream for the cities and not to protect and serve as the policeman's creed would indicate. 

Steve Smith, the mayor of Crossroads went as far as to say that "we are sitting on a goldmine of citation revenue", when trying to sell this new department to others. In a March 23, 2013 joint council meeting, Mayor Smith tried to sell this theory to the other cities. He projected the court revenue to be $ 900,000.00 per year after state fees; just think of how many citations that would be.  You can see this on the document linked below, Mayor Smith's "goldmine" projection is on slide 15 of the linked presentation. 

From the beginning, the Northeast Police Department was designed to bring revenue into the cities through citation revenue. Any public protection will be secondary to the revenue portion of the scheme. It is also clear that this is projected to get much worse with the new addition of several more officers. Mayor Smith, destroyed the public trust when he developed a completely separate governmental entity that reports to no one.  This big, over reaching, government approach, that Mayor Smith sold to the other communities, is showing the signs of failure that anyone with a fraction of common sense should have foreseen. Now, it is unlikely that Mayor Smith has much influence over the monster that he created, kinda like Frankenstien. The citizens who Mayor Smith represents, are not better off for the decisions that he made, but rather are now part of community that is more widely being known as nothing more than a speed-trap. 


So it is not the officers of the Northeast Police Department that deserve the blame for this. They are simply dealing with the cards that were dealt by the elected officials. Frankly, I feel sorry for the officers of the Northeast Police Department, because they are well aware that they are not here to protect and serve, and the public at large would likely not even notice if they disappeared. Officer Mark White has to go home and look his family in the eye, knowing that he is not part of an elite force that puts hardened criminals away, but rather writes minor citations to people who can't afford them. He probably had dreams of being Starsky and Hutch, or some other TV cop, but now is regulated to essentially being a meter-maid. So he has to live with what he has become, thanks to a few greedy elected officials. 


It would appear that members of the Northeast Municipal Court and Krugerville city staff are taking of this "goldmine" of citation revenue. During the Northeast Police Department Commission meeting, the court administrator requested a 50% increase for the 2015 budget. This money would be used to give Judge David P. Moore a raise and benefits as well as 5% across the board to all court staff. They also wanted funding to remodel the court building, which is currently being completed. It was stated that the court was currently pulling in $ 40,000.00 a month in revenue and that they expected a 45% increase in this number. Therefore, they are well on their way to achieving that "goldmine" in citation revenue. During the formation of the joint police department, it was apparent that the Northeast Police Department James Edlund stands to get a significant salary increase if the department continues to grow. 

 

You can see the minutes from the July 17, 2014 Northeast Police Department Commission Meeting here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B0P-oym-MTKzU3k0MjViN1JKMm8/view?usp=sharing

Although, I have never met or appeared before Judge David P. Moore of the Northeast Municipal Court, he did find it necessary to withhold public information from me. The court dockets are published on the Northeast Municipal Courts Public website prior to the court date, and then removed when the new docket goes up. In searching around on the website, I was able to locate some previous dockets, but not as many as I would have liked for additional research. However, Judge David P. Moore declined my request for this information. Through previous appeals to the Texas Office of Court Administration, it is clear that legally I should have received this information. So it would appear that Judge Moore is attempting to hide public information from me. I will eventually get the information, but it will take additional time and effort for both myself and the court staff. 

You Can See Their Response Here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B0P-oym-MTKzbm5KQlpXWW03ZDA/view?usp=sharing

 My Clarification To Them With Additional Information: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B0P-oym-MTKzMi04UU9GekNJQ0U/view?usp=sharing

If you happen to be one of the citizen's of either Crossroads or Krugerville, you likely have no idea this activity is going on. This is because of the 162 people that were on the September 16, 2014 Northeast Municipal Court Docket for traffic citations, only 4 lived in Krugerville and none lived in Crossroads. Therefore, 97.5% of all traffic citations written by the Northeast Police Department leading up to the September 16, 2014 court date apparently did not live in the towns of either Krugerville or Crossroads. It seems to me that it would virtually be impossible for this to happen without some sort of targeting going on. So you might be wondering why the Northeast Police Department might be targeting people who live outside their jurisdiction? It is simple, we don't vote in the local elections, and therefore can't hold the local elected officials accountable. If they write chickenshit citations to their own citizens, they might wise up and throw all the elected officials out and send Northeast Police Chief James Edland packing with them. 

What the Northeast Police Department is doing is certainly immoral, if not unethical and illegal.  There has actually been several police departments around the United States that have been in the media for the exact same activities, and at least one was shut down.  However, we must never forget that that they are supposed to be working for the taxpayers, and only get to abuse us, because we let them. We are so busy with our normal lives, that most people do not even know who represents them. So the following are those responsible for the formation of this rogue department, Mayor Smith is the mastermind, but these people had to approve it. 
 
Krugerville: 
 
Dave Hill
Mayor
dave@krugerville.org

Jeff Parrent – Place 3
Mayor Pro Tem
jeff@ltcprobuilders.com


Thurman Bridges – Place 1
Council Member
Thurman@krugerville.org


John McCray – Place 2
Council Member
john@krugerville.org


Charles Brumley – Place 4
Council Member
Charles@krugerville.org


Michael Starr – Place 5
Council Member
Mstarr@aubreyfire.com
 
 
CrossRoads:
  

Town Mayor

Steve Smith 

Town Council

Tony Russo – Mayor ProTem


Bruce Birdsong 


Larry Fisher 


Alan Hauf 


Wally Kille 

 

So what can you do about it? If you have received one of these citations, give me a call, I would like to talk to you. If you happen to live in one of these cities, you can vote. The only way to send a message is to throw some of these local elected officials out on their rear. Maybe you would consider running for local office yourself. It is not rocket science, and you could certainly do better than the goons you have in there now. You see as long as no one runs against them, they justify their deliberate abuse of the public trust, because they are still in office. Although, not many of the citizens actually know what their elected officials are actually doing, there are very few that vote and much fewer that attend council meetings, so your elected officials run amuck and are never held accountable. It is doubtful that any of these officials even have opponents running against them. Therefore, I would hope that this would spark some interest in people serving in elected office in these communities, or in whatever community you live in. Remember they only get to abuse us because we let them, and never forget-
 
"Together we Bargain, Divided we Beg."   

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