May 6, 2011 12:47:00 PM
Many of us enjoyed the adventures of the Duke boys on "The Dukes of Hazzard," a show that didn''t win any Peabody Awards but was entertaining enough, especially if you were 10 years old.
As we know, Bo and Luke Duke would get into scrapes with the inept sheriff, Roscoe P. Coltrain, and his water-headed deputies. Bo and Luke would take the General Lee soaring over a ravine. Roscoe would follow, with predictably disastrous results: He''d either end up in the ditch, or go careening off to the side. He''d often end up radioing for help haplessly upside down in his squad car.
We know that in the real world, police work is serious business. Accidents happen. Our police department does great work. But sometimes, considering recent events, we wonder if we''re living in Hazzard County.
A Columbus police officer was suspended this week for hydroplaning his patrol car and crashing it during the severe storms of last week. Accidents happen, but we find this one puzzling, especially since Columbus didn''t even get much rainfall. Clearly the accident could have been avoided, as the officer was disciplined.
Several officers were disciplined when one drove his car into a flooded street, stalling the engine. The water was so high it flooded the car''s interior and its engine, totaling it -- to the tune of more than $20,000 in taxpayer dollars. Another officer was disciplined for improperly reporting the accident.
During the hard-freezes of last winter, yet another officer lost control of her patrol car on an icy bridge, crashing it into another car.
In Lowndes County, a deputy also took his car into a ditch during this spring''s severe storms.
And these are just the widely known incidents. Our patrol cars suffer little bumps and bruises every day during the course of officers'' work.
Maybe we need new cars, and we should always be upgrading to new equipment. But more imperative are some basic driving lessons. Don''t drive into flooded streets. Don''t hit the brakes on an icy bridge. Slow down even.
We wonder: What scrapes will those Duke boys get into next? Tune in next week.
jeff turnage commented at 5/6/2011 3:04:00 PM:
Jeff Turnage here, on behalf of the City. First, I think everyone, with the possible exception of those officers being disciplined for being involved in the accidents described by your paper, agree that there have been too many wrecks. That is why the City created an accident review committee and why the officers involved were each disciplined. What I find unfortunate is when out of thin air, the newspaper creates a story that exists only in the writer's imagination. Chief St. John did not explain to the council that any of the referenced accidents occurred as a result of any faulty equipment. He did not say that the model patrol car the department is using is prone to accidents and damage. If he felt that way, he would not have suggested discipline for the officers involved. Just to be clear, not only have I never heard Chief St. John make those statements, I called him and he just told me that he never made such comments. Your overall opinion is really a good one, but please try to be accurate with your facts.
kat commented at 5/6/2011 3:12:00 PM:
I think the "facts" speak for themselves.......too many accidents means careless operation of the vehicles. Maybe the entire police force needs a defensive driving class. My company requires it BEFORE allowing me to drive company cars.
colin commented at 5/6/2011 6:21:00 PM:
I believe the $20,000 was covered by the insurance company(not all on the taxpayers), Mr. Turnage may be able to confirm that.
roscoe p. coltrain commented at 5/8/2011 6:19:00 AM:
Inept you say?
1. Our View: Turnage leads assault on public's right to open government DISPATCH EDITORIALS
2. Lynn Spruill: The march LOCAL COLUMNS
3. Ask Rufus: A tale of two boxers in Columbus LOCAL COLUMNS
4. Voice of the people: Jimmy Bonner LETTERS TO THE EDITOR (VOICE@CDISPATCH.COM)
5. Susan Estrich: Forty-two years later NATIONAL COLUMNS