D'Val Westphal: I don't see traffic stops 2; driver's license redo

·4 min read

Jan. 24—THIS LAWLESS DRIVING HAS TO STOP:

After the Dec. 27 column had readers sharing their frustration at seeing plenty of lawless drivers and not any law enforcement, more readers have weighed in.

And they share they routinely see drivers break traffic laws, that they support our police officers, and one, at least, has in fact seen many traffic stops.

Steve Shackley says in an email "the newer younger cops want to go where the action is, i.e. ABQ SW and SE, and aren't interested in doing traffic work. ... I haven't seen more than a couple traffic stops in the 16 years I've lived in Albuquerque. Citizens are tired of hearing the excuse 'we have a shortage of officers.' Most cities do but seem to be able to police the streets. ... The action is in traffic when citizens are getting killed at intersections, or run over by an ATV, that APD isn't interested in pursuing."

Thomas E. Thies emails he drives Lomas daily and "I play a game with myself to count how many drivers run the red lights or speed through school zones. ... As I recall the most I have counted is six at one intersection, Eubank, and have seen marked police cars do the same thing."

Ditto for Linn Tytler, who shares "every time I drive I see people running red lights and stop signs. About a week ago I watched four cars run the red light at Academy and San Mateo — had I proceeded with my green light I would have been hit. People are being seriously injured or killed every day. It HAS to stop."

Donnie Brainard says "I've been seeing numerous ATVs riding up and down Central near Nob Hill. It blows me away this is happening. Hopefully your article will keep APD focused on this issue."

Joel Widman emails "I live in Rio Rancho and there is almost never a time when I leave my house to go somewhere that I don't see a RRPD patrol car. Yesterday I drove to Animal Humane on Virginia south of Zuni, one of the highest crime areas in the city. I did not see one APD car. There's no question in my mind APD is doing the best it can with the manpower it has, they just don't have enough of it."

I DO SEE TRAFFIC STOPS: Elene Gusch emails "I totally agree, sad to say, about the crazy and dangerous driving around here. ... However, I see police making traffic stops quite regularly. I live in the eastern part of the International District, near the corner of Louisiana and Lomas, and we have a definite police presence in the area, as well as a number of those automated signs that tell you what your speed is. I can definitely tell you that while most lawless drivers probably get through, as always, many get caught. ... In short, we do have a big problem, but from what I see the cops are still trying to do their jobs."

WHAT WE NEED IS: Thomas adds "if you want safer streets then the attitude of the average person needs to change from I am an American and have a right to do whatever I want whether its speeding, running red lights, driving ATV's, driving drunk or shoplifting with impunity."

Chris Timm shares "my son retired from APD several years ago primarily because of the 'soft on crime' policies that came down from command. The patrol officers we have met, usually responding to our concerns or calls, have all been professional and usually kind and humane. Still a supporter of a strong proactive police force — we need one."

And Charlie Peterson, a New Jersey police supervisor with 25 years of experience, emails "I see issues, hear and have had many conversations over the past 18 months with officers from not only my agency but surrounding agencies about an unwillingness to enforce traffic laws. I also see in my own agency and hear of surrounding agencies losing guys with five to 15 years of experience, which is something that I have rarely ever seen before. ... I'd love to see an in-depth investigative report allowing rank-and-file officers anonymity for protection to tell the real reasons they are not proactively enforcing traffic laws or otherwise are reluctant engage with the public."

MVD VENDOR REISSUING 1,800 LICENSES: A background error has the company responsible for printing N.M. driver's licenses redoing 1,800 of them.

The Motor Vehicle Division says in a news release "The affected licenses were printed with the incorrect background, which could mean they won't be accepted as valid identification by law enforcement officers or businesses that require identification. Affected customers will be asked to destroy the faulty credentials when they receive their replacements in the mail. The replacements are being issued at no cost to the customers involved."

No word on what the "incorrect background" was.

Editorial page editor D'Val Westphal tackles commuter issues for the metro area on Mondays. Reach her at 823-3858; dwestphal@abqjournal.com; or 7777 Jefferson NE, Albuquerque, NM, 87109.

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