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The I-75 Crashes And The Scott Report

I-75 Crashes And The Scott Report

April 28, 2012

By Joseph Mosca

Welcome to  the new age in unreasonable expectations for law enforcement. As we now watch our Governor and other state elected officials make political porn out of this tragic event for their own purposes of self-aggrandizement, we will be faced with the fall-out. Each of us will now have to re-evaluate what has long been accepted as “reasonable responses” to public safety and foresee what is “politically expedient responses” for taking action as a law enforcement officer. Regardless, each officer will have to foresee the future.

After reading what has been written on the events that day, troopers acted in good faith and used the resources available to them. Those resources don’t amount to much, but the troopers did what was expected of them. They closed the road to prevent crashes and as soon as visibility was restored, they opened it so that secondary crashes wouldn’t occur. Textbook law enforcement approach, right? Well, you may have thought so, but now we are faced with the need to see into the future. I would suggest that we hire staff meteorologists and clergy so that we can have minute to minute updates on “acts of God”, i.e. weather, and updates on the “intentions of God”, i.e. using clergy to decipher through prayer the intentions of the Creator. Why not!

Maybe if DOT would have put electronic signs on this road and elsewhere that fog and smoke issues plague the state, we would not have this problem to begin with. Lord knows we went and spent millions on overhead signs to warn of lost elderly drivers. Why not spend some money and save a few dozen lives? No, please. That makes too much sense and if you stay with that supposition, you may start to accuse the legislature of inaction. Preposterous! No, it is much easier to blame some troopers for not seeing into the future. Yes, that is exactly what they have done. We are now blaming the troopers and the department for not having the skills of Nostradamus. (If I was truly gifted, I would like to come up with a few quatrains about Rick Scott’s political future.) I’m sure if you suggested to an elected official that this was an oversight of lawmakers, they would be “offended” and cry to you that they can’t know everything or see into the future to address what has not been an issue. Well, I would say the same for your law enforcement officers that are stuck with less resources and information. But who is to blame? The drivers? Perhaps. The troopers? Or the legislature or state bureaucrats that knew of this issue and took no action to rectify it. I would be looking squarely at the DOT and Forestry Departments who have direct control over these issues through “Planning”. There is a thought. But, you see, it is easier to blame the troopers. In Scott’s world, state worker bees are the villains, ALL THE TIME! In this case, that would be the troopers who got tasked with wrestling with an act of nature.

This report is not just a concern for the FHP. No, this is an indictment of all law enforcement agencies. Good luck, come the next round of thunderstorms and you didn’t foresee lightning strikes. (FWCC are you listening?) Good luck if you passed just one house and did not ask them to leave should a hurricane possibly come our way. (Start now, deputies and city cops! That way you can always say you did it.) No worries that there still isn’t a communications system in this state that has banded together law enforcement resources. That would make too much sense. Allowing departments to freely communicate and share information! New idea? Not really. We troopers know that has been around since before Jeb Bush. Little was done to facilitate a true and streamlined means of “shared communication” with other agencies. For instance, fires and smoke have plagued this state forever and how easy is it to reach out for Forestry services? Once they have been contacted, what means of communication do we have to maintain updates and coordinate with them on scene? NONE! But, none of that matters. We are the bad guys. Just like our pensions, we must give even more.

Welcome to the age of unreasonable expectations. The New Normal in law enforcement. Monday Night quarterbacking will be the new age technique of bringing your folks into line. Troopers know that all too well since the advent of patrol car cameras. Nothing like being judged by the emotion of the event and not the facts. But who needs facts when most of the Governor’s men probably get their news from FOX! My heart truly goes out to FHP leadership who have to face now what we have been feeling in the field for a while. But I knew this was going to happen. My palm reader told me so.

 

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