When One Deadly Weapon Becomes Two: Cops in Cars Getting “Bullitt”

An Albuquerque Police Department officer causes a crash running a red light in a chase of a red light running driver. BernCo Sheriff Miguel Gonzalez acknowledges that County deputy high-speed pursuits have rocketed in the past year:

In 2017, deputies were involved in 74 pursuits. In 2016, they were engaged in 11. In 2015, the number was 13.

Everyone, and I mean everyone, acknowledges that many Burque and BernCo drivers are breaking laws, and that enforcement needs to be dramatically increased. But is going full Steve McQueen the best, safest way to do that?

Sheriff Gonzalez puts it in this way in a recent Albuquerque Journal story in response to recent studies and stories confirming that many/most drivers here are terrible:

“Well, we’re going to take action,” he said in an interview with the Journal. “And that action is doing what the people want us to do – that’s enforcement.”

While everyone wants enforcement, except for those driving badly…life is pretty damn good for them these days, crashes caused by the sheer mathematics of doubling the deadly human-operated weapons flying down our streets, breaking laws, is, of course, increasing. It’s simple math.

And everyone knows there is a simpler, less Steve McQueen solution to speeding, red light running and some other bad driving behavior: Red light cameras and speed vans.

Are cameras and vans problematic in terms of follow-up payment recovery and our general low percentage of drivers carrying insurance: Yes. Are they unconstitutional: No. Please stop with the James Madison ensures us the right to run red lights in SUVs unless a human in a police uniform catches us bullshit. Remote enforcement of laws and regulations is rampant, growing, and has been with us for a long, long time.  To wit: every criminal caught by video surveillance ever.

Of course, red light cameras got a very black eye in Burque’s earlier roll-out, implemented so poorly and with such privatization that one wonders if certain City employees used ye olde passive-aggressive subterfuge to undermine the program. But, now, Rio Rancho again has speed vans, and Bosque Farms is considering them as well. And sure, plenty of people are complaining, but red light cameras/speed vans, done right, are the way to go.

And not simply doubling the number of human-operated deadly weapons flying down our streets.

Slow down, everybody. You too, officer.

sun van on side
No APD/BernCo officers involved in yesterday’s crash of an ABQRide Sun Van at Bridge Blvd. and La Vega SW yesterday. One does wonder, however, how fast the three vehicles involved were going, given this result. It’s Bridge at La Vega for criminy sake. Slow down, everybody. 

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