Wednesday, September 24, 2008

What, is there no crime in Jersey?

This past week, Land Line Magazine reported about a bill in New Jersey that could put local law-enforcement officers into the truck inspection business.

State Sen. Shirley Turner of Mercer, NJ, introduced a bill earlier this year that would authorize “appropriately trained” local law-enforcement officers to inspect trucks.

Apparently, New Jersey police are brimming with free time – going about their days lacking any actual crime to combat. How else would they get the time needed to conduct Level I inspections?

Plus, don’t we have a state agency doing this now? Why the duplication of effort? Do large convoys of problem trucks clog the highways there, requiring hundreds, if not thousands, of additional inspectors?

The simple answer is no – on all counts. Those officers have some other things to take care of, real crimes, that should take precedence over this.

So why is the state training local cops to fulfill a state function?

The fact is, training local officers to inspect trucks is not about safety. It is – and has always been – a local government fundraiser.

The DOT doesn’t even train those local officers the same way state inspectors are trained. In most cases, one local officer is trained by the state, and then that officer trains the other local police to do the inspections – usually in a much-abbreviated fashion.

Local police should not be involved in this. Period.

If New Jersey needs more money, perhaps they should ask their citizens.

And maybe if they had spent those citizens’ money wisely, they wouldn’t need so much more.