Friday, June 6, 2008
Yesterday morning I had my first "you're in trouble"-interaction with a DC police officer. Yes, I've received a speeding ticket, but that was from the Montgomery County, MD police and yes, I've called the DC police on several occasions (loud neighbors, public urinations, car accidents, etc...). But I've never been busted by a police officer for my unlawful actions... until yesterday.
I set off for the metro before lunch time yesterday. I was running a few minutes late. So when I got the intersection across the street from the metro station, I decided not to wait for the walk signal. I made sure there was no on-coming traffic and I crossed in a well marked crosswalk. However, by not waiting for the light to turn green and I was guilty of jay-walking. My actions yesterday were not out of the ordinary. Often I cross the street when I don't have the green light, especially when I am running. I'm not the type to run out into the street in front of cars, but I am the type of person who is too impatient to wait for the light to change in order to cross legally.
What I didn't realize yesterday as I made my way across the street illegally was that there was a Metropolitan Police Department Officer on the other side on his segway waiting to ticket jay-walkers. When I got to the other side of the road, the officer asked me a few questions about my behavior and threatened me with a citation (read: ticket). I tried to be respectful and appreciate his and the police department's concerns about pedestrian safety. But really... In a city where crime (of all sorts) is a MAJOR problem is picking on the pedestrians a good use of time? Every day in this city houses are broken into, cars are stolen, drugs are sold, people are killed, children are endangered and hurt. Is the police department really taking a bite out of crime by placing officers at strategic intersections on expensive transportation devices (segways) to yell at pedestrians who aren't willing to wait for the light to change? Should I feel safer knowing that the police are looking out for me as a pedestrian?
Well, I don't feel either of these things. I'm mad that an officer would waste his time threatening pedestrians with citations when there are so many other crimes that need attention in this city. I don't feel safer knowing that the police are concerned about pedestrian safety. If they really cared, they could work with the local neighborhood groups to build pedestrian walkways or with metro to create station exists on both sides of busy streets. Threatening me for crossing the street only makes me mad and disappointed in the priorities and actions of the police force.
Am I wrong for feeling this way?
Today: Was up and swimming before 7:30am. Plans for today include preparing our basement for the construction project to begin, making chocolate chip cookies, and chauffeuring a high schooler from church to the prom.
Yesterday: Had a successful day of shopping for Baby Dawson with my friend, Bethann. It was so helpful to be in all those baby stores with someone who already has children. That said, I was completely over-stimulated by all of the toys and bright colors.