I’ll get right to the point by asking you these two questions:
1. Let’s suppose you’re driving above the speed limit. Would you slow down considerably if you saw a police patrol car parked on the side of the road ahead of you?
Of course you would.
2. Would you slow down considerably if you did not see a police patrol car on the side of the road ahead of you?
If a city-county-state government’s motive is public safety, which of the two scenarios would it choose?
Ordering police patrol cars to park on the sides of roads, fully visible to motorists.
If a city-county-state government’s motive is increased revenue (which I call greed), which of the two scenario’s would it choose?
Ordering police patrol cars to park where they are not visible to motorists.
In Mesquite, Nevada, where I live, all police patrol cars have radar. I have never seen them park on the sides of roads, fully visible, unless they are in the process of writing speeding tickets to other motorists. Some of their favorite hiding places: Parking lots of businesses on Mesquite Boulevard, including Wells Fargo Bank, Stadium 6 Movie Theater, and in many of business which have closed down. They also like to hide in vacant lots and apartment buildings adjacent to the North Grapevine Road overpass. It is easy to drive above the speed limit when you are going down the overpass, since many people forget to put on their brakes.
Why does the City of Mesquite—and for that matter, municipalities throughout the United States—not only allow, but encourage and perhaps even require police patrol cards to park where they are NOT visible to motorists?
Go back and read the title of this article. “Public safety or greed—what is the influence motive for local governments?”
I think the answer is greed, not public safety. Here is my reasoning:
Let’s look at a traffic ticket a friend of mine in Mesquite received a few weeks ago for doing two things: First, driving 11 to 15 miles per hour over the speed limit. The fine is $120. Second, mproper overtaking of vehicle on the left. The fine is $105. Total $225. The person who received this traffic ticket was cited by a police officer whose car was not visible to the motorist. After paying his $225 fine, he showed me his receipt. Here is the breakdown:
The actual fine total for both offenses was $116 ($53 plus $63). 51.5 percent.
The administrative assessment fee for both offenses was $95. 42.25 percent.
Plus $14.00 for “other,” whatever that means. 6.25 percent.
He told me he asked the clerk at the traffic ticket payment window these questions:
1. How much of the $225 goes to the police department?
2. How much of the $225 goes to the City of Mesquite?
3. What does the $14 “other” charge mean?
He was not given answers to any of these questions.
He told me he was going to ask City Manager Andy Barton and Mayor Mark Wier these questions. I don’t know if he did or not.
Let’s assume the motive of all municipal governments throughout the world is greed—or, to put it more delicately, revenue enhancement. Are there unintended consequences of a negative nature?
I think there are. Patronage of stores and offices along well-traveled streets may not be at the optimum level. This includes food stores, banks, theaters, real estate firms, gasoline stations, restaurants, doctors, dentists, furniture stores, tire dealers, beauty shops, hardware stores, printers, gift shops, insurance agents, car washes, real estate agents, shoe stores, appliance stores, and the like And, in Mesquite, several casinos. Here’s my reasoning:
Motorists tend to avoid streets where police cars often hide. If alternate routes are available and they are not too much out-of-the-way, they will take alternate routes.
This seems to be happening right now in Mesquite. A few months ago, roundabouts at the intersection of Falcon Ridge Parkway and Interstate 15 were opened. This has enabled the residents of Sunset Green to get on Interstate 15 directly. No more backtracking. Many residents of Sunset Greens, on the southwest side of Mesquite, can now get to Smith’s Supermarket, located on the east side of Mesquite, using Interstate 15 instead of Mesquite Boulevard. How many residents?
I am a retired university professor of marketing and have written hundreds of articles in scholarly journals. Most of them involved surveys. I know how to conduct an unbiased survey.
In September 2012, I asked 25 residents of Sunset Greens these two questions:
1. When you go to Smith’s, how do you get there? Interstate 15 or Mesquite Boulevard? Let’s assume you’re going only to Smith’s, and not to the post office or any store on Mesquite Boulevard—only to Smith’s.
20 said Interstate 15. That’s 80 percent.
2, How often do you go only to Smith’s? 10 percent of the time? 30 percent of the time? 60 percent of the time? Please give me a percentage.
The average answer was 50 percent of the time.
So, this—here’s why I wrote this article. Election Day is only a few weeks away. I think it would be a good idea for you to ask politicians who are running for office to propose a law making it mandatory for police patrol cars to park visibly on the side of streets and roads, and making it illegal for them to park hidden from view. I hope you do this. Pass what I hope becomes called Hendon’s Law.
And here’s something else I hope you will do: Ask Wells Fargo Bank, Stadium 6 Theater, and all other businesses located on Mesquite Boulevard to put signs in their parking lots hat say “Parking for customers only.” And whenever employees see police patrol cars parking for extended periods in their lots, go to the police car and ask the police officer to move.
Dr. Donald Wayne Hendon lives in Mesquite. He is a retired university professor of marketing, active consultant, speaker, trainer, and author of 8 books, including 365 Powerful Ways to Influence and the forthcoming Guerrilla Deal-Making. Deal-Making, co-authored by Jay Conrad Levinson, is now available for pre-purchase on Amazon.com. It contains the 100 most powerful tactics from 365 Powerful Ways—along with 400 countermeasures. There are 121 aggressive tactics, 92 defensive ones, 24 cooperative ones, and 16 submissive ones to get what you want from other people. Plus 81 dirty tricks to watch out for and 31 tactics to prepare you for your interaction with them. Download Chapter 1, free of charge, at www.DonaldHendon.com. Play his free online Negotiation Poker game by going to www.DonaldHendon.com/NegotiationPoker. Appls will soon be available. Don’s column appears the first Saturday of each month at www.MesquiteLocalNews.com.