To serve and protect?
Sometimes I have my doubts. The motto of many a police department seems questionable to me at times. Before I explain, let me just say that I have the utmost respect for law enforcement officers and value what they sacrifice for our safety. At the same time, I see and experience too much in the way of abuses of power and neglect of duty when it comes to some local law enforcement.
The abuses are easy to see when you spend as much time on the road as I do. Cops speed frequently. They cruise in the passing lane on highways, they flash their lights to get through intersections when there is no apparent emergency, and they will drive across medians and down shoulders and HOV lanes, again without any sirens or signs of emergency. Of course those abuses of power are minor to the myriad of news reports we see about how minorities are treated by police, but I’m not going there today.
It’s the neglect that really bothers me. A couple weeks ago I was the victim of another hit-and-run. The police did less than nothing about it.
I was driving southbound on FM 762 in the left lane going past the George Memorial Library when a white SUV came barreling around the intersection at Avenue I, crossed both lanes and forced me into the middle turn lane. The vehicle was right up against me and I heard the small thump. I stopped, unsure if I had been hit or just kicked up some of the road debris there. The other driver kept going. I should have gotten out of my car and looked for damage, but I assumed since the other driver didn’t stop that it must have been a rock or something and we didn’t make contact.
That’s when my anger at all the other previous hit-and-runs I’ve been involved in welled up inside me. This is the first time it’s happened while I’ve been in the car and this time I wanted to catch the culprit. The problem was, all I knew is the offending vehicle was a white SUV. By the time I got back out into traffic, several white SUVs had gone by. I tried looking, but no luck, so I went about my business. When I got home and checked, sure enough, there were scratches on the back right quarter panel. I had been hit.
I called the Rosenberg Police Department and when they figured out I was out of their jurisdiction, they transferred me to the Richmond P.D. As I was explaining my case to the dispatcher, she stopped me and asked if I was still on the scene. When I said no, she said there was nothing they could do. She directed me to go online and fill out a “blue form” with the Texas Department of Public Safety. So I Googled the form, filled it out, and had to mail it in because there was no way to submit it online.
A few days later it was sent back to me. First, they said I used an outdated form and they provided the new one for me to use. Secondly, they said the state no longer keeps those records and said I should keep it with my own records. That really irked me. Once again, the police had let me down.
Years ago when we lived at the corner of Avenue I and West Street in Rosenberg, our cars were hit in the middle of the night. My car was smashed into the back of my wife’s SUV, totaling both. Even though there were pieces of the offending vehicle left at the scene, the cops said there was nothing they could do. Less than a week after I got a replacement car, it was hit in the left rear quarter panel while parked in front of my house. Again, the police couldn’t do anything.
Those were the worst of the hit-and-runs. There have been numerous others – mostly really nasty door dings, and some that were minor scrapes on the bumper. We’ve had our cars egged and shot up with paint balls. It’s to the point now that I’ve pretty much given up hope of having a nice car while I live here.
What I’ve learned through all of this is that there are many thoughtless, self-centered jerks who drive in the Richmond/Rosenberg area. There is also an inability and/or unwillingness of the local police to do anything about it. You would think with the multiple layers of law enforcement in this state from the Texas Rangers down to the constables that someone, somewhere could be tasked with the responsibility of investigating property crimes like these.
I understand that the police are very busy handling more serious crimes, but I still have to wonder if I’m getting my money’s worth out of my share of the taxes that fund their departments. It’s cost me a small fortune in repairs and only cost them a few minutes time to fill out a report.
Still, like I said earlier, I have great respect for the men and women in uniform who work tirelessly and at great risk to make sure we have safe, comfortable communities to live in. They do a job I don’t want to do. I admire them for that. Yet I still feel like I’m being victimized twice each time I turn to them for help and nothing happens.