Friday, January 11, 2013

A Love Letter to the Indiana State Police

Mild profanity caution.

Before we get started, I need to tell you the back story…

It’s the morning of December 10, 2012 and I am driving to work. A substantial portion of my drive takes place on IN-465, the big road that basically encircles Indianapolis, and that is where I was driving when I was pulled over. By “pulled over” I mean a police officer who was standing outside of his vehicle on the side of the road flagged down three separate cars and motioned that we should pull to the side. I was the middle car.

I wait for approximately 5 minutes while the officer talks to the driver behind me. The officer then gets in his car and makes the one behind me pull up closer to me. Apparently, he didn’t feel capable of walking that 100 feet. But I digress. Once he has us in a nice row he comes up to my car, looks to the one in front of me (the occupant of which we now call “lucky bastard”) and waves it on allowing it to leave. He finally focuses his attention on me after literally 10 minutes of waiting.
Officer: “Miss, do you know what the speed limit here is?”
Me: I think for a second and decide to answer honestly, “I’m assuming it’s around 60 but to be truthful I was just following traffic.”
Officer: “Well I don’t know what traffic you were following. The speed limit here is 55.”
Me (Internally): Really? That seems strange considering the fact that you just pulled over three separate cars all for speeding and I was in the middle. Simple logic alone indicates that I was following the car ahead of me and being urged on by the one behind. (Aloud) “Okay.”
Officer: “Can I see your license and registration?”
Me: “Sure thing.”
And I wait some more. He finally comes back and hands the guy behind me his ticket and then comes and gives me mine. I’m doing well with the whole “trying to be a grownup and not letting it show that getting in trouble absolutely terrifies me” thing until he basically starts lecturing me about my speed. I mean I had told him I wasn’t 100% sure how fast I was going. He knew I was just following the car in front of me. I was resigned to the fact that I was getting a ticket. But he just had to push it to the point where I finally broke and started crying. At this point I guess he felt he’d crushed my soul enough so he left.

I continue on my way and arrive at work.

Over the next two weeks I play a fun game with the Indiana Traffic Court. It goes like this:

Step 1: It will take at least 8 days for your ticket to post online. You don’t know how much you owe until it posts. 
Step 2: If you try to call the Clerk’s Office for help they say they can’t help you and you need to call Traffic Court. 
Step 3: You call the Traffic Court number and are instantly clicked over to a voice that says “due to uncommonly high call volumes we cannot take your call. Call back later.” This will happen literally every time you call regardless of how much later it is. 
Step 4: You call the Clerk’s Office again to explain this to them and they tell you “We’re sorry but we can’t connect you to the Traffic Court, we don’t even have another number you can try.” This just really says all it needs to about the system as a whole if you ask me. 
Step 5: Wonder how the hell the city has not fallen apart if the governmental agencies can’t even work together.

Step 6: Repeat step 3 indefinitely.

So now I feel like I need to call my dad. I was planning to wait until I had the cost and everything figured out so I could get his advice on whether or not to defer the ticket but since I could not even manage to find the ticket online I really felt this was my best option. It was. My dad works in a law office and emailed me literally less than 5 minutes after the state did when the ticket finally posted. Pretty impressive, no?

Anyway, I talk about it with him and decide that I should defer the ticket. This choice is what brings us back to my catalyst for writing this post.

For those of you who don’t know, by deferring the ticket I basically make a promise to the state of Indiana that I will not be involved in any infractions related to vehicular velocity within the next six months. That said, since paying to defer this ticket, I have not exceeded a speed of 60mph on IN-465. In doing so I have likely angered countless civilians and have been passed by no less than 700 of them.

That’s not what gets me though. Oh no; what really acts as the icing on the cake is that since adopting my habit of not speeding I have been passed by 4 Indianapolis police officers, 3 state troopers, and one brown police car like they have in my hometown. 2 of these happened this morning. That makes 8 separate officers in a month. And for 11 days of that month I wasn’t even working so I didn’t drive on 465. This just irritates the crap out of me! I mean if the people responsible for “upholding the law” don’t even want to go 55mph why don’t they reevaluate the speed limit?

As you can probably tell from the length of this post, the whole thing was just annoying as hell. To recap, my main issues were as follows:
1. Officer was a jerk even though I was being a polite civilian and accepting the consequences for my actions.

2. The process of attempting to locate your ticket once it is written is an absolute shit storm. 
3. Since ceasing to speed I have been passed by 8 separate police officers on the same road I was pulled over on.

So yeah, “love letter” might have been misleading.

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