By on August 31, 2013
IMG_0006

Can you spot the reason for that “No Standing” sign?

This is a photograph taken recently at the Cadillac Place building, on West Grand Blvd just west of Woodward in Detroit. It used to be called the General Motors Building before GM decamped to the RenCen. To make sure that much office space (when it was built, the GM Bldg was the second largest in the world) wouldn’t go vacant in Detroit’s economically viable midtown area, the State of Michigan moved many of its Detroit area office workers into the renamed building. Some of those state employees work for the Michigan State Police, which has offices for their Detroit detachment on the Milwaukee Ave. side of the building. It’s not a full scale police post, there’s no public lobby, but it’s where state police hang out in Detroit when they aren’t busy protecting and serving the public, not to mention rescuing injured peregrine falcons.

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Would you want this car parked in front of the building’s fire pipes if you or your loved one worked there?

Notice the no-standing area? Notice the building’s fire pipes immediately behind that no-standing area? Notice the Michigan State Police cruiser #2044 parked directly in front of those fire pipes, blocking access in the event of a fire? Notice the many other Michigan State Police cars parked in the area marked no-standing right where fire trucks would need to park for firefighters to have access to those fire pipes? Notice, too, the many angled, off-street parking spaces that are reserved solely for police cars, parking spaces that sit empty only a few feet from the no-standing zone?

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Why should police park in angled off-street parking reserved just for them when they can park in a No Standing zone closer to the door?

I didn’t go to the Cadillac Place building just to rattle some entitled cops’ chains, I was working on a story about Detroit Electric’s offices in the nearby Fisher Building. However, I had my camera case with me and when I saw the wholesale dangerous violation of parking laws under cover of authority, I stopped to shoot a few pics. Offhand there were about 10 police cars illegally parked on both sides of Milwaukee. On the south side of the street a Michigan State Police Ford Explorer was not just illegally parked in a no-standing zone, it was also parked close to two different fire hydrants, at least one of them closer than the minimum 15 foot distance required by state law. Back over on the other side of the street, by the former GM Bldg, while I was taking the photos two motorcycle cops showed up for what must have been some kind of meeting but they had to park legally in those angled spots. All the best parking spaces, the ones in the no-standing zone, were apparently already taken.

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The motorcycle cops arrived later and since there was no more room near the door, they had to park legally.

A Ford Crown Vic in MSP blue that arrived even after the motorcyles also parked in the angled parking but for some reason he left his car running. I’m sure that someone will say something about seconds counting and if I don’t like cops I should try calling a hippy the next time my kid is dying, but in an age when cars have stop-start systems that seamlessly and instantly fire up an engine after a stop light do you really believe that excuse? My guess is the warm, humid weather Detroit experienced today and the car’s air conditioning had something to do with leaving it running.

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The only legally parked police car on that block. He did, however, leave his car running. Hasn’t he heard about global warming?

He wasn’t the only duly sworn officer of the law who left his steel steed running as he left it unattended. I might not have noticed the others because of all the urban noise, but I happened to see a pedestrian who was crouching down to bend an ear to the sounds coming from one of the police cars. I’m not the only person who notices these things. At least three of the cars were left running. I know the boys and girls in blue always have an excuse, and I’m sure they want to get into a cool car after their meeting is over, but according to the weatherman on my car radio, though it was warm it was a not unbearable 81 degrees in Detroit at the time. At ~$3.60 a gallon for gasoline, can the taxpayers afford to keep cop cars air conditioned even when there aren’t even cops in them? Another reason cops give for leaving their cars idling at the side of the road is all of the electronic cop toys they have in their cruisers. Apparently all that stuff needs to be powered up even when the cop isn’t there to use them.

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Cops say they have to leave their cruisers running because of all the electronic equipment in their mobile offices, apparently whether or not they are using that equipment or even when they are nowhere near the car. On a warm, muggy day, how many times do you leave your personal car running and unattended just to keep the A/C going and the radio on when gasoline is $3.60 a gallon?

But I digress. This is about police breaking the law, not just the taxpayers’ piggybanks.

Which question has a lower number for an answer, how many times do you see police casually breaking traffic and parking laws, or how many times do you see police bothering to obey traffic and parking laws?

Now if you ask police here in Michigan, and I have asked, just when the law allows them to break traffic or parking laws, you will get answers ranging from “It depends” to “I can do it whenever I want to”. I’ve never had one tell me what the law actually was. Asking them if you’d get a ticket for parking like they are parked, and I have asked, will get you, “Well, I won’t get one.” All of those quotation marks are there for a reason, those are verbatim responses I’ve gotten from cops. Citing the the relevant state law, and I have done so, will get you a, “Have a nice day,” in that oh-so-respectful tone police use when they want to express disdain towards the people for whom they ultimately work.

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The door in the middle at street level is the entrance to offices that the Michigan State Police use. Troopers have told me that it’s more “convenient” to park by the door than in the spaces taxpayers have reserved for their exclusive use just steps away.

No matter what their response is, it’s never to cite an actual law that exempts them. Funny how they always seem to know what law to cite, when it’s you getting the citation. Michigan State Police isn’t the only area police agency whose officers illegally park. If you can believe it, the suburban Huntington Woods police park in the middle of a five lane road, in the left turn lane, yep, right there in the middle of the street, because drivers making an illegal right turn on red at a nearby intersection can’t see them there until they’ve committed to making the turn. The cops could sit in a nearby parking lot, but that would put them in the line of sight of the drivers and the object of all of this is generating revenue by issuing tickets. Can’t have people not making that illegal right turn on red, can we?

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There must have been some kind of shift meeting. Yet more state troopers illegally parked across the street. The building is CCS’ Taubman Center. What’s a few art students possibly burning to death when weighed against the convenience and comfort of police officers?

Not long ago, in Lathrup Village I noticed a small traffic jam up ahead on a residential street that crosses a mile long stretch of 25 mph road that’s partly residential (hence the low speed limit). I saw a police car up ahead so I assumed the officer had someone pulled over. Which might have explained why said officer was forcing traffic to go around him, traveling in the wrong lane, against traffic. However, he didn’t have anyone pulled over. He was doing radar surveillance of drivers on the busy cross street, while parked about 18″ from the side of the road (generally, more than 12″ will get you a parking ticket around here), about 15 feet from a stop sign and crosswalk (Michigan law prohibits parking within 30 feet of a stop sign, or within 20 feet of a crosswalk).

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A twofer. State law requires all vehicles to park at least 15 feet from fire hydrants. I’m surprised that he didn’t move a few feet up and make it three for three. The people whom that cop is endangering are car design students at CCS and the folks assembling Shinola watches and bicycles on a floor rented from CCS’ Taubman Center building.

Now remember, all of these traffic and parking laws are there, supposedly, to make things safer for drivers. In the section of the law that says you can’t park in the middle of the roadway, like those Huntington Woods cops do, it doesn’t give the reason why you and I can’t do it as “not a cop”. Safety, though,  and apparently the law too, takes a back seat to revenue.

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If you park here, you’ll get a ticket. If you park where the state police vehicles park instead of here, you’ll get a ticket.

The relevant law here in Michigan is Michigan Compiled Laws 257.603. Chapter 257 of Act 300 of 1949 is Michigan’s overall motor vehicle code. I’m not a lawyer but I asked my state senator’s office about it and they asked Michigan’s Legislative Research Division to look into it. The folks whose job it is to accurately inform the state’s lawmakers say that’s the only law that exempts police concerning traffic and parking laws. Section 603 of that chapter regulates under what conditions government owned vehicles can violate sections of the motor vehicle code. You can read the relevant sections of the law below. Paragraph 1 identifies which government vehicles can break traffic laws, pretty much any government owned vehicle from the local dogcatcher to the presidential limousine. Paragraph 3 lists what laws they can break, pretty much any traffic or parking regulations. Paragraph 2, though, which says when they can do it, is much more specific, and restricts such exemptions to when the vehicle is going to an emergency or is involved in the pursuit or apprehension of an actual criminal or criminal suspect.

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Privately owned vehicles used for State Police business also illegally park at the Cadillac Place building. It’s nice to see that the Michigan Gaming Control Board pays its employees well enough to drive BMWs. Ya think the driver would get upset if I left a copy of MCL 257.603 under his or her windshield wiper?

Did you happen to notice anything in there about routine traffic surveillance or having a meeting with your boss and co-workers? Speaking of such meetings, my favorite part of MCL 257.603 is the part about being exempt from traffic laws when going to “but not while returning from an emergency call” (emphasis added). That ‘but not from’ part tells us that the legislators in Lansing who wrote that passage had an inkling the law enforcement officers and other emergency workers just might cheat a little. Just because the chief calls you back to the shop for a talk doesn’t make it an emergency, so you can’t speed back, or park illegally when you get there. The fact that you’re a cop isn’t going to move your cruiser out of the way of a firetruck as your fellow state workers burn to death because of where you parked your car.

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The story does have a bit of a bittersweet ending. Concerning those cops parking in the middle of the road, I sent emails to both city managers, both directors of public safety and even had a fruitless phone conversation with the mayor of my own city, which adjoins Huntington Woods, about why our police department won’t ticket cars that are dangerously and illegally parked in the middle of the road. Getting no satisfaction, I went to a city council meeting and simply read them the state law, asking them if it exempted routine traffic surveillance. Four days later the mayor called to tell me that a majority of the city council and city manager agree with my reading of the law. That was sweet, particularly since she thinks I’m crazy and knows that I’ll never vote for her, so I’m sure she didn’t want to make that call. I figure their decision had something to do with possible liability if someone plows into that cop car parked in the middle of the road and the fact that since some crazy guy read the law to them in public, on public access television and all that, and if the city gets sued they can’t say they didn’t know.

The bitter part was on my window when I got back from the Fisher Building. The same Detroit parking enforcement folks who have refused to ticket the cops and state attorneys endangering people in the Cadillac Place building, and yes, I’ve asked them to do so, demonstrate a bit more alacrity in enforcing parking laws when it comes to regular folks.

I have a call in to the Michigan State Police public affairs department asking them to comment about their troopers illegally parking in violation of MCL 257.603. I was contacted, asked if I was on deadline and was told that I would hear from them with a response. When I get that response, we’ll publish it.

MICHIGAN VEHICLE CODE (EXCERPT)
Act 300 of 1949
257.603 Applicability of chapter to government vehicles; exemption of authorized emergency vehicles; conditions; exemption of police vehicles not sounding audible signal; exemption of persons, vehicles, and equipment working on surface of highway.

Sec. 603.

(1) The provisions of this chapter applicable to the drivers of vehicles upon the highway apply to the drivers of all vehicles owned or operated by the United States, this state, or a county, city, township, village, district, or any other political subdivision of the state, subject to the specific exceptions set forth in this chapter with reference to authorized emergency vehicles.

(2) The driver of an authorized emergency vehicle when responding to an emergency call, but not while returning from an emergency call, or when pursuing or apprehending a person who has violated or is violating the law or is charged with or suspected of violating the law may exercise the privileges set forth in this section, subject to the conditions of this section.

(3) The driver of an authorized emergency vehicle may do any of the following:

(a) Park or stand, irrespective of this act.

(b) Proceed past a red or stop signal or stop sign, but only after slowing down as may be necessary for safe operation.

(c) Exceed the prima facie speed limits so long as he or she does not endanger life or property.

(d) Disregard regulations governing direction of movement or turning in a specified direction.

Ronnie Schreiber edits Cars In Depth, a realistic perspective on cars & car culture and the original 3D car site. If you found this post worthwhile, you can dig deeper at Cars In Depth. If the 3D thing freaks you out, don’t worry, all the photo and video players in use at the site have mono options. Thanks for reading – RJS

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151 Comments on “What’s Wrong With This Picture? Police Parking Illegally...”


  • avatar

    On leaving the cars running I can say that when I did insurance claims and had a printer and laptop running on an inverter plus a GPS and cell phone charger in another 12v slot, you could kill a battery quick in the winter. I would shut it off when I went to lunch but other than that it would run all day. My laptop had a good battery some of the others in the fleet tended to die if they with out power for more than 20 minutes hence leaving the car running to avoid a reboot. Also power cycles and the cell modems seemed to cause problems with our VPN connections so I tended to not even let the laptop go into sleep mode.

    • 0 avatar
      tooloud10

      I used to have a Dell computer and printer mounted in my old work truck running off an inverter. You could shut the engine off and the car battery would power everything for quite a long time without a problem. On more than one occasion I totally forgot that I left everything on and came out the next morning to everything still running.

      Everything is hard-wired into the electrical system in these police cars. Everything will work just fine if they shut the engine off.

      • 0 avatar
        Elena

        I also have lots of electronic equipment running off the car battery and never found it drained even if left on overnight. I also agree regarding leaving the engine running: long idle periods shorten the engine’s life and MPG=0… but taxpayers get the bill. Endangering fire fighters operations? I don’t think so. Fire trucks will smash police cruisers, get their thing done, and later the citizens pay for both damage to police cruisers and fire engines.

  • avatar
    BerlinDave

    To quote your Intrepid Mileage Champ Review –

    “Blown head gasket. $1500 repair. Probably worth more dead than alive.”

    Me think that the last sentence applies to the pigs too.

    Worthless waste of money for the most part.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    When I was young and drove a Restaraunt delivery truck , I was always pissed off by the @$$hats who’d park in clearly marked loading bays , forcing me to schlepp 75 # tubs of grease , 125 # boxes of canned foods etc. twice or three times further .

    What to do ? .

    One of my Customers (the owner of the place) said he’d gotten some stickers made up with ” NO PARKING HERE LOADING ZONE ” and would peel & stick them on the offenders windshields who were mostly saeles people and Cod Enforcement Officers .

    Being a young & poor parent I had no spare $ for stickers so instead I ‘ borrowed ‘ a bright red lipstick from my beautiful (now ex but still very pretty) wife and wrote ” LOADING ZONE ” neatly on the wildshield *exactly* in front of the driver’s position then went about my business .

    The fun began when the dipwads tried to use some paper to wipe it off ~ lipstick smears incredibly unless you have window washing solution .

    This worked like a charm , I never once had the same boob make the same mistake .

    So maybe just getting a grease pencil or lumber crayon and writing
    “MCL 257.603.” wherever you think appropriate , would get the message across .

    =8-) .

    -Nate

  • avatar
    Kenmore

    Sheesh… and people thought Bertel could be petty in his jihads.

    Love that monotone dark blue. Ours are a lighter blue with a dorky white stripe.

    • 0 avatar
      FuzzyPlushroom

      I agree that worrying about whether the engines are left running is a bit of a petty concern, but I hope that, should a fire break out, a couple of Detroit’s finest run out the door and discover their cruisers blocked in by fire trucks, their windows smashed in, and fire hoses routed straight through their cars.

      Blocking a hydrant, if you’re still in the car, or even just running in and out of the building to get something… understandable at times. Leaving a car parked in front of the hydrant for hours? You deserve whatever happens, should a fire break out.

      Sadly, who knows whether the officer/s in question would even be reprimanded in that situation…

      • 0 avatar
        Kenmore

        “whether the officer/s in question would even be reprimanded”

        Never happen because a wall of mutual hatred has been built between police & citizenry like nothing since the anti-military hatred of the late ’60s. Neither side is giving the other an inch.

        Just part of the ongoing class war that began with expanded draft deferments during the reign of King Lyndon.

        • 0 avatar
          golden2husky

          …….Never happen because a wall of mutual hatred has been built between police & citizenry like nothing since the anti-military hatred of the late ’60s. Neither side is giving the other an inch……

          As my late mother used tell us as kids, its not what you say/do, its how you say/do it. Look at NYC’s “stop and frisk” policy. This give the cops carte blanch to frisk a person that has not been observed doing anything illegal, but there is a suspicion that they may have an illegal firearm in their possession. Some credit this policy with being partially responsible for making NYC the safest large city in the country. And maybe it has. However, the treatment the cops give citizens during this humiliating search is disgraceful. A security guard that works for us (white for the record) was yanked out of a deli as he reached for a soda, was dragged out of the deli, thrown against the building and frisked very roughly. They has zero interest in letting him identify himself or speak at all. Only after being treated like a slug caught between the treads of a boot could he identify himself and show his ID. They were quite apologetic after the fact, and explained that they saw him hand something to a person that was sitting in a car. He did – he gave his sister some cash. Now perhaps as part of the program he might have warranted a check out, but this abusive behavior is what you get when the police are allowed to treat those they are supposed to protect like dumpster effluent. I know I would feel incredibly violated to be treated like that. Mix in the racial aspect of the program that comes into play it is a miracle that there is not an explosive riot because of this. And some wonder why some harbor such hatred and animosity to the police. Add in the sense of entitlement that some exhibit and it is even more surprising that violence does not occur.

          • 0 avatar
            jpolicke

            The most disturbing thing to me about ‘stop & frisk’ is the way it’s being defended as OK because it’s ‘effective’, as if efficacy was the criterion for whether some government activity was constitutional. There are lots of things that might be effective in reducing crimes: mandating a GPS tracker on every vehicle to try to detect a ‘pattern’ of travel to high crime areas, or blanket warrantless searches of homes to see if you have any weapons or other contraband stashed. I fear it’s coming, just hoping I don’t live to see it.

      • 0 avatar
        tooloud10

        When you and I are the guys funding the idling vehicles, it’s not a petty concern. Do you leave your own vehicles idling all day so they’re cool (or warm) whenever you decide to use them? No, you don’t, because you’re paying for your own fuel.

        Also, this all ignores how bad it is on an A/C system to leave it running in an idling car for an extended period of time. Citizens are paying to fix that, too.

    • 0 avatar
      racer-esq.

      Police not giving a f*ck about parking in fire zones is a relatively light symptom of the police/prison industrial complex, but overpolicing and police lack of accountability are not petty issues:

      Radley Balko provides very impressive coverage on the issue:

      http://www.theagitator.com/

      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/news/the-agitator

      http://reason.com/people/radley-balko/blogs

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      The color is bad enough, but what’s with the old-timey gumballs on the roofs? Is Michigan into some kind of retro thing with their cop cars?

      • 0 avatar

        That bubble is a bit controversial. Bucking the trend to go to full width lightbars (a 30+ year old invention), the MSP clings to its single giant red beacon in a nod to tradition dating back damn near a century.

        They started modernizing them a couple of years ago, replacing the halogen sealed beams (that could have doubled as aircraft landing lights) with a stack of LEDs.

        http://www.michigan.gov/msp/0,1607,7-123-1574-228581–,00.html

        (My bosses spouse works at Whelen. Told me that they had to cook that LED up just for MSP, no one else uses such a thing.)

  • avatar
    JSF22

    Jeez, Ronnie, it isn’t exactly a news flash that government officials in general, and cops in particular, routinely act like they’re above the laws that their merely mortal employers must obey. Great pictures of the coolest state police livery in the country, however.

    • 0 avatar
      racer-esq.

      Citizens like Ronnie should be praised for going after dangerous lawbreaking by people who consider themselves above the law. He’s doing it for free, not for the six figures plus defined benefits pension at 55 that these guys bankrupt (literally for the local cops) governments with.

      I would love to see not a real fire, but a fire scare, and some of these lazy, too prissy to park correctly, government employees coming back to broken windows (the hose has to get to the hydrant). The tax money for the windows, tiny compared to what these clowns paid, or even the gas they waste, would be well worth it.

      • 0 avatar
        Kenmore

        People in Ronnie’s camp also don’t do jack when gunmen take hostages in a school or shopping mall. Don’t have to discover bodies left sitting in a marsh for 5 weeks. Don’t have to be the first on the scene for highway head-ons or shotgun suicides…etc. etc.

        This is petty snitching caused by his personal run-ins with cops and the LEO bureaucracy.

        • 0 avatar
          lando

          Sorry. Not the right answer. When they took the job, they knew the deal. Not having the law apply to them is not part of the deal. The rest of your paragraph IS part of the deal. If they don’t like it, they can quit.

          • 0 avatar
            Kenmore

            Heh.. having delivered judgement, whither now for Young Master? A hunt perhaps?

          • 0 avatar
            old5.0

            “Yeah, sorry I accidentally shot your grandma, but YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT IT’S LIKE TO BE ME, MAN!!!”

            That excuse lost it’s mojo a long time ago. I used to be a “respect the badge” type, but my patience has worn thin in recent years. Not because of any personal unpleasantness; I haven’t had so much as a parking ticket since I was a teenager.

            Maybe the problem is that the true role of the police in a free republic such as ours has never been clearly and adequately defined. Whatever the case, “Protect and Serve” has seemingly flown out the window.

          • 0 avatar
            lando

            Amusing comment Kenmore. I do appreciate that about you. The problem is the erosion of authority of the office. This thread is a perfect example of this. All police officers are paint with a broad brush of the office. When you have members of this group publicly not self policing themselves, it makes the subjects, I mean non-members of the group, resent the entitled ones. It is poor for moral in any organization to see rules not enforced for some and makes people wonder what OTHER rules are not being enforced. So even a police officer that only breaks THIS rule taints his entire profession. This is particularly true in a rule of law nation such as ours. When the enforcers do not follow the laws, even petty ones, it erodes the bedrock of our nation.

        • 0 avatar

          When gunman take hostages, like in the New York state immigration center shooting, cops will wait around, letting people bleed to death rather than risk their own safety. Why do you think police unions have gone to court to make sure they have no legal obligation to protect you?

          Speaking of which, garbagemen have, statistically, a more dangerous job than cops have. LEOs usually don’t even make the list of the 10 most dangerous jobs.

          So tell me, just what violations of the law by those entrusted to enforce it aren’t “petty”? My guess is that it stops being petty when the truncheon is landing on your own head.

          We often get comments here from LEOs on threads about law enforcement. I doubt they’ll comment on this thread. What are they going to say, that MCL 257.603 doesn’t mean what it says?

          • 0 avatar
            Kenmore

            You’re always factually right about everything you publish because you’re smart and do your research.

            But I still rank cops as far more sinned against than sinning and the bulk of their importance to and interaction with our society has absolutely nothing to do with you and you’re fortunate life.

            Mine either, and I’m hugely thankful for that.

          • 0 avatar
            porschespeed

            So you admit that he’s got the facts, but you want to believe in Unicorns and Pixies anyway?

            Wow.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          I do agree there is the “real police work” aspect in play with regard to the authorities, and I know I don’t want to be the one working a homicide at 3am or discover the remains left behind by a serial killer. But I have to cast doubt on the officers in this case, being assigned as a state police officer in this location is probably a cake job. I’m not sure how Michigan operates, but in PA the State Troopers in theory have jurisdiction everywhere but only practice it if they were called upon by locals or if there is no local police and they are dispatched out in the boons. In the non-boons area I live they stick to the highways and if they perform any other tasks its behind the scene. So these Michigan State officers, even if they cut their teeth doing real police work, probably aren’t out saving the citizens of Detroit or assisting the city police with their 90 minute response time. I’d love for this story to reach the governor’s office, and he make some phone calls to the Chief of the State Police for some reprimands. I’ll cut police some slack on the BS regulations they like to nail on us when their superiors run a charity drive, but when you’re barely working and greedy with your power the hammer needs to come down on the poor behavior.

          Oh and the Fish and Game officer in the BMW is ridiculous on general principle, but especially in the Motor City. Love to see him pull into one of those UAW “domestic only” parking lots and get it towed.

          EDIT: I misread, evidently the BMW driver isn’t Fish and Game (which in my state is anti-poaching) its Michigan Gaming Control Board, which sounds like its ten times more worthless of a position. Screw the tow, arrest his ass. Maybe he can teach the county jail inmates about blackjack.

        • 0 avatar
          jpolicke

          The last hostage situation around here, the cop shot and killed the hostage, a year ago another member of the Nassau County Brain Trust shot a federal agent that had already captured the holdup guy the police were rolling in on. The number of ‘accidental’, ‘mistaken’ or otherwise inappropriate uses of force and violations of constitutional rights are increasing alarmingly. Either because of a 9/11 mentality or too many cops having served in Iraq/Afghanistan, police have begun acting more like an army of occupation and less like public servants. Which is to be expected when they are increasingly equipped more like soldiers than law enforcement.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            “police have begun acting more like an army of occupation and less like public servants. Which is to be expected when they are increasingly equipped more like soldiers than law enforcement.”

            This… it’s 100% accurate. After the 1997 LA bank robber shootout it became apparent patrol officers were not equipped to deal with a determined assault (LA officers in the incident carried 9mm and 12ga pump action shotguns on patrol). Since then some departments began to proactively better equip their patrolmen, but I have it from a police source sometime in the last five years DHS began issuing grants to all departments nationwide for additional firearms inc AR15s, ammunition, training, and in some cases armored vehicles. You can interpret this however you wish, personally I see it as militarizing the police in preparation for a national emergency or insurrection.

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_Hollywood_shootout

          • 0 avatar
            jpolicke

            We have SWAT teams swooping in on young adults outside convenience stores because the bottled water they were carrying looked like it might have been beer. Sweeping people with muzzles to enforce the alcoholic beverage code. Decline to let police commandeer your home for a command post? No problem, they kick the door in and arrest you. And God help you if you defend yourself against one of them that declines to identify himself when they’re pounding on your door in the middle of the night; they’ll be collecting your remains with a sponge.

          • 0 avatar
            JimC2

            @jpolicke-

            Aaaah, it sounds like you’re talking about the Virginia alcohol control board staties and their plainclothes sting operation gone amok back in April of this year. Gotta watch out for 20 year old girls who might be illicitly obtaining beer from the grocery store on a Thursday night… and be prepared to escalate the situation with guns-drawn felony stop tactics just to show ‘em who’s boss.

            Folks, do an online search, using these keywords: VA ABC bottled water.

            What it really is is a symptom of a sick government staffed by bureaucrats who have acute cases of headupinass syndrome.

          • 0 avatar
            el scotto

            JimC2, I live in C’ville and shop at the Harris-Teeter where the girls bought their water. Drawn weapons and no badges shown? Never mind, it states “sparkling water” or such on the package. I smell a really healthy and well-paying lawsuit in the future.

        • 0 avatar
          tooloud10

          All that’s being asked of them is to park legally. That’s what’s expected of the rest of us, so why is it so hard for them?

      • 0 avatar
        sgeffe

        Is the “smashed windows to pass hose-runs through” a reality, or just something that happens in movies, like “Backdraft?”

        I would think that running the hose over the paint on the hood or roof would teach a better lesson.

        • 0 avatar
          Lorenzo

          I’ve seen it twice, and a fireman I know says they do it so the car can’t be removed while the firemen are busy, before the tow truck arrives.

          • 0 avatar
            sgeffe

            Aha, I see!! ;-) Towing and impound fees, PLUS cleaning up and replacing the windows, which the insurance may not cover once it finds out the circumstances!

            Bwhahahahahaha!!

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        The parking by state police is perfectly legal. The signs permit it.

        “Standing” is different from “parking.” Case in point: Your typical airport white zone.

        You know the familiar refrain: “The white zone is for the loading and unloading of passengers only. No parking.”

        Translation: You may legally “stand” (load and unload people), but you aren’t allowed to “park” (leave the car at the curb for some other reason.)

        The signs clarify that not only is the parking restricted to state police vehicles, but it also is illegal to stand at the location. This obviously doesn’t apply to the cops — if it’s legal to park in a given location, then it’s also legal to stand at the same location.

        • 0 avatar
          redav

          It all depends on the state and their own definitions.

          For example, in my state:
          “Park” or “parking” means to stand an occupied or unoccupied vehicle, other than temporarily while loading or unloading merchandise or passengers.
          “Stand” or “standing” means to halt an occupied or unoccupied vehicle, other than temporarily while receiving or discharging passengers.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            You are correct that definitions can vary somewhat. However, the relevant points for this particular artile are these:

            1. “Standing” is not considered to be the same as “parking” — a “no standing” sign and “no parking” sign are not synonymous with each other

            2. There isn’t a situation in which a given vehicle is permitted to park, yet forbidden to stand. That would make no sense at all.

  • avatar
    doctor olds

    Michigan State Police cars are cool. What I like best about them is how they just pass by when I’m cruising at 80 without so much as a nod! I don’t like having the opportunity to talk to them.

    We see here the result of unelected bureaucracy presuming itself above the law and the people. Some may find national parallels.

    • 0 avatar
      raph

      Do they cut out of state drivers the same slack?

      • 0 avatar
        sgeffe

        Yesterday, on my way up to and back down to suburban Detroit from the Toledo area, I counted no less than SIX MSP vehicles whose occupant was assisting someone else in contributing to the Michigan State Treasury. And two or three more on stationary patrol! I didn’t notice the plates of the violators!

        Have V1, will travel! (Some of them were running Ka-band radar, so between the warning and the gradual slowing of my adaptive-cruise control-equipped Accord, no worries running the microwave/laser gauntlet!)

  • avatar

    Agreed with other posters. These cars look cool. More thought on the wheels next time though. Ugly.

    In my neck of the woods the police cars are gray and white. Terrible and drab looking. In Rio they’re blue and white. Much better. The federal highway police is dark blue with some yellow stripes. That’s about the best we get in Brazil.

  • avatar
    Joss

    Who’d want to be the city hornet and go and slap tickets on those cars? Particularly when city cops only respond to the wealthy burbs. I mean you’d want all the friends & support you can get on that Detroit job.

    I like that livery. Ours are white with cartoonist schematics and old revolving bulb roof gear. The provincials b & w with LED’s are much better.

  • avatar
    Flybrian

    “On a warm, muggy day, how many times do you leave your personal car running and unattended just to keep the A/C going and the radio on when gasoline is $3.60 a gallon?”

    Seriously? In Florida? All the time. There’s a Fusion Sport idling outside my office door right now as I type this because its 880 degrees *F with 170% humidity right now.

  • avatar
    50merc

    Corporate welfare takes many forms. The new owners of Cadillac Place (why not Vega Plaza or Cimarron Towers?) must appreciate the rent paid by the State. And motorists probably like having State Police cars tied up in the heart of the city instead of patrolling highways.

    Why not leave the engine running while the car is unoccupied? The cost of gas doesn’t come out of the cops’ pockets. Plus, Michigan is rolling in dough.

    The monotone dark blue has the advantage of making cop cars almost invisible at night when they’re lurking along the road because the monthly traffic ticket quota hasn’t been met.

  • avatar
    morbo

    I’ll save Buzz Killingtons PoPo hate for later, but i would like to address his comment on the gaming board member luxury car. i personally support paying the gaming board enforcers well and comparable to what the casino industry would pay them. Paying them poorly makes them far more susceptible to taking bribes. growing up in atlantic city, i can confirm that the casinos try to cheat the state whenever possible.

    If there were clapped out Neon’s out front of the gaming board enforcement office, I’d be real worried about the state’s interests being properly vested.

    • 0 avatar
      JimC2

      “… growing up in atlantic city, i can confirm that the casinos try to cheat the state whenever possible.”

      Which is so weird, because anytime casinos are trying to come to a new area, all that their supporters ever talk about is how good they’ll be for new jobs, wider tax base, sunshine, unicorns, etc.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      There is also the minor fact that an older e90 3-series is not a particularly expensive car. You can buy that car for about the price of a new Versa these days.

  • avatar
    Detroit-X

    I get the point here, but this seems like just a minor news story. Multiply this incidence by 500 and you have a daily snapshot of life in the U.S. I don’t seem to mind, within limits.

    This past summer, on a excruciatingly hot/humid day, I saw a local township police offer finishing up changing a tire in the direct, hot sunlight on asphalt. Pretty outstanding service, I’d say, even if on a cool day. I can only hope the civilian in that car truly deserved it.

  • avatar
    raph

    “Do as I say, not as I do”

  • avatar
    April

    Someone is in a crotchety mood today…

    • 0 avatar

      If you think I’m crotchety, you should have seen how crotchety the Huntington Woods cop was who chased me down the street and pulled me over for having the audacity to suggest to him, as I was rolling past him, that he was illegally and dangerously parked. You should have seen how crotchety the Lathrup Village cop was when I suggested that doing radar surveillance in a manner that forced drivers to drive on the wrong side of the road was not in the best interest of traffic safety. You should have seen how crotchety the Michigan State Police trooper was when I suggested that leaving his cruiser running was wasting taxpayers’ money.

      The first thing the HW cop did when he got out of his car, irate, was to angrily ask me, “Are you having a health problem? Is that why you were hollering?”

      “I never even raised my voice. Is that your bullsh!t excuse to ring me up for disturbing the peace?”

      I even, surprisingly, got an apology from his boss for the cop’s “comportment” when he got out of the car, since his visible anger at me calling him out for his dangerous and illegal behavior was caught on his dash cam.

      I won’t apologize for having no tolerance for those entrusted with enforcing the law when they break the law.

      Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

      • 0 avatar
        Detroit-X

        Well, your first mistake was to make a suggestion.

      • 0 avatar
        notapreppie

        Is that what this is about? Revenge for a verbal altercation?

        • 0 avatar

          So if this post is “revenge for a verbal altercation”, how would you characterize the cop chasing me down the street and pulling me over for merely suggesting he was doing something wrong? Was that also revenge?

          Simply put, cops expect, as a perk of the job, to be allowed to break laws that they enforce on us.

          Is there one law for me and you and another for LEOs?

          Just yesterday I saw a Michigan state trooper (there’s a post nearby) make an illegal left turn because he wanted to enter the freeway and didn’t feel like driving down the street and making a U-turn, as many street layouts here in Michigan force you to do.

          Perhaps he was in a hurry, but he couldn’t possibly have been on an emergency run because MCL 257.603 says that when they are on an emergency run they must have their emergency lights flashing and he didn’t have those lights on.

          When you’re the one on the receiving end, every jot and tittle of the law must be followed. When they’re on the receiving end of the law, they always have an excuse. An excuse, but never an actual citation that permits their behavior.

          All I’m asking is for police officers to follow the law that exempts them, in certain specific situations, from following traffic and parking laws, in those other situations when they are not exempt.

          Is it really too much to ask cops to obey the law?

          • 0 avatar
            old5.0

            Judging by some of the comments here, yes, it is too much.

          • 0 avatar
            April

            Maybe you should write him a ticket.

          • 0 avatar
            April

            Better yet. Become a Police Officer and be a stickler for following every law, rule and regulation.

            Problem solved. SUPER COP

          • 0 avatar
            Kenmore

            “Maybe you should write him a ticket.”

            Dim memory but I recall an episode of Andy Griffith where Gomer is initiated into the wondrous power that is every American’s:

            “Citizen’s Aray-est! Citizen’s Aray-est!”

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            Ronnie, one day soon you’re going to get your butt in jail and even though you might have right on your side your butt will still be in jail and you aren’t going to like it and all the time, money and paperwork involved to get your butt out of jail. From that point forward anyone who needs to check your background for whatever reason is going to want to know why your butt was in jail and you’ll have to explain the whole thing for the hundredth time. You’ll then start to ask yourself if it was really worth it. Then the next time you see a cop acting above it all you will move along and mind your own business, because even though he’s not above it all and most of the time he’s beneath it all he still has the power to mess up your otherwise peaceful happy life

          • 0 avatar
            redav

            In many ways, it’s about HOW it’s suggested.

      • 0 avatar
        crm114

        Keep up the good work Ronnie. Who cares what injustice inspired you to write the article, or whether the unlawful behavior you report is fairly petty? Eternal vigilance is one of the prices of freedom. Law enforcement should follow the laws they’re sworn to uphold. Anyone who disagrees is part of the problem.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        “I won’t apologize for having no tolerance for those entrusted with enforcing the law when they break the law.”

        That’s great, but it’s obviously legal for them to park there.

      • 0 avatar
        sgeffe

        I’ll give my local PD credit–they sometimes will crawl along at the 25mph speed limit that the city grandmothers have bestowed upon a two-lane (with middle turn), repaved asphalt surface street with EXCELLENT sight lines, which could probably be posted for 30mph without worries.

        They will also let you have ~10 over, depending on circumstances.

        Generally, even with shrinking budgets, “nine you’re fine, ten you’re mine” seems to be the “rule” in Ohio, even with the infamous Ohio Highway Patrol, which, incidentally, is using a mix of white Tahoes and silver Chargers to replace their fleet of white CVPIs.

        Can’t think of the detective’s name who has written critiques of the various cop rides post-Panther; perhaps he could weigh in on this topic. His past contributions, at least to this member of the B&B, make him one of the “good guys” for sure!

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          PA State police still run marked CVPIs and now marked Chargers, but for unmarked I have noticed either burgundy or silver colored cars of several types (New Taurus, CVPI, MGM)

        • 0 avatar
          David Hester

          Thanks for the nice words, sgeffe. Against my better judgement, i’ll weigh in a bit. Short answer:. Looking at the photos, Pch101’s analysis seems reasonable to me.

          I will also throw in this bit of “insider” analysis: It doesn’t make sense to me to park illegally when a legal space is open nearby because there is always a “Ronnie” looking to complain. Have I ever parked my cruiser illegally? Of course. Have I done it when a legal spot was open as close as is depicted in the photos? No.

          There are two reasons for that. First of all, there’s always a Ronnie and who needs the grief? Secondly, ifI’m parked illegally and get hit, then I have to answer for that to my superiors and, again, who needs the grief?

          So, while my reasons for not making a habit of parking illegally aren’t particularly noble, they are quite well grounded in my own self- interest. Figuring that most people are as rationally self-interested as I am, there are a couple of explanations for what is depicted.

          1. Pch101 is correct and parking is legal for state police vehicles only. In other words the “police vehicle only” signs are being interpreted to trump the “no standing” signs for police vehicles.

          2. All of the police spaces were full when the cars that parked illegally arrived. The legally parked cars left after the illegally parked cars arrived but before the pictures were taken. That doesn’t make it “right” for the illegally parked cars but I would say its less of an affront than the situation is being depicted.

          Maybe MSP troopers are by and large the over-bearing caricatures that Ronnie thinks that police officers are but probably not. At least in my experience.

        • 0 avatar
          David Hester

          Thanks for the kind words, sgeffe, but I don’t have much to add. Looking at the intersection on Google streetview like Pch101 did gives you a much more nuanced appreciation of the location.

          Have I ever parked illegally, even when I wasn’t on a call? Of course. Have I done it when a legal spot was available that was just as close, as is alleged here? No, for two reasons: There’s always a Ronnie and if I’m parked illegally and get hit, I’ll have to answer to my boss about it. Both of those things are a hassle. One of my main motivators in life is not to be hassled so acting in my own rational self interest keeps me legally parked 98% of the time. Not particularly noble, but there you go.

          Assuming that most MSP troopers are logical and act in their own self- interest to avoid pretty hassles when possible and will prefer to park in legal spaces when one is available leads me to believe that parking in the area marked “No standing” is either completely legal as Pch101 suggests or officially sanctioned by the administration.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            “…leads me to believe that parking in the area marked “No standing” is either completely legal as Pch101 suggests or officially sanctioned by the administration.”

            My points elsewhere have been that standing is permitted in a legal parking space.

            Standing is (a) brief and (b) has a specific purpose (usually related to loading and unloading of passengers, possibly including the loading and unloading of goods.) In other words, standing is similar to parking, except that the reason for parking and length of time are relevant.

            If it’s legal to park for an extended period of time in a given spot, then it’s obviously also legal to stop for a short period of time with the intent of loading or unloading people in that same spot. To argue that the cops may “park” there but are forbidden to “stand” there would make no sense at all.

        • 0 avatar
          David Hester

          Appreciated, sgeffe, but I don’t have much to add. Looking at the area on Google streetview, as Pch101 did, gives you a much more nuanced appreciation for the location.

          Have I ever parked my g- ride illegally, by which I mean dumped it in some place that was obviously “No Parking” when not responding to an emergency? Sure. This is “The Truth About Cars.” I’m not going to kid you.

          But I don’t do it when there’s a perfectly good legal spot available for two reasons: There are a lot of “Ronnies” out there, looking to wag their fingers at the hypocrisy of authorities. The second reason is that if I park illegally and my car gets hit, I have to deal with my bosses and the fallout from it. Both of those things are hassles and, like most rational people regardless of their occupation, I prefer to avoid being hassled. It’s not particularly noble. It just is.

          So when presented with pictures of cops parked illegally when there are legal spaces available, I apply the same rule of self- interest to them that I apply to myself. It is not logical to risk being hassled by parking illegally when a legal space is available. Therefore the suspected “illegal” parking is, as Pch101 posits, legal for state police vehicles or the illegal parking is sanctioned by superiors, thereby eliminating the fear of being hassled by all the Ronnies of the world, leaving only the fear of being hassled on the very small chance that someone dings your cruiser while you run into the building for a few minutes.

          It is what it is. In a bankrupt city where the rule of law has, for all practical purposes, collapsed, 47% of the adult population is functionally illiterate, and packs of wild dogs roam the streets I suspect “Where the police park” doesn’t move most residents outrage meters.

        • 0 avatar
          David Hester

          Well, that’s interesting. I made basically the same post three times over the course of the morning because the first two were sent to the spam folder instead of posting. Yay, WordPress! I had decided to take the high road and then they appeared. Oh, well.

      • 0 avatar
        jpolicke

        No, you’re right on target with this one, Ronnie. When they have that much curb space allotted to them for parking (which was space taken away from public parking, citizens be damned) there is no excuse for this laziness and arrogance.

        You probably wouldn’t have gotten the apology if not for the dash cam i the cruiser (“Dummy! It’s all being recorded! Noww I’ve got to go unruffle his feathers!”). Cops have hated cameras since Rodney King, and are still pretending not to know about SCOTUS saying the public has a right to record. Let the court pass a judgment loosening up the definition of probable cause and they’re on it that same day.

      • 0 avatar
        bunkie

        While I share your disgust over the abuse of privilege, personal confrontations with LEOs are good examples of the definition of insanity. I’m sure it feels good and feeds your sense of outrage, but the right way to deal with this crap takes more effort than just yelling at some cop.

        The risk of a situation escalating simply isn’t worth the confrontation. Take a photo, write a letter to the mayor, call you state rep, almost anything is better than picking a fight.

    • 0 avatar
      notapreppie

      “Someone is in a crotchety mood today…”

      I was thinking the same thing…

      This reads like an anti-establishment diatribe that would be found on an Idaho militia website. Only smaller and pettier.

      • 0 avatar
        April

        Yeah. Just add a rant about unmarked helicopters. Painted black.

      • 0 avatar
        Francois

        Well, he is in Michigan, so Michigan Militia might be more apt…

        The probable reality is that he is morphing in to some sort of Sovereign Citizen. A lot of people get annoyed with the police, but they handle it in more constructive ways, and ways that are likely to fix the problem. He seems to find it preferable to complain on a website instead of addressing the people that can make a difference, so that when nothing gets fixed he can scream about how the system is rigged.

        • 0 avatar

          “A lot of people get annoyed with the police, but they handle it in more constructive ways, and ways that are likely to fix the problem. He seems to find it preferable to complain on a website instead of addressing the people that can make a difference, so that when nothing gets fixed he can scream about how the system is rigged.”

          You mean like doing the following?:

          ” Concerning those cops parking in the middle of the road, I sent emails to both city managers, both directors of public safety and even had a fruitless phone conversation with the mayor of my own city, which adjoins Huntington Woods, about why our police department won’t ticket cars that are dangerously and illegally parked in the middle of the road. Getting no satisfaction, I went to a city council meeting and simply read them the state law, asking them if it exempted routine traffic surveillance. Four days later the mayor called to tell me that a majority of the city council and city manager agree with my reading of the law.”

  • avatar
    Joss

    Cops & civilians. This is a popular misconcept. A police constable by definition is a civilian working for the municipality or state. ENTRUSTED with special powers to keep the peace.

    Police officers are civilians. They are not the military.

    • 0 avatar
      IHateCars

      Agreed….and militarization of civic police forces is a very disconcerting trend.
      I’m not a cop hater by any means, and while I usually enjoy David Hester’s articles, the tone of his posts here rubs me the wrong way.

  • avatar
    Lorenzo

    This happens EVERYWHERE, and not just the police, though they should be the LAST ones to do it. The city governments go through a ticket fixing scandal periodically, even when officers ticket offenders.

    The last scandal in San Diego, the Council decided there would be no more ticket fixing. I was sitting at a lunch counter with my fireman friend on my right and a homicide detective to my left. I mentioned to the fireman that he’d better stay out of the red zone or he’d get a ticket. He said, “Nooo, it won’t happen.”

    The homicide detective mentioned a murder downtown the previous night, police tape everywhere, and an officer told him, “Jerry, a meter maid is ticketing your car.” The maid had ticketed 3 police cars in the red zone and was eying the plate on the coroner’s van.

    The detective said he asked her in the “calmest voice” he could muster, “WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING?” she answered, “They told me to ticket everybody.” He told her to leave and take the tickets with her, or he’d arrest her for interfering with a homicide investigation.

    I then looked at the fireman, mouth agape, and told him, “There you go, Joe – don’t park that pumper truck in front of a hydrant, or you’ll get a ticket.” He just shook his head.

    There’s no excuse for police doing this, but you should realize they have to answer to elected politicians and fairly incompetent political appointee administrators who all believe the law is for the little people. As Ronnie Schreiber noted in the article, dealing with mayors and councils can be an exercise in futility. Imagine having to work for, and answer to them as part of your livelihood.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    “Standing” and “Parking” are different legal concepts. You’re confusing the two.

    I consulted with my friends at Google Streetview. The block is filled with “State Police Vehicles Only”, with some “No Standing” signs mixed in.

    It’s pretty obvious that the “no standing” signs don’t apply to the state police vehicles that are permitted to park there. The cops obviously can park there, as the signs indicate.

    The Michigan Vehicle Code defines parking as “standing a vehicle, whether occupied or not, upon a highway, when not loading or unloading except when making necessary repairs.” Standing isn’t specifically defined by the code, but it generally pertains to vehicles that are loading and discharging passengers.

    Together, the combination of signs means:

    1. The state police may park there.
    2. Nobody else except for the state police may park there.
    3. In addition to it being illegal for non-state police to park there, it’s also not legal to pick up or drop off people or goods at that location.

    All of these things are consistent with each other. There’s no problem here.

    • 0 avatar
      shelvis

      Thank you!

    • 0 avatar

      Oh, ain’t that a downer for all of those who got their feathers so ruffled up. LOL!

    • 0 avatar

      “I consulted with my friends at Google Streetview. The block is filled with “State Police Vehicles Only”, with some “No Standing” signs mixed in.”

      As anyone can see from the photographs, your description inaccurately describes how parking is controlled on the street. The block is not “filled with “State Police Vehicles Only” signs” and there’s no mixing in. The State Police Vehicles Only signs are only posted by the angled off-street parking spaces. Those spaces are distinct from the No Standing zones on the street. There are no “State Police Vehicles Only” signs in the No Standing zones.

      “There’s no problem here”

      No problem with blocking fire pipes?

      Are you saying that since Parking and Standing are two different concepts, it’s legal to park in a No Standing zone?

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        “As anyone can see from the photographs…”

        Your photographs were rather selective. Fortunately, Google Streetview provides an opportunity to see the entire street, rather than the few limited glimpses provided by your photos.

        Unlike you, Google Streetview doesn’t have an ax to grind. And sure enough, the first sign at the head of the block says “State Police Vehicles Only”, with a No Standing not far past it.

        It’s clear that you failed to differentiate between “parking” and “standing.” Let’s try again:

        -Some vehicles are allowed to park there (in this case, the state police).

        -Obviously, other vehicles are prohibited from parking there (in this case, everyone except for the state police)

        -A vehicle that is legally parked in a given space is also free to stand (load and discharge pasengers) in the same space. The reverse isn’t always true — there are some locations in which standing is permitted but parking is illegal — but there is no circumstance in which a legally parked vehicle can’t also stand (or for that matter, load.)

        Look up the differences between “parking”, “standing”, “loading” and “stopping.” Once you’ve done that, then you will realize that a legal parking space may be used for parking, standing, loading and stopping.

        Since the cops can park there, they may also stand there. You, on the other hand, may not do either of those.

        • 0 avatar
          jkross22

          Interesting how you’re not addressing parking in front of fire hose connections.

          Any firemen want to chime in on this one and how it’s perfectly legal to park in front of those despite what a sign says?

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            “Any firemen want to chime in on this one and how it’s perfectly legal to park in front of those despite what a sign says?”

            If you understood my points above, then it should be obvious that the “No Standing” signs had nothing to do with the fire hoses.

            In Michigan, it is illegal to PARK within 15 feet of a fire hydrant. A prohibition against PARKing is not a prohibition against STANDing.

            1. The “No Standing” sign has absolutely nothing to do with the fire hoses. As we can see, the author of this article doesn’t (or at least didn’t) know the difference between “standing” and “parking”. The caption of the photo above is wrong.

            2. Those fire hoses outlets aren’t a fire hydrant.

            3. Even if those hose outlets were a fire hydrant, the curb is more than 15 feet away from them.

            Happy now?

  • avatar
    Compaq Deskpro

    I’ll take one of those Chargers please.

  • avatar
    Francois

    HAHA

    Ronnie Schreiber = Bertel Schmidt

    Hey Ronnie, when can we expect to see some articles that involve taking cheap shots at lesbians?

    TTAC appears to be playing a losing game of Whack-a-Mole. You get rid of one, and another pops up.

    • 0 avatar

      Are you saying that police don’t have to obey the law? Are you saying that you are cool with police endangering the people who work in that building and the people in the CCS building by obstructing access to fire pipes and hydrants? Just what laws do you think cops have to obey?

      I’ll leave it to the Best & Brightest to determine who is the one taking cheap shots.

      • 0 avatar
        Francois

        Hey, nice Red Herring!

        I didn’t address whether or not they should “have to obey the law.” Clearly, there are cases when the police should be exempt from traffic laws, and cases when they should follow them. I don’t know enough about this situation to make that judgement, and I bet you don’t, either. As a matter of fact, I didn’t even use the words “Police”, “Law enforcement”, or “Parking” in my comment.

        No, what I addressed with my comment is this: much like Bertel Schmidt, it seems you have an axe to grind, and you are taking advantage of your position on this website to grind it. If that is the way TTAC wants to run, cool. It is not my website – but it seems like you are heading down the same road Bertel did.

        Don’t like the way the police do something? Cool, they have annoyed me to. Want to know the proper outlet for that? How about a letter to the newspaper, or showing up at a city meeting and addressing whatever local government members are responsible for controlling police operations. How about lobby for a change in Detroit city law to specifically outlaw this behavior?

        Can’t convince them to change? Can’t get the other residents behind you? Well, then I guess your cause just isn’t that important.

        Or, I guess you could whine on a website about automotive news and reviews. If that is the tactic you want to use, I suppose you should change “Cars in Depth” to “Complaining in Depth.”

        • 0 avatar
          April

          @Francois

          Thank you.

          • 0 avatar
            jkross22

            April,

            What does the fire code have to say about blocking fire hose connections? Exemptions for parked police cruisers?

            Get back with us on this.

        • 0 avatar

          “Hey, nice Red Herring!”

          Says the man who tried to tar me with the stain of supposed bigotry against lesbians (with whom I happen to share many interests).

          “Clearly, there are cases when the police should be exempt from traffic laws, and cases when they should follow them. I don’t know enough about this situation to make that judgement, and I bet you don’t, either.”

          Ah, but I do know enough about this situation to make this judgment. The law is clear. There was no emergency situation or a case of pursuit or apprehension of an actual criminal or suspect. It was a meeting. I’ve asked the Michigan State Police for their side of the story. So far they’ve declined to offer an explanation. Perhaps it was a meeting about an actual suspect, or emergency situation but that would still be stretching the law. If they provide an explanation, or more likely, an excuse, I’ll post it here.

          It could have been an emergency, but then the law cited above also says that when they are using exemptions from traffic or parking laws they must be operating their emergency lights. No emergency lights, ergo no emergency.

          “Don’t like the way the police do something? Cool, they have annoyed me to. Want to know the proper outlet for that? How about a letter to the newspaper,”

          Or, perhaps, a post at a popular website?

          “or showing up at a city meeting and addressing whatever local government members are responsible for controlling police operations.”

          Perhaps you didn’t read the entire post. Regarding the matter locally in my own suburb and an adjoining city, I went through the process of contacting two city governments asking them to provide a citation that allowed such parking. When no such citations were forthcoming I ended up addressing my own city council, simply reading the law to them. According to the mayor, the city manager and a majority of the city council now agree with me. I suspect that worries about liability now that they know the law were a factor. Since then I haven’t seen the neighboring police department illegally parking in the middle of the street.

          “How about lobby for a change in Detroit city law to specifically outlaw this behavior?”

          This behavior is already specifically outlawed under state law. No need for additional local laws.

          The Detroit city government refuses to enforce existing state laws that specifically outlaw this behavior. I’ve asked the parking enforcement officers to ticket prosecutors’ cars blocking firepipes. I was ignored. They then proceeded to go right past that illegally and dangerously parked car to ticket a car driven by a member of the general public.

          Putting aside obvious equal protection issues, I find that deliberate thumbing of their noses at us offensive. Do we have a civil service or an entitled aristocracy with special rights and privileges?

          What makes you think additional laws will compel public employees to treat other public employees the way they treat the public? Laws are for people who don’t work for the government to follow.

          MCL 257.603 already very clearly states when cops can and cannot violate traffic and parking laws. I’m just asking them to obey the law as written and for the city of Detroit and other municipalities to enforce the law equally against everyone.

          • 0 avatar
            April

            “Says the man who tried to tar me with the stain of supposed bigotry against lesbians (with whom I happen to share many interests)”

            *roll eyes*

            Such a lame joke…

          • 0 avatar

            What’s lame about liking flannel shirts and the Indigo Girls’ cover of Uncle John’s Band?

          • 0 avatar
            50merc

            Ronnie, I appreciate your standing up against the sleeze. Having been inside the government plantation quite a while, I know there is an inexorable and insidious tendency for public officials at all levels to grant themselves special privileges, perks and protections. BTW, I’m also glad the Founders inserted a Title of Nobility clause.

            Most worrisome, however, is the growing militarization of law enforcement. Hollywood preps us for this by depicting countless no-knock raids, automatic weapons in every hand, SWAT gear and face-hiding uniforms. The kindly police officers of my youth welcomed interaction with kids. Today’s youth see cops acting like invading and incognito soldiers.

          • 0 avatar
            Francois

            Haha…

            I can’t believe you are spending this much time responding to my comments. No vehicle reviews to write? I’m just a reader looking for an automotive website. I almost left when Bertel started in, changed by mind when Jack Baruth fixed things, but am starting to think he didn’t thin the herd enough. If I wanted to read about how bad the cops are, I would go to The Truth About Guns.

            Your normal articles are great, and you seem to be an intelligent, thoughtful writer. I can’t help but think you are going off the deep end with all the “cops won’t follow the law” stuff. If the cops parking in front of fire hydrants is what you need to concentrate on it must be a slow news day, or you just woke up from a coma.

            I’ve come to the conclusion that you are either an incredibly lazy automotive writer, or a left-wing social activist that stumbled upon this job.

            Here’s an idea for your next article: “Fuuuuuuuck, some pig got a discount at Dunkin, that’s against the law! America is so over!”

        • 0 avatar
          Lie2me

          You are very wise, Francois

  • avatar
    Cubista

    Great article…it is “National Bacon Day”, after all.

    Love those Chargers. Laughing my @$$ off over the bubblegum machine rollers, though…I didn’t think any enforcement agency in the First World still used those.

    Where I live they’re mostly along the visors inside the car…a few are the external low profiles, but y0u see those less and less. “Pronounced police presence”, like hell…they’re all in stealth mode, ready to come out of the woodwork at a moment’s notice.

  • avatar
    jpolicke

    At least we know Michigan isn’t wasting money on flashy new equipment; I thought those round red gumball machine lights went out with Sheriff Andy Taylor.

  • avatar
    jimbob457

    It has been forever thus. Crooked politicians lead to crooked cops. Corruption causes slovenly and inept cop behavior. This in turn creates public contempt for cops. This vicious cycle only seriously afflicts a few places in the US. Happily, I don’t have to live there.

  • avatar
    carrya1911

    That’s what poor leadership looks like.

  • avatar
    Power6

    Ronnie the article comes off as self serving and lazy. I’m in agreement with you, its pretty rampant these sort of small offenses that no LEO will ever be dinged for.

    Maybe write an article about the current attitudes toward this, how it evolved, what to do about it etc. Put some effort in.

  • avatar
    Hillman

    Sounds very petty that you would go to this length over a parking problem. Heck, they are not even blocking the hydrant. Why not wait for the response? Anyway, anytime you tell someone how to do their job you will get a negative reaction. Not sure what you would expect cop to say after you tell him how to do his job.

    • 0 avatar

      Yeah, you’re right. I mean it’s not like public employees, you know, work for the public. Why should regular folks even be allowed to question anything public employees, particularly the police, do? It’s not like the police or other public employees can stick their noses in your business whenever they feel like it, right?

      Seriously though, if it was petty of me, how would you characterize the cop who chased me down the street and pulled me over for saying that he was dangerously and illegally parked?

      “Not even blocking the hydrant”

      Try using that excuse the next time you get a ticket for being parked too close to a hydrant.

      • 0 avatar
        jkross22

        You’re arguing with people who epitomize ‘disinterested citizenry’.

      • 0 avatar
        Hillman

        You have a right to question but you went about it in the wrong way. Send an email to the police chief and wait for the response. The guy did not care when he parked there what makes you think he cares when he is told that he is wrong? As for the cop chasing you down. I bet I know what happened. You saw cop doing something you did not agree with and you confronted him. The cop got defensive and nothing was solved. I would say any cop pulling someone over for 2 mph over is petty as well a citizen complaining that a cop is parked 5 feet to close to a hydrant. In the end we all are part of team insert city here and we likley have the same goals.

  • avatar
    Sloomis

    In my neighborhood in Chicago the police routinely run through stop signs and red lights even when they’re not responding to a call. They’ll roll up calmly to an intersection, turn on lights and sirens when they go through it, then turn them off once they’re through.

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    Thank you Ronnie for fighting the good fight. That there are people opposing you on either side of the thin blue line is depressing.

  • avatar
    bill mcgee

    Many years ago worked for the city public works department . Often had to park my city vehicle ( had a choice of taking the Cavalier , the 4- cylinder / automatic Jeep Cherokee or the full-size two -door Blazer with the twin -spots and the 350/ 4 barrel , not surprisingly always took the Blazer ) frequently to other downtown offices . I would blatantly park in no- parking zones and was frequently ticketed , but my boss would just laugh and tear the parking tickets up . After all the police department was just another city department so nobody ever paid and my manager and I both wondered why the local cops even bothered to ticket another city vehicle .

  • avatar
    360joules

    Ronnie, we solemnly swear to not park on your lawn.
    -signed, The Kids

  • avatar
    Kenmore

    I’ve probably spent a cumulative 3 hours on this namby rant from a frenetic nudnik.

    I think the problem is mine.

    • 0 avatar
      jkross22

      +1 for using the term nudnik.

      -2 for insultingly lazy citizenry.

      Abuse of power starts at the top and works its way down. It’s cultural in the same way Enron’s culture of corruption filtered down to the desk traders. But you’re probably right. Just accept it. Maybe it will go away on its own.

      • 0 avatar
        Kenmore

        “-2 for insultingly lazy citizenry.”

        Ima t’row mah Age Card now…

        BOOM! SPINNNNNnnnnn…

        Plus, where I live we don’t have to lock our doors and I frequently socialize with village and county cops.

        Lazy citizenry here means walking past someone else’s toppled recycle bin without setting it back up.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      Wait ’til he finds out about the graft, corruption, kick-backs and bribes they’re supposedly not involved with, he’ll wonder why he choose this hill to make his stand

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    This is nothing, I’ve seen cops from other towns that live near me, use red lights and sirens as they leave their houses just to beat rush hour traffic so they can make it on time for their roll call or whatever they do nowadays

  • avatar
    brenschluss

    Watching people brush this off is saddening.

    Maybe you don’t care that they parked closer to a fire hydrant than you’d be allowed to. Maybe you don’t care if they carelessly park in the middle of the road. Maybe you don’t even care if they respond violently (guess what, if I get out of my car and start yelling, it’s assault,) to being told that they’re creating traffic problems for no purpose.

    Ronnie might be shrill, but all I want to do is trust that the people walking around with virtually infinite power vested in them are reasonable people, period. I cannot do that if I see them abuse their power.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      I do care, a lot, but I know where to draw the line. Yesterday I passed a cop going 15 over the limit, but I wasn’t driving dangerously and I looked like someone who might be running a little late for work, so he let me slide. Had I been running out of a liquor store with a gun in one hand and a fist full of money in the other, I doubt he would have been as generous, he knows where to draw the line. I’d like to think that kind of discretion is a two-way street

      • 0 avatar
        brenschluss

        …discretion is a two-way street

        It’s a good point and I agree. Again, I think Ronnie’s delivery is the problem moreso than the principle.

        I personally only really care when police do something that is both illegal and dangerous. Passing me, doing 80+ per traffic, without lights and with such speed that my car is shoved sideways probably isn’t necessary. Parking offenses I’m not as concerned about, unless they’re creating an immediately dangerous situation.

        But, no matter where you fall, the “whatever, it’s gonna happen” attitude is unhelpful at best. I’m glad for tenacious types like Ronnie who will actually try to make local governments, however grudgingly, do their jobs correctly. Very few people will do a good job when no one is looking, to mangle the famous quote, and in my experience those people are almost never the ones in government. Refreshing when it happens, but rare.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          No, he’s wrong on the principle as well.

          The article is inaccurate from start to finish. It’s perfectly legal for the cops to park or stand their vehicles there, and for them to park near the fire outlets attached to the building.

          Had the author done his homework, this entire article could have been avoided. But he was so busy working himself into a tizzy that he couldn’t be bothered to learn the difference between standing and parking, and why the signs don’t contradict each other.

          • 0 avatar
            brenschluss

            I’m going to go with one of Mr. Hester’s theories that it’s just not a problem, rather than perfectly defined in law. I’ve just wasted 10 minutes of my time looking at street view and the Michigan state code and I can’t reconcile the “no standing” sign between two “state police vehicle only” signs, when the law doesn’t seem to exempt them from parking restrictions unless in the act of responding.

            But, I don’t really care, either. The principle was that the police should obey the law as non-LEOs do. No standing zones are beside that point. Ronnie may get petty in some of his crusades, but I’m glad he’s undertaking them because it’s a small number, relatively, who do.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            The author of this article doesn’t understand traffic signs. It would behoove the rest of you to understand what he got wrong.

            Once again: if you are allowed to “park” in a space, then you are also allowed to “stand” in it.

            If you understand what “standing” is, then it should be obvious why that is the case. “Standing” is short-term parking with a purpose (in Michigan’s case, that means loading and unloading).

            If you can park a vehicle for whatever reason, then you are obviously also free to stand in that same space. It makes no sense at all to believe that a parking space can’t also be used for a standing vehicle. While there are situations in which standing is legal but parking is not, the reverse cannot be true.

          • 0 avatar
            brenschluss

            How’d you know I was four years old?

            A sign which outlaws standing for all, with a separate sign that implies a legal parking space for a certain class of vehicle, is a confusing situation. It’s an oddly placed sign and that’s all I said.

            Remember, no one likes a pedant.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            “A sign which outlaws standing for all, with a separate sign that implies a legal parking space for a certain class of vehicle, is a confusing situation.”

            It’s only confusing to those who don’t know the difference between parking and standing.

            There’s no “principle” or “abuse of power” here. The only thing that’s lacking here is a parking lot adjacent to the building where the squad cars can be parked.

          • 0 avatar
            brenschluss

            We understand the difference. In areas I’m familiar with, the difference between standing and stopping as it relates to parking in restricted spots, is that you’re not allowed to leave the car in a no standing zone while dropping off or receiving passengers. You may do so in a no parking zone if you are dropping off passengers or items. There’s no parking in a no standing zone; standing is allowed where there is no parking. No stopping means none of these are allowed. Am I wrong? How about clearing that up?

            And if that’s correct, how about, instead of condescending, showing us all what allows the city to put a sign allowing parking for some vehicles in an area that disallows standing for any vehicle, when the law is clear about when these laws can and cannot be broken? Is this something that’s commonly done that I just haven’t seen?

            Maybe I am being obtuse, but you’re not doing much to help.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            “We understand the difference.”

            Your previous comments make it clear that you do not (or at least did not until I explained it) understand the difference.

            This entire article was written based upon a failure to understand the difference. Some people are just to eager to look for problems with the police, when the problem lies in their inability to read signs.

            “showing us all what allows the city to put a sign allowing parking for some vehicles in an area that disallows standing for any vehicle, when the law is clear about when these laws can and cannot be broken?”

            Reading the signs ought to be enough.

            One signs permits a certain class of vehicle to park, while forbidding all others from parking. I think that most of us know whether or now we’re driving Michigan state police cars.

            A second sign prohibits standing. It should be obvious, given the state’s definition of “parking”, that the prohibition against standing does not apply to those who are permitted to park there.

            The cops obviously understand the signs — they’re parking there. You’re not a Michigan state cop (I presume), so it should be equally clear from the signs that your car should be somewhere else. How much more could you possibly want?

        • 0 avatar
          brenschluss

          I’ll consider it Michigan in a nutshell.

  • avatar
    David Hester

    Appreciated, sgeffe, but I don’t have much to add. Looking at the area on Google streetview, as Pch101 did, gives you a much more nuanced appreciation for the location.

    Have I ever parked my g- ride illegally, by which I mean dumped it in some place that was obviously “No Parking” when not responding to an emergency? Sure. This is “The Truth About Cars.” I’m not going to kid you.

    But I don’t do it when there’s a perfectly good legal spot available for two reasons: There are a lot of “Ronnies” out there, looking to wag their fingers at the hypocrisy of authorities. The second reason is that if I park illegally and my car gets hit, I have to deal with my bosses and the fallout from it. Both of those things are hassles and, like most rational people regardless of their occupation, I prefer to avoid being hassled. It’s not particularly noble. It just is.

    So when presented with pictures of cops parked illegally when there are legal spaces available, I apply the same rule of self- interest to them that I apply to myself. It is not logical to risk being hassled by parking illegally when a legal space is available. Therefore the suspected “illegal” parking is, as Pch101 posits, legal for state police vehicles or the illegal parking is sanctioned by superiors, thereby eliminating the fear of being hassled by all the Ronnies of the world, leaving only the fear of being hassled on the very small chance that someone dings your cruiser while you run into the building for a few minutes.

    It is what it is. In a bankrupt city where the rule of law has, for all practical purposes, collapsed, 47% of the adult population is functionally illiterate, and packs of wild dogs roam the streets I suspect “Where the police park” doesn’t move most residents outrage meters.

    • 0 avatar
      sgeffe

      Thank you sir.

      It does raise an eyebrow seeing the car blocking the standpipes, but as you intimated, in an emergency, the party responsible for that vehicle would have to answer to their boss for damage.

  • avatar
    ihatetrees

    In the People’s Republic of NY, borderline dangerous, if not illegal, police vehicle activities vary depending on the engagement of the local citizens / government. It’s common in both Detroit-grade toilets like Buffalo / Rochester and certain parochial small towns.

    Affluent suburbs with an involved and legally savvy electorate are much more intolerant of arrogant police vehicle behavior.

  • avatar
    AoLetsGo

    Yes I agree that letting your car idle for a long time is a waste.
    It is expensive and creates air pollution.
    On the bright side.
    It was only a few years ago that Michigan was so broke.
    The MSP was under strict orders to save money by not driving.
    They had to sit at the side of the road to save gas.

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    Well, the case against the cops here seems to be less than airtight. But the larger point — reflected in a substantial number of the comments (no, I didn’t count ‘em) — is that your use of a public forum to ventilate some obviously personal issues is not well-received by a good chunk of the readers.

    So, please consider that the next time you contemplate publishing something like this.

    All of us have seen minor — or perhaps even major — instances of police misbehavior. Some of us may even have been on the receiving end of it. But that doesn’t make it a proper subject for an article, IMHO.


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