I stopped my patrol car beside a woman leaving her car after parking on the wrong side of a residential street. (In other words she parked facing northbound on the southbound side of the street.) I politely informed her that parking on the wrong side of the street is against the law and she should resist repeating this in the future, especially when doing it in front of a police car.

         Rather than a thank you (I could have issued her a moving violation as well as a parking citation), she replied, smugly, “What’s the big deal?” Well, let’s see; what is the big deal? I’ll explain.

         First, many drivers are just plain lazy and it’s simply easier to do it the wrong way. Second, they fail, or perhaps refuse, to understand the overt and subtle reasons for such a parking restriction. It’s virtually impossible to park on the wrong side of the road without first driving on the wrong side of the road to get to the parking space. You’d think no one would argue that driving in an oncoming lane is against the law and can be pretty darned dangerous, but you’d be wrong; for some reason some drivers think they’re exempt from traffic laws while driving in a parking mode.   

         Consider next that parking facing the wrong direction positions the driver in such a way that when he attempts to reenter traffic, his driver’s side will be on the curb side of the car rather than the traffic side, with traffic headed toward him rather than in the same direction. This compromised position is compounded when a larger vehicle, especially a container truck or van, parks in front of your car. Just try to watch for oncoming traffic when you’re sitting on the sidewalk side of the car and there’s a large vehicle in front of you blocking your view.

         Another consideration people fail to recognize is that cars are designed so that red lenses, which double as reflectors, are located in the rear of the vehicle; front lights are clear and amber, and do not reflect headlights efficiently. Try this experiment the next time you’re driving down a dark street with cars parked both legally and in the wrong direction. You’ll notice your headlights will more than adequately illuminate the rear red lenses, but cars parked in the opposite direction have no such red reflection on the front and you’ll be amazed by the contrast and how difficult it can be to see them, especially in foul weather.

          A final important element: Cops and Parking Enforcement Officers routinely enforce parking the wrong way on primary arterials (busy streets), but commonly tolerate it when done on residential streets. Even so, drivers should keep in mind that if they are involved in a collision when entering or exiting an illegally parked position, they’ll likely be found at-fault for the collision. They’ll be cited appropriately and may be held legally liable for resultant injuries and damage.

  • Time (Mis) Management

    Time management; that’s my current thing; my current, actually chronic, fret—nice to know I’m not too old to experience angst. I’m constantly berating myself for not using my time appropriately. (And I don’t even play videogames) I get angry with myself as I wait for someone to finally do something about this time-wasting, as if the person responsible for doing that something isn’t me.


    Each of us is allotted the same twenty-four hours a day; the same 1440 minutes to use as we need and perhaps some of it as we want. That’s plenty of time to get things done, which leaves me wondering, what the hell’s wrong with me? Wait, don’t answer that; I have a fragile ego.


    My goal now is to endeavor to manage my time better. I could simply try to manage my time better, but I think if I endeavor I’ll be holding myself to a higher standard and it just may enhance my chances for success. 


  • Driving is something you do; not something that happens.

         I recently wrote an article entitled; Drive like you care, for www.ezinearticles.com . I thought I’d share some of my contentions with y’all. First, I noticed an interesting phenomenon (by the way, if you haven’t noticed, I’m often noticing interesting phenomena) in that many folks don’t treat the act, or activity, of driving as a separate thing to be done in and of itself.

         Many drivers seem to be very much engaged in what they’re doing, before they get into their cars, and then reengage after they get out of their cars, but driving their cars isn’t something they do, they treat it as something that simply happens on the way to and from.

         Do you ever do this? I sure do. Let’s say I’ve just left a place where I had a bad experience, poor service, argument, whatever; I get in my car and what’s on my mind, certainly not driving my car. Or I’m on my way to the Oprah Show studios, because she want to interview my about my latest book, which, of course, is the best book she’s ever read in her entire life, and she declares she’s quite confident it is the best book she ever will read and declares, on her TV show, that she’ll never read another book again—ever, having read it all now. Oh, sorry—where was I? Right; am I thinking about driving with Oprah on my mind? Hell no!

         Think about it next time you get in your car; is driving something you do, or is driving something that merely happens while you’re getting your butt from here to there or there to here?

  • What are you teaching your kids about cops?

    Please visit: www.isthereaproblemofficer.com 

         I had an experience yesterday that brought something home that I’d had in the back of my mind for some time now. I was in my usual morning coffee shop picking up a couple of coffees to go, as my normal java partner had to work the desk today. I passed a table where two couples were seated discussing Barack and Hillary, while two children, boys about four or five played just outside the store’s door.


         When they noticed me, I heard one of the men tell the others how funny it would be if, “the police officer,” were to go outside where the boys were playing, because it would startle the little boys. Standing, waiting for my coffee, the man caught my eye. He said, “I was just saying how funny it would be if you went out and accused the boys of trespassing, or something like that.” The two women and other man joined him, laughing.


         I glanced at the two, cute little boys who were totally absorbed playing in the dirt. I looked back at the folks at the table and said, politely, “There are enough people in Seattle who don’t like the police, without my scaring little kids.” Faces turned immediately serious. They didn’t seem offended, but they looked as if I’d pointed out something they hadn’t thought of before.


         After this incident, I thought about the two types of parents I’ve run into over the years as a cop. One parent respects and is grateful for what cops do and introduce me to their kids as someone they can trust and go to if they’re ever in trouble. The other type of parent, perhaps subconsciously, views the police as bogeymen, authoritarians, and cavalier abusers of rights. When they see a cop they tell their children, “You’d better behave or he’ll put you in jail.” These parents have come up to me to ask me to “talk” to their kids and threaten to put them in jail if they don’t mind their parent.


         I brought the coffee back to the precinct and told my partner the story. He was reminded of an officer he saw many years ago, before he was a cop. He said he was in a diner when a parent interrupted an officer’s meal. She said her child wasn’t minding her and asked if the officer would speak to him.


         The officer walked over to the child, who grew silent, gazing up at the officer. The officer greeted the child in a friendly manner, which put the kid at ease. The officer then pulled out his handcuffs and dangled them before the child’s wide eyes and said, “How would you like it if I put these handcuffs—on your mom?”