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Letters 1-1-14

December 31, 2013 - 1:33pm

Tickets are issued to educate public to the hazards involved

The article “Saddle Road speeding citations draw fire” in the Sunday West Hawaii Today paper draws attention to the fact that we, a nation of laws, have developed into a nation of “no common sense.” Speed kills! The police have been given the responsibility to enforce this fact, a common sense issue, that is written into law for the expediency of enforcement.

Complaint letters such as those written by Rod Thompson and Spike Werner, accuse the police of having made “no attempt to educate drivers” and that the police “have chosen trickery over education” involving the new Saddle Road. Most of us who live in Hawaii learned to read by the fourth grade and grew up making it a game to read traffic signs, while riding in cars. This reading material included the speed limit signs.

A few weeks ago, the County Council passed a law that prohibits the selling of cigarettes to anyone under the age of 21. This law will not prevent anyone younger than 21 from smoking but draws attention to the common sense fact that cigarette smoke kills, just as definitely as speed will eventually do.

If the police are expected to “educate” the drivers speeding on a newly opened highway, should not the police also “educate” the patrons of any newly opened bar or the dangers of driving while intoxicated? Or how about “educating” a first-time murderer of the inconvenience to the victim.

Sgt. Robert Pauole, head of the Traffic Services Section, has a job to do. Interesting fact is that his name, Pauole, literally means “not finished” and he has a huge, unending task before him.

As a former cop, here are two of the fatalities that bother me to this day. Forty four years ago, while on patrol, I came upon an accident scene where a young man in his early 20s overshot a curve while speeding and was thrown from his vehicle. While waiting for the ambulance, he begged me to help him as he bled to death from internal injuries before help arrived. His plea still haunts me to this day. His life snuffed out needlessly before my eyes.

Approximately 40 years ago, I came across an accident scene where the speeding driver went off the road, ejecting his napping young bride of three days into a pile of rocks, crushing her skull. His sobbing rings in my ears and still brings tears to my eyes.

Many of the citations issued by the police are not issued to fill a quota or because “the law says so.” It is done to educate the public of the hazards that can be prevented. The unnecessary casualties of real life experiences are indelibly imprinted in the memories of some officers, stimulating them to step up the education in a meaningful way.

Don’t condem them for a job well done.

Leningrad Elarionoff