A Driver Thanks Us For a Traffic Ticket

HaglundI have said it many, many times:  traffic tickets are about changing driver behavior from unsafe to safe.   Traffic tickets are not supposed to be about revenue enhancement (although I know that they are seen that way by some drivers and by some courts and municipalities).  Tickets are a way to get people to drive better making our roads safer for everyone.

We got a letter this week from a driver who gets it.  He told me that this expensive lesson cost him $150.

Here is what he said:

Dear Officer Haglund:

I thought I should drop you a note and probably be the first person ever to thank you for a speeding ticket.

You gave me a ticket on January 16th on Updike [sic] near Walton after watching me driving like an idiot.  I was in my new Audi S7 and acting like I was 16 again with just about as much thought.

Why the “Thank you”?

My wife told me I was driving that car too aggressively, my son did too and I knew it but for some reason didn’t stop.  Although you probably witnessed the worst of it, I wasn’t driving like I normally do.

For some reason, I needed that ticket and the encounter to get the message through: amazing that it would take this for a 72 year old, driving about 35,000 miles a year and receiving 2 tickets in 43 years.  Anyway, it did and I needed it.

Finally, you were a complete class act.  I appreciate the lecture but I appreciate even more what I perceived as a genuine concern for my safety and welfare.  Your parting words were something like, “it’s a nice car but you can’t enjoy it if you are dead.”

You delivered the message well and as I told you at the scene, I’m reverting back to my old habits.  I have and I will.

That day, you accomplished something good for society and something good for me.

So, thank you and take care of yourself.  You’re a good man and credit to your profession.

I would agree. Office Haglund is a class act.  Nice to know that someone else sees it too. These days it seems that no one finds the good in what cops do to create orderly societies.  The vast majority of officers in millions of police contacts yearly do things right.  And make the world safer.

Haglund at the mall

Ironman wanted a photo with Officer Hagland at the mall.

Strangers Save A Woman’s Life on the Roadside

Tonight at the City Council meeting I had the honor of presenting life saving awards to  6 people.  Giving life saving awards is always a thrill.

It all started on April 27, 2016 at 5:15 pm as 29 year old Kendra Wyke was driving home from work, westbound on M-59 near Squirrel Road, just as she usually did.  On that day however, she had a medical emergency and crashed into the median wall.  Other drivers, William Cowl, Joseph Azain and Andrew Combs witnessed the crash and stopped to check on her.   They found her unresponsive and not breathing.  Two of the people who stopped were off duty Oakland County Deputy Kyle Lindsey and Timothy Wilson, a retired Fire Chief from Westland.  They immediately started CPR.  Another driver, Rasha Hermez phoned 911 to summon help.

AHPD Officers Brad Brasil and Alex Keebaugh arrived on scene and found CPR in progress.  They offered to take over but Wilson and Lindsey wanted to continue.  AHFD personnel arrived on scene and did take over medical care of Kendra. When she arrived at the hospital, she was breathing and had a pulse.  The emergency room physician on duty at McLaren Oakland Hospital later told Officer Brasil that the driver would not have survived but for the efforts of the the people on the scene who pulled her from the car and immediately started CPR. A few days later she walked out of the hospital under her own power.

Tonight there were some tears and hugs when they all met again.  I have to tell you Kendra looks wonderful.  Many members of her grateful family were here.

You never know when you may be called upon to help another person.  It is important for everyone to learn CPR.  In these days when you hear that people are unwilling to help a stranger a story like this makes it clear that, at least here, people are willing to do what they can, where they are, with what they have.   It is no small thing to stop on the side of a very busy multi lane freeway during rush hour.  But thank God these folks did stop.

You can sign up for CPR classes here.



Drop the “A” Word

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There is a growing group of traffic safety specialists who are advocating a change from using the word “accident” to describe traffic crashes.  Using “accident” implies that the incident was somehow no one’s fault.  That isn’t true.  It is always someone’s fault.  Maybe they didn’t intend to crash into someone but because they drove badly or made bad choices while driving, they caused a crash.

I share that logic.  I urge officers to write tickets to at-fault drivers.  The intent being to change driver behavior.  Even when drivers run off the road in bad weather and damage their cars or public property (signs or roadway fixtures) I advocate that the officers write tickets.  Even on those days, most cars and drivers stay on the road.  If they properly drive slower and more carefully they stay on the roadway.  If they maintain their vehicles by having operational safety equipment including tires with tread — they save everyone–mostly themselves.

So let’s change the mentality that traffic “accidents” are really no one’s fault.  Let’s use traffic “crashes” instead to bring attention to the fact that drivers control their cars and their behavior in the car.

Here is a blog by a former traffic reporter on the subject: “Drop the “A” Word”

Why I Wear the Badge

During Police Week, May 2015 the International Association of Chiefs of Police started a Twitter campaign called “Why I Wear the Badge.”  Its goal was to share with the world who the police actually are and why they choose to be the police.  It is an effort to dispel the myths and misinformation about police and to demonstrate the virtues and the diversity of police around the country and the world.

This is Police Week, May 15 -21 and we are once again participating in #WhyIWearTheBadge.  If you are a Twitter follower or even if you aren’t sign on here to see the posts by our department and here to see posts from around the country and the world.  Some of these are fascinating and creative. Some will tug at your heart.  These are real people sharing themselves with the world.

Here is an example from Hampton, VA.


Starting their Careers

Officers Ryan Riedy and Joe Sears started their careers today.  They both graduated from the 97th Class of the Mid Michigan Police Academy in Lansing on Friday night, May 13.  Both are fellow Spartans having graduated from MSU in Criminal Justice (like me).  Sears is from Lapeer and Reidy from Waterford.  Riedy’s cousin, Mike Riedy is a member of our Fire Department. They both received awards from their academy class–driving, report writing, academics, marksmanship and weapons management.   IMG_0382

They took their oaths of office this morning in the presence of city officials, command staff and their family and friends. The oath of office is a really, really big deal:

I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support the Constitution of the United States and the constitution of this state, and that I will faithfully discharge the duties of the office of police officer in and for the City of Auburn Hills according to the best of my ability.

An oath is a statement of loyalty.  In this case it is a statement of loyalty to our constitution and the laws of our state.  Failure to carry out those duties can actually be a crime – malfeasance, misfeasance or nonfeasance in office.  It is a serious undertaking and we treat it like that.  When a person graduates from a police academy they are not yet an officer.  When they become employed as an officer they are not yet and officer–not until they take that oath of office.  It is binding on a person.

As I watched Riedy and Sears take their oaths today I thought about what their futures may bring.  All of us here will do everything we can to teach them the right and proper ways to be an officer.   To meet the daily challenges of this job with integrity and perseverance.  Their families were rightly very proud of them today.  I am too.  But I know the challenges ahead. It isn’t an easy job.  Not everyone can do it.  People who choose it feel a calling to it — most don’t wake up one day and decide to become a police officer.  They will tell you that they wanted it from them time they were small children–they just know it is the job for them.  Police officers are not chosen because they are drawn to the power and authority aspects of the job –not here anyway.  Officers will tell you that they see it as a helping profession – they want to help the community and do good in the world. We know that doing good in the world often requires that a person who has done wrong be held accountable –and the police are the ones who enforce that accountability.

Their next challenge is to pass field training – 3 months of close supervision and training by a qualified officers followed by 10 days of “shadow” in which they are observed by a training officer as a test to determine if they are ready to be a solo performing police officer.  Everyday of those 3 months and the 10 “shadow days” will be rated by a trainer on how well they did or didn’t learn the challenges of the day.  It is an important process and if a person doesn’t pass they cannot be a police officer.  Most departments have a very similar training program.

I wish them long and healthy careers here at Auburn Hills.  It is a great job in a great community.


Reader Question: Why is it illegal to park left wheels to the curb?

Some time ago I got a reader question from Crystal Proxmire publisher of the Oakland County 115 online news hub on this topic.  At the time I had a stack of blog posts and never got around to it.  But I found her question again today and decided it would be a good day to do a blog on it.

The question was:  why can’t a vehicle be parked with the left wheels next to the curb?  The short answer is that it is illegal.  And here is the law citation:

Public Act 300 of 1949  Michigan Vehicle Code

257.675 Stopping, standing, or parking of vehicle; requirements; signs; traffic control orders as rules; hearing; use of windshield placard by disabled person; courtesy required; free parking sticker; display; confiscation; false statement, deception, or fraud as misdemeanor; penalty; violation as civil infraction; cancellation, revocation, or suspension; driver’s, chauffeur’s, or state personal identification card number; signature of physician, physician assistant, or certified nurse practitioner; third party reimbursement or worker’s compensation.
Sec. 675.

(1) Except as otherwise provided in this section and this chapter, a vehicle stopped or parked upon a highway or street shall be stopped or parked with the wheels of the vehicle parallel to the roadway and within 12 inches of any curb existing at the right of the vehicle.

(2) A local authority may by ordinance permit parking of a vehicle on a 1-way roadway with the vehicle’s left wheels adjacent to and within 12 inches of any curb existing at the left of the vehicle.

You will note that the Vehicle Code was first passed in 1949–this largely isn’t new stuff.

I believe this became the law simply because it is dangerous.  You have to drive on the wrong side of the road to park that way –and to leave the parking space.  Because rear lights on a car are reflectorized at night a car parked the wrong way to traffic is harder to see.  Cars going every which way just isn’t safe.  The traffic laws were developed to make sure we had an orderly progression of traffic around our communities.

I also did some quick online research and came up with this article from Vermont that I thought was good and written from the point of view of a non police person.  Author Megan James of the publication “Seven Days” investigated the issue.  (It caught my eye since I’ve been to Winooki, Vermont several times to visit some friends who live there.  It is a suburb of the capital Burlington. Nice town.)

When I moved to Winooski last year, one of the first things my new neighbors warned me about was parking against the flow of traffic….

Source: WTF: Why will parking against the flow of traffic get you a ticket in Winooski?

We Need Car Seats

You might remember that we inspect children’s car seats upon request.  We have held several events around town to help parents correctly and safely install their child’s safety seat.

Now we are asking for your help.  In addition to inspecting seats, we sometimes give them child seataway to families that need a seat but can’t afford one.  Sometimes they have one but the child has outgrown it.  Now it is unsafe but they can’t afford a new one.

Last year our employees raised money for car seats and our friends at Target stores gave us a special price to help us stretch our dollars.  In May city employees will again have the opportunity to wear jeans on Friday to raise money for car seats.  And we need the help – we are running out of seats.

5steptestIf you are a public service group looking for a great project providing car seats for kids is an excellent way to help to others.  Or if you are a person who just wants to pay it forward and help someone else, we have just the thing for you.

You can bring us a seat, new in a box (sorry no used seats) or write us a check.  We will see that it gets into the right hands (or under small butts, as it were).

Need more information?  Contact Quentessa Tuffs, my assistant at 248-364-6850

Thank you in advance.