So I’m on my way to work this morning and I get behind a Fort Worth police car on Jacksboro Highway. The speed limit is 45 but the cop is doing 35 and weaving slightly.
I can see through his back window he’s looking down and messing with something.
Motorists by nature get freaked out about passing cops, so everybody slows down to his pace.
He’s become the pace car — a very slow and poorly driven pace car.
So we’re all crawling down the highway, and I get to my turn at University Drive. The cop, still just ahead of me, also turns on University.
Having finished with his twittering, laptop work, donut eating, or whatever he was doing, he now has his full attention on the road – and begins driving 50 mph.
And this is what pisses me off.
Anyone who drives on University Drive between Jacksboro Highway and White Settlement Road knows it’s a speed trap. Its six lanes divided by a median lull motorists into driving 45, but the speed limit is 35.
There’s a hill and a curve in the road near the Greenwood Funeral Home, and the police regularly hide nearby with a radar gun and nab drivers coming over the rise.
I’ve been ticketed there. Several of us here at Fort Worth Weekly have. When police do radar there, they nab tons of folks.
A speeding ticket with deferred adjudication costs about $200.
Pay up, sucker.
I lag behind the cop, of course, because I’ve learned to drive slowly on that road. But I keep watching him.
He’s not on an emergency call. He’s not rushing to the scene of a crime. He catches the light at White Settlement Road and goes back to his tweetering/computer/donut action.
When the light turns green, he’s not paying attention. The cars behind him wait patiently until he notices the light’s changed.
Why do police get to ignore the rules they enforce? When I was ticketed on University Drive a few years back, the police officer was furious.
“You were doing 47…47!” he said, his face red.
He stood at my car window and glared at me for about three seconds. It seemed like he was waiting for a reply but I didn’t say a word. He finally walked back to his motorcycle to write me a ticket.
Anyway, this reminds me of a similar situation that occurred about 25 years ago when I was younger and bolder, or maybe just dumber.
Back then, I watched a cop speed down a Nacogdoches road where I had been ticketed a few weeks before. It pissed me off. Back then I was still earning my nickname, “the human fist.”
I followed the Nacogdoches cop as he sped down the road, and then watched him do an illegal U-turn, park beside the curb, and set up his radar. He’d been speeding to the spot where he sits with a radar and tickets regular people for speeding.
I parked my car behind his and walked up to his window. He rolled it down and looked up at me. Talk about a complete role reversal.
“What can I do for you?” he said.
“I want to know why you can write me a ticket for speeding on this road, and yet you can speed on it all you want,” I said. “You weren’t on an emergency call. You were just coming down here to catch speeders, like you did me a few weeks ago. So what gives you the right to speed?”
He looked at me for a long while. Then he smiled.
“Tell you what,” he said, “the next time I catch you speeding I’ll let you go.”