Normally a well respected agency, the Idaho State Police, has egg on their collective faces today. In less than one week, publicity from my blog, "bayviews.blogspot.com, Huckleberries on line, S/R, and the Coeur d'Alene Press, caused the ISP to back off on a charge that in pretty much everyone's eyes, was a unjust citation without supporting evidence written by an over zealous trooper.
Sally Newcombe, a Bayview resident was hit in the side of her car February 13 between Hwy 95 and Bayview on hwy 54. Her car, severely damaged on the passenger side door and front fender, sat as an ISP officer showed up. He cited her for Inattentive driving, a misdemeanor, not just an infraction. Newcombe, realizing the lack of guilt in enticing a deer to say hi in a violent way, contacted her insurance agent and a lawyer.
Well, the insurance agent was necessary, but not the attorney. Local people get the word real fast in our small communities of Bayview and Athol. Many locals have had close calls with deer and other wildlife, or even had the unfortunate experience of hitting or being hit by one. Soon, a petition scolding the ISP and demanding the ticket be quashed started circulating. By the time it had about 100 or so signatures, it came to my notice.
Rather than sign the petition, I called the regional office of the ISP and spoke to the Captain, commanding. He promised to look into the case. Since he was going to be out of town for 2 or 3 days, he told me a lieutenant would interview the officer, and talk to the prosecutor about it. The lieutenant called and in the conversation, pointed out twice that it was not normal protocol for the department to issue citations for car animal accidents. He promised to get back to me.
Yesterday, a sergeant called me to explain that they and the prosecutor decided it would be an unwise use of their time and energy. They didn't admit that a mistake was made, but it was apparent that the public arousal took them by surprise. Concern for their image, I'm sure had a great deal to do with the final outcome.
The ISP is to be commended for correcting a mistake, but must be held to a higher standard than the one that snared Sally. It has been suggested to me and others that perhaps some retraining of the officers operating out of this area be held. Certainly oversight by supervision was lacking in this case. Had The captain, lieutenant and sergeant been on top of things in the beginning, this would have been a non-event. Had they, once realized that the ticket was a problem, they could have pissed on the ember before it became a conflagration, in which it will be a long time before that excellent record is restored.
Wild Card/Monday -- 12.9.13
13 minutes ago