Jennifer Muir of The Orange County Register
reports on the California Department of Motor Vehicles' "Confidential Records Program," which was created 30 years ago to keep DMV records of police officers private from criminals. The program has since expanded to cover "hundreds of thousands of public employees – from police dispatchers to museum guards – who face little threat from the public. Their spouses and children can get the plates, too."
Muir discovered that drivers covered under the Confidential Records Program abuse the system by evading toll road charges, running red lights at intersections with red light cameras, parking illegally, and breaking other traffic laws with impunity.
Some patrol officers let drivers with protected plates off with a warning because the plates signal that the drivers are "one of their own" or related to someone who is.
The Register used public records laws to obtain OCTA computer logs for the 91 Express Lanes and found 14,535 unpaid trips by motorists with confidential plates in the past five years. A Register analysis showed that was 3,722 separate vehicles, some running the toll road hundreds of times.
Among the top violators on OCTA's list were Dwight and Michell Storay (he's a parole agent with the Department of Corrections), with 622 violations and Lenai and Arnold Carraway (she's an Orange County social worker), with 239 violations.
Some police officers confess that when they pull over someone with a confidential license plate they're more likely to let them off with a warning. In most cases, one said, if an officer realizes a motorist has a confidential plate, the car won't be pulled over at all.
"It's an unwritten rule that we would extend professional courtesy," said Ron Smith, a retired Los Angeles Police Department officer who worked patrol for 23 years. "Nine out of 10 times I would."
Many police departments that run red light camera programs systematically dismiss citations issued to confidential plates.
"It's a courtesy, law enforcement to law enforcement," San Francisco Police Sgt. Tom Lee said. "We let it go."
| List of toll road violators with protected plates (Via Dave Farber's IP)
I asked Amy Parness, the co-founder of Sparkle Labs, maker of fantastic educational electronics kits, to write a Medium post about gender and the business of being a maker business person. Her terrific essay calls out the problems with “pink girly engineering kits.” From Medium:
Zero UI is the new term for “invisible interfaces”—what happens in the future when all the clicking and tapping and typing is history: “If you look at the history of computing, starting with the jacquard loom in 1801, humans have always had to interact with machines in a really abstract, complex way.” [Fast Company]
CEO Dick Costolo will resign, to be replaced in the interim by Jack Dorsey
Watching Netflix, Hulu or other streaming services can unfortunately be difficult while traveling outside the US. Rather than bypass these restrictions with the help of a complex and slow VPN, choose a faster and simpler solution with Getflix. Instead of rerouting all your Internet traffic through a different server, this handy service only routes the […]
Shake, stir, and muddle your way to delicious homemade cocktails with this must-have bar set. Expect only the finest quality tools from MakersKit — enabling you to unleash your inner mixologist.Top 12 Favorite Things of 2014, Sunset MagazineQuart-size vintage-style Mason jar shakerRetro double jigger for accurate measurementsStrainer & spouts for a mixologist-style smooth pourHardwood muddler […]
The Lytro Illum dares to be different, boasting even more robust features than its first generation predecessor and a sleek design reminiscent of professional DSLRs. What’s so cool about it? Most cameras capture the position of light rays, producing a statoc 2D image.