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)
David Robinson used the data from the 28,657 people who self-selected to take the Stack Overflow survey to investigate the relationship between programmer pay and the conventions of using either tabs or spaces to mark indents, and found a persistent, significant correlation between using spaces and bringing home higher pay.
It’s the end of an era, sort of: Fraunhofer IIS, the developers of the MP3 audio compression format, announced that they are ceasing their licensing program. In a blog post, spokesman Matthias Rose says that it’s had a good 20-year run and is obsolete. But it’s also true that the decoding patents expired last year, […]
Freddy deBoer writes that he’s been telling the same joke for years about Silicon Valley’s only product, which might be universalized as “At last, a way to verb with nouns on the internet!” But the social-media techopoly is stable, now, and so the venture capitalists have moved on to the three terrible trends that will […]
Even though credit cards now feature an EMV chip for securing transactions, they still have to include the magnetic strip for compatibility with older point of sale systems. Because of this, there’s no way for the chip’s new security capabilities to protect against card skimmers in the wild.How do you protect yourself from legacy-technology-induced fraud? […]
As the old saying goes, “You should sit in meditation for 30 minutes every day. Unless you are too busy, in which case you should meditate for an hour.” Since most of us have an endless list of things to do and people to see, carving out quiet time can feel impossible, especially when most […]
The Bragi Dash Truly Wireless Smart Earphones are far more than your run of the mill Bluetooth earbuds. While the earpiece design makes these earbuds ideal for exercise and activity, and passive noise cancelling is conducive to a more serene listening experience, these buds go well beyond just playing music.First of all, they can actually […]