My Observations from Sheriff Miller’s Meeting - TribPapers

My Observations from Sheriff Miller’s Meeting

Sherriff Quentin Miller

Sandy Mush – I attended Buncombe Sheriff Quentin Miller’s listening event Thursday evening at the Sandy Mush Community Center for the newspaper. Miller was short on answers but to give him credit, he was willing to be honest with the group, saying that he did know or have the answer.

He brought staff and officers to help answer some of those questions, which is indicative of the Ronald Reagan style of governing: “place people in positions of power who know what they’re doing and let them do it.” A style I like.

However, if true, revelations from Skyline News’ Chad Nesbitt about possible felons working in the jail are extremely troubling. This is contingent on if those allegations are true (the Tribune has no information about them)—Nesbitt only has six independent, anonymous sources so far. Now, I’ll be first to say Nesbitt has the best sources I’ve seen in Western North Carolina, with no other news organization able to top them. It will be interesting to see what Skyline comes up with in their investigation.

In another matter that came up at the meeting, a man suggested that Miller look into using traffic cameras to cite speeders. He seemed unconcerned with who was driving the car, but that only the vehicle’s owner was cited. “They are actually disrespecting the law when they speed,” the man told the group. Well, I have several issues with this whole use of traffic cameras to ticket speeders.

First off, let me start my concerns by saying nothing in this commentary should be construed as waving my Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. Any instance in this commentary is strictly fictional and for examples only. 

With that out of the way, I know that local law enforcement is short-handed and speeders, unless an accident occurs, is not on the top of the enforcement list. At the same time, it is important for a law enforcement officer be present for such stops. Why? Several reasons.

First, what if a person is speeding because of an emergency? I was stopped by a Woodfin Police officer when my mother-in-law was taken to the hospital and I was driving my father-in-law and wife to the hospital. He understood the situation and asked that I drive carefully. A judgment call is sometimes needed and a camera can’t make that call.

At the meeting, a sheriff’s deputy pointed out that the driver needs to be cited, not the owner, since the owner may have let someone borrow the vehicle. The resident at the meeting didn’t care. That’s the owner’s risk. Well, so much for helping a neighbor or friend out if their car broke down. Doesn’t sound like Sandy Mush values to me.  And I haven’t even started on an expansion of Big Brother to watch over our entire lives.

The statement that really chapped my hide was when the resident at the meeting said, “They are actually disrespecting the law when they speed.” I don’t think so. I believe if speeders are disrespecting anyone, it’s the traffic engineers who assigned that speed limit to the road. Even law enforcement has a standard of usually not stopping speeders unless it’s more than five to seven miles per hour over the speed limit. 

Unless death rates from speed are climbing, I see no need to go to this length to slow traffic flow.

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