May 5, 2004
Deputy Chief William F. Turnage
Northeast Substation, Dallas Police Department
9915 E Northwest Hwy
Dallas , TX 75238
Deputy Chief Turnage,
I am writing a complaint about inexcusable road behavior of two officers I observed today (May 5, 2004). The two officers I will detail below are apparently from the northeast substation, and they were driving cars 3016 and 0100.
At approximately 9:00 PM I was headed eastbound on Mockingbird Rd. and stopped for a red light at Skillman Rd. Immediately before the traffic signal turned red for northbound Skillman traffic, a northbound cop made a fast, hard right turn onto eastbound Mockingbird Rd. without stopping and quickly accelerated. It may be best to say that this cop made the fast turn during a very stale yellow. About 1½ seconds later, after I had begun to enter the intersection because I had a green light, another cop made the same turn. (Because the signal maintains a brief four-direction red phase before giving green to Mockingbird traffic, the officer entered the intersection well after the signal went red for northbound Skillman traffic.)
I tailed the officers all the way to the Mockingbird and Bucker Rd. intersection, although I did not drive exactly as fast as they did*. I can absolutely assure you that the officers’ speeds were averaged at least 60 MPH the entire distance between Skillman and Fisher Rd. Both police cars darted through traffic, quickly snapping between lanes. Before the point where Mockingbird squeezes down from three lanes to two at a bridge over Fisher Rd. , the officers were zooming past center lane vehicles by using the right lane. Not far from the actual squeeze down point, both officers came close to cutting off a Honda SUV as they merged the right lane to the center lane close to where the right lane ended. If I was in that SUV’s position, I would have definitely felt uncomfortable to see two large sedans jerk in front of me right before a merge point.
The further down Mockingbird the officers went, the faster they went. At one point they were rocketing away from me so fast that they were easily doing 80 MPH by the time they got to the White Rock Lake bridge.
I finally caught up to them at the Buckner Rd. traffic signal, and that is where I recorded their car numbers. I will put the actual audio of where I spoke these numbers into my PDA on my web site at http://people.smu.edu/acambre/ if this will assist you.
I followed the officers to the Northeast Substation. I witnessed vehicle 3016 pulling into the substation from Northwest Highway . I did not witness 0100 pull into the substation, but as I drove by I noticed what was apparently a cruiser driving around the back of the parking lot.
At approximately 9:15 PM I called the Northeast Substation at (214) 670-4415, the number listed at http://northeast.dallaspolice.net/index.cfm?page_ID=3090&subnav=0. I spoke with a lady who transferred me to Sgt. Kaiser. I verbally let Kaiser know about my observations, and he promised that he would send these concerns to the officers’ supervisor.
Normally I wouldn’t complain about the speeds these officers exhibited. Dallas speed limits are meaningless because City Council has a record of arbitrary and capriciously lowering speed limits well below engineering recommendations. However, police officers should absolutely understand that one’s speed is only as safe as one’s other driving habits. It is impossible for anyone to be safe, even at the arbitrarily posted speed limit, when he runs red lights, frequently slams his car into other lanes, passes other vehicles on the right, waits until the last minute to merge, and horse plays on the road, and uses speeds that in come cases were beyond his vehicle’s capacity to safely navigate the road.
The Dallas Police Department has really irritated me with its grossly heavy-handed enforcement of speed limits over the past two years. In light of this speed campaign, the actions of these two officers really seems amazingly hypocritical.
*I want to be clear that at all times my speed was in full compliance with Transportation Code § 545.351 (Maximum Speed Requirement) and the prima facie provision of Transportation Code § 545.352 (Prima Facie Speed Limits).
CC: Councilman Gary Griffith
Me recording the car numbers at Mockingbird and Buckner: buckner.wav (51.05 KB)
Me recording a car number at the Northeast Substation: station.wav (50.05 KB)