Capt. Matt Olsen’s letter addressing the comments of Nick Clifford on Highway Patrol activity in Felton (“Good reason for CHP officers in Felton,” Page 6, July 27) did not answer some fundamental questions. Everyone I have talked with agrees that there is a noticeable increase in patrol vehicles parked on the side of the road or operating speed traps. Capt. Olsen’s explanation that the CHP does not have ticketing quotas and little benefit from the $300 tickets they write may be true. But he fails to explain the increased presence of officers who appear to be waiting and watching. I would like to accept the captain’s assurance that CHP officers have only safety in mind and “write citations because it is their duty — and desire — to prevent death, injury and property damage.” But that does not explain the increased activity, and is a little like saying, “Hi, we're from the government to help.” Is it a coincidence that increased ticketing comes alongside city and county government’s recent decreasing income? Did the CHP just discover ticketing as a method of prevention in the last three years? I have yet to speak with anyone that does not suspect the traffic enforcement is a revenue-raising campaign, at least in part. The fines are set by the local cities and counties, not the state. I have considered that increased ticketing comes down from politicians exerting some influence on the department. For this reason, my son and I are in the habit of referring to the black and whites as “revenuers” when we see them waiting on the side of the road or snagging motorists at the Bear Creek Road speed trap. This is the danger: that local law enforcement will be referred to as “revenuers” by the public at large, rather than public safety officers they have been.
David Smith, Mount Hermon