Commentary: Good reason for CHP officers in Felton
by Capt. Matt Olson
Jul 26, 2012 | 8921 views | 21 21 comments | 668 668 recommendations | email to a friend | print

 

I would like to formally and respectfully respond to the recent letter from Nick Clifford of Felton, titled “CHP too eager to ticket” (July 13, Page 6). 

First, let us put to rest the popular misconception regarding our motivation for issuing citations.

The California Highway Patrol does not receive any direct funding from fines, penalties or fees collected pursuant to the citations written by its officers. The CHP is primarily funded by the Motor Vehicle Account, which derives its revenue from vehicle registration and driver license fees.

A portion of the fees paid by traffic offenders is used to reimburse local sheriffs or other law enforcement agencies to collect DNA specimens, samples and fingerprints. That means a good amount of each fee stays local. Another portion goes to the State Court Facilities Construction Fund. Although a percentage of a citation’s total bail amount is directed to the general fund, the CHP does not directly benefit from general fund revenue.

Next, CHP officers do not have a quota for citations or any other activities.

 The quota myth is just that — a myth. CHP officers have a wide variety of duties: investigating traffic collisions, recovering and investigating stolen vehicles, assisting stranded motorists, public education, arresting DUI drivers, responding and investigating crimes on state property, the list goes on.

Traffic stops and citations are one way to deter collisions, educate drivers, and proactively improve safety for communities. Maintaining a deterrent to dangerous and criminal behavior is also achieved through highly visible patrol.

Since Jan. 1 of this year, one person has lost his life, while 22 people were seriously injured as a result of the 73 reported collisions on Highway 9 and Graham Hill Road alone.

I am also proud to say that CHP officers have arrested 83 impaired drivers on Graham Hill Road and Highway 9 this year. Each of those arrests is a potential life saved. 

Those are only two of the many roads in the San Lorenzo Valley, not to mention Santa Cruz County as a whole. 

The one compelling reason we issue citations is this: We see first hand, every day, the results of so-called “minor offenses” of traffic safety laws.

CHP officers write citations because it is their duty — and desire — to prevent death, injury and property damage. We have good reason to believe our actions prevent collisions. Statistics bear this out: The most recent published mileage death rate (deaths per 100 million miles traveled) is the lowest in history at 0.83.

Regarding the presence of officers in Felton: If Mr. Clifford resides in Felton, I am sure he is aware that the majority of the motor vehicle traffic in the San Lorenzo Valley and Bonny Doon area filters through Felton. Felton is also the intersection of two main routes for residents of this region, Graham Hill Road and Highway 9. To maximize their visibility and availability, officers often take advantage of the centrally located, busy town of Felton.

This also allows them the shortest response time to incidents in outlying areas such as Boulder Creek, Bonny Doon, or Zayante. We are dedicated to providing the highest level of safety, service and security to all residents of Santa Cruz County, however remote they may be.

So far this year, 14 different Felton area residents have called the local CHP office to request additional patrols in their neighborhood. As the leader of a CHP area and public servant, I am pleased to see that not only is our presence desired and appreciated, but the residents of the Felton area also understand that our presence makes them safer. 

Capt. Matt Olson is commander of the California Highway Patrol’s Santa Cruz Area.

Comments
(21)
Comments-icon Post a Comment
Cee Cee
|
February 25, 2013
I have high respect for the CHP. Compared with the corrupted, harassing Sheriffs in this valley, CHP has always shown they perform their job with class and with respect to the citizens.

I have never been in trouble with the law then again I would never trust a Sheriff in this Santa Cruz mountains.
Bertha Downs
|
August 06, 2012
Online website where you can list and find speed traps.

http://www.speedtrap.org/city/890/Felton

Thanks goodness for the internets.
SLV Res
|
August 06, 2012
Or you could just drive the speed limit.
Chuck Cheese
|
August 07, 2012
People get mad when you drive the speed limit.
yeah right.....
|
August 13, 2012
Better mad than dead...
mike c
|
August 04, 2012
I could post dozens of articles and news stories about police ticketing, but here's an interesting one where good cops spoke up and took the quota system to court and WON. How can the police captain say in all sincerity this isn't about money ? Of course it doesn't directly feed back to his department but it goes to the government which funds his retirement at 50. (potentially millions over the remainder of his life)

billions and billions are raised ever year in the US through citations.

http://www.autoblog.com/2011/04/12/report-la-police-officers-who-alleged-ticket-quota-system-win/

Susan Anthony
|
August 05, 2012
Bingo. "it goes to the government which funds his retirement at 50. (potentially millions over the remainder of his life)"

Planner at county government are retiring with $100,000 to $162,000/year pensions. Something very wrong with that.

blah blah
|
August 07, 2012
change the subject much?
Retired CHP
|
August 07, 2012
Too bad you don't know what you are talking about. Quotas are specifically prohibited by the California Vehicle Code. The California Association of Highway Patrolmen actively enforces that ban on quotas and requires the department (California Highway Patrol) to abide by those provisions of the vehicle code, at all times, in disciplinary actions against CHP officers in regards to work performance. See California Vehicle Code Division 17, Chapter 7, Sections 41600 thru 41603.
Mike Clough
|
August 04, 2012
having read Nick Clifford's letter , I'm not sure if the police chief is just plain arrogant, ignorant or think's we're dumb sheep?

anyone can see the 24/7 police patrols now in Felton, it's impossible not too see the huge increase in patrols over the past few years. We also know that's it's all about money, most every city and county in CA has massive unfunded retiree obligations. The State itself is billions & billions in debt. What's ironic about this, is that we also know that one of the main causes of this debt are the mind boggling pensions and early retirements packages negotiated by the police unions and corrupt politicians looking for their political endorsements. Here's a recent news article exposing the $250,000 incomes of police chiefs. http://rt.com/usa/news/california-bankrupt-taxpayers-pensions-874/

Why don't you set your young rookie cops loose in your neighborhood to practice the trivial ticket writing and then look your neighbors in the eye?

Retired CHP
|
August 07, 2012
Did you bother to fact check? 2012-13 California state proposed budget expenditures are 92.55 billion dollars. Only 3.7 billion dollars of that is going to fund retirements. That is only 4% of the budget. Yet you want to blame that small part of the budget for the state's fiscal woes? Seriously? The California Public Employees Retirement System is currently 75% funded. Currently only 30 cents of every dollar paid to retirees comes from tax payers. The rest is from contributions made by the employees themselves (10% of salary for CHP officers) and returns on CALPERS investments. There is no massive unfunded retiree obligation unless all the investment markets crash, and people quit paying taxes. Is it fair to blame the state, or the CHP, for local Police Chief salaries?
Mathema Ticks
|
August 08, 2012
30 cents on every dollar is significant.
are you serious?
|
August 13, 2012
What's the point, Ticks? The retiree was referring to where each retirement dollar comes from. 30% comes from the employer. The rest doesn't. I am betting your employer (if you are lucky enough to have a retirement plan) pays at least that much if not more...

I agree, this is off topic. what does retirement have to do with the CHP doing their job???
BCmtnFolk
|
July 27, 2012
CHP needs to spend some time on Hwy 236.

Every weekend motorcycle racing, people driving 60 mph and aggressive drivers tail gating. We even had a fight break out in front of my house over road rage. Luckily, it was my property and I was able to break it up with help from Smith and Wesson.

I'm running our of flares for all the idiots hitting the bridge at Braken Brae.

CHP, please spend some time on Hwy. 236!
Boulder Creek Res
|
July 27, 2012
Agreed - 236 on weekends has gotten out of hand. Also - what's up with the dealers hanging out by the Dam at Barbara Day park? They have seemed to set up shop there.

Joe Felton
|
July 27, 2012
I for one am very happy to see the CHP on patrol. We have a substantial meth problem in Felton and the valley which I believe contributes to the number of impaired drivers on Highway 9 and also the crime rate. You need only to frequent the covered bridge park or the Felton Faire parking lot to see the dealers in action.

I drive 9 from Forest Lakes to Graham Hill 5 days a week and I see a pattern. Drivers will increase speed substantially just after passing the entrance to Henry Cowell as they head toward Santa Cruz. I'd suggest a greater presence in that area.

I, and the neighbors I have talked with, are happy to have you ticketing speeders in this area and I suggest you be more aggressive. THANK YOU!
Iris Rosenbaum
|
July 26, 2012
Nice letter. Thank you giving your perspective.

But, I do have a concern.

Doesn't this paragraph:

A portion of the fees paid by traffic offenders is used to reimburse local sheriffs or other law enforcement agencies to collect DNA specimens, samples and fingerprints. That means a good amount of each fee stays local. Another portion goes to the State Court Facilities Construction Fund. Although a percentage of a citation’s total bail amount is directed to the general fund, the CHP does not directly benefit from general fund revenue.

Contradict this one:

The California Highway Patrol does not receive any direct funding from fines, penalties or fees collected pursuant to the citations written by its officers.

John M
|
July 26, 2012
No it does not .. The CHP is not the Sheriff and or ״other" law enforcement agencies (I.e. local police departments). CHP is funded by the Motor Vehicle Account.
Iris get a clue
|
August 02, 2012
"is used to reimburse local sheriffs"

check your facts so you can avoid foot in mouth disease.
Francis C
|
August 02, 2012
What a meanie.
Jon C
|
August 07, 2012
I know you are but what am I?


We encourage your online comments in this public forum, but please keep them respectful and constructive. This is not a forum for personal attacks, libelous statements, profanity or racist slurs. Readers may report such inappropriate comments by e-mailing the editor at pbeditor@pressbanner.com.