By Terrell Brown
In the City of Tags and Tows, who is the most
flagrant violator of posted parking restrictions?
I think it may be our law enforcement
Case in point: The evening
of Saturday, Aug. 23 at shortly
after 8 p.m., three Minneapolis
traffic squads were sitting
parked on the north side of
Grant Street as their drivers
were inside The Lotus eating
dinner. The Lotus has a parking
lot; parking is legal on the
south side of the street.
Many of us would find our
cars at the impound lot if we
tried a similar stunt, and with
the new city towing fees, the
cost of the tag and tow would
Why is it we have this double standard
between what our Police Department does
and the rules the rest of us need to comply
with? What does their flaunting the little stuff
When I asked in one forum if this represents
a double standard, one wag asked why we
don\'t give the cops some slack. OK, where do
we draw the line? Do we allow them to stop
for drinks after work then continue home in
an inebriated condition? What laws, that the
rest of us are expected to follow,
do we allow them to
ignore? This isn\'t an emergency
situation; this is stopping
for a meal.
Like many of our laws, noparking
zones are in place for
safety - traffic and fire safety.
It\'s the same reason we ban
parking on one side of many
streets during heavy snow
This certainly isn\'t the first
instance that members of the
Minneapolis Police Department
have ignored public safety.
A few years ago, a couple of South Minneapolis
cops driving without any lights in the
early hours of the morning ran a stoplight,
killing some unfortunate people who were
returning home from work.
That, too, was ignored; no charges were
filed - although the city paid a substantial settlement
without admitting guilt.
Attitude filters down from the top. Minneapolis
is currently searching for a new
police chief. In a city that has paid large sums
of money as a result of bad police officer
behavior, we need police leadership that won\'t
tolerate that behavior.
The cops who run the CODEFOR and SAFE
programs tell us that the reason they crack
down on small crimes is because nuisance
activity leads to more serious criminal activity.
Apparently, they aren\'t looking in the mirror
when they make these presentations.
We demand high standards from our elected
officials. That is one of the reasons two members
of the Minneapolis City Council have
been sentenced to federal prisons in the past
few years. Similarly, our police officers should
display the message that they are not exceptions
to the rule; they should be models in
It wasn\'t that long ago that Minneapolis had
civilian review of the Police Department. The
Civilian Review Board was set up because the
community felt that the department\'s Internal
Affairs Unit wasn\'t doing the job. The Police
Federation strongly opposed this review.
Mayor Rybak has seen fit to essentially write
the Review Board out of the budget.
To be fair, it\'s not just the Minneapolis
Police who can be seen ignoring the rules
Downtown. The Transit Police area do the
same thing. So far, I haven\'t seen a vehicle
from either agency tagged and hanging on the
back end of a tow truck on the way to the
impound lot. Nor have I heard of any police
officers waiting in line to get their squad cars
Attitude is important. Hopefully, Mayor
Rybak displays a better attitude when he recommends
a new police chief than he did when
he cut the Civilian Review Board.
Many things we have in this community are
national models of excellence. I see no reason
that our Police Department shouldn\'t be the
Terrell Brown lives in Loring Park and
works Downtown. He can be reached at
firstname.lastname@example.org. Letters to the editor
may be sent to email@example.com.