We ask a lot our police agencies around here. A lot of us don’t ask, we demand.
Have you noticed that we’ve had something of a crime wave around the Plattsburgh area lately? There were two armed robberies and three drug busts within the past month, or so. For the North Country, that’s a crime wave.
While police were looking into those matters, there were, of course, the routine lawbreakers to take up their attention. Speeders were speeding, illegal passers were passing illegally and, of course, drivers were talking on their cell phones, some without a seat belt on.
As we drive, it’s human nature to be annoyed with scofflaws who flout traffic laws right in front of our eyes. Who hasn’t driven on the Northway at 65 to 70 mph only to be passed by someone whizzing by at at least 80? “Where are the police?” we intone.
Or, as we approach a work zone where the speed limit shrinks to 55 mph, someone will breeze past at 72, and we wonder why they aren’t being apprehended.
The other day, we carried this Speakout, which seemed to speak out for a lot of people: “It’s not that nobody in the North Country knows how to drive; it’s that nobody is around to stop them from driving like idiots. How many times on Route 3 does someone pass you on a double line at 70 mph? Where are all our troopers?”
Well, venting oneself at careless and perhaps dangerous drivers is understandable — and often justified — but taking it out on overextended troopers is going too far.
The area of Clinton, Essex and Franklin counties is roughly the size of the state of Connecticut. It is traversed in large part via back roads winding through forests and hills. Many of these roads are lightly traveled.
With a very limited force of troopers in Troop B, which has jurisdiction over this vast area, how do you suppose the command should deploy the officers?
There simply aren’t enough troopers to make sure nobody is breaking the law anywhere in the North Country. With the scant battalion of troopers trying to keep the peace in this lightly populated neck of the woods, they can’t be everywhere.
We sympathize with all of those advocates of following the law in all cases.
But we also feel compelled to rush to the defense of an overworked, sometimes under-appreciated cadre of police officers who are always available when so desperately needed —but who can’t be there at all times when someone would like them to be.