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Highway Patrol is turning
into extortion machine for state government

by Curt Cave

Governor Miller has found that by putting on hundreds of highway patrol officers that they can become an effective arm for extorting money for his government. True, Nevada has grown, but Gov. Miller has taken what was probably the finest highway patrol in the nation and turned it into nothing different than the thugs who used protectionist rackets to strong-arm little business owners to give them money during the 1930s.

Gone are the days when commonsense patrol officers like Pinkie Smithers or Art Block more or less handled the county roads with a minimum of interference to Nevada residents. Under the guidance of department heads like Stenovich, their approach was to leave the ranchers, miners, small businessmen and the average citizen alone to go on about their daily activities. Gov. Miller, along with the help and encouragement of DMV head Donald Denison and highway patrol head Col. Mike Hood, have turned the road officers into liars who use false pretenses to stop motorists and truckers then proceed to use the opportunity to go on a fishing expedition to extort money for Gov. Miller and state agencies. If highway patrol officers lie to stop someone, then they will lie on the witness stand, break state laws and trample the constitutional rights of Nevada citizens.

These are examples that I personally came across in just the last few days. My friend, who—to avoid retaliation—I’ll call "Jack" was stopped by a female officer on the false pretense that his turn signal did not work. He turned it on and it worked fine. Then the female officer spent two hours trying to find something wrong with his dump truck. Finally, she said that a cracked $2.00 plastic reflector high up on the cab would cost him a $175 fine. Never mind that it was noontime in daylight and common sense would tell one that dump trucks take a lot of rocks bouncing on them when normally being loaded. That is everyday life. You get it fixed as soon as you can, but it has nothing to do with safety of the day. Tires are good, steering is good, turn signals all work … the truck is safe to operate. With all the thousands of regulations that are passed, it makes even a new showroom truck guilty of some infraction.

A second example: Another female officer stopped a US mail truck on some pretense and ordered the driver to get out of the truck. The driver tried to tell her that it is against the law for him to get out of the truck before he gets to the next town’s post office. The female officer pulled out her gun and threatened the mail truck driver. The driver had his own gun. As I understand it, the female officer was quickly transferred to the southern part of the state.

Contrast this type of extortion operation with the local sheriff departments. Generally, I have heard that whether it be in Reno, Lovelock or Elko or the other northern counties in the state, citizens are allowed to go on about their business. Life is not perfect, but Nevada citizens do all right. If they need the sheriff or his deputy, they call him. The system works well, and that is why you never want a national police force … because the sheriff is elected by and accountable to the citizens of the county.

In my opinion, the following four things need to be done:

1. Call your senator and state assemblyman and demand Governor Miller’s request for 200-plus additional highway patrol officers be terminated, and all new hiring be frozen until such time as an independent study can be done. This is extortion and a police state in the making.

2. Form a citizen’s grand jury, offer some immunity to some officers and prosecute the rest for using false pretenses to stop motorists, etc. Sentence the guilty officers to as many years in prison as the law allows, and look into the possibility of prosecuting Col. Hood, Donald Denison and Governor Miller for dereliction of duty for allowing the citizen’s rights to be trampled upon.

3. Eliminate quotas for tickets and create a policy whether written, spoken, implied, etc. to remove any incentive of the highway patrol officers to stop motorists for the purpose of extortion of fines under false pretenses of the stop. We need to get the motor carrier operation out of the highway patrol immediately. We also need to review and eliminate many of the thousands of regulations that are in place to make everyone guilty of something. This is a Hitler regime form of operation.

4. Create a citizens oversight committee to oversee the protection of the rights of the residents of Nevada against further extortion and intimidation.

The highway patrol should exist to let the motoring public and business operation run smoothly and to clear accidents. They work for us. They are not our dictators or bosses or extortionists. California, Louisiana, Florida and other states have all turned their highway patrols into extortion arms of revenue for the state. We need to reverse this!

I must say in defense of good highway patrol officers, I do not wish to paint with such a broad brush. The problem arises at the top where policies are set and encouraged for this form of corruption to set in. The policies corrupt the good common-sense officers into actions and policies that are immoral and against their better judgment.

I have not been stopped by the highway patrol in decades, but I sure don’t like the reputation it has currently earned. I dearly love my native state of Nevada, and wish the operation of the highway patrol would revert back to its common-sense approach rather than being influenced by other states or Governor Miller’s extortion goals. Perhaps fewer is better, and sooner rather than later.u


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