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A nightmare on Elm Street: RoboCop on traffic detail

The daily pounding on Elm Street could be heard on the other side of the Westerly-Pawcatuck divide. Construction continues on this historic stretch of Westerly.

The traffic bottle neck is just a small inconvenience. The result of this constant mechanical ritual should give way to a rejuvenated thoroughfare for residents and visitors alike.

In the midst of the chaos looms the “RoboCops,” detailed to “keep order” and “keep traffic moving,” regardless of how inefficient the process. They are made to take orders, give orders, and not to think.

They have little regard for residents, especially those who actually live on Elm Street. Unfortunately, such power wielded in the wrong hands could create more contempt and a public relations nightmare for the Westerly Police Department.

In a recent meeting with a police department sergeant, I reported a recent incident that took place with one of its hired hands.

I was denied access to my own driveway and made to take a detour, expensing an additional six minutes. Other vehicles were seen cruising down the road without being stopped. I was denied an explanation as to the reason for the detour.

In addition, when I requested the RoboCop’s badge number, the officer angrily denied my request and then threatened to give me a ticket, stating in an aggressive and gruff tone, “I know your plate number!”

The sergeant assured me that I received an idle threat and it would not come to pass.

I asked, “Why would any officer threaten a civilian?”

I wondered if “idle threats” were sanctioned by the Westerly police department, or it was an individual “choice.”

I informed the sergeant that I took threats very seriously. All threats were not idle to me, and threats should never be brushed aside as insignificant.

I relayed my grandmother’s wisdom that you “Get more with honey than vinegar.”

Whilst I believe the sergeant was trying to mitigate the situation, the response was less than ideal.

In hindsight of the day’s “drama,” I realized that the RoboCop was not the issue. The officer was not the “right fit” for the role in traffic detail.

The responsibility was with the superiors. The officer’s “talents” could be better served elsewhere.

Gabrielle Bourne


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