Letter: Department’s hard work shown during ‘ride along’


A few days ago, I visited the Oak Harbor Police Department. I used the phone in the lobby and asked to speak to an officer. Following their procedures I was told to have a seat and an officer would soon see me.

I did as directed and, in time, an officer showed up. I explained my problem and he advised me what to do.

I then asked him a question about vehicles changing lanes and turning without using directional signals.

The officers informed me it is against the traffic code to change lanes or direction without signaling. But the police do no enforce that unless it results in an accident. At which time, it could result in an additional citation.

That got me to thinking. How many other cases do they see a violation of some law but do not take action unless someone is hurt or property damage takes place.

If, while on patrol, and they see someone stacking wood or some other materials against a house and pour gasoline on it. Do they not interfere until the suspect lights the material and the house is in flames?

Maybe I decide to carry a concealed weapon, but did not get a permit.

An officer notices I have a concealed weapon but takes no action. I pull out my weapon and start shooting. After the officer takes the weapon away from me, do I get a ticket for not having a permit?

During my time in the military, there were always on us to perform “preventive maintenance.” Fix it before you have a problem. If there is a law that states “do not,” then there is a reason for “do not.” Correct it before you have a problem.

For about 10 years, I was a member of the Oak Harbor Police Community Advisory Board. During that time I had many “ride alongs” with officers during their tour.

My target was to ride along with officers covering each day of the week and each shift. That way I got a view of what the police were exposed to 24/7. Very educative for me as a resident of Oak Harbor.

At times, my driver pulled over someone who had just violated a minor traffic code. The officer explained to the driver that he had just violated a traffic code. No ticket this time but next time there will be a written citation.

I think most took his advice. Preventative maintenance.

There was one who would not. From the stories I heard, most of the officers had at one time given the young driver a written citation.

If the reason for the traffic stop was not a minor violation a written citation was issued. There is the story about cops always on a coffee break. During all those many “ride alongs,” there was only one coffee break. Not very many over a 10-year period.

Robert D. Brown

Oak Harbor