It was with great interest that I read Donald E. Holden's letter in the Dec. 23 edition of Port Washington News, regarding an unfair traffic ticket. I have a similar complaint, involving the same Port Washington Police Officer, R.J. Faria, badge #161.
On Dec. 21, I had to make a left-hand turn onto Shore Road from lower Main Street, coming from Manhasset. After I made my turn, I noticed a police car with flashing lights behind me (the lights had not been flashing when the car approached the intersection from the opposite direction of my car, on Main Street). I moved over to the side of the road to let the car pass, thinking that there must be an emergency somewhere. To my astonishment, the car stayed behind me, and I realized that I was expected to stop, which I did. The police officer came over to my car and said that I had failed to yield to him before making my turn. I said that there was no reason to, since his car had been far enough away from mine to allow me to make my turn without even accelerating. He replied that this was only because he had stepped on his brakes, and proceeded to give me a traffic ticket for $125.
I find this incident very disturbing. From now on I'll feel that no matter how careful I am, I can still get a traffic ticket if a police officer feels like giving me one. I have gotten tickets in town before, once for parking and once for an illegal u-turn, and I paid the fines without a fuss, because I knew I deserved them. This time, however, I did nothing wrong. But - who will believe an ordinary citizen over the word of an officer of the law? Does "yielding" really mean having to stop and wait for oncoming cars, no matter how far away they are? It is infuriating that a police officer can take advantage of his position like this, by practically harassing people, and, as Mr. Holden pointed out, right before Christmas. I wonder if Officer Faria really is a Scrooge who resented not being able to give parking tickets on Main Street and decided to make his quota in fines one way or the other. I don't think someone like him is an asset to the police department in this town.
We teach our children that the policemen are there to help and protect us, and as long as we don't break the law, we have nothing to fear from them. Sadly, this no longer seems to be the case here in Port Washington.
(Ed's note: The following letter was sent to the Port Police Department and is printed here at their request.)
Thank all the great people from Port Washington who sent me the components of the last package that arrived today, Jan. 1. What a great New Years I had because of it. The Lennons, Salernos, Dioguardis, O'Rourke's, Rasiaks, Wes and Deb Olsen and Mark and Sherril Robinson made an otherwise distant holiday much closer to home for me. The guys that are stationed with me are always astounded by the tremendous support I get from the Port Washington Police Department and the entire town of Port Washington. Please let everyone know I'll try to write a note to each when I get some time.
The Iraqi elections are getting closer and the enemy will step up attacks to thwart them. We are getting busier to meet and overturn the enemy's efforts. This situation cuts down my letter-writing time. You guys always give me strength to endure the rigors of service in Baghdad. I cannot thank everyone enough. Naturally, I can't wait to get back and thank everybody personally.
You can show this to all those who've sent things to Baghdad! I love and miss all of you!