I pride myself in my driving habits. In 34 years I have not had even a traffic stop. I also possess a commercial driver’s license (CDL). However, driving to Patagonia every day, I noticed that quite often there would be more than one patrol car hiding somewhere in a strategic place. Deputies seem to be texting most of the time waiting for their computers to alert them for speedsters. They are not aware of their surroundings.
After working at Patagonia Lake for eight months and knowing full well the speed limits, I received a ticket. I was going west, almost to the end of South River Road and close to the railroad tracks. The deputy was picking up speed going up the hill while I was coming down, transitioning from 35 into the 25 mph zone. When he saw me, he made a U-turn so sudden that you would swear he was going after the Boston Strangler.
When the deputy came to my window, he said he stopped me because I was going 42 in the 25 mph zone. I asked him how he knew how fast I was going if he was picking up speed going up the hill while I was going down? He said, “With my computer.” I made a comment about him operating his computer while driving and I think I hurt his feelings because he went back to his patrol car pouting and returned with a ticket.
Wherever you drive between Garret’s supermarket in Rio Rico and Patagonia Lake Road, you can count on finding deputies hiding. Sometimes there are up to four patrol cars within a half-mile perimeter. It gives the impression deputies know all these speed traps and use them to catch residents on their way to work. This shows a lack of concern for residents except when it comes to taking their money legally.
Coming out of side roads almost anywhere in the county, you might not find a speed limit sign for quite some distance. For example, coming off I-19 onto Grand Avenue, there is one 45 mph sign, and then you do not see one until the new Tractor Supply store. The combination of poor signage and aggressive ticketing creates a toxic driving environment for residents.
Cries for more sheriff’s deputies and a lieutenant has been reported in the paper for some time. I have to ask what for, if they already have enough deputies to have up to four around the Little Red Schoolhouse at times?
A community should feel safer when they see their law enforcement. I do not think that is the case here. A deputy ran over a cyclist not long ago, close to Via Frontera on South River Road. Was the deputy texting? Or did the computer obstruct his view? Did the deputy receive a ticket?
I would like to know how much money the county is collecting from speeding tickets. Also, if we have identified problem areas, why haven’t we fixed them with the money collected?
Local leaders need to patrol the county and be proactive in making the roads safer with electronic signs to remind drivers to slow down (I only see one that gets moved around). They should also build wider roads and bicycle lanes, and ensure that signage is sufficient.
Deputies and officers in Nogales and Santa Cruz County need professional training and a different mindset. They surely had trouble in the Murillo carjacking/murder case.
Recently, I called 911 to report a dead body found in the Nogales Wash. City police arrived and took mine and my wife’s names. I moved back onto the road and and before I departed, I took a photo with my phone, at which time one of the officers told me not to take any photos. That was no problem and I obeyed.
However, as I moved back again, I saw at least two officers taking selfies with their phones with the body behind them.
Also, the deputies and officers who retrieved the body need to go back and pick up the forensic gloves and masks they wore. As of noon on Oct. 12, they were still there.
(Pou is a resident of Chula Vista.)