Friday, November 20, 2009

The World's Safest City...if you are afraid of traffic violations

I am a big believe in the rule of law.  Very big.  My wife is a prosecutor, and I am a reformed lawyer.  However, there is a line in which rule of law oversteps common sense. Regretfully, that line seems to be very far away from the UGA police department.   Yep, another football player was arrested for what amounts to spitting on the sidewalk.  Jeff Owens was riding his chopper without a license today. 

I know this is a hard line to know where to draw, but if Chief Williamson is so interested in education, rather than punitiveness, then why not simply issue a warning?  Instead, it's bookem' Danno.

I hate to sound like I am trying to alibi for football players.  I am not.  I've stayed pretty far out of the fray about player arrests, as I have a pretty low tolerance for stupidity, especially when you know you are being scrutinized.  I actually think the athletes rightfully should be held to a higher standard than 'regular' students.  However, arresting a kid riding his motorcycle on campus, when there is no indication that he was doing anything dangerous, other than not having the required license to do so, seems petty no matter who the student is (I will fully admit that I don't have full information on the background of Owens, any prior stops for this same thing, ect; no article indicated there had been any prior stops with warnings).

It just seems to me that a week when people are attempting to imprison Clemson students, students are running naked from the police and Thanksgiving week is starting up would keep the local constabulary pretty busy.  

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We're going STREAAAAKKING!!!!

I do have to say that the approach used for football games seems pretty reasonable, so there is that. 


  1. I graduated in 1990. During my years in Athens the University Police were pretty tolerant of students. That tolerance has steadily declined over the years. I do not believe it to be isolated to football players or athletes.

    I believe the eagerness to "enforce code" is partially due to the ridiculous era of "zero tolerance" and partially the product of "class envy". I am not saying all college students are rich, but they are viewed as such by the "civil servants" that make up the campus force.

    In either regard, the only difference in the way football players are treated as opposed to the rest of the student body is the press their indiscretions receive.

  2. Tony, excellent article. I have been following this trend myself and wondering WTF?? As a former Georgia State Trooper, I have written my fair share of traffic violations. Notice, I said written. Making custodial arrests on such trivial offenses is indeed absurd! In the state of Georgia, the arrest is based upon the discretion of the officer. Apparently these officers feel the need to take physical custody of everyone that they come in contact with. I say this because if riding a scooter with an expired license warrants a custodial arrest, then surely nobody else is getting off with "just" a written citation. To the officers who are making these arrests, I plead to you, lighten up just a little. Your actions are making your entire department look foolish! I can assure you there are much bigger fish to fry out there. Just think, while you are processing a student for jaywalking, there's a pretty good chance that there is a drunk driver somewhere that is an accident waiting to happen. Just my thoughts. ~~JTD~~