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Misgivings about traffic enforcement activities

To the editor:

I, as a concerned citizen of the New Ulm area, have some uneasy feelings and questions about the upcoming local operation to catch distracted drivers.

First off, I worry about who will be stationed in the undercover cars around town as we obviously do not have an extra fleet of police officers in the area. So who will do it? City workers? Random citizens? And who gave them the authority to act in those capacities as an agent of the state?

What if a police officer is notified of a violator by an undercover and pulls over the vehicle. Where is the proof or evidence of a crime? Wouldn’t the unauthorized “cops” report of the violation be hearsay? If so, can a cop issue the ticket? what happened to the presumption of innocence until PROVEN guilty?

The idea of a fleet of unknown vehicles contracted by the government to watch its citizens with the goal of intimidating them into changing their behavior with the threat of taking their money and putting an infraction on their record is a disgusting abuse of power in my opinion.

And where does this money go? To fund the city. So what could the motives for this sting be? Either a genuine but misplaced care about public safety, or someone is taking the opportunity of having an extra fleet out, on the busiest time for traffic of the year, at time when we celebrate our liberties and freedoms, which would directly correlate to increased incoming funds for our local government. Is the amount collected through taxes not enough?

So many unanswered questions and concerns. By saying this, I am not promoting and I do not defend distracted driving. It is terrible. But we all have rights and a presumption of innocence. And very importantly, the right to question and hold your government accountable. That is why I call out what is happening. Although I’m sure this could be a great revenue collection scheme for the city.

Travis Hulke

New Ulm

Editor’s note: The distracted driving enforcement action on Wednesday was conducted by officers, deputies and troopers from the New Ulm Police Department, the Brown County Sheriff’s Office and the Minnesota State Patrol.

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