Saturday, April 17, 2010

Sarasota County Begins Use of Death Ray For Traffic Violations

The Sarasota County Sheriff's Department has quietly begun enforcing its new zero-tolerance campaign on traffic violators within the county. Passed in a secret backroom deal--as is the custom for the Sarasota County Commission--the commissioners used their standard "element of deniability" voting procedure, stating only that all the commissioners present voted by secret ballot for the crackdown, except for one, thereby giving each of the commissioners the ability to proclaim that he or she was the lone holdout, should the legislation become too onerous after the public sees it in action.

While most county residents would like better traffic enforcement, the Commission, looking for support from the radical right-wing fringe of the constituency in their looming fight with the neo-socialist Citizens for Responsible Government over some recent government decisions, most notably the Baltimore Oriole spring training debacle that the group claims was made without public input and in violation of Florida's "Sunshine Law."

In January, the Commission authorized the Sheriff's Dept. to purchase four government-surplus Flame-Ray 2000s, which had recently been made available to local state and municipal agencies because the Feds are now using the new and improved Flame-Ray 2200(b), a greener, more environmentally-friendly version of the 2000, as mandated by new federal standards.

Spokesstormtrooper for the Sheriff's Dept., Master Gunnery Sgt. Knulla Digg, extolled the virtues of the new technology as she took reporters on a typical traffic patrol.

"The Flame-Ray 2000 is very easy to operate, almost to the point of being idiot-friendly, which we viewed as a big plus considering the gene pool of some of our deputies, as well as their mental state at any given time. Two officers, one operating Unit A and one operating Unit B, aim at the target and simultaneously activate the charger beam, causing the targeted object to burst into flame."

"The Flame-Ray 2000 works on all types of vehicles and in all types of situations. Soccer mom mini-van sliding through a stop sign: FLAME ON! "

"Big rig still in the intersection after the light turns red: FLAME ON!"

"Abandoned vehicle by the side of the road: FLAME ON!"

"Foreign tourist tying up traffic looking for a parking space at St. Armand's Circle: ummm, that may have been a mistake. We try not to torch tourists or snowbirds, due to their positive financial impact for the county......"

"Illegally-parked vehicle: FLAME ON!"

"Vehicle illegally parked in privately-owned lot: FLAME ON!"

"Vehicle illegally parked in commercial driveway: "FLAME ON!"

"Vehicle illegally parked on wrong side of street during street-sweeping day: "FLAME ON!"

"Contrary to what some citizens are saying, this new code enforcement policy was not instituted as a revenue stream for the county, unlike the proposed red light cameras. Although, in addition the the fines for the original traffic violation, we are charging the offenders--or their surviving family members, in some cases--a surcharge for the fire department call, the EMT and/or county coroner call, the clean-up of debris by public works, as well as violations of strict open fire prohibitions and various smoke pollution regulations that we just enacted in conjunction with the new traffic policy."

When asked if she thought this new program might be too harsh for traffic violations, M/Sgt. Digg replied, "You think this is harsh? We've just started a new policy in Venice of shooting people for ringing doorbells......"

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