With the increased law enforcement efforts leading up to Tiki Bar opening weekend, TheBAYNET.com thought it might be a good idea to find out from a Maryland State Police perspective what goes into this increased effort.
On Saturday, April 18, thanks to the efforts of First Sgt. Jack McCauley, the Assistant Commander of the Leonardtown Barrack, TBN reporter/photographer John Douglass was allowed on an exclusive ride-along with Trooper First Class, John Fleetwood. For part of his shift to see just what a day in the life of a MSP Trooper is like.
In an interview with McCauley, the gregarious Trooper stated that the number one goal of the various enforcement programs, speed enforcement initiative, DUI saturation patrols and the like, is to educate the public. "Maryland is one of the the most dangerous states in the country," said McCauley. "The number one cause of death for people between the ages of 16 and 35 in Maryland is traffic fatalities."
McCauley went on to say that because TBN is effective at getting the news out to readers, it was decided that the ride-along would be a way for the public to get educated about what MSP is trying to do. "The day with Tfc Fleetood, was part of what we call a speed enforcement overtime initiative that is paid for with grant money," said McCauley. "This way we can help keep the roads safer."
On the recent Tiki Bar grand opening weekend, McCauley stated that every trooper that was on patrol, made a DUI arrest. "We had 14 arrests, but if we had more troopers working, there would have been more."
According to Douglass, “the time flew by so fast I didn’t even realize we had made thirteen stops in the short three hours I was with Tfc. Fleetwood.” During the ride-along Fleetwood stopped thirteen cars and handed out seventeen ‘pieces of paper’ which consisted of speeding tickets, warnings, and inspection orders.
“We started at the Leonardtown barracks and covered all over Hollywood and California. In those three hours, we patrolled Hollywood Road, Mervell Dean Road, and a lot of back roads and 235,” said Douglass. He stated that everything was at such a furious and fast pace it was hard to keep up with everything. “Fleetwood would see something in his rear view mirror, that I wouldn’t have noticed and we’d turn around, flip on the lights and pull someone over before I knew what was going on.
Tfc. Fleetwood stopped and ticketed cars for violations covering everything from speeding to a cracked windshield to having no front license plate. “One of the things I noticed the most was how many people didn’t know what to do when they are being pulled over,” said Douglass. “Fleetwood gave out warnings to people who were courteous, had a good driving record and were respectful. Those that were rude, had a bad driving record or were basically reckless like the guy we pulled over doing more than 20 miles per hour over the posted limit on 235, received tickets.”
Douglass’ ride-along was set up by First Sgt. McCauley who, in a rare departure from the norm, allowed him to take pictures during the three hours. “They told me at the barracks that I was not allowed to take pictures, but McCauley said it was okay,” said Douglass.
During the busy Tiki Bar grand opening weekend, troopers like Fleetwood were working extra long hours. On this Saturday, the trooper was working a double shift. At the pace witnessed by TBN’s Douglass, the local MSP must be exhausted keeping up the fast pace of their daily patrols.