Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Making us all just a little bit dumber

Apparently Amy Davis of KPRC-TV in Houston doesn't keep up with the news. If she had, she might not have criticized the Harris County Sheriff's Office for not using its BATmobile. If she kept up with the news she might have learned about the problems the Houston Police Department had with their vans.

Yes, Harris County did waste $80,000 purchasing the van. But they bought one because everyone else had one, too. It was just the latest shiny toy. No one thought about the sensitivity of the breath test machines. No one thought about how the summer heat could cause the circuitry in the machines to go haywire. At least not until HPD's problems became known.

Ms. Davis wants us to believe that motorists are in danger because the BATmobile sits in its cave. She wants you to believe that drunk drivers are cruising up and down our streets because the BATmobile isn't crawling around town.

Ms. Davis seems to be unaware that the police don't need a breath test in order to arrest a motorist on suspicion of driving while intoxicated. She doesn't seem to understand that a motorist suspected of driving while intoxicated is under arrest when the breath test is offered.

Instead of running an "investigative" piece about an unused heap of junk sitting in a garage, she should've looked into why the BATmobile was purchased in the first place. She should've looked at who makes the decisions on what equipment to purchase and why. Maybe she could've looked into the giant slush fund controlled by the DA from criminal seizures and forfeitures. Maybe she should've questioned why that money isn't placed into the general revenue pool for the county.

But such reporting would have required research and legwork. It's much easier to grab the low-hanging fruit. It's even easier not to do a simple internet search for articles about the problems with the BATmobiles.

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