Word on the street is that Officer M. Rice of the UGA Police Department recently stopped a Campus Transit bus and gave the driver a warning for having the high beams on. This was done in broad daylight in front of Soule Hall on Sanford Drive. Making this stop required traffic to be blocked long enough to write the warning. Sanford Drive is a narrow street with only two lanes and no shoulder at that portion.
Although high beams are a technical violation, is this a good use of police resources? Is it worth interrupting a transit route and blocking traffic for several minutes? The frustrating part was that the driver had only been driving the bus for less than 30 seconds; she had just relieved the previous driver around the corner at the previous stop. Again, any hazard presented by the lights was mitigated by the bright daylight at the time.
This brings to mind another questionable traffic stop in early 2004. An Officer Williams stopped a bus during a busy time of day to write a ticket for failure to yield. The driver had been pulling back into traffic from a bus bay in front of Tucker Hall when a UGA police car stayed motionless after cars in front of it had moved on under the light that had turned green. The bus driver understood this to be the courteous act of letting the bus back into traffic. Officer Williams who was driving the police car thought otherwise. The likely explanation for Williams' delay in moving forward was seen by a witness who attested by affidavit that Williams was using a cell phone and seem to be distracted at the time of the light change. Again, the impression people got was that this was another arrogant police officer with no respect for his profession or the community he is serving.
I do personally know some respectable police officers working for UGA, but this police department is raising questions about the proverbial bad apples. Also, I emphasize that I am repeating secondhand information, and there could be important facts I don't know about, but I trust my sources enough to share these stories. I usually prefer not to pass along complaints like this in a public fashion, but it is important to make the university community aware of this problem.