April 9, 2012
By: John Bae, Staff Writer
Traffic enforcement agents have had it rough.
Angry drivers receiving tickets have abused the agents by means of harassment, spitting, and assault. These agents are subjected to the constant dangers of an angry motorist that refuses to receive a ticket.
Under Article 195 of the New York State Penal, a person is charged with Obstructing Governmental Administration if they intentionally obstruct a government official from doing their duties. However, this is not enough to protect the agents.James Huntley, President of CWA Local 1182, who has been an advocate of increased protection for traffic enforcement agents, calls for stricter enforcement of these laws.
“While on the job, our traffic agents are at risk of being harassed and assaulted my enraged motorists,” says President James Huntley. “Spitting is especially an issue; beyond assault, it puts agents at risk of health hazards.”
In 2008, a man in Dallas was sentenced to 35 years in prison for spitting on a police officer. He was HIV-positive and was convicted of assault with a deadly weapon for spitting on the face of a police officer multiple times.
“The enforcement of the law should increase, as well as the punishment for the individuals if convicted,” continues President Huntley. “It will set an example and the crimes will stop against the officers.”
In 2009, Kings County District Attorney Charles Hines created a special task force to prosecute assault on traffic enforcement agents.
President Huntley suggests a database for these crimes to be compiled for the sharing of information between agencies. The records can help target specific areas and help in the aid of reducing such incidents. With such a database, transparency and cooperation between agencies will provide a safer working environment for traffic enforcement agents.