2012-08-31 / Letters

A Request For All Your Traffic Officers

The following letter was sent to Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan of the Department of Transportation. Dear Madam Commissioner,

Based on the events described below, I request that you instruct and require the following of all your traffic officers:

to recognize that a diver, and especially an older one, may need a few seconds to walk to the muni-meter; and

to speak slowly and distinctly so that they may be understood, particularly if their speech is strongly accented.

On August 14, 2012, I parked my car 5 car lengths from the nearest munimeter facing west on Beach Channel Drive at 114th Street in Queens. As I waited for my turn at the nearest meter, I noticed Traffic Officer Rahman who began to write me a parking ticket. I had not been in the spot for more than a minute or two. Needless to say, I immediately returned to my car and told him that I had just arrived and was waiting for my turn to obtain a parking receipt.

Officer Rahman claimed that I did not go to the machine. I showed him the two quarters in my hand and explained that I was just waiting for my turn as there was someone in the process of obtaining their receipt. Officer Rahman responded with something like, “There was no one at the machine, you didn’t go to the machine.” His English was barely intelligible making it almost impossible to understand what he was saying despite several requests for repetition.

Nonetheless, the person who had been ahead of me at the machine was, at that very moment, placing his receipt on his dashboard which I pointed out to Officer Rahman. The officer ignored me, scolded me and angrily told me to calm down.

Fortunately, in addition to my husband there were two other witnesses who saw what transpired and were kind enough to volunteer their telephone number and testimony. Despite prior pleading, but perhaps now realizing what was in his best interest, Officer Rahman “reconsidered” the situation and decided to “cancel” the parking ticket.

I must wonder, relating this story to others, if I would have gotten the ticket.

Apparently this is not as uncommon an event as one would hope it to be.

Recognizing that neither his demeanor nor his integrity honor the uniform Officer Rahman wears, and the ease and possibility (all things considered) of retaliation, I must sign this letter with a pseudonym.

I do, however, very much appreciate the time you have given it.


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