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Jaywalking in Los Angeles

December 03, 1988

I read Josh Greenfeld's Op-Ed column "My Ticket to Becoming King of L.A." (Nov. 23), and was not the least bit amused. I am sure the intent was to be funny, but for me it fell flat. Ordinarily I love to laugh and particularly I love to laugh at myself. But, this article was unfunny.

If Mr. Greenfeld thinks that police officers enjoy writing pedestrians jaywalking tickets, he is very much mistaken. It is one of those miserable tasks that police officers must perform in order to deal with people like Mr. Greenfeld who cannot follow some very simple rules that were designed to keep him and all other pedestrians from harm. They are also designed to keep drivers from experiencing that sickening thud when they strike down an unthinking pedestrian. It is something that drivers of vehicles can never forget and when it comes at this time of the year, it is doubly traumatic.

He should just take a look at the death and injury statistics and perhaps he would not be so totally uncaring about following the rules. The rules were made to keep people safe and to keep traffic moving in this city of gridlock. Nothing ties up traffic more than an injured pedestrian lying in the street with ambulances, paramedics, and police officers trying to help.

We teach our officers to say "sir" because we have a genuine interest in our officers being courteous to the good people in this city. It also helps to keep us from calling would-be royalty like King Greenfeld by other names such as Jester Josh the Jaywalker.

Next time Josh should write something really funny. He appears to be capable and could be amusing. King Greenfeld isn't.

DARYL F. GATES

Chief of Police

Los Angeles

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