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No Good News in Good Driver Award

December 09, 1990

Chief (Daryl) Gates, for heaven's sake, stop your "good driver" initiative program ( Times, Nov. 29).

Every few years, LAPD attempts this kind of "good driver reward" program, and I encourage you to stop them forever. Being pulled over by a police officer is a jarring, unpleasant, upsetting experience--even when drivers find out they've done nothing wrong and are being rewarded. If the feelings of my friends and I are a barometer of public feeling on this issue, we don't ever want to be pulled over by a police officer--even when the reason is good news.

If you must do good-driver programs, there are alternatives to the pullover method. Why not simply make a note of the license number and send the vehicle owner a letter? Or, if one of the objectives of your program is to encourage direct police contact with the public, then the officer could pull alongside good drivers at a stoplight, tell them they are doing well and then give them an award.

However, I have to think that instead of pulling over good drivers, these officers' valuable time could be spent doing what we really need: more enforcement. I'd rather know that the officers who were giving "tickets" for good driving were instead nailing the increasing number of lunatics who are running red lights long after they change from green, cause gridlock, make illegal left turns or kill pedestrians.

HARLAN LEBO

Los Angeles

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