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VALLEY PERSPECTIVE

Alcohol and Driving

March 08, 1998

Reality calling Jose Cardenas ("Presumption of Guilt Seems to Follow Latino," Feb. 28). Is anyone home?

You fill your belly with alcohol, climb into your car and off you go. Do you ever read the news portion of your paper? Do you have a clue that people like you cause very bad things to happen? You and every intoxicated driver I have arrested in my 29 years as a police officer share one common trait: You all think your driving is fantastic, when in fact you're screwed up and you don't know it! Look up the word "impaired."

Years from now, when you reach middle age, I would hope that along with your "dying suspicions" you will have learned to point your finger at the person in the mirror and not at everyone else. Accepting responsibility for your actions is in character with people who have matured.

The police officer who arrested you may have saved your life and the life of someone else. Stop for stop signs, wear your seat belt and stay off the booze, and you too can be a carefree, law-abiding driver.

TERRY SCHAUER

Los Angeles Police Department

West Los Angeles Division

*

Regarding Jose Cardenas and his personal forum as a Times staff writer: I think Cardenas is spending a great amount of time on his personal experience and forgetting that by his own admission he was driving drunk. He claims he received a "ticket" yet I have yet to see a ticket written for 23152a of the Vehicle Code (driving under the influence).

What I do see is an arrest made, a jailing of the violator, his day in court, all of which were not mentioned. His reduction to "reckless driving" is nothing more than a plea agreement to speed up an already-clogged court system, with defendants such as himself.

I have spent many years on the street and at no time have I ever received training to harass, base my investigations on race, creed, religion or origin. What I and so many others do is investigate crime and traffic enforcement as fairly as possible for all.

Mr. Cardenas, by your own admission you were drunk driving and suffered the consequences. The fact your "white friends" were not singled out is due to their good luck, not your bad.

A drunk driver is a drunk driver, and I don't care what his background is. The object is to get them off the street and in your case, that was apparently accomplished that evening. Good to see law enforcement at work.

By the way, it seems to have taken an arrest to suddenly bring up your past and all those unfortunate instances. I would have liked to have heard from the officers as well, but then they don't have the same private forum as you.

LOREN FARELL

Chatsworth

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