Click on images to enlarge. (Caution: Seek medical assistance if you experience an enlargement lasting more than four hours). Last updated: 07 May 2009
|Morrison, Colorado. Boutique town, predatory cops. Just southwest of Denver near the nexus of I-70, E-470, & CO-285.||Morrison works a nasty Speed Trap (circled) at the city limits west of town.||Here, Google has caught a Morrison cop (circled) in his lair, working the Speed Trap. I think they run it 24/7/365 - a great little money-maker that turns lots of tricks.|
|Here's the cops-eye-view of you entering his Speed Trap. Which of the two cycles will he think the radar gun is locking-on?||This is what you see (circled) on approach to the Speed Trap, 20 seconds before the cop's red lights begin glaring in your rearview mirrors.||This is traffic safety? 27 points of information on westward approach to the Speed Trap.|
|A bit further west up the road, but now with 31 traffic signs and signals. The light is short and traffic is extremely heavy on weekends. Just staying alive on a motorcycle in this place is a real challenge.||You're looking ahead now - and still more traffic signs. Side street on the right (beware: Speed Trap dead ahead!).||A pedalist (red shirt) turns right... into the very maw of the Speed Trap.|
|Wait... is that a new speed limit sign just beyond his left shoulder?||Definitely is a new speed limit sign! Say, what was the old speed limit? Who cares - just ease it into 4th and dream of the canyon ride just ahead.||Yes, it is a 35 mph sign scant feet beyond the Morrison 25 mph Speed Trap.|
|Oops, they got me for doing 40 in a 25, just like they get hundreds of others every month. Don't be one of us!||hi-res here This Speed Trap ticket is a 4-point offense. Why should Morrison be able to run a Speed Trap and give my insurance companies a green light to gang-rape me for the next 3 years ??||hi-res hereThe back of the ticket solicits a deal in several languages. If you roll over, abandon your Constitutional rights, and pay the money (the real key), Morrison will take off some points. Gotcha!|
NOTE: If you own a business in Morrison, Colorado, and you notice fewer customers then maybe it's because more and more people are avoiding your little town (like I am) because of its wayward ways. If you work in the town of Morrison, Colorado, and you notice you got laid off ('business is down') then maybe it's because more and more people like me are avoiding your little town because of its chicken-s**t ways. Maybe the Speed Trap Chickens are coming home to roost.
If you work, live, or do business in the town of Morrison, please contact Mayor Allan Williams (see further below) and Police Chief Robert Wasko (see further below) and demand that Morrison Police be less hostile to motorcyclists and other travelers. Why drive the golden geese away? Be nice to them instead, because there are lots of other nearby towns where folks can eat and shop without being preyed upon by the local cops.
If you want to know the full details of my run-in with the Morrison City Po-Leece (rhymes with fleece), read on.
Thrill to the exploits of two of Morrison's Finest in their unending quest for gold. Struggle with them as they subdue dangerous and evil intruders to their hobbit-like domain. Gasp at the Cunning Stunts of UberCop in his awesome UberMobile.
Is the account below spiteful and vindictive? Definitely! Is the account below accurate in facts and figures? 100%!
On April 29 2008 approx 10:30 AM MDT I, Daniel, was stopped by Morrison, Colorado, Police Officer Poole (Badge # 1756) and issued a Penalty Assessment citation (aka, a ticket). Officer Poole was in a Ford SUV patrol car which was parked, hidden from the view of westbound traffic, in a driveway with a sign saying "Red Rocks Entrance #3." Officer Poole's view to the east, and that of his speed device, was obscured by a phone pole and large amounts of brambly vegetation. As my riding partner, Tim (not his real name), and I passed by him, Officer Poole pulled in behind us, lights flashing. We stopped soon as it was safe in a pull-off area a few hundred feet to the West. Officer Poole said he got me "doing 40." At the time my friend Tim was riding a motorcycle behind me. Officer Poole asked me for my Drivers License, Registration, and Insurance card, and Tim begin to search for his too. Officer Poole immediately told Tim that he was not part of the traffic stop.
Officer Poole told me at once that he was 'not going to write me up' and at hearing that good news I immediately relaxed. Officer Poole invited me over to his SUV patrol car to verify the reading on the radar unit, but I said that would not be necessary, thinking to myself there was little need to do so since no "ticket" would be forthcoming.
We chatted conversationally as I opened up the bike compartment where the requested information was stored. Officer Poole subsequently told me that my license plate protective holder was "in violation" because, he said, it caused him to misread the tag number (I have since removed it from the motorcycle). I have used that same, transparent, protective holder on a sucession of motorcycles over the last 5 years. During that time various traffic officers have stopped me for a few Performance Assessments, but they never complained about the tag holder. Neither Officer Poole or myself said anything further about it - until a new officer asserted himself into the scene:
About that time a second Morrison Patrol Car (a standard sedan), going west, passed our position and did a snap U-turn in front of a motorcycle and a car proceeding east bound. The patrol car then did a second U-turn (presumably in front of westbound traffic) and pulled in behind Officer Poole's car, all lights glaring.
The 2nd officer (whom I shall call "UberCop") exited his car and spoke with Officer Poole. Immediately I sensed that Officer Poole's demeanor had shifted and that now he was more tense and seemed confrontive - "puffed up" - for no apparent reason. I am a white gentleman in my late 60s, and do not see how anyone could view me as a physical threat.
My person was in full motorcycle safety gear and completely lacking any sociopathic ques such as spiked hair, tattoos, and body piercings. I am 5' 7" and 180 pounds, and was not armed (i.e., not packing) at the time. I believe most citizens would see little need for me to be "dominated" to remain submissive in the presence of such officious authority. Indeed, Officer Poole's physical stature alone (about 240 pounds and packing) is so imposing as to convince all but the most foolhardy to remain completely passive. My riding partner Tim is a middle-aged and gray-haired white guy too - similarly unadorned with tribal (or gang) markings - so neither can I see him as any possible reason for Officer Poole's seeming agitation. UberCop was never introduced or identified to me.
Officer Poole began to interrogate me about why I was stopped, how fast was I was going, and what was the speed limit. I answered 'speeding' to the why question because that was the only possible reason for which Officer Poole could have stopped me.
What my actual speed vs the posted speed in effect at the moment Officer Poole "got" me, I did not exactly know as I was completely startled when Officer Poole's hidden cruiser suddenly appeared from behind the brush at Red Rocks Entrance #3. The profusion of traffic and other informational signs surrounding the intersection of highways 74 and 8 and westward to the Speed Trap is so great that few drivers could process the 40 or more road signs presented in that 1/4 mile - or remember which might have been a Speed Limit sign.
When Officer Poole presented me with the ticket, I said, 'You told me you were not going to write me up.' After first denying he made any such promise, Officer Poole waffled and said 'Well, I meant that I was not going to write you up for that tag-holder violation.' I thought that an odd excuse, because the tag holder had not come up until much later in the conversation, after he said I would not get a ticket (liar, liar, pants on fire), and after UberCop had arrived.
Realizing that I had just become a subject (i.e., prey) I decided it would be a wise idea to verify the reading on Officer Poole's speed unit for myself, assuming his previous invitation to do so was still in effect. In my trying to better view the reading, Officer Poole apparently inferred I was trying to force my way into his car as he sternly ordered me to stand away from the vehicle. Looking back on the incident, I should have remained at a more passive distance, or at least reaffirmed Officer Poole's permission to approach the patrol car.
Even so, I am wondering what UberCop may have said to Officer Poole, or what I might have done, to make him go back on his word. At all times I was courteous and respectful to Officer Poole.
Later that day I went back to the scene where Officer Poole first could have acquired my motorcycle as a target. Yes, I would have been moving between two 25 mph speed limit signs (sandwiched between at least 40 other road signs) at the point where Officer Poole's speed device targeted some vehicle (mine?). Within only several dozen feet to the West, conveniently outside the Morrison city limits, is a 35 mph speed limit sign.
Weather, road, and visibility conditions were all excellent, and we were not in any school zone, work zone, etc. Our speed and control were 100% safe by any real-world measure. The Speed Trap is located in an area with NO side streets, NO businesses, and NO residential traffic (see middle photo, 1st Row above). Another 30 feet and we would have been in a 35 mph zone and hardly candidates for any kind of traffic stop at all at our current speed.
On two subsequent days, I returned to Morrison to photograph the general area, this one Speed Trap in particular. On both occasions a Morrisson police car was working this Speed Trap, and had a motorist/victim stopped. I have a satellite photo (3rd photo, 1st row above) showing city police working the Speed Trap, behind a dense cover of trees, shrubs, and other wild vegetation. If it were truly Morrison's wish to improve traffic safety (by reducing motorist's speeds), rather than increase revenues, the city would position its patrol cars in plain view, with all speed radar units running in continuous "advertise" mode.
Another question is the accuracy of the speed device in Officer Poole's SUV ("S/N 1349 Unit One") under the conditions that day. The performance of it may have been [probably was] adversely affected by the near 90 degree angle to traffic flow at which Officer Poole must have been pointing it. Such devices are known to give unreliable readings at such angles, and aften at other times when manufacturers usage parameters are not carefully being followed. Hidden by the brush as he was, Officer Poole's view of the vehicle to which the speed gun actually locked-on might well have been obscured. Speed devices are known to lock on to the larger of multiple close targets. Tim said he was following me closely at a higher speed than my own. Perhaps, based on possible equipment misuse, malfunction, and/or misreading, Officer Poole ticketed the wrong driver and/or at the wrong speed.
It is reasonable to ask, and therefore subject to pre-trial discovery:
How long has Officer Poole been employed by the City of Morrison? When was his last training in traffic enforcement Procedures? What is the make and model of the speed unit mounted in Officer Poole's SUV? What is the repair history of this specific speed unit? When was this particular speed unit last calibrated? Does this unit/model require any special training for use either against motorcycles or in highly obscured target zones? When did Officer Poole successfully complete training on proper use of this specific make and model? Was he using it within all manufacturers guidelines at the time he decided to stop me? Did either of the two patrol cars videotape the traffic stop and if so what does it show about the demeanor of Officer Poole and UberCop? What number and percentage of speeding tickets written during January-May 2008, showing the subject Speed Trap relative to all other Speed Traps operated within Morrison city limits? Officer Poole's Notes state that no other traffic was in the "Zone of Influence" of his speed device. What were the active boundaries of this Zone based on its position at the moment of its activation towards my motorcycle? What is UberCop's name? What was UberCop's rank relative to that of Officer Poole's? When was UberCop's last training in traffic enforcement Procedures? Does Officer Poole's Performance file contain any reference to alleged abuse or disrespect toward citizens in general and/or older citizens and/or motorcyclists in particular? Does UberCop's Performance file contain any reference to alleged abuse or disrespect toward citizens in general and/or older citizens and motorcyclists in particular?
Further, I would hope that Morrison Police Chief Robert Wasko would interview UberCop regarding his understanding of "safe" as the word applies to traffic enforcement Procedures and Policies for the City of Morrison. Chief Wasko should specifically address UberCop's reckless endangerment of innocent citizens when he performed those two "cowboy" U-Turns, between two blind curves, directly in front of oncoming Highway 74 traffic which included a motorcyclist.
What was the urgent need that compelled UberCop to perform a risky, and illegal, traffic stunt that would have gotten any ordinary citizen at least one ticket? Apparently well-slaked were the needs of UberCop to: (1) strut around striking poses, (2) "protect" Officer Poole against attack by two gray-haired seniors, and (3) to incite Officer Poole to become hostile and mendacious so as not to appear soft in the steely eyes of his peer.
ConclusionWhen I went to Court for the arraignment, Morrison City Attorney Miller (see further below) did his best Matlock for 20 minutes, warning all victims that there was no hope for any outcome other than conviction. 'Just plead "guilty," pay your fine, and leave quietly' he intoned. About half of them did just that. Twice I tried to bargain with Mr. Miller in private, offering to pay a $300 fine in return for no points on my driving record. He adamantly refused. The best he would do is $115 (the standard fine for a "Section 1101"), 2 points, with a reduced charge of 'defective vehicle'.
I think Mr. Miller was derelict in his duty to maximize Morrison revenues. He has a fiduciary responsibility to his Client, the City of Morrison. Morrison is critically in need of revenue yet he blew off a chance to ring up some easy money. For example, the Morrison Court is on the upper floor of a rickety 100 year old building - so rickety that for safety the Fire Marshal set a maximum load of 80 people (I think they were well over the limit the night I was there). Morrison needs all the money it can get (or extort), but instead Mr. Miller elected to toss them small change and slap me with points instead. From win/win to lose/lose - way to go, Mr. Miller. Definite malpractice, I'd say.
Had Mr. Miller been willing to work with me (the judge follows his sentencing recommendations), you would never have seen this webpage (it wouldn't even exist). As it is, now you have been duly warned about how a sneeky little city plays games with your rights and your budget. Morrison gets a small fine from me, but points on my driving record means my insurance companies now see an opportunity to "service" me (as a stallion services a mare) deeper than ever before. How does that improve traffic safety? Some might wonder how much $$$ Morrison receives in tribute from the insurance companies to keep their little scam alive.
Look, I am not saying I am innocent of the charges. I was perfectly willing to pay a high fine for my transgression against the ordinances of Morrison, Colorado. I do question the opportunities for mutual tail-sniffing between law enforcement and insurance companies. It is very similar I think to the cozy relationship between doctors and drug companies. The inevitable end result of one hand washes the other is that We The People always get hung out to dry.
Before releasing this report I asked "Tim" to review the article above and compare it to his own memories of what he heard and saw that day. He had this to say:"I honestly cannot find a scrap of untruth in the article from the point of view of the "Tim" person. The bulldog that you have kindly referred to as Ubercop was completely outside the realms of safety in his procedures on the highway and was also totally without reason to act as hostile as he did towards the general public such as we were."
Radar facts & fyi: here, and here, and here, too.
Contact InformationCity of Morrison, Colorado website.
E-Mail Mayor Allen Williams: Click Here E-Mail City of Morrison Trustees: Click Here
Morrison Police Dept website
321 Highway 8 Morrison, CO 80465
Phone 303.697.4810 Fax: 303.697.4620
Morrison Chief of Police: Robert W. Wasko
NOTE: "The Chief is responsible for all Administration, Hiring, Training, Patrol, Safety, and Investigative functions for the Morrison Police Department."
E-Mail Police Chief Robert Wasko: Click Here. Phone Chief Wasko: 303-697-4810
City of Morrison Attorney: Richard L. Miller
143 Union Blvd. Suite 270
Lakewood CO 80288
Mr. Miller's Website
Morrison City Atttorney Miller is paid by the hour (he has a day job). He probably charges the City of Morrison at least $25 for every email and call he receives regarding all matters Morrison.
E-Mail Morrison City Attorney Richard Miller: Click Here
Morrison Municipal Court
110 Stone Street
Morrison CO 80465
Judge: Richard F. Mutzebaugh
State Capitol Bldg.
200 E. Colfax Ave.
Denver, CO 80203
Judge Mutzebaugh sponsored a photo radar bill in Colorado - Hummm-mm-m... interesting that he presides over the Morrison City Court, trying victims of Morrison's Speed Trap(s).
In case you are ever victimized by the Morrison Po-Leece and wish to appeal Judge Mutzebaugh's sentence then Golden, Colorado is the County Court where your appeal of any Morrison sentence would be heard.
But there are worse towns than Morrison, CO. Take, for example, the town of Tenaha, TX, that engages in predatory piracy of motorist-victims. Welcome to Amerika, USSA.
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