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01 August 2011

Three DUIs Not Enough to Fire a NJ State Trooper?

By Kevin Canessa Jr.
KC in

NEW JERSEY -- It's one of those stories you can't help but notice.

A new Jersey State Trooper who had three drunken-driving charges in a small span of time has been suspended, but not fired from her job. It's one of those "Do as I say, not as I do" deals, where a trooper who, when pulling over drunken drivers would take no excuse and permit such a driver to get back on the road, got not one, not two, but three courtesies from the Hamilton, N.J. Police Department when she got behind the wheel of a car while bombed.

Let's face it -- in the world of law enforcement, one cop letting another cop go for speeding, or blowing a red light, is a way of life. There are certain perks that come with being a cop, just like if, say, you worked at the Apple Store. Not everyone gets that 30-percent discount on a brand-new iMac -- just like not everyone gets a pass when they're speeding on a highway.

Yet this is very, very different. This is a high-ranking state police trooper who was excused thrice for making the abhorrently stupid mistake of getting behind the wheel of a car after throwing back shots and drinks while having a good time.

There's no excuse for this happening once, let alone two additional times. But it has. And this trooper still has a job. I heard a report that said she was a "model trooper," and that since she wasn't on duty while driving drunk, it shouldn't affect her job.

A "model trooper?"

That sort of thing carries a ton of weight. And a model trooper isn't just someone who lives her life as a solid professional. What that person does in her spare time is just as much responsible for her being a "model trooper" as what she does while on duty.

With that said, anyone who would call this woman a "model trooper" clearly doesn't get it -- that a person's actions outside work carry just as much, if not more weight, as while on the job.

When the Rev. Warren Hall, former president of Hudson Catholic High School in Jersey City, N.J. was arrested and charged with drunken driving, the was forced, in essence, to resign his position as president of the school -- not just because it was the right thing to do, but because it set a good example that what one does while not working can and should have an effect on work life.

If this trooper had been you or me, we'd already have three drunken-driving convictions, and we'd have a 10-year license suspension to deal with. But we're not that trooper. And she got just a small slap on the wrist -- a one-year, unpaid vacation -- and she will be back out patrolling the highways of New Jersey for drunken drivers.

Wouldn't it be intriguing to go to court, charged with a DUI, when the state's major witness against you is a state trooper who got away with three drunken-driving incidents?

Oh how a judge would just love such a scenario!

Odds n Ends

-- Today's the vote to decide whether Long Island gets a new Coliseum and whether the Islanders ultimately stay here or go to Kansas City, Quebec City or elsewhere. If you're a local hockey fan, you really have to hope this passes.

-- As a big fan of "CSI," I'm still not totally sold on Ted Danson as the new lead CSI agent. How about you?

-- While "Rookie Blue" continues to entertain me, I must say "Combat Hospital" has really, really fizzled out. The last three episodes, I've turned off, from boredom.

-- U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords, D-Ariz., was on the floor of the House Chamber today when members assembled to vote on the debt-ceiling measure. She got a standing ovation. Perhaps the most surreal part of this most touching moment was that Gabby, herself, was standing, on her own, during the ovation. Talk about a moment to remember and treasure.

-- Out of curiosity, were I to ask you the name of the psychopath who killed little Leiby Kletzky a few weeks ago, would you remember his name?

-- So did you see the alternate Royal Wedding the other day?

-- Are there two more self-serving, hate-filled journalists on this planet than Phil Mushnick and Bob Raissman? All the worse -- they work for two different newspaper -- so twice the bitterness and twice the jealousy.

-- Call me crazy, but I'd still rather watch re-run episodes of "ER" that I've seen five or six times each than more than three-quarters of what's on TV these days.

-- Later this week, I'm meeting with a old Jesuit priest friend of mine from my high school days and thereafter. It reminds me of a few things. Had I entered the Jesuits when I originally planned to do so, I'd already be an ordained priest. Also hard to believe in 2012, it'll be 20 years since graduating high school. And 15 for college.

My time flies -- way too quickly!


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