Friday, May 28, 2010

Don't drive in Northlake this weekend

I guess Northlake is short on money or something: I just got a $50 "seatbelt violation" (given to me by NLPD Officer Carpenter, badge #128) for driving while wearing a seatbelt. Yes, you heard me. For driving while wearing a seatbelt.

The incident occurred near the intersection of Fullerton and Roy, around 11:15 am today. This is a common place for Northlake to set speed traps, and I know this, so I was being careful to watch my speed through here. I noticed the cop (in his tiny little Northlake compact cop car, they don't drive Crown Vics there) as I drove by, and even nodded to him. I'm driving my GMC Sierra, which means I'm probably 4 feet above his eye level: there is no way he can tell if I'm wearing my seat belt or not. I always wear my seatbelt. Always. No exceptions.

After I clear the intersection he lights up and chases me down a half block down the road. I pull over, of course, and go to get the insurance card out of the glove box while waiting for him to walk up. In order to do this, of course, I have to take off my seat belt: the glovebox on a Sierra is a LONG reach and it's really hard to do without removing the seat belt, so when he gets to me I have already taken my seat belt off. He gets to me and tells me that he pulled me over for not wearing a seat belt. I tell him that that's ridiculous, and he gets all hot and huffy at me (including the classic "You got a problem with that?" line that dumbass powerfreak cops use all the time). He takes a brief look at my license and insurance (probably just to verify that I don't live in Northlake: I don't, and my license still has my Niles address on it) and decides at that point that he's going to write me a citation.

The fine is $50, and I'm not going to fight it because the only way I can win is to hope that Officer Carpenter doesn't show up. Basically this is the Northlake Mafia, tagging me for $50 for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. I actually figure I'm better off having taken my seat belt off before he got up there; otherwise he'd have to come up with some other bogus violation to charge me with that would have cost me more and maybe even put points on my license. But this certainly is a huge discouragement for me to do any business in Northlake, especially this weekend.

Quick note to Mayor Jeffrey Sherwin: antagonizing your neighbors is not a good business practice. I can easily take my business in Northlake to Melrose Park, Stone Park, or Franklin Park.