When I was a kid, my dad always got the newspaper (growing up it was the Courier-Post and in summer the Portland Press Herald).
And in flipping my way to the sports and comics there was usually a column by some older guy (there had to be more than one) who would rail about the narrowness of parking spots (since he drove a Thunderbird or El Dorado or something similarly land-yacht-ish), the difficulty in redeeming S&H green stamps, or a 2,500 word sarcastic rant because a teenager was actually polite to him once and he noticed how rare that was, or some other silly rant about something trivial in the community.
And here I am, after reading about the “positive summonses” program run by the Cranford PD….almost becoming that guy.
Yes, positive reinforcement is a good thing, but I always hated that feeling you get when a cop would look at you, point and say “You. C’mere, kid.” You know, the same feeling that you get when the police car’s 360s light up your rearview mirror?
So after a minute of the “what the hell did I do?” feeling the kid gets a ticket for a raffle and a coupon. But now he knows the feeling of “oh, crap” his dad gets until the cruiser with the flashing lights on passes and pulls over somebody else.
Now what kind of message does that truly leave for our children? To say “oh crap” when they see a cop because they know they’re probably not going to get a raffle ticket next time?
Well, sorry. I DID become that old dopey curmudgeonly columnist for a sec.