Letter – Clay Street traffic offenses need police attention

Published 4:52 pm Tuesday, August 23, 2022

To the Editor:

I have called the police department several times in the past about traffic offenses on our street. Namely speeding, driving the wrong way on our one-way street, blocking a fire hydrant, parking in front of a no parking sign and parking in a handicap zone. I have been told, “That on the bottom of the list of traffic laws.”

I have been told, “We only have about 20 officers on duty for the entire area.”

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I have been told, “They are doing more important things and will be there in about 30 minutes to an hour.” And no one ever came. Are you kidding me?

There is a female 911 operator with a bad attitude who demonstrates little or no concern or respect for the citizens of her Suffolk community. She needs to be disciplined or demoted as she clearly doesn’t belong in the capacity of dealing with the public.

After several calls, I was finally connected to an officer, Lt. Herox. He was very polite, an excellent listener and was able to direct me to the proper department and phone number to call to discuss my concerns — the traffic engineering department.

The traffic engineer suggested we needed a petition of signatures of the residents on our street to formally show our concerns. With the overwhelming support and assistance of a neighbor, every single person on our street signed the petition. Every single person.

The traffic engineer told me the department would install a road monitor to count traffic and they were considering adding cameras at either end of the street. True to his word, the monitor was installed for a week after I submitted our petition to his department. Have not seen a camera or heard back from his department since then. And the traffic offenses continue.

The answer is to install a working camera at either end of Clay Street. It’s about saving lives and preventing property damage. Or is this another case of waiting until the unthinkable happens before money is spent on preventative measures?

I have several questions:

One — If you are not going to enforce the laws, big or small, then why do we need those same laws?

Two — If you have a self-important 911 operator whose idea is, “Oh well, these are small crimes and are not important,” why is she holding that position?

These small unimportant crimes lead to more violent and dangerous crimes in the future.

Clay Street is two blocks from what is soon to be the epicenter of Suffolk’s cultural entertainment district at West Washington and Saratoga streets. Shouldn’t our street be a safe walk from the Cultural Arts Center to the new venue? If you care about the city’s safety then install the cameras toward that end. The money spent is the people’s tax money.

The Clay Street criminals are back. Please let’s work together to stop them. Install the cameras as promised.

Please note I am not blaming the police officers on duty for the lack of response to my calls. They cannot do their duty if they are unaware these offenses are being committed. That is the job of a 911 operator, but instead she takes it upon herself to decide what and who is important. Who does she think she is? All crimes are important to those that take the time to call them in.

“See something, say something,” we are taught is our civic duty. A little better response from the 911 operator would go a long way in cutting down the number of offenses on our street and the entire city.

Daniel Roberts

Suffolk