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Exemplary Police Work

It is always good to hear a story of a police officer, in this case, a truck enforcement officer, who made a conscious and voluntary choice to do the right thing.  While the ITEA is primarily geared towards law enforcement, one-third of our membership potential is from the trucking industry.  The by-laws and membership agreements are clear:  the ITEA is not a get-out-of-jail free card for the trucking members.  However, paths do occasionally cross and it is encouraging to see how the system worked in this situation.

One of our foundational statements is partnership, which includes State regulatory agencies, the trucking industry and other trade groups/associations.  The ITEA develops resources and training to help all of these professions.  An ongoing theme espoused by the ITEA is the complex and voluminous nature of truck law…it’s too big for any one person to fully comprehend.  Flowcharts, standards of practice, a discussion forum and this blog are all resources designed and marketed to help make sense of the vast regulations in trucking.  Regardless of which profession you are aligned with, everyone needs tangible and practical documents to paint an authoritative picture of the law.

In mid-February 2012, an oversize/overweight crane was operating on a State highway under the authority of an IDOT permit.  The crane company and the police officer who stopped it were both members of the ITEA.  The police officer inspected the permit and validated it, but cited the driver for failure to display an “OVERSIZE LOAD” sign on the vehicle.  Since the vehicle exceeded legal width, the officer believed the sign was compulsory.  The driver accepted the citation and was released after tying signs onto the vehicle.

The OPER 993 form produced by IDOT states that oversize load signs are only required if the vehicle is more than 10′ wide, 14’6″ high, or 75′ long.  The crane company, believing they were exactly 10’ wide and not violating the other two dimensions, were exempt from needing the signs.  They contacted the ITEA to clarify the regulation.  The ITEA contacted the officer to find out how wide the crane was, and the officer acknowledged he did not measure it.  It was an honest mistake as he believed all vehicles exceeding legal width (a true definition of “oversize”) would need the sign.  It was a very fine point of law and it is understandable how it could be overlooked.  The officer agreed to dismiss the charges in court, which he did.

The officer involved was not just a member, but had been through the ITEA certification process.  One of the mantras of ITEA certification is to be open for correction when mistakes are made.  This officer acknowledged his mistake and made it right…showing true humility, a trait not always found in law enforcement.  The crane company professionally addressed the complaint and did not pass judgment on the officer…behaviors not always seen by truckers when they are cited.

Police officers are usually given “attaboys” and commendations for heroic actions of traditional police work…well deserved for sure.  Sometimes though, the less public and quiet actions of a noble policeman doing an exemplary job deserves the same.  The teachable spirit of this officer saved the crane company a lot of time and money in legal costs and lost productivity.  The demeanor and professional response by the crane company is just as noteworthy.  This is what the ITEA is all about…we are proud to count both the officer and the crane company as our own.

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