Not all cops are bad. But a fair percentage are, and for over 10 years in front of everyone’s eyes the small community of Arlington Heights, Ohio—the land between the north and southbound lanes of I-75 just south of the GE Evendale plant–have been handing out 20 times the number of traffic citations for a Ohio community and employees of the police and court system have been pocketing the money to take elaborate vacations and buy expensive cars. In some cases the money went to buying girl friends large rings and other extravagances all on the backs of traffic citations. Brendan Keefe of Channel 9 News did an I-Team investigation on this issue which can be seen at the video and link below. The information I just stated are leaks of the kind of items that the money stolen from traffic citation money was spent on. Some of that information will soon come out from a special audit conducted by David Yost which is now in the hands of Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters who will bring the case before a grand jury at the end of July. Based on early indications a mother and her daughter who worked as the clerk of courts will be charged for the theft.
It is because of a few courageous individuals that this case is even being talked about. Most of the time, a crime of such open theft of public money is not as egregiously abused as it has been in this case in Arlington Heights. Every community has its share of bad apples and crooked cops. But the important thing to understand is that society must always be on the lookout for these scoundrels and understand that they are a constant menace to society. It is because of these “bad apples” that government can never be trusted completely to do anything, because there will always be a number of employees who work within any system who will lie, cheat, and steal to feather their own nests at the expense of others.
Because of the threat of such people, good people must always keep a watchful eye out for these scum bags so that they don’t abuse their power. Often however, even the good are powerless to do anything about such crimes as is the case in Arlington Heights where the theft was participated in by many public employees, so there was no desire to stop the thieving behavior. Way back in 2002 police Chief Mark Groteke began questioning where all the money being taken in from traffic citations was going—because it wasn’t making it to the Mayors Court bank account. He attempted to blow the whistle in a letter to the mayor at the time, but there was no desire to investigate the crimes. The obvious reason was because the traffic court in Arlington Heights was using fines collected from traffic citations as their personal ATM machines, and simply pocketed the money as supplemental income.
The irony for me upon hearing this story is that the Arlington Heights case virtually mirrors the plotline of my newest book Tail of the Dragon which deals with this very issue of police abusing motorists in order to raise money for their personal interests. In my story they pick on the wrong guy, and all hell breaks loose. But in real life, it appears that the people who live in Arlington Heights were too afraid of the local police to call them out on the scam, because it seems the entire neighborhood knew about the situation and did nothing about it.
Thousands upon thousands of motorists were pulled over by Arlington Heights police, showed up to pay their fines with cash, check or credit card. Most people suspect that the citation scam on most any roadway in the nation is simply designed to generate revenue for the local courts, but the proof is often hard to validate because it is law enforcement that would have to carry out the investigation. In Ohio a portion of all fines generated go to the state and according to records state auditors noticed that $40,654 was missing. Based on the knowledge of the state share in the potential fines, this is how it was discovered that $262,000 was completely missing from the Arlington Heights Mayors Court accounting.
According to former police chief Groteke Arlington Heights officers would take the deposits collected from the mayor’s court to the bank. Most of the time the money was in the form of checks and money orders, but sometimes it was in cash. He discovered when he would issue arrest warrants for suspects he had on record who had not paid their fines, that when arrested, they would declare that they were innocent and had paid their tickets in cash. That’s when he realized that the cash had been stolen by public employees with access to the funds from the mayor’s court.
The situation in Arlington Heights is one of the most grotesque in the entire nation. The abuse is obvious, and everyone has known about it. It’s a story breaking now because Brendan Keefe went to the trouble to do a very good investigation. But even in this very obvious situation, public employees from the mayor all the way down to traffic cop covered it up for over a decade. In most small towns, and big cities, crimes every bit as audacious as what has been happening in Arlington Heights are going on right now, and the crimes happened because there is nowhere to turn, no law to trust—as cops are for most people the highest authority they deal with. So when a cop pulls over a driver for a traffic violation under the guise of safety, the driver has no choice but to pay the money if they are told. If the driver refuses they will be forced to pay the money one way or the other because the legal system will turn its might against them until they get their money from the driver.
The Arlington Heights situation is proof that traffic court is not about safety, and it is not about law enforcement. Traffic court is about generating revenue for the court system, the attorneys, the insurance companies and the politicians who write the laws that are meant to be enforced. The law enforcement officers can then pull over anyone they wish since no one person can possibly know if they are in violation of a law or not, so virtually all people everywhere are potential targets of this massive extortion scheme. In Arlington Heights the law enforcement officers took the whole process one step too far too many times for too many years. They actually took money out of the bank deposits so that the parasites upstream didn’t get their take of the loot. It appears that when police officers needed more money for a new car, or a vacation, they simply pulled over more people so they could collect fines on the record or off the record in the form of pay-offs.
The worst aspect of this story is that the evidence of power abuse is obvious, yet it is these very same people who would go door to door under issues of martial law and are supposed to be trusted with our lives and property who have committed these acts. It is obvious that law enforcement cannot be trusted with such responsibility and should never be given authority under any circumstance. This is what the NDAA Act does which President Obama signed into law on New Year’s Eve this past year, he gave law enforcement complete authority over every American life upon his command—and it is these types of people who will abuse such a power without fear. In this case the primary thieves appear to be a mother—daughter team employed as clerks in the court. But the police officers are the ones who did the pulling over, and the courts processed the citations even when alarms were being raised by the police chief.
In the end it isn’t just a mother and daughter clerk of courts who robbed thousands of dollars from the citizens in and around Arlington Heights. This case is about the crimes that come wherever the money tree of taxes grow. Everyone wants to shake that tree of everything it has and they expect new fruit to always appear no matter how hard they shake it. Without question this story goes well beyond the clerk of courts employees who will be charged. They are simply the parts of the story that can be proven in the paper trail. No prosecutor in their right mind would dig too deeply, since similar scandals are most likely happening right in their very offices right now. So in this Arlington Heights case it will be the employees in the clerk of courts office who pay most dearly, perhaps even the mayor. Everyone else will cover their ass and lay low for a while before attempting to take to the streets yet again to churn up the money machine that is the traffic writing citation industry.
This story would have went nowhere if not for Brendan Keefe at Channel 9 news and the very good I-Team reporting that they do there. It would be wonderful if every reporter was like Brendan. (SEE HIS GREAT STORY ON SUPERINTENDENTS HERE) If there were more reporters doing the kind of investigative reporting shown in that I-Team report, corruption in government would be a rarity, rather than a common activity. Instead, corruption is rampant as a majority of society—reporters included—hide in the shadows and allow sinister behavior to perpetuate unchecked. That is how Arlington Heights has managed to use traffic citations for over a decade as their personal ATM machines using unjust taxation to supplement their very lucrative public employee incomes.