Police towed vehicles for pedestrians’ safety
In general, the twofold duty of police officers is “to serve and protect.” Sometimes the duty to serve rightfully prevails, such as when a motorist is not ticketed for leaving his broken-down vehicle in a no-parking zone. Quite to the contrary, an officer will usually seek to assist the operator. Other times, such as when the breakdown occurs in a location where traffic is obstructed, the duty to protect must prevail. Although it may appear callous, the lives and well-being of the many must not be put at risk because of the misfortune of the few. The vehicle is either pushed off the road or towed.
During the last Bills home game, Orchard Park police faced the latter circumstance. Numerous vehicles were illegally parked in a location that would have forced pedestrians to walk in driving lanes under circumstances of encroaching darkness and the likelihood of distracted drivers. The decision to ticket and tow was not an instance of strict law enforcement per se, as if the police were insensitive to the motorists who were unable to find open parking lots for the game. Rather, it was a matter of reasonably protecting the lives of all people.
Fortunately, owing to good judgment, we will never know if a pedestrian was spared injury or death. As tragic as that would have been, it would have most certainly been followed up with litigation for dereliction of duty at great cost to our community. Improvement questions remain, however, relating to prevention and better service for those whose vehicles were towed.
Orchard Park Council Member
Retired assistant chief of police