Grief is real, but is State Patrol at fault?
Oh, man, I want to be very careful here, because I cannot fathom the pain of the family of the young guy killed in the car crash resulting from another driver fleeing the State Patrol (“Grieving family questions deadly chase,” Sept. 10). In no way am I discounting the family’s anger over this senseless death.
But directing this anger at the State Patrol is misguided. Their wrath should be squarely laid on the guy driving with a suspended license and suspected of being under the influence — not with the cops trying their best to get the guy off the road.
Let’s focus our efforts to get those who have been previously stopped and ticketed to have some “real” consequences for their actions, before they kill someone. My sympathy to the family — and to the patrol officer who was involved. He did the right thing in attempting to get a dangerous driver stopped. Unfortunately, the wrong guy died in the crash.
JIM STROMBERG, White Bear Lake Twp.
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It occurred to me years ago that new technology would reduce the need for such chases in populated areas. Where is it?
Some suggestions: The Twin Cities area has signal-light-changing devices at some intersections that enable fire trucks to speed through on green. Use these, and more of them, for police chases, too. Or how about using intersection cameras for tracking or simply getting the license number? A Boston Marathon bomber was detected from overhead with infrared; target position locations are tracked using microwave cellphone towers, helicopters, drones and satellites. Attach a trackable signal to a target vehicle using an adhesive, hollow-point bullet that splashes a device or distinctive chemical heat signal on the car surface; maybe a laser could do this. Or, heck, just using the police car camera to get the license number would be more prudent than chasing at high speed through the city.
If private enterprise has avoided developing technologies for this purpose because of projected low return, then get one of our national product development laboratories to generate it, as they do for basic drugs or improved respiratory masks, and hand it off to a nonprofit association of police departments or the like. Such technology would certainly save a lot of public money that goes for replacing vehicles and officers, lawsuits, insurance, hospital bills, and compensating victims and property owners.
RICHARD PATTEN, Minneapolis
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Facelift is probably another futile effort
I’m really, really tired of seeing my taxes and bonding capacity being spent on futile efforts to revive our downtown as a retail destination (“Facelift for Nicollet Mall is one step closer,” Sept. 9). Block E, the Shubert Theater, Gaviidae Commons and City Center all made money for the subsidized developers who jumped ship as soon as their contracts allowed.
Why would any rational person believe that a streetcar line or new light fixtures — both proposed as stimuli for street-level retail — would meet a fate any different from these older failures?
If there is truly a compelling retail idea, it should come from — and be funded by — the private sector.
JOHN RISKEN, Minneapolis
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