A recent post on The Free Thought Project details yet another case of inexcusable police conduct. Trooper (for now) Frederick Schimp was on patrol at 3:30 am on Saturday, July 5. He failed to yield to cross traffic before crossing an intersection controlled by a stop sign, in this case a vehicle being driven by a 57-year old woman. Both Mr. Schimp and his partner were injured. The woman was not so lucky; she wound up not surviving the accident after being transported to a hospital. The trooper was not responding to a call, making his reason for either running the stop sign or not yielding all the more baffling.
If an average citizen did this, an arrest would be made immediately. No charges have been announced yet for Mr. Schimp, and it’s entirely possible he’ll be put on leave with pay (in effect, a paid vacation) while this is investigated. Kill someone, wreck a police vehicle in the process, and get a paid vacation? What kind of message does it send when our cops screw up and that’s how it’s handled?
It’s time for the Pennsylvania State Police to set the example on how this should be handled. I think a fairer solution: Officer is put on leave without pay, and only receives back pay only if and when cleared of wrongdoing. If there is wrongdoing in this case, the officer is subject to the same criminal charges as everyone else. Enforcing the law does not mean above the law. Blowing through a stop sign and causing a fatality to get to the doughnut shop a few minutes sooner or whatever should be punished severely, ideally as severely as it would be if one of us did it. I’m quite horrified that it’s taking this long to file and announce charges.