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  1. #51
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by smasha View Post
    i'm told that three informal complaints against a vehicle results in a visit from the police, to discuss safe driving practices. the reports are also filed, and can be accessed by police if needed (eg, when they decide whether or not to file charges in later cases).
    Where were you "told" about this informal complaint system and where does this system exist in the U.S. ?

    All your recommendations sound great on paper or electrons but are not evidence that any of it will be useful in the U.S. for any purpose other than to give would-be police informers an excuse to use their handy dandy cameras to cry wolf at every opportunity.

  2. #52
    Senior Member cderalow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
    Where were you "told" about this informal complaint system and where does this system exist in the U.S. ?

    All your recommendations sound great on paper or electrons but are not evidence that any of it will be useful in the U.S. for any purpose other than to give would-be police informers an excuse to use their handy dandy cameras to cry wolf at every opportunity.

    In Maryland I can call my county non-emergency dispatch to file informal verbal complaints. The dispatcher will normally ask if I'd like to speak to an officer and file a formal complaint.

    I normally call in potential drunks (or obvious ones), ******bag cyclist groups using the whole road/holding up traffic rather than moving in pacelines, children not in safety seats, vehicles with excessive numbers of occupants (7-8 people in small sedans) and on rare occasions un safely parked vehicles

  3. #53
    Vegan on a bicycle smasha's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
    Where were you "told" about this informal complaint system and where does this system exist in the U.S. ?

    All your recommendations sound great on paper or electrons but are not evidence that any of it will be useful in the U.S. for any purpose other than to give would-be police informers an excuse to use their handy dandy cameras to cry wolf at every opportunity.
    the particular informal complaint system i referred to - the one i said i use frequently - is in NZ - https://forms.police.govt.nz/forms/o...watch-report/9

    i also mentioned the informal complaint system in london - http://www.met.police.uk/roadsafelondon/

    of the US cases i've heard of where video evidence was used to prosecute bad drivers, the recipe isn't any different from here in NZ... maybe you should google these names, and ask what they think about the effectiveness of helmet-cam (or phone-cam) video being used to secure prosecutions:
    * James Ernst
    * Michael Medaglia
    * Gary L. Hudson

    You're really not contributing anything useful here by stating that YOU DON'T KNOW of any prosecutions in the US based on helmet-cam video. DIFFERENT STATES HAVE DIFFERENT LAWS. even within a state, some cities may not take these complaints seriously, while other cities may actively pursue them.

    you've made it clear that YOU DON'T KNOW of any prosecutions against drivers in the US based on helmet-cam video... but even if you presented evidence of such video NOT resulting in prosecution (which you haven't presented), i could explain several reasons why your assertion is still not universally valid, and is only relevant to that particular example... not considered by police to be a statutory violation, insufficient evidence to secure a prosecution, lack of police resources, etc.

    EDIT:

    so unless you can cite a law that prohibits helmet-cam video from being entered as evidence in a traffic (or criminal, or civil) case, then you're just wasting bandwidth.
    Last edited by CbadRider; 12-11-13 at 02:12 PM. Reason: Removed comments that violate forum guidelines
    "When I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the future of the human race." - H.G. Wells

  4. #54
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cderalow View Post
    In Maryland I can call my county non-emergency dispatch to file informal verbal complaints. The dispatcher will normally ask if I'd like to speak to an officer and file a formal complaint.
    I don't question that anyone can call in anything that they wish. The point is what action/reaction can be expected from anyone in authority, especially when the informer (even with video "evidence") has not been affected or harmed by the alleged offense.
    OK got it that one police informer in NZ considers himself successful in this process.

  5. #55
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    Police have told a co-worker that they were issuing a citation for two incidents he captured on video. One was an egregiously close pass. The thing that made this so obvious was that I was in front of him so there was perspective on how close the pass was. It was obvious that the right side mirror cleared me by less than a foot in a 4' passing law state. We know they contacted the driver in that case. The other was going straight from a right turn lane because my co-worker was in the straight lane. Both cut and dry cases. Who knows if they actually did it, but I don't see any reason they would lie. They generally tell you that they are going to call the driver if they aren't going to cite.

  6. #56
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    Here is the irony of video evidence against drivers.

    My friend video tapes EVERYTHING, including when he rides. He has given video tape evidence many times to police depicting things like cars hitting him, people throwing things at him and such. The police have never pursued any of these things.

    One day he is out riding and he gets two bogus tickets by a motorcycle officer. My friend posted the video online. When his court date arrived the police showed up with a copy of his videos and used them against him in court.

    He beat one ticket and was found guilty on the other.

    Moral of story....police don't care if you videos implicate someone else. But they sure as hell care if they can use your videos to implicate YOU.

    Personally, I ride about 50% of the time with a go pro mounted on my handle bars.

  7. #57
    Vegan on a bicycle smasha's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nikon Rep View Post
    One day he is out riding and he gets two bogus tickets by a motorcycle officer. My friend posted the video online. When his court date arrived the police showed up with a copy of his videos and used them against him in court.

    He beat one ticket and was found guilty on the other.

    ...

    Personally, I ride about 50% of the time with a go pro mounted on my handle bars.
    if the two tickets were bogus, how did he get convicted for one of them, with video? maybe it WASN'T bogus...?

    you ride 50% of the time with a camera... i guess that's when you're being good?

    i've said it before, and i'll keep saying it... cameras are an asset to good road users, and a liability to bad road users.

    i'm curious... if you can send me copies of his formal complaints, maybe i can give an informed guess as to why they haven't been actioned.
    "When I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the future of the human race." - H.G. Wells

  8. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by smasha View Post
    if the two tickets were bogus, how did he get convicted for one of them, with video? maybe it WASN'T bogus...?
    One of the tickets was for making a left hand turn in front of traffic.

    In my opinion the video showed clearly that he did not turn too close. However, the cop said he did and the judge agreed.

    The other ticket was for not staying close to the right. There is an exception to the law in CA for when you want to make a left hand turn, which my friend was doing and the video clearly showed it. The judge agreed and dismissed that charge.

  9. #59
    Transportation Cyclist turbo1889's Avatar
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    I'm still not running a camera myself, even though by all rights I should be with some of the things I have to put up with where I live and ride especially in the Winter months.

    That said, in my research of whether helmet cams are legal and how the footage can be used in my states legal precedents what I've found is mainly about motorcycle helmet cams.

    Just pointing out that motorcyclists are running helmet cams as much or maybe even more the pedal-cyclists and it isn't too much of a leap between the two so you might want to look for precedents involving motorcyclists using helmet cams.

    I also would agree with previous posters that if your going to run a helmet cam you best make sure you are on your own best behavior since it isn't just documenting the actions of other drivers around you but your own actions and actually shows a better view of what your doing then what others are doing so you best not be video recording yourself doing stuff you ain't supposed to to and especially not be giving those files to the cops, if you do that would qualify under the "major fail" category.



    Edit: Although come to think of it that might actually be a not so bad advocacy technique. Video record yourself doing something you aren't supposed to be doing that is a low price ticket. Give the file to the cops and let them give you a ticket for it and use the recording against you in traffic court and happily pay your low price ticket. Then use that case as a future precedent for your video recordings being admissible evidence when other drivers do stuff. Not saying for sure it would work but its at least something to consider as a possibility.
    Last edited by turbo1889; 12-11-13 at 11:58 PM.

  10. #60
    24-Speed Machine Chris516's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cderalow View Post
    In Maryland I can call my county non-emergency dispatch to file informal verbal complaints. The dispatcher will normally ask if I'd like to speak to an officer and file a formal complaint.

    I normally call in potential drunks (or obvious ones), ******bag cyclist groups using the whole road/holding up traffic rather than moving in pacelines, children not in safety seats, vehicles with excessive numbers of occupants (7-8 people in small sedans) and on rare occasions un safely parked vehicles
    How can you do that? I live not far from you, and I get the 'excuse' answer, when I want to file a complaint. I always get told that they had to see it to do anything about it.

  11. #61
    Vegan on a bicycle smasha's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by turbo1889 View Post
    Although come to think of it that might actually be a not so bad advocacy technique. Video record yourself doing something you aren't supposed to be doing that is a low price ticket. Give the file to the cops and let them give you a ticket for it and use the recording against you in traffic court and happily pay your low price ticket. Then use that case as a future precedent for your video recordings being admissible evidence when other drivers do stuff. Not saying for sure it would work but its at least something to consider as a possibility.
    if the police clearly state that they can't use video as evidence to pursue a traffic complaint, that's brilliant!

    but talk to a lawyer FIRST!
    "When I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the future of the human race." - H.G. Wells

  12. #62
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris516 View Post
    How can you do that? I live not far from you, and I get the 'excuse' answer, when I want to file a complaint. I always get told that they had to see it to do anything about it.
    You can do it now, just like cderalow, what is stopping you? Cderalow never stated that he got any useful law enforcement action from his informal verbal complaints.

  13. #63
    Senior Member dynodonn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nikon Rep View Post
    One day he is out riding and he gets two bogus tickets by a motorcycle officer. My friend posted the video online. When his court date arrived the police showed up with a copy of his videos and used them against him in court.
    Why I don't post videos online, and somewhat validates my personal feeling, in another BF thread, that even "mundane" traffic violations are often scrutinized by law enforcement.

  14. #64
    Senior Member dougmc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by turbo1889 View Post
    Edit: Although come to think of it that might actually be a not so bad advocacy technique. Video record yourself doing something you aren't supposed to be doing that is a low price ticket. Give the file to the cops and let them give you a ticket for it and use the recording against you in traffic court and happily pay your low price ticket. Then use that case as a future precedent for your video recordings being admissible evidence when other drivers do stuff. Not saying for sure it would work but its at least something to consider as a possibility.
    Wouldn't work.

    If you tell the police "I broke the law, and here's video I took of it -- give me a ticket" -- you're not asking them to give you a citation based solely on video evidence. Instead, you've given them a confession, you're telling them you know who took the video (you), you know who the video shows breaking the law (you) and by the way, there's also some video. If this issue did go to court, since you're the defendant -- you'd be there to testify about the source of the video. (Though you'd be testifying against yourself, which is weird. Though really, the whole thing is weird.)

    Courts do accept video evidence, but they generally want the person responsible for it to testify about it if at all possible. Without that testimony the video evidence may still be usable, but its strength is reduced. Also, one big problem with video evidence of a traffic violation involving a car is that unless you have a clear picture of the driver in there, all you know is the car involved, and presumably the owner can be looked up based on the plates. The police could question the owner, but unless the owner tells them who was driving, they can't really charge anybody with a crime based just on the video. (Though they won't give up quite so easily in the case of something much more serious like a fatal hit and run, and even if they can't charge somebody with a crime, insurance tends to cover the car and could get involved even without knowing the driver.)

    As for this case setting a future precedent, you're talking about courts -- and courts already accept video evidence. But the problem here isn't the courts, it's the police -- and police tend to not cite people based solely on video evidence of minor traffic violations that they did not personally witness, and you're not going to change that with a court case.
    Last edited by dougmc; 12-12-13 at 11:11 AM.

  15. #65
    Senior Member cderalow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
    You can do it now, just like cderalow, what is stopping you? Cderalow never stated that he got any useful law enforcement action from his informal verbal complaints.
    I have gotten useful action previously when I request filing a formal complaint.

    The local PD seems to be enforcing the parking regulations in my area after several complaints of illegally parked vehicles during the local HS football games.

  16. #66
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cderalow View Post
    I have gotten useful action previously when I request filing a formal complaint.

    The local PD seems to be enforcing the parking regulations in my area after several complaints of illegally parked vehicles during the local HS football games.
    Did collecting video evidence while you cycled play a part in filing this formal complaint?

  17. #67
    Vegan on a bicycle smasha's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dougmc View Post
    If you tell the police "I broke the law, and here's video I took of it -- give me a ticket" -- you're not asking them to give you a citation based solely on video evidence. Instead, you've given them a confession, you're telling them you know who took the video (you), you know who the video shows breaking the law (you) and by the way, there's also some video. If this issue did go to court, since you're the defendant -- you'd be there to testify about the source of the video. (Though you'd be testifying against yourself, which is weird. Though really, the whole thing is weird.)
    this is one of many reasons why i'd suggest consulting an attorney before trying it.

    by submitting video and a complaint, and stating that you "may have" violated the law, you have not confessed. similarly, a complaint can be written in a way that makes it not a confession, as such.

    simply request that police review the video, consider if your actions were a violation of law, and advise them that if they identify a violation of law, you would like them to prosecute you.

    a more important reason to get a lawyer is to make sure the video doesn't get you in more trouble than you're willing to deal with.

    Quote Originally Posted by dougmc View Post
    Courts do accept video evidence, but they generally want the person responsible for it to testify about it if at all possible. Without that testimony the video evidence may still be usable, but its strength is reduced. Also, one big problem with video evidence of a traffic violation involving a car is that unless you have a clear picture of the driver in there, all you know is the car involved, and presumably the owner can be looked up based on the plates. The police could question the owner, but unless the owner tells them who was driving, they can't really charge anybody with a crime based just on the video. (Though they won't give up quite so easily in the case of something much more serious like a fatal hit and run, and even if they can't charge somebody with a crime, insurance tends to cover the car and could get involved even without knowing the driver.)
    yes and no... basically, they just need someone to swear/affirm that the video is an accurate representation of events, and confirm the time/date/location of the video. they may have some questions, but IME the video really does all the talking.

    not sure about the states, but here in NZ police can send a letter to a vehicle's owner "requesting" information about who was driving the vehicle at a given time/place. if the owner doesn't respond within 14 days, they face a $10k fine.

    118 - Owner or hirer or licence holder to give information as to identity of driver or passenger
    http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/p...DLM435112.html

    52 - Contravening notices, requirements, etc, given or imposed by enforcement officers
    http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/p...DLM434682.html

    anyway... a lawyer could help to validate a self-incriminating video without providing any other self-incriminating evidence...

    prosecutor: "did you jaywalk, as is depicted in the video?"

    you: "i can tell you that the video was recorded from my helmet-camera, and i was wearing it at the time. beyond that, i refrain from providing testimony which may incriminate me in regards to your allegation of jaywalking."

    Quote Originally Posted by dougmc View Post
    As for this case setting a future precedent, you're talking about courts -- and courts already accept video evidence. But the problem here isn't the courts, it's the police -- and police tend to not cite people based solely on video evidence of minor traffic violations that they did not personally witness, and you're not going to change that with a court case.
    but that's precisely what can be changed, if a case like this was even filed.
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  18. #68
    Senior Member dougmc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by smasha View Post
    by submitting video and a complaint, and stating that you "may have" violated the law, you have not confessed. similarly, a complaint can be written in a way that makes it not a confession, as such.
    And without a confession, the odds are the police will not act upon your report that you possibly committed a moving violation. After all, they did not personally witness it.

    Also, they're going to wonder what your angle is, and are unlikely to want to play your game, whatever it is. They'll think you're wasting their time (and they'll be right) -- and even if they can't really figure out why, they won't want to humor you on it.

    not sure about the states, but here in NZ police can send a letter to a vehicle's owner "requesting" information about who was driving the vehicle at a given time/place. if the owner doesn't respond within 14 days, they face a $10k fine.
    Not in the states. In the states you have the right to remain silent in any criminal proceeding except under some very specific circumstances (such as having been given immunity.)

    Now, many criminals do not properly avail themselves of this right to shut the hell up, but the wealthy and/or connected ones tend to either know not to say a word until they talk to their lawyer, or know to call their lawyer immediately. And because of this, it seems like after many serious hit and runs, especially when the police have clues to find the car that was involved and are on the track to finding it, they receive a phone call from the lawyer of the car's owner, saying where the car is, but never with any more detail about things like who was driving it the previous night. And in general, unless a witness saw the collision and can identify the driver (surveillance video may work here too) -- a conviction of the owner for a hit and run is difficult to get.

    Using this right to remain quiet when the police start asking questions often makes the difference between time in prison and a plea bargain with no jail time, being acquitted in a trial or no prosecution at all.

    And in practice, do the police in NZ really send such letters for minor traffic violations with no damage? For a fatal hit and run, sure, but do they do that when given video by a citizen of a car running a red light?

    but that's precisely what can be changed, if a case like this was even filed.
    How? You don't need to change courtroom procedures -- you're trying to change police procedures -- but not really their procedures, but more their priorities. Police generally enjoy a large amount of latitude in what minor crimes (such as minor traffic violations with no injuries or damage) they decide to pursue, and in general they decide not to pursue such things when they did not personally witness them, even when shown video. For a serious crime, sure ... but a minor traffic violation? They probably won't do anything.

    And even if you convince one cop to do so, how does that affect other cops? And if it goes to a court, and you get convicted (?) ... how does that affect other cops? If you want to change the cop's priorities, you probably should start with the police chief, or the mayor, somebody like that. The courts aren't going to exert the sort of pressure on the cops you'll need to change this.
    Last edited by dougmc; 12-13-13 at 12:52 AM.

  19. #69
    Vegan on a bicycle smasha's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dougmc View Post
    And in practice, do the police in NZ really send such letters for minor traffic violations with no damage? For a fatal hit and run, sure, but do they do that when given video by a citizen of a car running a red light?
    i've heard about it being used a few times, based on my complaints. the only evidence i have that it was actually used resulted from this - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K_h0vaPTcEY

    while preparing the civil complaint, i obtained a copy of the "section 118 letter".

    FWIW, NZ does provide a "right to remain silent", although it's not as robust as the US right to remain silent... then again, it may be more robust, with the recent US supreme court ruling that requires one to explicitly invoke their Fifth Amendment right to silence, or their silence can be used against them. but... does the 5th amendment even apply when a person hasn't been arrested or charged with a crime? i don't know...

    anyway, if there's a fatal hit-and-run and they can identify the vehicle, i'd like to think they'd meet the vehicle's owner in person, not send a letter
    "When I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the future of the human race." - H.G. Wells

  20. #70
    Senior Member dougmc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by smasha View Post
    then again, it may be more robust, with the recent US supreme court ruling that requires one to explicitly invoke their Fifth Amendment right to silence, or their silence can be used against them.
    That case wasn't quite that simple. Basically, he was being interrogated, and basically said nothing for hours, and the interrogation continued, and then he said something that was incriminating. His silence was not used against him -- his incriminating statement was. (There was a previous case where a prosecutor tried to use the defendant's silence against him, that was slapped down by the Supreme Court decades ago.)

    Now, I'm not sure what effect saying "I'm invoking my 5th amendment rights" would have had. Would it have stopped the interrogation? If not, I don't see how it would have helped. (Though "I want my lawyer" should have stopped the interrogation.)

    but... does the 5th amendment even apply when a person hasn't been arrested or charged with a crime? i don't know...
    It has been interpreted to mean that you never have to talk to the police, about anything, beyond identifying yourself if asked. It doesn't matter if you're a suspect, or a witness, or whatever else, and the general idea is that nobody can be sure that their statements are not incriminating.

    If they absolutely must have your testimony, they can offer you immunity, and then you don't have the right to remain silent any more. But you should definitely have your lawyer involved by that point.

    However, it does not apply to civil cases -- only criminal cases. In civil cases you can be compelled to testify against yourself.

    There's two pretty famous videos that explain why talking to the police, even if you're innocent and aren't a suspect, is generally a bad idea. They over simplify things (what if your house was broken into and you're filing a report? and in general just flat refusing to talk to a cop during a traffic stop isn't the best plan) but definitely, I'd say that people should at least listen to what the videos have to say and keep them in mind in any dealings with the police. (In the US -- no idea how much this applies outside of the US, though I imagine much of it is still very relevant.)
    Last edited by dougmc; 12-13-13 at 10:20 AM.

  21. #71
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    How about this close passing (at about 0:24)? Third Avenue upper east side Manhattan. Think the license can be seen:

    snapshot.jpg

  22. #72
    Senior Member howsteepisit's Avatar
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    How about that pass. Looked like fairly typical city aggressive driving. I'd be willing to be thats how that driver treats all other vehicles. In other words its poor driving but hardly a big deal.
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  23. #73
    24-Speed Machine Chris516's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cderalow View Post
    I have gotten useful action previously when I request filing a formal complaint.

    The local PD seems to be enforcing the parking regulations in my area after several complaints of illegally parked vehicles during the local HS football games.
    That is somewhat subjective pursuant to the region of the county. Because you are near Avenel Country Club that holds the PGA's TPC at Avenel. Also, A lot of people with expensive homes live(former WBA/WBC Champ Sugar Ray Leonard is one of them) in that region of the county. Where I live just a short walk outside a more commercialized and retail section of the county. So the county police are more likely to be mindful of complaints filed by anyone in Potomac.

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    If everyone on the road had a camera and reported every incident of dangerous driving, and if we actually expected police to act on these, how much larger would our police departments need to be?

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    Senior Member cderalow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris516 View Post
    That is somewhat subjective pursuant to the region of the county. Because you are near Avenel Country Club that holds the PGA's TPC at Avenel. Also, A lot of people with expensive homes live(former WBA/WBC Champ Sugar Ray Leonard is one of them) in that region of the county. Where I live just a short walk outside a more commercialized and retail section of the county. So the county police are more likely to be mindful of complaints filed by anyone in Potomac.

    I wouldnt disagree with that assessment. I'm sure they're less likely to respond to complaints in Takoma Park or parts of Rockville, but I know it took several years of complaining about the parking at the local high school to get any sort of action.

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