The serious crimes that 'routine' traffic stops can uncover

To the editor: Law professor Christopher Kutz mixes apples and oranges. While listing a series of incidents of officer misconduct that had tragic results, he places the blame on the police practice of stopping motorists for breaking the law. ("For a safer America, curtail traffic stops," Op-Ed, Aug. 13)

To the contrary, traffic stops (even for relativity minor offenses) frequently result in arrests for major violations involving guns, drugs, stolen vehicles and more.


I speak from experience as someone who has volunteered for the Los Angeles Police Department for the last 18 years.

In my work, I come in contact with hundreds of police reports. I am constantly amazed at the number of alleged criminals the LAPD takes off the street by utilizing seemingly minor violations to make major arrests.

This is just another example of the value of the "broken windows" approach to crime suppression.

L.C. Schlesinger, Encino


To the editor: Kutz's article is timely and well reasoned. Nevertheless, he speaks as an academic and offers only academic solutions.

The reality of our world is that police officers are trained to do two things primarily: arrest and control. Giving them new directives about who to pull over and for what reason will do nothing to change their collective mind-set.

We citizens have apparently consented to give police this broad and abusive power in the name of safety and security.

They have arrested, assaulted and killed unarmed minor offenders using the dictatorial double-speak excuse of "fearing for their safety."

Police pull us over and stop us at checkpoints because that's what they're paid to do, and because it satisfies their desire for authority.

Let's accept some truth once and for all: We live in a police state.

Robert L. Loza, Burbank 

Follow the Opinion section on Twitter @latimesopinion and Facebook