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So far ... no state police visit
August 13, 2009 - Jim Smith
A newspaper writer is NOT an arm of the government enforcement. We do not work for the government, nor do we report to any branch of government. We certainly are not an investigative arm of city, state or federal government.
We report what we see, hear and/or learn ... but we do that in the columns of the newspaper, not privately or in reports to law enforcement officers.
Such was what I had to tell a West Virginia State Police Motor Vehicle Inspection officials who e-mailed me at the newspaper office and telephoned me twice at my home after my column appeared on the opinion page of The Parkersburg News and Sentinel Sunday when I wrote about the non-inspection of my vehicle when I went to renew its inspection sticker. The only thing the inspector wanted was the vehicle's mileage reading, its vehicle registration and his fee.
The state official wanted me to name the inspection site and/or provide him the sticker registration number and number on the back of the sticker, both of which he could obtain himself from checking the sticker while my vehicle was parked at my home (if he had my home telephone number then he had my address) or at the newspaper office.
The state official was not happy and repeatedly kept saying he didn't understand why I wouldn't cooperate and help him do his job.
Guess what ... doing his job is HIS job. My job is pointing out the problem, which shows the state isn't doing its job in policing the inspection sites. My job is NOT to act as an informant or spy for a government agency.
Judging from the official's displeasure with me, I jokingly told the newspaper staff to make sure someone gets a photo of me being led out of my office in handcuffs if the state police make a surprise visit. So far, no visit!
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