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By Barry Saunders
Raleigh News & Observer

You know how Gina Tessener blew a 0.00?

Well, Gubna, you’re blowing it, too.

Readers are incensed that, despite Perdue’s vow of “zero tolerance” for trooper misconduct, Senior Trooper Edward Wyrick is back riding herd over state roads and Trooper Andrew Smith has been suspended but will likely be back in the saddle, too.

Whether Wyrick’s stop of Tessener’s Lexus was a “righteous stop” – I heard that on “Hill Street Blues” years ago – is still open for debate. But let’s say Wyrick was doing what a good trooper should do when he sees a one-eyed car. Maybe it was a coincidence that the driver just happened to be a blonde driving alone.

That still doesn’t justify Wyrick’s unverifiable claim of smelling booze. State law said he “may” arrest her if she refuses to take a roadside sobriety test, but a veteran trooper should know when to walk away, know when to run – and when to let the lady proceed on her way. Wyrick also noted that Tessener – whom he handcuffed and placed in the backseat of his cruiser for the ride to the Wrightsville Beach Police Station – was unsteady upon exiting her car.

Who wouldn’t be? I don’t know about you, but I always get weak in the knees when a cop pulls me over – and I don’t even wear pumps and an evening gown.

Women readers, especially, are angered by the thought of a woman thus attired and driving alone being pulled over for a reason many view as specious at best.

You should listen to them, Governor, and to a reader named Rob, who wrote, “The big lie here is ‘I smelled alcohol’ as the excuse to have a pretty lady walk the line and stand on one foot.”

Pronouncements of zero tolerance ring hollow when not backed by action, Governor. Not only that, but they paint you into a corner: Do we really want officers fired for every misstep, or are some more egregious than others?

Some of the scores of readers from whom I heard still have confidence in the patrol, but too many were in the camp of a reader named David, who wrote, “It is a shame that we can’t, because of this incident and many others involving troopers in the last several years, have more confidence in the Highway Patrol. … It makes me sad and nervous when I see a patrol car.”

Yikes. That is not what you want to hear from citizens regarding the state’s top law enforcement division.

CLICK HERE TO READ THE REST OF THIS STORY: http://www.newsobserver.com/2011/07/12/1338102/trooper-conduct-is-a-roadside.html#ixzz1RudIkSzQ

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30 Comments on "N&O Editorial: Trooper conduct is a roadside test for Gov. Perdue"

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Guest1234
2016 years 2 months ago

Innocent until proven guilty? Everyone keeps saying cooperate and just do what they say. You couldn’t be more wrong in doing this.

Everyone is so backwards in their thinking. She was innocent and knew it, there is nothing she HAS to do to prove it. Police are “evidence” gatherers. They don’t prove your innocence, they prove you guilty. How do they do this?

Through interrogation, roadside tests etc. When you answer or take them, all you are doing is handing over evidence for them to interpret and use as they wish. If you aren’t… Read more »

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walter marinettiGuest
2016 years 2 months ago

I think you’ve expressed it very well–the law/policy should be changed requiring transporting a defendent, who has been found innocent of the charge, to a magistrate to have the charge dismissed. In addition to Smith, Trooper Wyrick should be disciplined for arresting the defendent on questionable grounds–smelling alcohol, etc. He gave Mrs Tessener reason to feel afraid, transporting her in the middle of the night over lonely country roads that she did not know.

Guest
Mac
2016 years 2 months ago

Last year I retired from a 30 year career in law enforcement , I have several comments as a result of all the available information provided on this case, including the State Police Internal Affairs investigation report:

1. The initial stop, I believe the trooper made a proper stop (the headlight had been experiencing intermitent outages as proven by the car dealer records.

2. Policy dictated that the offender be transported (in cuffs) to the local Police Station, as a result of her refusal of the road side test.

3. After the breathalizer test was 0.00 the Trooper was still following policy… Read more »

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Indawindigoes
2016 years 2 months ago

When was the last fatal traffic accident at WB? I cannot recall one. Why were they there? I cannot recall a time when there was so much law enforcement infesting the beach and waterway areas.
Have they never looked at crime maps?

Guest
April
2016 years 2 months ago

Mrs. Tessener blew a 0.00 AFTER she refused to take the road side test and was placed under arrest and brought to the police station.

This reader is incensed by you’re so called “news story” here. Trooper Wyrick’s name has been cleared & you still insist on trying to destroy this man for doing his job. Shame on you! Trooper Smith is being punished for his misconduct according to the law.

Your statement about the “righteous stop” is over the top. It was dark and Trooper Wyrick saw a car with a headlight out not a blonde driver who happens to be… Read more »

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