Section One: Introduction
In California, people drive their cars to go everywhere: the grocery store, school, work, gym, the list is endless. These same people are also stressed for time. This combination can cause drivers to violate the traffic laws.
Every day people drive their cars to work and then they drive back home. Most people hate to stay in traffic; they want to go faster, and they are always late. Other people like to travel; they also drive a lot. The main thing that these people have in common is that they violate traffic laws every day. Others prefer to use the carpool lanes while they drive alone in their cars. Still others will run red lights, skip stop signs, and cross double yellow line. To add to this, many young people like to throw trash from the windows while driving, and others even drink beer and then cause collisions or even fatal accidents. All of these types of drivers are violators, and they all must be cited for every single wrong thing that they do on the public roads. In California, traffic safety provides a law enforcement agency called the California Highway Patrol or CHP, which is the primary agency to enforce these laws. CHP officers make every effort to prevent crimes on the road. In 2005, the CHP started another hiring campaign to increase their ranks. It was at a time when I became especially enthusiastic about joining this department because I believe the CHP is the most respected and hardworking police agency in the state. Someday, I hope to become a CHP officer.
From childhood until now, I have wanted to become a police officer because I believe police officers are the most intelligent, trustworthy, polite and professional people in our society. That strong spirit of public service is the major reason why I want to be part of law enforcement. Since 2004, when I started driving in California as a courier driver, I saw many crimes and violations committed on the road, and I know that my experience as a courier driver and the things that I have seen drivers do will make me a good CHP officer.
Section Two: The Search
I decided to start my research in the Sacramento Public Library in the Rancho Cordova branch. I found two books that were full of useful information about the CHP. The first book was titled “California Highway Patrol” which came out in May of 2008. This book, written by Rick Mattos, a 28-year old veteran of the CHP is a president of the California Association of Highway Patrolmen or CAHP. The CAHP is the labor organization that represents active and retired CHP officers. In the introduction, it states: “Rick Mattos has drawn on archives of the CAHP, the CHP, and the California Highway Patrol museum [to] provide [an] historical glimpse of the CHP. [He] illustrates . . . the stories of the officers, equipment, tactics, vehicles, and cases that have made the CHP internationally famous.’’ (Back cover page “California Highway Patrol”) The book tells about the history of the department, life in the academy, the first years in service for new officers, and about the problems and the perspectives of the department. Another book titled “California Highway Patrol Yesterday and Today” written by Robert Wick in 1990, is a great retrospective of the CHP. It tells the reader about patrol vehicles, personnel, the department, equipment, the history, and organization. That book gives the reader a very good description of a regular CHP officer’s day on duty. Many personal but professional observations of the author give to the reader a wider picture about the 60-year history of the CHP. I also conducted an interview with CHP sergeant Jeff Johnson. Sergeant Johnson is my friend and neighbor, and he was glad to answer most of my questions about the department, his career with the CHP, and even some personal aspects of duty as an officer. I sent Mr. Johnson an email with my questions and he replied back with answers while he was on patrol. It was a very successful interview and...
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