Happy trails to a wise man as he retires

Published 10:06 pm Monday, December 26, 2016

I bid a heartfelt farewell to Port Arthur News Editor Roger Cowles on a much-deserved retirement. I thank God for Roger having the vision to agree to partner with me to help bridge the relationship between the Port Arthur Police Department and its community. Thank you, Roger; because of your vision I believe relations between law enforcement and citizens of Southeast Texas will forever be strengthened.

Continued Reminder: If you believe Officer Rickey Antoine has made a difference in our community and you desire to nominate Officer Rickey Antoine to be a guest on this segment of the Dr. Phil show “Know an Officer Making a Difference,” don’t hesitate to write a letter in support. The address is: Dr. Phil Show “Know an Officer Making a Difference,” 5482 Wilshire Blvd. #1902, Los Angeles, CA 90036.

ATTENTION: FIREWORKS possession and igniting is totally ILLEGAL in the city limits of Port Arthur!!! The act of possessing or popping fireworks is illegal and dangerous. Annually emergency rooms across the nation are flooded because novice users of the firework injure themselves or others. Inexperience pyrotechnics handlers start fires to roofs and grass, and the city is littered from those who ignite fireworks. Those who ignite fireworks become litterbugs and fail to clean up their debris. Most important, it’s hard to tell the difference between fireworks and gun shots, and to top it off, there are those to whom the sound is totally annoying and disturbing. Let’s be good citizens and obey the law and respect our neighbors.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

From the of Chief of Police Patrick Melvin and all of the Proactive, Accountable, Professional & Progressive, Dedicated men and women of the Port Arthur Police Department, we sincerely wish each and every citizen of Port Arthur and surrounding communities of Southeast Texas a safe, prosperous and happy New Year. A reminder: As you celebrate, keep in mind if you are going to indulge in alcoholic beverages to do so responsibly. As you plan to go out and drink during the New Year, complete the plan with a responsible ride home!!! Port Arthur Police Department as well as other agencies will be out in force keeping our streets safe from those who fail to heed our WARNINGS! If you are stopped on suspicion of Driving While Intoxicated we will exercise a -0- tolerance policy. Simply put, drinking and driving DON’T MIX!!! Don’t let a few minutes of alcohol infused happiness mixed with a decision to drive a motor vehicle intoxicated cause you or someone else a LIFETIME of misery! 2nd reminder: Thieves and beggars are still out during this busy holiday season, so remember to LOCK, LOCK, LOCK your vehicles and conceal your possessions. DO NOT allow strangers to approach you asking for a handout. A lot of times thieves are not looking for you to GIVE them something, thieves just want to get close enough so they can TAKE from you!

Mary Lou from Port Arthur asks: Officer Antoine, you have opened my eyes about my own driving habits and that’s a huge accomplishment. Because I felt I was the one who would tell others about their faults while driving. But because of this article in The News and your radio show, I can honestly look in the mirror and find fault in my driving. Today I know I am a safer driver more than ever before. Here’s my question: What information should I provide if I hit another vehicle on private property and the other vehicle is unoccupied? Do I have to stay, Should I leave my insurance information and name, phone number? Please provide me with the correct answer, I’ve heard quite a few different answers and now I’m not sure what the true answer is. Thanks for all you do keeping us safe, I back the blue!

Answer: Good question Mary Lou! This is one law it that not many motorist know or either they refuse to comply! Mary Lou if you strike an unattended vehicle, the first thing you should do if time permits is attempt to find the driver of said vehicle. If you have no luck in finding the driver, Mary Lou, you should leave in a conspicuous place or securely attach in a plainly visible way your NAME and ADDRESS along with a brief statement of what happened. YES failing to leave this information is a violation in Texas no matter if the vehicle is unattended on private property or a road. If you leave the scene without providing the above information and the damage to the unattended vehicle is $200 or more, you can be charged with a class B misdemeanor which carries a penalty up to 180 days in jail and $2000 fine if found guilty in court of law. So if you are involved with a crash and the second vehicle is empty, stop and leave your information. See Texas Transportation Code 550.024

Howard from Nederland asks: Officer Antoine what a wonderful open access we have to law enforcement answering everyday citizen questions with this weekly column. My question is regarding bicycle helmets in Texas. I have a 8-year-old daughter and of course we bought her a bicycle for Christmas, does Texas require 8-year-old children to wear a helmet while riding a bike? I ask this because my friend in Baton Rouge, La., said that it’s the law there that everyone under the age of 12 must wear a helmet when riding a bicycle. Can you help me?

Answer: Good question Howard! Well, your friend in Louisiana is correct, it is Louisiana state law that children under 12 MUST wear a helmet when riding a bicycle. But, Howard, you are living in Texas and the great state of Texas does NOT have a helmet law regarding bicycle usage. It doesn’t matter if the child is on private property or a road, the state of Texas doesn’t mandate helmet use. Now you being a concerned parent should enact the House of Howard law if you want to safeguard you child, meaning you should/can require your child to wear the helmet when they are riding a bicycle. You can enforce the House of Howard rule as long as you desire! Also you can check your city ordinance to see if they address helmet use while bicycling.

Join Me, Officer Antoine for Ask a Cop live, on KSAP 96.9 FM The Breeze radio station, every Tuesday for at least 1 hour from 1 p.m. until we are done. Tune in and listen as Officer Antoine discusses in detail the newly released “Ask a Cop” article that printed in The News. You can also tune in via the Internet at www.ksapthebreeze.org. Feel free to call in and ask your question live to Officer Antoine at (409) 982-0247. Remember to email your questions to rantoine@portarthurpd.com , or call 409-984-8541 and leave a voice mail question, or mail them to: Ofc. Rickey Antoine, 645 4th Street, Port Arthur, Texas, 77640. If you happen to see me in public you can always free and comfortable to approach and “Ask a Cop”!