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ASK A COP — Text didn’t come from police

Mae from Port Neches asks: Officer Antoine, just the other day something very weird happened to my daughter. She received a text message from an unfamiliar number claiming to be the Port Arthur Police Department urging her to respond to the text by calling the number displayed on the caller ID. Officer Antoine, we are law-abiding citizens and huge supporters of our police officers that put their lives on the line daily to protect us! So receiving this text startled us, just to say the least, because my daughter doesn’t recall having any communications with Port Arthur PD. So why would Port Arthur PD be texting her? What should she do about this text urging her to call?

Answer: Good Question Mae! I can truly understand yours and your daughter’s concern, which can be quite alarming — almost like looking in your rearview mirror and seeing red and blue flashing lights! Mae, here is a phrase you and all readers should familiarize yourselves with: “ Beware scammers are everywhere!” Scammers are now trying to instill fear into suspected victims by using governmental entities such as the Internal Revenue Service, Social Security office, law enforcement departments to deceive innocent victims into giving certain personal information or giving money! Mae, we should always be in a guarded state of mind when we are dealing with anyone with whom we are not familiar. The Port Arthur Police Department does not send out random text messages requesting someone to call a number. Mae, there should be red flags popping up your head anytime someone you’re not familiar with asks for money, your address, your Social Security number, any debit or credit card number, bank account number and even your phone number! You don’t have to engage in a conversation with them; simply hang up. What gets my goat the most is when these unsavory people prey on the elderly. Keep this in mind: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is not true! Mae, believe me when I tell you I receive an email almost monthly now telling me that someone in a foreign country has died and they had millions of dollars that a family member is wanting to give to me and all I need to do is provide my name, bank account number, date of birth, Social Security number and they will out of the kindness of their heart transfer millions of dollars to my account! Beware: Scammers are everywhere.

Mary Ann from Opelousas, Louisiana asks: Officer Antoine, I visit Port Arthur often and oftentimes my family and I find ourselves comparing law differences in Texas and Louisiana. Officer Antoine, in Louisiana the police are very strict concerning the windshield wiper/headlight law in Louisiana; it says when you turn on your windshield wipers you must turn on your car headlights. Is that the same law here in Texas?

Answer: Good question, Mary Ann! Well, hello Opelousas, Louisiana; what a pleasure to hear from you. Mary, you are correct in knowing that each state law may differ no matter how close the states are to each other. Now, Mary Ann, in the great state of Texas there is no law that states if you turn on windshield wipers that your headlights must be on. I understand that a motorist will turn on his wipers during inclement weather conditions. In Texas there are three events that mandate the use of headlights:

  1. 30 minutes after sunset
  2. 30 minutes before sunrise.
  3. If visibility is less than a 1,000 feet which equates to about three city blocks. Mary, with that said, it’s not a bad idea to turn on the headlights when it’s raining.

Willie from Port Arthur asks: Officer Antoine, I’m loving this column every Tuesday and the radio show is off the chain. Officer Antoine, one day I was drinking some water and I laughed so hard I choked myself. You guys must really be going at it, but in the end I always learn something. I wanted to know about my wife going to sleep in the passenger seat on long drives. If we go to visit family in Louisiana or Dallas she can’t stay awake and always go to sleep. Now sleeping isn’t the concern; her sleeping position is the concern. She reclines her front passenger seat back so far till she’s almost lying down. Officer Antoine, is this legal to sleep in this position in a car while traveling on the roads of Texas even if her seat belt is on?

Answer: Good question, Willie! It’s always good to hear that this weekly column and the weekly radio show are reaching our community in a positive manner. Willie, the answer to your question regarding sleeping position in a car may shock many. Willie, it is totally acceptable to sleep in a moving motor vehicle on the roads  of Texas, but the seat position is the problem concerning your wife. Willie, the safety belt is not on properly if it’s not against the upper torso, and your wife could be issued a ticket for not wearing her seatbelt. I know this sounds crazy but you can go to sleep but don’t change your seat position, which alters the protection that your vehicle seatbelt can provide. This goes for children as well, do not lay your children on the back seat so they can sleep even if you keep their seat belt on their lap. If you’re involved in a crash the seatbelt can cause more damage than help if it’s not worn correctly.

Join Officer Antoine for Ask A Cop Live on KSAP 96.9 FM, “The Breeze” radio station every Tuesday from 1-2 p.m. 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 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 Rickey.Antoine@portarthurtx.gov, or call 409-983-8673 and leave a message or voice mail question, or mail them to: Ofc. Rickey Antoine, 645 Fourth St., Port Arthur, Texas, 77640. If you happen to see me in public you can Ask A Cop!