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ASK A COP — Litter’s disgusting — and illegal

Donna from Port Arthur asks: Officer Antoine, Thank you for your very informative and educational column. I am trying to get some information on littering laws in the state of Texas. The street I live on in Port Arthur is littered daily and is very disgusting and unhealthy. Thanks for any information you can provide!

Answer: Good question, Donna: Littering is a crime! I’m sorry you have to endure such litterbugs who obviously don’t care about their community. After over 30 years of the “Don’t mess with Texas” slogan, Texas roadways are still affected with over 434 million pieces of visible liter each year, according to the Texas Department of Transportation. While the population of Texas is 28 million that’s a big problem we’re dealing with. Texas Department of Transportation has the phrase “Don’t Mess with Texas,” which targeted males 18-35 who stats show were the biggest culprits in littering on the roadways. Yes, Donna, it is illegal to litter in Texas. Donna, the state of Texas allow citizens to report a litterer by going on line at dontmesswithtexas.org and report a litterer by getting the license plate number, vehicle make and model, the date and time, location and what was tossed out, and also who tossed the litter — the driver or passenger. After that information is submitted the Texas Department of Transportation will find the owner of said vehicle and send them a Don’t Mess with Texas litter bag with a letter reminding them to keep their trash off of our roads! Donna, the city of Port Arthur also has an ordinance against littering. See SEC.34-39 that states the throwing or depositing or placing of any trash, paper or other deposits of litter of any kind onto the sidewalks, streets or public walks in the city. Donna, you’re also welcome to report the littering to Port Arthur Police Department at 409-983-8600, 24 hours a day.

Brad from Nederland asks: Officer Antoine, thanks for all you do! I have a friend that has his third parking light that’s out, but he’s not concerned because the regular brake lights are working just fine. Is that OK, since it’s just the third brake light?

Answer: Good Qquestion, Brad! The third brake light is not an optional accessory, it’s now standard, mandatory equipment on all vehicles. The third brake light must be kept in working condition as you would all other brake lights, so tell your friend to get that brake light fixed.

Whitney from Beaumont asks: Officer Antoine, I’ve always heard of your “no nonsense” approach to speeders and traffic violators. I thank God I’ve never been stopped by you but I have witnessed you work and I must admit I was stunned to see you stop car after car — nonstop, it seemed! My question for you is how can you stop a car for speeding that’s coming your direction from the rear and front of your police car? I’m perplexed on how this is possible because I’ve seen you do this; I know all police units have radars so explain how this radar can clock cars from front and back? Thanks for all your answers; l love this column.

Answer: Good question, Whitney! First, I must say that speeding kills! Many citizens often inquire “why” do I and other police officers stop cars and issue citations for speeding. Whitney, in Texas speeding is actually a crime and it’s definitely not something we should treat lightly because, as I for stated, speeding kills. About one-third of traffic fatalities recorded on the state and national level are speed related. Whitney, what’s interesting is the mindset that some have that it’s more acceptable for someone to lose their life by a car than a gun. The No. 1 job of any law enforcement agency is life preservation and, Whitney, more people in the state of Texas are killed annually by motor vehicle crashes than violent crimes. Now when you consider that at least one-third of traffic fatalities are speed related hopefully that gives you a better understanding of “why.” Whitney, I encourage motorists to adopt this motto: “If I leave late I’m gonna arrive late.” Whitney, the radars that are used by speed-law enforcers are very sophisticated and can track various vehicles’ speed whether the officer is moving or stationary. Whitney there are antennas mounted in the front and rear of police vehicles that are able to detect vehicles passing and coming toward the police vehicle. They are able to track your speed over a mile a way so when you finally see the patrol unit and have the “UH-OH” and want to hit your brakes, chances are they already been monitoring your vehicle speed. So Whitney, I hope you can understand that my and many others law enforcement officers’ mission and passion is not to be mean or collect money, but save lives — one stop at a time.

Join Officer Antoine for Ask A Cop Live on KSAP 96.9 FM, “The Breeze” radio station, every Tuesday from 1 p.m.–2:30 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 4th Street, Port Arthur, Texas, 77640. If you happen to see me in public you can Ask A Cop!