Ask a Trooper

Posted: Monday, July 15, 2002

Readers: A recent column discussed improper use of handicapped parking. I had a few people write in expressing some valid concerns. One woman from Anchor Point wrote, "Not all disabilities or handicaps are readily noticeable to the naked eye. Just because someone looks 'normal' does not mean they are healthy. It is very likely the person (with the handicap plate) suffers from heart disease, severe arthritis, or lung disease. ... Bystanders (should) leave the law enforcing to the professionals and keep the dirty looks and snooty comments to themselves. They might learn that the person with the handicap sticker or plate received it from a licensed physician who has certified that they are in need of a closer parking spot."

Two other people wrote similar notes, so this topic hit home to many. Thank you for lending that perspective.

Question: I have a neighbor who is an obvious alcoholic. A while ago this man was passed out drunk in his yard and I called the police out of concern. He was taken away in the patrol car. Since then, I have worried that I got him arrested for being drunk. This man needs treatment not a criminal record. What can I do when or if this happens again?

Answer: If this man had no other criminal issues involved such as warrants, he was probably just taken into protective custody. This is not a criminal charge. Depending on the community and resources available, it is in the best interest of everyone to try to steer people into treatment. Please don't ever hesitate to call the police or emergency medical services should that happen again. Sometime what people mistake for drunkenness is a medical emergency.

If you have questions you would like to ask a trooper, send them to Alaska State Troopers, P.O. Box 817, Seward, AK 99664, or e-mail them to brandon_ Anderson@dps.state.ak.us. The Alaska State Troopers remind you to always wear your seat belt. It's the law.



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