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Residents Debate Deputy Driving
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One citizen criticized local police driving as sometimes careless and often illegal, but another resident just as strongly defended the sheriff's deputies during the public comment period of the most recent Riverbank City Council meeting.

A frequent commentator at council meetings, Ramon Bermudez said as a former driving instructor he found local police generally "rotten drivers."

They often violated ordinary traffic laws such as making a complete stop, he said, sometimes drove well in excess of the speed limits but without flashing lights and siren and even drove while holding a cell phone to their ear in violation of a law that applies to all.

Lee Ulloa, who said he was a former police officer in this town, sprang to the cops' rescue, calling the charges by Bermudez "nonsense."

"They have lives to save, property to protect, important things to do," Ulloa said of the police, scorning Bermudez' expectation they should keep to every rule in a driving instructor's handbook.

Officers drive on different codes, Ulloa explained. An officer spotted doing 60 mph in a 35 mph zone may be speeding and without lights or siren because he wants to get to a crime scene fast without alerting the criminals well ahead of his arrival.

Police usually use radios but sometimes resort to cell phones simply because criminals often have scanners capable of picking up police radio communications, he added.

Among other comments from the floor, Scott McRitchie said the Halloween Haunted Hayride at Jacob Myers Park arranged by the city was very successful. So many people came, some visitors had to wait up two hours to take the ride. The long wait he regrets but at least the numbers proved the popularity of the attraction.

Parks & Recreation Director Sue Fitzpatrick said this year's event drew over 1,200 riders in two nights compared with about 1,100 over three nights last year. Scott Pettit and his karate kids staged half a dozen of the scare sites, Sheriff's Deputy Mike Glinskas with some Explorers handled law enforcement and 14 city staff and about 60 volunteers helped put on the show.

Her department's next event, she added, will be the skateboard contest starting at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 14 at the city skate park when about 200 competitors and fans are expected.