Hey, Ref! Good Call!

If your local police department is understaffed and patrol officers job responsibilities are being stretched beyond their limits, you may have no choice but to think way outside the box for a solution, even if it means teetering on the edge of ridiculousness.

Even if it means hiring football referees.

I live in San Marcos, Texas, which is one of the fastest growing cities in the country. In addition to our population of 58,000, there are also 35,000 Texas State University students who share the same small town infrastructure. (Ever added two-thirds of a gallon of water to an already full gallon pitcher?) Throughout the day, the overflow of cars ride on each other’s bumpers like a loyal buddy system. If you’re first in line waiting on the light to turn green, don’t get too anxious as you’ve got two or three cars passing through their red light with nothing going on, but their agenda. Any day of the week, you can pull up a lawn chair on the downtown courthouse square, and enjoy watching the Running of the Reds. Or, you can think of it as watching a movie trailer for Fast & Furious.

People run red lights because it’s worth the risk that a cop won’t be there. And in my town, the risk level is VERY LOW. There simply aren’t enough officers to patrol all the traffic at downtown intersections. There’s a gold mine of tickets they could be writing for running red lights, but for whatever reason their duties call them elsewhere. Something needs to be done to put an end to this intersection mayhem that, literally, occurs throughout the day and well into the night.

I propose a creative solution…football referees.

Yeah, I know….these are the guys we hate (I’d say it’s fair to use that word). However, these are also the guys we love (okay, like). As often as we are tossing verbal beer bottles at their heads, we also applaud them for what we feel are their correct calls. We are the judges of their judgments, and our likes or dislikes of their decisions are as ever-changing as Texas weather. You just never know what’s coming.

I think we should deputize these guys, and make them enforcers of the law, trained to report traffic violations. Two referees will be stationed at the main busy downtown intersections. One will be equipped with:

  • Official black & white referee uniform
  • 1 yellow penalty flag
  • 1 whistle
  • 1 two-way radio

The other referee will be equipped with:

  • Official black & white referee uniform
  • 1 .68 Caliber US Army Alpha Black Elite Paintball Rifle with 30mm scope, and powered by a 9 oz. CO2 tank that includes a 200-round hopper of permanent marking neon yellow paintballs.

How it works is really quite simple…

Scenario #1:                                                                                                                                You run a red light.                                                                                                                             Ref blows the whistle and throws a yellow flag.                                                                           You pull over.                                                                                                                                       Ref informs you that a cop is on the way.                                                                                      You wait.

Scenario #2:                                                                                                                               You run a red light.                                                                                                                             Ref blows the whistle and throws a yellow flag.                                                                             As if auditioning for a Cops reality TV series, you ignore him and continue on.                   The second ref sights your car in the crosshairs of his paintball rifle and, with marksmanship accuracy, tags your vehicle with a wide splatter of permanent neon yellow paint.                                                                                                                                                     The police dispatcher is alerted with your vehicle description.

And here’s the beauty of utilizing football referees: there are no instant replays and no opposing challenges. The ref’s call is final. Still, with a head full of arrogant confidence, you blew through the red light and will soon be approaching another intersection, where, given the same opportunity, you’ll do it again, as poised as a casino gambler high on his luck. Only problem is, another ref is calmly awaiting your arrival. Within his scope, he has centered the nose of your car. Punch the accelerator as you may, but you don’t have a prayer…the trigger has already been pulled. At last, one thing is for certain:

You can run the red, but you cannot hide.

Copyright Ros Hill 2015

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