Rick Mabrey of Sunrise Beach was pulled over by a Sunrise Beach police officer Feb. 27 on Route 5 and was written a ticket for going 60 miles per hour in a 45 mph zone coming down the hill at the Sunrise Beach Community Center. At municipal court March 24, Mabrey said he had his ticket reduced to defective equipment and paid $229.50.


Rick Mabrey of Sunrise Beach was pulled over by a Sunrise Beach police officer Feb. 27 on Route 5 and was written a ticket for going 60 miles per hour in a 45 mph zone coming down the hill at the Sunrise Beach Community Center. At municipal court March 24, Mabrey said he had his ticket reduced to defective equipment and paid $229.50.

The problem
Mabrey filed an official complaint with the village board of trustees regarding the incident. He does not believe he was speeding and did not like the way he was treated during the traffic stop.
He said he had his foot on the brake and does not believe he was going that fast — at the most going 50 mph.
The combat disabled Army veteran said he has never gotten a speeding ticket in his life or been in an accident. He has to be careful how he drives due to health issues. According to Mabrey, he has also never had a problem with law enforcement before, only receiving an excessive noise ticket 50 years ago in Olathe, Kan. when he was in high school, and has past connections to law enforcement as his father was a commissioned officer in Olathe.
He also claimed the officer who stopped him was unprofessional and harassing.
“I noticed right off the Officer’s clothing looked as though he had slept in them,” Mabrey said. “His clothes were all wrinkled. He didn’t have a hat on. One of his shoelaces were untied.”
Mabrey said he was interrogated and threatened across a whole gamut of subjects, including the registration of his H2 Hummer, why he had downgraded to the H2 from H3, the radios in the vehicle and who the woman in the vehicle was. All was in order with the vehicle and ham radios, according to Mabrey, and none of the officer’s business.
 The woman was his girlfriend. Mabrey said he has an ex-parte in full force against his ex-wife who lives in Kansas.
“He proceeded to read me the riot act about issues regarding my ex-wife, somehow my girlfriend and I could not figure out at this point what this had to do with the reason for stopping me. The Officer never asked to see her ID to verify whom she was, which she offered,” Mabrey said.
“He sternly lectured me like I was a little kid and was a smart aleck. He reprimanded me, telling me I needed to learn how to drive this vehicle. You know, he’s talking to someone who has driven vehicles carrying 90 foot intercontinental ballistic missiles,” Mabrey said. “I don’t expect special treatment, but I wasn’t speeding.”
The lecturing went on about 30 minutes, according to Mabrey.
At court, he said he came prepared to ask for a trial, but “right away saw it was a kangaroo court situation.”
“There were all these people at court who had the same ticket in the same place (60 in a 45 on the community center hill). I felt like I just donated $229.50 to the city to bolster their budget. I know of no other reason why this would happen,” he said. “They didn’t give my complaint any regard.”
Receiving no response from the village after his complaint, Mabrey says he is considering filing a lawsuit.

The other side
Board of trustees chair Curt Mooney said officers are absolutely not writing tickets for money.
The number of tickets being discussed at the March court date may have seemed larger because of carry-overs from previous months. Court had been canceled due to weather and health issues for the judge for the prior two to three months, according to court administrator and city clerk Connie Stadler.
Last year, fines totaled almost $86,600, according to Stadler. That goes into the village’s general fund and just covers the salaries of two officers, she says. It is a higher than the typical annual revenue from this source due to the increase in tickets from the construction zone issues that resulted from the Highway 5 widening last year.
In other words, the police department is not self-supporting. That does not include benefits, part time officers wages and police equipment and vehicle costs.
For each case, there is also a court fee of $29.50, of which $12 goes to the city’s general fund and $2 to the police training fund. The rest goes to the state Crime Victims Fund, P.O.S.T. (Peace Officer Standards & Training) and the JIS state court software program.
As for the officer’s attitude, Mooney said, “It’s a tough situation out there. I don’t know how I would handle it.”
He stands behind the city’s police force, but added that the board takes every complaint seriously. When one is made, the trustees discuss it with the officer.
“Whenever we get a report on anybody, we talk to them to see what their side is. And the complaint goes into their file,” he said.
The village is in the process of developing standard operating procedures for the police department, which should include citizen complaints and disciplinary procedures, according to Mooney.

Citations
February 2011
72 total citations
31 speeding tickets out of 72 total
39 warnings
March 2011
56 total citations
23 speeding tickets out of 56 total
31 warnings

Contact WestSide Star Editor Amy Wilson at amy.wilson@westsidestar.net.