New York Police Department (NYPD) has sent a cease and desist letter to Google, ordering them to discontinue the feature of their navigation app, Waze, that allows them to report the location of police officers on the road. This, of course, encourages people to slow down and drive safer.
If NYPD actually protected and served, they would cheer on Waze. The problem, however, is that this takes away from NYPD’s revenue. As a result of this, the police want to shut down a feature that makes us all safer.
Shutting Down Waze: Power over Freedom, Money Over Safety
As mentioned above, Waze’s police notification makes drivers safer. There are dangerous speeds at which people do drive. If a GPS, however, notifies them that there is a law enforcement officer nearby, it encourages them to reduce their speed, thus putting them and other drivers in less danger. This also benefits individual officers as well. As people lower their speeds, the need for traffic control lessens. This frees up law enforcement’s time to pursue cases that have actual victims.
If the police really wanted to make the streets safer and allow for their officers to ensure that justice is served where it is most needed, they would spam Waze. NYPD would report that police were on every street corner. This would encourage people to slow down, drive sober, and drive as if their life and liberty depended upon it. This, however, is clearly not what NYPD wants.
Rather than protect the lives and liberty of the public, NYPD wants to make money. They want to meet quotas. Waze makes checkpoints and speed traps irrelevant to the intelligent driver. This is why they want to ban them. If the police trap someone in a checkpoint, the driver may fall victim to warrant-less searches and inspections. This leads to fines and other legal penalties. This is what NYPD actually wants. They want to shut down Waze because it makes it more difficult for them to generate revenue for the state.
The State: The Ultimate Fearmonger
Perhaps the bright side of this lawsuit is that the state is showing its true colors. “Protect and Serve” is a mantra to which NYPD seems to hold no dedication. While Waze has a function that keeps drivers free and makes them safer, the state wants to shut it down because they value power and revenue over life and liberty. While NYPD preaches fire and brimstone, claiming that Waze is allowing for drunk drivers to get away, the exact opposite is true. When an intoxicated individual knows that cops are present in highly populated areas, they tend to stay away.
It cannot be denied that Waze saves the people money. They save people time. They save people’s lives. The desire to shut such a service down is a blatant power grab that holds no logical bearing. One cannot support NYPD in this lawsuit while simultaneously claiming to be against big government.
If NYPD succeeds, they will not only trample upon the idea of “Protect and Serve,” they will also decimate the freedom of expression for drivers. Regardless of the consequences, I can tell other people about the location of police on the road, and no one has the right to stop me.