Pacific edition, Thursday, June 7, 2007

YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — Base officials pulled the plug this week on a program that allowed security patrolmen to eyeball certain traffic violations, write a ticket and e-mail it to the driver — all without pulling him or her over.

E-ticketing at Yokosuka was in practice for two weeks before officials decided to halt it, base Chief Staff Officer Cmdr. Jon Lundquist said Tuesday.

“We tried it for a while, but we are stopping it for the foreseeable future,” said Lundquist. “There was some concern over it, so we decided it would be better to stop people face-to-face.”

Drivers received e-tickets for violations that security patrolmen could see from their parked vehicles, such as people driving while talking on a cell phone or not wearing a seat belt. No e-tickets were issued for speeding, Lundquist said, as a “person’s eye is not calibrated.”

The driver of the offending car was then traced by the vehicle’s license number and received a citation in his or her e-mail inbox.

This led to disputes as people would say “I wasn’t driving” and “I was wearing my seat belt,” Lundquist said.

Stars and Stripes received several e-mails and phone calls voicing concerns — one from a person who received an e-ticket. No one wanted his or her name in the story for “fear of retribution” from his or her chain of command or security, those contacting Stripes said.

One called the policy “extreme” and a violation of civil rights and due process.

The program was done under base instruction 11200.1T, which allows security patrolmen to issue citations based on a written official complaint by a “responsible person.”

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