Frequently Asked Questions

As the Chief of Police, I am trying to bridge the communication gap that may exist between our police officers and the youth of this community. I had asked Matt Froncillo, a junior at the High School, to poll some fellow students who may have questions of our department’s practices or the actions taken by our police officers. I am hopeful that these questions have enlightened some students to better understand our mission as we strive to provide the best quality services to each member of this community.

Sincerely,
Chief John M. LaCross

1 Q. Do police officers try to be intimidating?

1 A. How so or by what means do they try to intimidate? The answer is No. Officers are attempting to act in a professional manner. People may mistake their uniform presence as intimidating but it is not. Police Departments operated as a para-military organization. Officer’s dress sharply in uniforms and at times their command presence may be intimidating which helps to gain control of certain situations.

2 Q. Why is the speed limit so low on Route 114?


2 A. The state legislators set the speed limits for state highways Route 114 is posted at 45 mph on the northbound side and 40 mph on the southbound side. We as a law enforcement agency must enforce the laws of RI. There have been serious accidents and fatalities on 114. Slowing the traffic down by using radar will save lives and prevent accidents.
B. Some recorded radar speeds on Route 114 have been as high as 74, 82, & 89 mph.

3 Q. How many people get pulled over for speeding on a given day?

3 A. This can vary depending on the number of officers for duty but usually between 10 to 20 vehicles are stopped daily. In town the posted speed limit is usually 25 mph, 20 mph near school zones and 35 mph on County Road. If you don’t see a speed limit sign, it is understood to be a 25 mph zone. Often times warnings are issued but between 5-10 summons are issued a day.

B.
Some recorded radar speeds in posted 25 mph zones have been as high as 54 & 60 mph.

4Q. Do police officers tend to pull over older looking cars because kids are driving them?

4A. NO….Police Officers do not profile cars. They pull over cars that are observed to be violating the RI traffic laws. Some older cars tend to have more equipment violations than newer vehicles and may be stopped for these reasons.

5Q. If your car is a certain color or model, is it more susceptible to getting pulled over?

5A. No

6Q. What is the opinion/view of the police/ youth in this town?

6A. As a whole, the police feel that the youth of Barrington are polite and well mannered, respecting the privacy and property rights of the community. However, like any town, some youths can be very disrespectful to a police officer when they are stopped for a violation or for an investigation. Some youths have yet to learn to respect the personal property of others and vandalize mailboxes and light fixtures for no apparent reason. Hopefully, the communication between the police and youth, during a motor vehicle stop, will improve.

7Q. Do you think drugs and alcohol are as big of a problem here as they are in other towns?

7A. Yes, drugs and alcohol are as big a problem in this town, as they are in others.

8Q. Why do the cops break up parties at Muschuck Beach even if the kids are not bothering anybody?

8A. Neighbors complain of the numerous vehicles parked in the area and the youths being disorderly and littering the area when they leave. Also it is illegal for alcohol or drugs to be consumed by juveniles. Underage drinking parties could lead to be alcohol poisoning, assaults, vandalism, larcenies, and driving under the influence. Unfortunately for some, this leads to alcoholism or drug addiction.

9Q. Why do cops hassle kids for skateboarding on public property?

9A. Hassle is a term that is often misunderstood. A police officer responds to kids skateboarding because of complaints received, ie: business owner, or property owner. Skateboards damage the complainants property, even though they are not trying to. Also, in case a skateboarder is injured, the property owners are liable.

10Q. Is it legal to have alcohol in the car that is unopened? Even if you are a minor?

10A. It is ILLEGAL for any person who has not reached their 21st birthday to be transporting any alcoholic beverage in their vehicle unopened or opened. If caught, it's an automatic 30 days suspension of license and $100 to $500 fine.

11Q. How long would you have to wait before driving safely after having a couple of drinks?

11A. Any person under the age of 21 should not be concerned with this question because the law states that you should not be consuming any alcoholic beverages. Should you ignore this, don't plan on driving because it has been found that an average healthy person will only metabolize and eliminate about 1/3 fluid ounces of alcohol per hour.

12Q. What are the punishments if you are caught drinking?


12A. If you are charged with transportation of alcohol, you will lose your "privilege" to operate a motor vehicle for 30 days. If you are 17 years old or younger and are caught with alcohol, you will be sent to the Juvenile Hearing Board or to Family Court, depending on the infraction. If you are an adult 18 - 21 and you are in possession of alcohol you would receive a minimum fine of $100.00 plus court cost of approximately $94.00 and an appearance in front of a District Court Judge.

13Q. Can kids really work out at the police station? If so when?

13A. Yes, as a member of PAL, with supervision. See PAL Director John Duffy or call 437-3935.