Are you a Seinfeld fan? If so, you will remember this line from Cosmo Kramer: “Hey, a rule is a rule, and let’s face it…without rules, there’s chaos”. The quote came after Cosmo challenged his opponent on the golf course after he picked up the ball on the fairway and cleaned it. This is a clear-cut breaking of golf rules. Unfortunately, truck law is not always written in such an objective way. And even more unfortunate is the misunderstandings and misinterpretations not only by police officers, but truckers as well. Golf is golf, and this is a blog about trucks. In order to quash truck enforcement chaos, the ITEA has a system.
The ITEA has six foundational statements, and the most operational of which is uniformity. The ITEA did not begin without purpose. In 2009, several major changes in truck legislation were signed into law. What happened was chaos. The motive behind the legislation was noble and long sought after by the trucking industry, but local government was not happy. The haste in which the language was drafted only compounded the problem. No one doubted what the intent was, but the interpretation and enforcement result was chaos.
Different leaders in truck enforcement had different interpretations. Those opinions did not jive with the interpretations of trucking industry leadership. The by-product of the disagreements was truckers being told one thing and police officers being taught many things. Chaos.
The founding members of ITEA had had enough. The time to formally organize this niche, specialty area of law enforcement had come. The fact is enforcement uniformity can only occur when those doing the enforcement are working together. Some call it “being on the same page”. Some call it “being on the same sheet of music”. The ITEA calls it “doing the right thing”.
With a law as complex and voluminous as truck law, it is next to impossible for any one person to wrap their head around it all. Therefore, it is understandable that mistakes are made. Everyone is human. While the ITEA represents and resources trucking members as well as police officers, the original mission is setting a new bar of professionalism by law enforcement.
To accomplish this goal, the ITEA created its own certification program. Most professions have some sort of certification or accreditation program to verify the quality of their people or product. Would someone really want to buy electronics that were not listed by Underwriters Laboratories? Have you ever checked a not-for-profit though Charity Navigator before giving money? People want to make sure things are legit, and certification provides that.
The irony is that there is no statutory or mandated certification for truck enforcement officers at the local level. With as much money at stake as there is in truck enforcement, it seems this should be a legislative priority. Troopers with the Illinois State Police are certified thru the CVSA when conducting motor carrier inspections under federal law. Why? Because uniformity is that important.
Until the day comes that the law requires certification for local truck enforcement officers, the ITEA will stand in the gap. Certification does not make truck enforcement officers total experts. However, it does mean they know where to turn for authoritative information. It means they will make informed decisions before making wrong ones. It means they will be open for correction when mistakes are made. That is professionalism.
Because not all truck enforcement officers received their basic training through the ITEA, those that have received training elsewhere are encouraged to take the ITEA 8-hour certification class. ITEA certified police officers have the ability to renew their certification annually through online testing.
The next class is April 10th, 2013. If you are a truck enforcement officer and have not been certified, sign up now…it is free for our police officer membership. If you are a member of the trucking industry, please review our list of ITEA Certified Police Officers by clicking HERE. If you know of a town or county involved in truck enforcement not listed, call the local Chief of Police or Sheriff and respectfully demand those officers go through this class…and follow-up to make sure they did it. You deserve the best. You deserve order, not chaos.