Police Complaints

When cops break the law, Oregon citizens can write a ticket

An Oregon state law permits private citizens to issue citations when they see someone break the law. This attorney used the law to write tickets on cops who parked illegally. The best part is, the cops had to pay up—out of their own wallets!

From The Oregonian, (with a completely inaccurate headline) ] Attorney gives up fight over police and parking:

[Police officer] Stensgaard first received a ticket from Bryant in March 2008 for parking his cruiser in a no-parking zone outside a Northwest 21st Avenue sushi restaurant to order take-out.

Traffic Court Judge Terry Hannon said Stensgaard violated the letter of the law and fined him $35.

Bryant said he took flak from some in the public who thought he was picking on police. But Bryant said he hopes more citizens use the little-known law, Oregon Revised Statute 153.058, to fight wrongs they see, such as drivers who speed through neighborhoods.

“Any citizen can do this,” Bryant said.

[Officer] Stensgaard said he thought Bryant was “stalking” police.

We don’t usually post news stories from other cities, but this one’s got us thinking: Do we have a law like this in New Mexico?

Photo credit: Fredrick D. Joe/ The Oregonian

  • The Oregon law is 153.058, Initiation of violation proceeding by private party:

    (1) A person other than an enforcement officer may commence a violation proceeding by filing a complaint with a court that has jurisdiction over the alleged violation. The filing of the complaint is subject to ORS 153.048. The complaint shall be entered by the court in the court record.

    See complete text of the statute.