The Instigator
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4 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
10 Points

Police traffic details are a waste of tax payer money

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/10/2008 Category: Politics
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 2,293 times Debate No: 5694
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (5)
Votes (2)




Massachusetts police officers are crying as of late due to the Governors decision to no longer require Police Officers to perform construction details in certain areas. We are now able to use flagmen. A few days ago a group of police officers began to harass a flagman who was directing traffic. There were also police officers in civilian cars who would deliberately disobey the directions of the flagman in an attempt to cause an accident. Most people claim that we will not save money from switching to flag men for it is utility companies that pay for the details not the tax payers. This is true and I may not see a decrease in my utility bill but do not forget that police details are also used for town construction projects which I as a property owner do pay for.


First, I would like to say hello to my opponent and that I look forward to this debate.

I took this debate for many reasons. The main reason is that I disagree that police traffic details are a waste of tax payers money.

Second, I did not want to see some of the members fall on this debate with semantics and other tricks and gimmicks.

Third, I wanted to be your first opponent so that you receive a straight debate as you start out here at And I wanted to boost your confidence with a easy win.

I do believe that the police officers are "playing dirty" and they should be corrected as needed. I do not excuse their behaviour in anyway. I hope that by mentioning this that you intended this fact to be as a side note to this debate.

Now on to what I believe to be the "meat" of this debate.

I believe that police officers are more effective in protecting the life and limb of the construction workers. The average driver will more quickly and completely obey the requests/demands of an officer of the law over the same from a flagman. For one, a flagman can shake his flag at me but other then strike my truck he can do no real harm to me. A police officer on the other hand can do significantly more damage to me personally if I fail to obey his directions.

I have driven to and through a majority of the lower forty eight. In my experience I have witnessed drivers going around flag men, attempt to "push" a flagman out of the way with their car and completely ignore the flagman.

On the other hand at many road construction sites that there was a police presence I have never seen any of these behaviours. You will see many more brake lights when the police officers are present over the lack of slowing when a flag man is present.

On to the moral side of this debate. I believe that a fellow human beings life (construction worker) is worth more then my tax dollars. I will gladly give a few more to help ensure that these men that are needed for our safe roadways are protected as much as is humanly possible.

If you have any statistics to show that my claims are false I would encourage you to post them in your next round. And make sure that the websites you use are creditable. This will help you in future debates.

I hope this site will begin to change over the next few months so that debates such as this will not be abused by our "better" members. I hope I have made an example for some of the debaters, that they will help there fellow members instead of slander, insult and degrade them. This I believe is for the health of this site in general.

I wish you the best of luck and the Love of Christ. If you have any questions I will be glad to help you in anyway I can. If I can not answer or advise you in a certain area of this site or in debate in general I have some friends that will be glad to help.

This is your first debate so please do not take it to seriously at this point. This will be an easy win for you, because of the attention I have brought to this recent plague that has infected I have been black balled by the some of the members here that want there win ratio's to remain where they are. So take it easy and get the hang of it and I will hear from you next round or hopefully sooner. joshandr30.

P.S. We have several Grammarians here at It would be a good idea to make sure your grammar and spelling is in order. I can see that you do not have much trouble with this area but here one little slip up will be sung from the rooftops. If you are wondering what a Grammarian is please visit this website.
Debate Round No. 1


I would like to thank my opponent for taking me up on this debate. I would also like to apologize for my delayed response. You bring up the issue of the effectiveness of a Police Officer versus the effectiveness of a Flagman. I will lead with my rebuttal and then follow with the statistics to back it up.

I too have driven cross country on multiple occasions, but I spend the majority of my time driving in Massachusetts. Frequently, I will drive through a construction site and see the officer on detail with either a cell phone to his ear or iPod ear buds in both his ears. I would like to point out the fact that Massachusetts State Troopers doing a traffic detail for a state highway construction project are allowed to remain in their patrol car for the entire detail. When I drive by them more often than not they are asleep. I have also had the displeasure of driving by a State Trooper on a detail in the POV (carpool) lane after hours. When the POV lane is closed for the evening it is blocked off with Jersey barriers, preventing any traffic from entering. Also voiding the need for any type of detail.

You argue that individuals will instinctively slow down at the sight of an Officer on detail. To which I ask these two questions: How long will these instinctual brake taps last when one continually witnesses the majority of Officers' willingness to neglect his duties? If an Officer is taking on a large work load with details and patrols, will he truly be effective at either?

You argue that Flagmen are inept and would not be obeyed or receive the respect that one would provide for a Police Officer. Correct me if I am wrong but the definition of a Flagman is an individual other than a uniformed Police Officer who stops and/or directs traffic. In which case Massachusetts has employed "Flagmen" for years without any of the incidents which you described occurring in other states. A crossing guard is an individual other than a uniformed Police Officer that stops traffic. People do obey and respect them.

You also argued that a Flagman's life would more likely be in jeopardy as opposed to that of a Police Officers on detail. I consulted the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) encyclopedia to provide the following statistics which completely contradict your argument. The national average for pedestrian and other non motorist fatalities in a construction zone was 2.64. The amount for Massachusetts who use police details was 2. The amounts for the following states who use flagmen were: Pennsylvania 2, Ohio 4, and Tennessee 1. These statistics can be found at


Thank you for a great debate.

I do have to mention that the link you made does not have the information you are talking about. I see basic information on deaths but there is not any information on construction zones or any of the state statistics. I will re post the link, I might be having trouble with it.

The statistics may be there but they are not where the link went. Most of the time a potentioal voter will not search real far into a link, if it is not right there or within a few clicks they may not investigate very far.

I did do some "studying" of my own, so far I have not found any real statistics on this issue. I have found reports that have been conducted by various agency's that state the difference between the speed of motorists when police presence or flagmen are used. Well actually I have not found any statistics or even recommendations for flagmen. It seems some states are trying radar detectors and doubling fines to reduce speed in construction zone but the topic of flagmen is not brought up much.

I did call three out of the four states you cited statistics for. Now, I do not expect these quotes and statements to stand as credible evidence, there is just a lack of digital info out there.

I could not contact anybody at PDOT.

TDOT. The women I spoke to said they use police presence on all interstate projects and they are working on using police presence on non-highway roads also. The women said they did not keep statistics on this issue. She did recommend to talk to N. Carolina, she believed they have been keeping records on injury's and deaths in construction zones. I am waiting for there report, I hope to receive it sometime next week.

ODOT. The women I spoke to said they used police presence sometimes. Generally in very congested areas. She said they had not kept any statistics on this issue.

MDOT. The gentleman I spoke to said they were in the earliest stages of the switch and had no real statistics at this time.

If you can find the statistics in the FARS website and post direct links to the information that you stated it would be very helpful in voters deciding this debate.

You have done a very good job, you are clear and you get your point across well. You have immaculate spelling and grammar. And you are polite and very courteous. I believe you will be a very good debater. I will gather the rest of the statistics that I can find and post them in the final round.

I do apologize for not getting to this debate much sooner.
Debate Round No. 2


lxgoalmjc forfeited this round.


joshandr30 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by lxgoalmjc 9 years ago
In order to back up the claims I made in my Round 1 of my debate regarding the behavior of police officers I am providing a link to the story which was printed in the Boston Herald.
Posted by lxgoalmjc 9 years ago
The new proposal would only require police officers doing detail for construction in areas with high speed limits. Yes the entity responsible does pay for it whether it's the town/city doing work on roads or a utility company fixing power lines, cable lines, etc.. Flagmen will be required to be certified in a safety course and the only power they will hold is directing traffic. In Massachusetts it is not uncommon for a police officer to make $160,000 a year because of the detail work.
Posted by Lightkeeper 9 years ago
Thanks for the link Brian. It seems to be in a state of flux still, as there are no detailed proposals released.
Posted by brian_eggleston 9 years ago
I was a b it confused myself, Lightkeer, so I googled it...
Posted by Lightkeeper 9 years ago
I might take this up but need some clarification:
1. You are saying that police officers should not be detailed to directing traffic at construction sites. Am I right?
2. The entity responsible for the construction pays for the flagman's services, right?
3. What are the qualifications and powers of a flagman?
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by BellumQuodPacis 7 years ago
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Vote Placed by Labrat228 8 years ago
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Total points awarded:43