Death Race drives troopers back into harsh spotlight
You really have to hand it to the state police — I am hard pressed to think of another organization that receives such thorough firearms training, yet manages to shoot itself in the foot so repeatedly.
The most recent example, of course, is what's become known as "Death Race," even though no one seems to have died; might I suggest "F1 Fusion" as a better name, since it involves expensive high-end racecars and the clogged arteries of the Garden State Parkway. Extra points to the person who provided Brandon Jacobs with a state police vest so he could pose for photos in it. If you watch the video provided to NJ.com from the 2010 race, you really have to marvel at how much worse this could have been — from either the troopers, the racers or the idiots trying to keep up with high-performance sports cars as a way to document what one of the "filmmakers" called the greatest moment of his life.
It's not the first time troopers have found themselves in an unwelcome focus. In 1998, two white officers escaped jail time after shooting multiple times into a van occupied by blacks and Latinos; the troopers said they were instructed to target minorities as more likely to be drug dealers. That ultimately led to a long federal monitor of the department.
More recently was the Lords of Discipline matter (now that was a great moniker), in which an ex-trooper won a $400,000 settlement over what he described as beatings and hazings administered by a secret fraternity, like the scary ones you heard about in college, only with guns.
Then, of course, there was the high-speed chauffer service provided to Jon Corzine while he was governor. To be fair, at least surviving that horrible crash got his approval ratings to go up, one of the few times he was able to pull off that feat.
BONUS: If you read some of NJ.com's coverage of Death Race, you can see an ad announcing the state police are hiring on the same page detailing the wild and crazy lifestyle some troopers are currently enjoying. I know you don't believe me, so here's a screenshot.
I'm even more irreverent on Twitter @joe_arney.