LaPorte County official blasts police on Facebook after receiving speeding ticket

2014-03-06T17:30:00Z 2014-03-06T23:11:04Z LaPorte County official blasts police on Facebook after receiving speeding ticketStan Maddux Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
March 06, 2014 5:30 pm  • 

A member of the LaPorte County Council blasted a county police officer on Facebook for a speeding ticket he received, and later removed the post and replaced it with an apology.

After angering the law enforcement community by saying more focus needs to be on catching "real criminals," Councilman Matt Bernacchi said in his new post, "I apologize if I offended the Sheriff or any of it's (sic) deputies, keep up the good work and do what's right for the people of LaPorte County."

Bernacchi received a speeding ticket Tuesday night, he said, for traveling 70 mph in a 55 mph zone on Ind. 2.

The original posting on Facebook went up almost right away chastising police for not focusing more on deterring actual crimes.

"As the fine officer handed me my ticket all I can think of is why are they harassing taxpayers over a speed and not the drug dealers who are killing the children of LaPorte County on a weekly basis," Bernacchi said in his posting.

"I think it's time to regroup and make our priorities straight. Thanks officer for the ticket, now arrest a real criminal and make the streets safe. Remember to protect and serve not harassment," said Bernacchi.

The ticket pending in LaPorte Superior Court 3 was issued by LaPorte County Sheriff's Deputy Paul Adams, said Sheriff Mike Mollenhauer, who said lives are saved by enforcing traffic laws and criminals such as drug dealers are often caught when narcotics are found in vehicles during traffic stops.

People wanted on warrants for various crimes also turn up regularly in computer records checks that routinely occur during traffic stops.

"This is how officers make a lot of their arrests,'' said Mollenhauer, who added Bernacchi or anyone else is not above the law, and it's inappropriate to make such remarks on Facebook or verbally.

He also took exception to Bernacchi's claim that highways are made safer from driving faster.

"I never heard anything so ridiculous in all of my life," said Mollenhauer.

Bernacchi in his latest Facebook post Thursday morning also admitted to the traffic violation and stated that he never said he was not deserving of a ticket.

"I would like to thank everyone for the kind messages and emails in support of my 'opinion,'" he said.

When reached by telephone, Bernacchi said he would not comment on the post believing that remarks made on social media should not be part of what's reported in traditional media.

Bernacchi also ended his latest posting by saying, "I will not be commenting on this post, to the news or responding to any more messages. Thank You."

LaPorte County Council President Mark Yagelski would not comment on what Bernacchi posted regarding the traffic ticket.

He did say he would speak with an attorney to find out what options the County Council might have in response to Bernacchi's original post.

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