It’s astonishing what ends up being controversial.
One would think that in a community where celebrities, movie stars, diplomats, potentates and despots are as common as dirt, the public safety officials would have long ago gotten used to working with them, would know how to take their celebrity in stride.
But it appears that the officials in the District of Columbia get as impressed as Barney Fife when a star shows up.
First we heard about the D.C. cops providing a high-speed motor escort for Charlie Sheen. How? Sheen put it on the Internet.
“In car with police escort in front and rear! Driving like someone’s about to deliver a baby!”
That is what he blogged.
Since then it’s been announced that the escort was, in fact, a violation of policy, and it’s apparent that it was not that unusual, either, according to an Associated Press report.
D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier “appeared before a D.C. Council committee investigating the use of police escorts for celebrities, moving to quell an issue that gained unflattering attention after actor Charlie Sheen received a high-speed escort from Dulles International Airport to a performance two months ago and posted excitedly about it on Twitter. Since then, some police officials have criticized the chief for refusing to acknowledge that escorts are commonly made available upon request for celebrities and other non-dignitaries.”
The list of those getting escorts is pretty impressive.
“Lanier said her department has identified 17 celebrities, including Justin Timberlake and Christina Aguilera, who have been escorted by police in the last decade. She said dozens of other escorts — including to college and professional sports teams and their owners, visiting dignitaries, Santa Claus impersonators and the Cherry Blossom Princess — have been granted during the same time. She said many other public figures, including Jon Stewart and Fran Drescher, have been turned down, either because there was insufficient manpower or no legitimate reason to do it.”
Charlie Sheen gets an escort, but Jon Stewart doesn’t?
How tough must that have been to handle?
The police chief suggested that you can’t have a policy that responds to every situation, and she is certainly right.
We need to expect that when we hire public safety officials that they can uses some of their own training and understanding to make appropriate decisions and then we need to stand behind them, whether we happen to agree or not.
But here’s the thing — nowhere in that decision-making process does it make sense to move a celebrity at high speed.
Risking safety to impress a famous person is wrong.
That escort should never have been moved over the speed limit.
Also, it should have been paid for by the celebrity. There ought to be a price. Otherwise Charlie Sheen and the rest of them can take a cab and not cost money for the taxpayers who are already footing enough of the bill.
— Chuck Smith