From the Desk of Chief McKinstry

RISK PROTECTION ORDERS: AN IMPORTANT NEW TOOL FOR LAW ENFORCEMENT

Lake County and all of Florida are safer today thanks to a new state law that gives law enforcement a valuable tool to prevent gun violence by helping keep firearms out of the hands of individuals who demonstrate an obvious threat to themselves or others.

Florida joined a handful of states earlier this year when it passed the Risk Protection Order Act (RPO), or red flag law, spurred to much-needed action in response to the tragedy in Parkland, Florida.  This important law, passed with bipartisan support in the state legislature, allows law enforcement to remove firearms and ammunition from violent or mentally ill individuals while affording citizens their due process.

The process for obtaining an RPO is straightforward and puts the decision to remove guns in the hands of a judge. First, law enforcement files a petition listing the statement, actions or facts which give rise to a reasonable fear of significant dangerous acts by respondent. The petition is heard by a Judge within 24 hours to determine if there is reasonable cause to believe the respondent poses a significant danger of causing personal injury to themselves or others in the near future by having in their custody any firearm or ammunition. If granted, the respondent is served with the temporary order, and they must immediately surrender their firearms, ammunition and concealed weapons license pending a final hearing.

The judge will set the final hearing within 14 days, at which time law enforcement must present clear and convincing evidence that the person poses a significant danger of causing personal injury to themselves or others by having in their custody or control any firearm or ammunition, or by purchasing, possessing or receiving a firearm or ammunition. If granted, the final RPO is valid for one year. In order to extend the order, law enforcement would once again have to present evidence to the court that the person is still a threat to themselves or others.

This law is intended solely to remove firearms from individuals who pose an obvious threat to themselves and others—not from law-abiding citizens. It balances public safety goals with the important rights afforded to citizens by the Second Amendment of the Constitution, as well as the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment right to due process. In fact, even gun rights organizations have voiced their support for these red flag laws.

While this law is not the perfect solution to ending gun violence, it’s a good step in the right direction, and we are all safer because of it.

And the Super Hero Award goes to:

Congratulations  Just Dandy Pet Palor for earning our Super Hero Award! 

We have noticed all your do for our homeless pets in our area.  From fostering pets for Lady Lake Animal Control to finding homes and collecting dog and cat food and donations for all our pet rescue groups!!  Thank You for going above and beyond and helping all our 4 legged friends!!

 

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Hurricane Season is here

From the desk of Chief Chris McKinstry!

 

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BELIEVE IT OR NOT, IT IS HURRICANE SEASON AGAIN.  THE LADY LAKE POLICE DEPARTMENT IS READY. ARE YOU?

“Those who have not learned from history are doomed to repeat it.”  That is especially true with hurricanes.   Even though forecasting methods and tools are improving year after year, people are still at great risk if they are not prepared.

Experience has taught us that the best thing to do before a hurricane is prepare, so you can be confident during a storm that you’ve done everything you can to keep your family safe. As your Chief of Police, I want you to know that during a hurricane, you can depend on the resilience and resourcefulness of the men and women of the Lady Lake Police Department.

As a local law enforcement agency, we work year-round with our local, county, state and federal partners to improve our response, cooperation and communication during hurricanes. Just as we at the police department plan for unexpected weather emergencies, there is plenty you can do to make yourselves, your families and your homes ready for hurricane season. Don’t wait for a storm to threaten.

First, create a disaster supply kit that will last your family three to seven days. Ask yourself what you would need if you couldn’t get to a grocery store, pharmacy, bank or gas station for several days. Your kit should include a gallon per person per day of water, non-perishable food, a can opener, blankets and pillows, rain gear and sturdy shoes, first aid items, prescription drugs, toiletries, a flashlight and batteries, a battery-operated radio, a fully-charged cell phone as well as a non-cordless phone. Pack any special food, medicines or supplies you might need for an infant, an elderly person or a pet. Make sure you have credit cards and cash on hand and gas in your vehicle. Put all of your important documents such as insurance and medical records, bank account numbers and your social security card in a waterproof container or waterproof plastic bag.

Talk to your family about which place in your home would be the safest during a storm and at what point you would move to a shelter. Plan what to do with your pets if you have to evacuate and designate an out-of-state relative or friend to be a point of contact for each family member after a storm. Make sure children know when and how to call 911.   But always remember that if a storm gets severe enough there may be limited or no emergency responders to assist until after the storm passes.

The Lady Lake Police Department is prepared to help you and your family in any emergency, but I encourage you to create a disaster supply kit and talk to your family about an emergency plan. On behalf of the men and women at the Lady Lake Police Department, I wish you and your family the safest possible hurricane season.

From the desk of Chief McKinstry

 

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SAFE DRIVING PRACTICES

The best way to reduce the risk of a traffic crash is to practice safe driving behavior.   Here are some helpful tips to keep you safe.  All of the following information is readily available from driver handbooks and other government agencies:

When you’re behind the wheel of a car – whether alone or with passengers – driving safely should always be your top concern.  We are more distracted than ever, so it’s crucial to know the basics of safe driving and practice them every time you’re on the road.  Your safety, and the safety of others depend on it.

Pedestrians

It is the motorist’s responsibility to do everything possible to avoid colliding with any pedestrians. Bicyclists, skaters and skateboarders in a crosswalk or driveway are considered pedestrians. Turning motorists must yield to pedestrians at intersections with traffic signals.  Motorists must yield to pedestrians crossing the street or driveway at any marked mid-block crossing, driveway or intersection without traffic signals.

Bicyclists

In Florida, the bicycle is legally defined as a vehicle.  Bicyclists using a public roadway are considered operators of motor vehicles and are responsible for observing traffic laws.  With few exceptions, there is only one road and it is up to motorists and bicyclists to treat each other with care and respect.  Adherence to the law is the foundation of respect.

Blind Persons

The primary traveling aids for a person who is blind are often a white cane or a trained guide dog. Independent travel involves some risk that can be greatly reduced when you, the driver, are aware of the use and meaning of a white cane or guide dog.

Florida State Statutes specifically addresses motorist responsibilities as follows:

Whenever a pedestrian is crossing, or attempting to cross, a public street or highway, guided by a dog guide or carrying in a raised or extended position a cane or walking stick which is white in color or white tipped with red, the driver of every vehicle approaching the intersection or place where the pedestrian is attempting to cross shall bring his or her vehicle to a full stop before arriving at such intersection or place of crossing and, before proceeding, shall take such precautions as may be necessary to avoid injuring such pedestrian.

Simply put, that means drivers must always yield the right-of-way to persons who are blind.  When a pedestrian is crossing a street or highway guided by a dog or carrying a white cane (or a white cane with a red tip), vehicles must come to a complete stop.

Mobility-Impaired Persons

Drivers must yield the right-of-way to mobility-impaired persons and pedestrians utilizing the assistance of a guide dog or service animal.  When a pedestrian is crossing a public street or highway and the pedestrian is using a walker, a crutch, or an orthopedic cane or wheelchair, vehicles must come to a complete stop.

School Buses

On a two way street or highway, all drivers moving in either direction must stop for a stopped school bus which is picking up or dropping off children.  You must always stop if you are moving in the same direction as the bus and you must remain stopped until the bus stop signal is withdrawn.

If the highway is divided by a raised barrier or an unpaved median at least five feet wide, you do not have to stop if you are moving in the opposite direction of the bus.  Painted lines or pavement markings are not considered barriers.  You must always stop if you are moving in the same direction as the bus and you must continue until the bus stop signal is withdrawn.

School Crossings

Crossing guards are posted in areas when it is unsafe for children to cross alone.  When you see a guard, reduce your speed. You are near a school and children are in the area. Watch for school zone posted speed limit. If necessary, stop at the marked stop line. Never stop in the crosswalk. Obey signals from any crossing guard.  It is the driver’s responsibility to do everything possible to avoid colliding with pedestrians. Remember that children are unpredictable. Do your part to make every crossing a safe crossing.

Public Transit

All drivers should yield the right-of-way to public transit buses traveling in the same direction which have signaled and are reentering the traffic flow from a specifically designated pullout bay.

Funeral Processions

Pedestrians and drivers must yield the right-of-way to funeral processions.  When the first vehicle in the funeral processions lawfully enters an intersection, other vehicles in the procession must have their headlights on as a signal to other drivers not to drive between or interfere with the procession while it is in motion unless directed to do so by a law enforcement officer.

Driveways

Drivers entering a road from a driveway, alley or roadside must yield to vehicles already on the main road.  Motorists must yield to bicyclists and pedestrians on the sidewalk.

Emergency Vehicles

Pedestrians and drivers must yield the right-of-way to law enforcement cars, fire engines and other emergency vehicles using sirens and/or flashing lights.  Pull over to the closest edge of the roadway immediately and stop until the emergency vehicle has passed. Do not block intersections.

“Move Over”

When driving on interstate highways or other highways with two or more lanes traveling in the direction of the emergency vehicle, and except when otherwise directed by a law enforcement officer, drivers approaching a law enforcement or other authorized emergency vehicle parked on the roadway with their emergency lights activated, will be required to leave the lane closest to the emergency vehicle, as soon as it is safe to do so.

Remember that emergency vehicles include wreckers that are displaying their amber rotating flashing lights and performing a recovery or loading on a roadside.

When approaching a law enforcement or other authorized emergency vehicle parked on a two-lane roadway with their emergency lights activated, and except when otherwise directed by a law enforcement officer, drivers will be required to slow to a speed that is 20 miles per hour less than the posted speed limit when the posted speed limit is 25 miles per hour or greater; or travel at 5 miles per hour when the posted speed limit is 20 miles per hour or less.

The men and women of the Lady Lake Police Department want to remind you that the extra effort as a defensive driver can reduce your chances of having a traffic crash.  Isn’t that worth it?

 

Clear View Optix Business of the Month

Clear View Optix is that something different: Dramatic, Distintive, Eyewear

My wife, Donna and I opened Clear View Optix in The Villages, Florida to fill a niche of independent frame lines available to the residents of this community. My multiple decades of being a Licensed Optician has taught me a lot of things, most importantly is attention to detail, follow through and excellent customer service.

The line of frames we carry are exclusive and from independent Artisan manufacturers.  The significance of this is that these frames take anywhere from 80 to 200 steps to craft each one.

We use state of the art lens designs and treatments. This allows our clientele to achieve optimal clarity and vision for their active lifestyle.

If you are tired of boring eyeglasses and desire something different, come see us at Clear View Optix where our standard is Dramatic, Distinctive, Eyewear.IMG_1902IMG_1905

From the Desk of Chief McKinstry

ENJOY YOUR GOLF CARE SAFELY AND LEGALLY

download-2-1WHY 20 IS PLENTY ON NEIGHBORHOOD STREETS

Next time you are in a car driving through a residential neighborhood, try this experiment: glance at your speedometer when you’re in the middle of a block.  You will probably find it is pretty easy to reach or top 25 mph.

To someone on foot or in a golf cart, navigating narrow streets and unprotected intersections, it feels like you’re driving too fast.  And they’re probably not wrong.  As you cruise up to 25 mph (on streets outside a school zone), try to imagine that a golf cart swerves into your lane, or a ball rolls right in front of you with a kid chasing it.  Or that someone with an armful of groceries opened a car door without looking, or that a pedestrian in dark clothes stepped into a poorly lit intersection.  Would you be able to stop in time?  Maybe, maybe not. It would depend on how soon you saw whatever you were about to hit.Then drop your speed to 20 mph. With that small change, it becomes much easier to halt the momentum of 3,000 pounds of metal.When you drive through a neighborhood at 20 mph, what reaction do you get from golf carts and pedestrians?  Smiles?  Polite waves as you stop easily to let them cross in front of you?  Like you were a safe, respectful driver who isn’t in a hurry?  So why not do that?

Here are four reasons to drive slower:

1.    Save lives.  Driving fast can kill people (including the driver). Two stats: Traffic is the biggest single killer of 12-16 year olds. Surprisingly, at 35 mph you are twice as likely to kill someone you hit as at 30 mph.  Faster driving gives you a shorter amount of time to respond to something in your path, and even a fraction of a second can mean the difference between life and death.  Drive slower for your safety and that of those around you… especially drive slow around golf carts, runners, cyclists, schools, and neighborhoods with kids on the streets.

2.    Save time.  While you think you are saving time by driving faster, it’s not a lot of time.  That small amount of time you’re saving isn’t worth it, considering the other factors on this list.  Better yet, start out a few minutes early and you’ll arrive at the same time as someone who drove faster but started later, and you’ll arrive much happier than that person to boot.

3.    Save your sanity. The above two reasons are very important ones, but the most noticeable difference will be the huge drop in stress levels when you drive.  Far from being a crazy experience, driving can actually be a relaxing and pleasant experience now.  You are no longer at risk of road rage, because you simply won’t care whether other drivers are going slow or cutting you off.

4.    Simplify your life.  This is related to the one above, but expanded. In addition to saving your stress levels, driving slower can reduce many other complications as well — the headache of crashes and speeding tickets, but also the hectic pace of life.  Why rush through life?  Slow down and enjoy life more.  If you’re always in a hurry to get places, when will you get to your destination and finally be happy? Life is a journey — make it a pleasant one.

OK, assuming that you want to drive slower, here are some of the tips that may work for you:

·         Play relaxing music. Whatever you choose, enjoy it, and relax.

·         Ignore other drivers.  If you care so much about what other drivers are doing that it stresses you out, it may cause you to drive faster to spite other drivers.  Just ignore them.

·         Leave early. If you speed because you’re running late, make it a habit of getting ready early and leaving early. Now you don’t have to worry about being late, and you can enjoy the ride.

·         Brainstorm. Use your drive time for contemplation. Think about your day (either the day to come or the day in review), or think about where you want to go.

·         Keep to the right.  PLEASE. If you drive slower than the other crazy drivers out there, it’s wise to keep out of their way if possible and keep to the right.  It is also the law and it’s good to be polite.

·         Enjoy the drive. Most of all, make your drive a pleasant experience — whether that’s through music or contemplation or however you want to enjoy the ride, remember that the ride is just as important as the destination.

Speed limits are in place for a variety of reasons, most importantly safety, your safety and the safety of others.  It is simply common sense, for the sake of a few minutes, to avoid a crash and not possibly kill or injure someone.

The men and women of the Lady Lake Police Department are committed to making our roadways as safe as possible.  So I would recommend that you resist the urge to exceed the speed limit or drive dangerously because if you do, we will see you before you see us.  Traffic tickets are expensive and getting one will cause your insurance premiums to rise.

But just in case, here are some financial reasons to slow down:

MPH over Limit    Speeding Fine    Speeding Fine in School Zone         Points on License
6 – 9                             $131.00                          $156.00                                            3 Points
10-14                           $206.00                         $306.00                                           3 Points
15 – 19                         $256.00                          $406.00                                           4 Points
20 – 29                      $281.00                           $456.00                                           4 Points
30 or more        Mandatory Court                  $606.00                                           4 Points
On behalf of the Lady Lake Police Department, we wish you safe and less stressful, travels

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