Houston Police Officer's Letter to Texas Governor on Motorcycle Noise
Rickey D. Holtsclaw
August 22, 2011
Governor Rick Perry
Office of the Governor
P.O. Box 12428
Austin, Texas 78711-2428
Dear Governor Rick Perry,
My name is Rickey D. Holtsclaw. After serving almost thirty-two years as a Police Officer with the Houston Police Department (HPD) I reluctantly retired on August 19, 2011. While actively employed as a Houston Police Officer this letter, originally dated March 18, 2011, was retained by Houston's City Legal Department thereby preventing me from forwarding said letter to its intended recipients. The purpose of this correspondence is to request assistance from and inform Texas Governor Rick Perry; Speaker of the House Joe Straus; Congressman Michael McCaul; Senator Dan Patrick; Texas Attorney General Gregg Abbott and Edward Serna, Executive Director of the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles, of a vehicular noise enforcement situation in Houston Texas that has State and Federal ramifications. First, I will provide an overview of what has transpired during the previous three years as I have endeavored to enforce Texas Transportation Code 547.604(a), "Muffler Required." Second, I have included a number of relevant questions at the conclusion of this letter and would truly appreciate a response from your office.
Approximately three years ago, after serving over nineteen years in the Houston Police Air Support Division, I returned to street patrol. Once I began to survey the problem areas within my beat assignment, it became very obvious to me that my area of responsibility was inundated with excessively loud motor vehicles. As I endeavored to serve and protect the citizens within my beat assignment from the unlawful and unconstitutional intrusion of these excessively loud vehicles, I received an order from a patrol sergeant to cease issuance of any and all noisy vehicle citations. It was his opinion that Texas Transportation Code 547.604 and Houston City Ordinance 30-3, "Noisy Vehicles Generally," were "too subjective" and therefore unenforceable. Unfortunately, this particular patrol supervisor advocates and participates in the operation of an illegally loud racing Corvette on public roadways; therefore, I considered his opinion to be biased and suspect.
Having interpreted the cessation order received from the patrol supervisor to be unlawful in nature, I initiated a search for legal precedent directly addressing the subject of "void for vagueness" issues in legal matters lacking a definitive objective standard. Researching case law pertaining to Texas Transportation Code 547.604, "Muffler Required," I located the "Memorandum Opinion" of Justice Catherine Stone, Texas Appeals Court Case of Aaron C. Aguilar v. State of Texas (2008), No. 04-07-00537-CR. This precedent setting case directly addresses and, in my humble opinion, nullifies concerns regarding "void for vagueness" or subjectivity issues relating to TTC 547.604 and Houston City Ordinance 30-3, "Noisy Vehicles Generally." Though I would have preferred a definitive objective standard in the law e.g. decibel limitations, distance limitation or "Label Match-up" requirements, the law, as currently written, fails to provide this element; therefore, I was forced to do the best with what was available to me.
My inclusion of relevant legal precedent to under gird my enforcement efforts was insufficient according to the patrol supervisor who had initiated the order to cease issuance of all noisy vehicle citations. I was subsequently ordered, once again, to stand down regarding noisy vehicle enforcement. To proactively address the issue of subjectivity, I made a request to incorporate the use of a sound meter into my vehicular noise enforcement investigations but my request was denied (SAE J2825 Stationary Motorcycle Test). Seeing that "subjectivity" would continue to be an obstacle to the successful enforcement and adjudication of noisy vehicle citations, I contacted the Legal Services Unit of the Houston Police Department and requested a "legal opinion" relevant to Texas Transportation Code 547.604 and City of Houston Ordinance 30-3, "Noisy Vehicles Generally." In my effort to reduce the number of illegally loud motor vehicles in my area of responsibility, I have used the following Texas Transportation Code and Municipal Ordinance as a basis for my citations.
§547.604. MUFFLER REQUIRED. (Texas Transportation Code)
(a) A motor vehicle shall be equipped with a muffler in good working condition that continually operates to prevent excessive or unusual noise.
(b) A person may not use a muffler cutout, bypass, or similar device on a motor vehicle.
Houston City Ordinance 30-3, "Noisy Vehicles Generally."
The use of any motor vehicle so out of repair, so loaded, or so noisy that it creates any loud and unreasonable grating, grinding, rattling, or any other loud and unreasonable sound is hereby prohibited and declared to be unlawful.
After patiently waiting five months for a legal opinion, I received a letter from the Legal Services Unit stating that Houston City Ordinance 30-3 was valid, "enforceable and constitutional." The previous order received from the patrol supervisor to cease issuance of noisy vehicle citations was rescinded at which time I once again began issuing citations to excessively loud automobiles, trucks and motorcycles. This is the point where all Hades broke loose for me in my personal and professional life as my enforcement efforts immediately offended influential individuals both inside and outside of the law enforcement community. Apparently, years of law enforcement apathy in the area of vehicular noise enforcement, compounded by the influence of those with expendable income and political influence, has created a unique protective environment for an unprincipled faction within the motorcycle community who desire to operate motorcycles emitting decibel levels rivaling or exceeding vehicles normally restricted to racing or off-road environs. My initial challenge was deciding what law would be most effective as I began, once again, issuing citations to those motorists who willingly violate the rights of others to enjoy a peaceful environment and domestic tranquility.
Though I initially elected to use Texas Transportation Code 547.604(a), "Muffler Required," as the violation for my noisy vehicle citations, the Data Entry section of Houston's Municipal Court routinely failed to attach the correct "charging instrument" to the citation; therefore, my citations were dismissed prior to trial due to a "defective complaint." Until very recently, representatives of the Municipal Court made absolutely no effort to correct the wording of the charging instrument or draft a correct charging instrument that would assist in the proper adjudication of violations relevant to TTC 547.604. A contention arose suggesting that TTC 547.604 simply requires the inclusion of a "baffle" to meet the requirements of the law. My rebuttal suggested that yes, TTC 547.604 does require a motor vehicle to be equipped with a "muffler" but, an obvious requirement of part "b" of subsection (a) requires said muffler to perform a specific function i.e. "prevent excessive or unusual noise." Failure to comply with this element is clearly a violation of the statute. It has also come to my attention that the City of Houston is currently in the process of rewriting Chapter 30 of the Code of Ordinances. Chapter 30, relevant to noise enforcement, will be amended, this according to an individual presently involved in the rewriting of the noise code.
Ordinance 30-3, Noisy Vehicles Generally, will be structured in such a manner as to omit any reference or element that allows said ordinance to be used for the enforcement of excessive engine/muffler noise emissions. I have been informed that excessive vehicular noise, due to a modified or aftermarket exhaust mechanism will, after the editing process is completed, have to be written using TTC 547.604, "Muffler Required." Every motor vehicle, every motorcycle, automobile or truck, that has received a noisy vehicle citation from me was equipped with a muffler that obviously failed to "prevent excessive or unusual noise." Seeing that the Data Entry section of Houston's Municipal Court routinely failed to attach the correct charging instrument to citations issued using TTC 547.604, I was advised by my shift lieutenant to use the applicable City Ordinance 30-3, "Noisy Vehicles Generally."
The issuance of citations for violations of City Ordinance 30-3, "Noisy Vehicles Generally," created no small uproar in the motorcycle community. I have successfully adjudicated numerous citations written under the Houston Noise Ordinance, but the whining and spurious allegations of the loud motorcycle community has, unfortunately, captured the attention and sympathetic ear of Houston's Mayor, Police Chief and City Council. Though loud automobiles and trucks also received citations for defective or illegal exhaust mechanisms, it is the "loud" motorcycle community that has incessantly cried foul. Unfortunately, most noise enforcement legislation is weak and subjective in its wording, while Texas law enforcement has been almost completely remiss in its responsibilities to protect the public from the blatant audible assault emanating from these illegally loud motorcycles, trucks and automobiles. Years of apathy and neglect on the part of Texas law enforcement to enforce applicable vehicular noise ordinances and TTC 547.604 has resulted in a sense of "expectancy" or "entitlement" among an unprincipled contingent within the "loud" motorcycle community.
Motorcyclists from the Houston area, as well as motorcyclists from across Texas and around the United States, coalesced to battle my enforcement initiative. My Internal Affairs portfolio, as well as the Internet, provides substantive evidence of the relentless attacks made on my personal and professional life by men and women who have, through their own prideful arrogance and selfishness, placed themselves and their personal interests above the law. As a result of the slanderous attacks upon my personal and professional life by area motorcyclists and unscrupulous members of the local media, combined with a complete lack of support from the upper echelon of the Houston Police Department, Mayor Annise Parker, Houston's City Council and Houston's Legal Department, I have been coerced into early retirement. Basically, the City of Houston refused to support my efforts to protect the citizens within my area of responsibility from the unlawful intrusion of illegally loud motor vehicles; motor vehicles which blatantly violate the right of all citizens to enjoy a peaceful environment and domestic tranquility.
Please review the following Websites to view the collaborative efforts of the Texas Motorcyclists Rights Association (TMRA) and the Houston Area Motorcycle Riders (HAMR) as they conspire to stop my noise enforcement initiative in the Houston area. Randy Wallace, Investigative Reporter for Fox 26 News (the owner of Fox News also owns the Speed Channel/Rolling Thunder), produced a very biased investigative report relevant to my efforts to control the operation of excessively loud motorcycles within my beat assignment. This television report, a two-part series which has aired numerous times, contains blatant lies and accusations that impugn my personal and professional character. I have requested, from my Chief of Police, the opportunity to sit down with various members of the news media to discuss my noise enforcement initiative, to inform the public that they do not have to be a victim of such blatant audible assaults upon their personage, but my letter of request was returned "DENIED." The final URL (below) is the opinion of a Judge in the Humble Texas area, Judge Pecorino, regarding my enforcement efforts. Note how this Judge, with vulgarity, insults the integrity of the Judiciary by his lack of discernment while dealing with a young traffic violator in the confines of his chambers. Finally, simply Google "HPD Rick Holtsclaw noise tickets" to view the efforts of an unprincipled contingent of motorcycle riders and motorcycle rights activists as they conspire to thumb their noses at law enforcement, the law and arrogantly demand they have a right to do as they please, though their antisocial behavior violates the rights of all Texas citizens to enjoy a peaceful environment and domestic tranquility.
Motorcycle Riders Make 'Noise' Over HPD Cop
On November 16, 2010, members of the TMRA/HAMR rode their excessively loud motorcycles to Houston's City Hall to present a petition requesting that all City of Houston Noise Ordinances, Noise Ordinance "30-3" in particular, be rewritten. In front of an audience that included Mayor Annise Parker, Chief of Police Charles McClelland and the members of Houston's City Council, TMRA/HAMR representatives voiced their concerns relevant to the subjectivity and perceived unfairness of City Ordinance 30-3. Almost immediately after the motorcycle rally at City Hall, prosecutors employed by Houston's Municipal Court System began summarily dismissing my noisy vehicle citations. When I asked a prosecutor why my citations were being dismissed, I was advised "there may be a problem with our law." Three days later, November 19, 2010, I was removed from street patrol and placed on an administrative assignment for five months and one week while the HPD Internal Affairs Division investigated frivolous allegations of "harassment" by area motorcyclists.
On June 21, 2011, members of HAMR and the TMRA, once again, rallied at Houston's City Hall and arrogantly threatened Mayor Parker demanding that she remove me from street patrol or fire me. Mayor Parker advised the motorcyclists present in the council chambers that I was following all relevant policies. One of the motorcycle riders who addressed the Mayor informed her that if she was unable or unwilling to fire me "perhaps we should fire all of you!" In lieu of standing courageous against this conspiracy to violate the rights of the citizens of Houston, Houston's leadership, once again, chose to cower and placed me on an administrative assignment for no apparent reason other than to appease the whining and cries of an unprincipled faction within our society who arrogantly demand they have the right to do as they please and to Hades with anyone who objects to their unlawful behavior. Shortly after having been removed from my patrol assignment a second time, I was "relieved of duty" and sent home pending the disposition of another frivolous complaint by an area motorcyclist. The City of Houston, acquiescing to political correctness yet unable to order me to stop my noise enforcement initiative, has chosen to cower to the unfounded concerns of area motorcyclists rather than support a police officer who has diligently tried to defend and protect the citizenry within his area of responsibility.
I am at a loss as to how I should proceed from this point forward. The Houston area, as well as many urban areas in the State of Texas and around the United States, suffers from an over exposure of excessively loud, illegally loud, unreasonably loud motor vehicles. I have attempted to use the Texas Transportation Code to combat this problem but the Houston Police Department is unwilling, uninterested or too cowardly to support my efforts to protect the citizens of Houston from the unlawful intrusion of excessively loud motor vehicles. I find it completely unacceptable and unprofessional that the Houston Police Department allows members of its own Solo Motorcycle Detail to operate Harley Davidson motorcycles equipped with illegally loud aftermarket exhaust mechanisms. This embarrassing violation of law enforcement ethics continues though I brought this problem to the attention of Mayor Parker and Chief McClelland almost two years ago. I have attempted to use the applicable Municipal Ordinance and now find my citations are being summarily dismissed due to perceived subjectivity concerns even though Houston's City Legal Department previously acknowledged the validity, enforceability and constitutionality of City Ordinance 30-3, "Noisy Vehicles Generally."
Though valid and applicable legal precedent exists to support the enforcement of Houston's noisy vehicle ordinance and Texas Transportation Code 547.604 (Aaron C. Aguilar v. Texas 2008), my City has chosen to acquiesce or cower to the concerns of the "loud" motorcycle contingent rather than stand their ground. Political correctness apparently usurps the City of Houston's responsibility to protect the citizens of Houston from the dangers of excessively loud motor vehicles and ensure their right to enjoy domestic tranquility and a peaceful environment. Every motor vehicle I have cited for excessive noise has been, beyond ANY reasonable doubt, in violation of Federal and State law as well as City Ordinance 30-3. The Houston Police Department, lacking the courage to support my noise enforcement initiative, demanded that I "look the other way," though the City Legal Department knows that my noise initiative is correct, lawful and constitutional. I refused to simply "look the other way" and was, in turn, subjected to many months of harassment via involuntary transfers and ultimately relieved of duty, this, for absolutely no valid reason other than a lack of integrity and courage on the part of Houston's City officials.
As a result of my proactive efforts to serve the citizenry within my area of responsibility, I was counseled by fellow senior police officers and supervisors alike. Having been trained in law enforcement tactics and procedures over thirty years ago, my work ethic is no longer relevant in today's "politically correct" law enforcement community. Fellow police officers and supervisors warned me to "slow down" and do only that which was necessary to complete the work day. It was brought to my attention, after previously serving over nineteen years in the HPD Air Support Division, that proactive policing by patrol officers would not be tolerated because a working officer inherently generates Internal Affairs Complaints; therefore, in order to survive in patrol, an officer must refrain from actual police work, doing only that which is required of him. To survive in today's politically correct law enforcement community, an officer must only do the minimum, no proactive policing, take only the calls-for-service as dispatched, do not volunteer for anything, do not perform traffic investigations, do not perform follow-up investigations, provide a facade of police service void substance i.e. make the citizenry feel safe but do nothing that might generate a complaint, return your police vehicle to the station "on time," go home and keep your mouth shut. This pathetic work ethic will ensure that a patrol officer complete his years of service with the least amount of turmoil and stress. Seeing that I refused to conform to this unacceptable mold of political correctness, the Houston Police Department, via blatant coercion, made it very clear to me that my services were no longer needed; therefore, I reluctantly retired on the 19th of August, 2011.
I have owned and maintained thirty motorcycles since age twelve, ridden professionally, served in the HPD Solo Motorcycle Detail, accumulated hundreds-of-thousands-of-miles on two wheels; I know motorcycles, their fit and function…there is a "loud" faction of motorcycle riders who refuse to adhere to the laws governing common decency and respect for others; therefore, I believe this unacceptable situation requires legislative and law enforcement intercession at the State and Federal level. It is my hope and prayer that perhaps someone with State jurisdiction and influence possesses the courage, interest and forthrightness to accept such a challenge and intercede on behalf of the citizens of Texas.
A federally regulated motorcycle, such as those cited by me for excessive noise, that has an exhaust system installed without the correct EPA label affixed to the exhaust mechanism, is in violation of federal regulations and section 4909a(2) of the Noise Control Act (NCA). I have tested (SAE J2825 Stationary Motorcycle Test) a number of these illegally equipped V-twin motorcycles using a sound meter and found them to emit, on average, 95 to 102 db(A) at an idle and 102 to 115+ db(A) at two-thousand engine RPM. The SAE J2825 Stationary Motorcycle Test parameters for a V-twin motorcycle are 92 db(A) at an idle and 96 db(A) at 2000 engine RPM. The SAE J2825 Stationary Motorcycle Test has been created by the Society of Automotive Engineers to replicate the strictly controlled drive-by testing (SAE j331a) performed by the EPA that limits motorcycle noise emissions to a maximum of 80 db(A) at a specified RPM. The EPA has determined that the 80 db(A) upper limit on street motorcycle noise emissions is the MIMIMUM level of protection for the public. The EPA has also determined that hearing loss and hearing damage begins at 85 db(A). Numerous medical studies substantiate the detrimental physiological and psychological effects of unregulated noise in the environment. The harmful physiological and psychological effects of excessive noise in the environment exponentially increases in the very young and in the elderly living within the Texas communities law enforcement swore to protect. It is an indisputable fact that motor vehicles equipped with modified and/or unregulated aftermarket exhaust mechanisms make the greatest contribution to excessive noise in an urban environment.
My vehicular noise enforcement initiative, though it was only a small portion of my daily responsibilities as a patrol officer, has apparently angered a number of influential members in leadership positions within my Police Department as well as local politicians and influential citizenry with expendable incomes possessing a sense of entitlement. I feel that I am receiving very little support at the local level regarding vehicular noise enforcement; therefore, I ask that the issue of vehicular noise legislation and enforcement be properly addressed at the State level. Thank you for your time and patience. Your response to the following questions would be most appreciated.
Texas, as well as most other States, places great emphasis on protecting the environment, but one of the most intrusive and harmful environmental factors, excessive vehicular noise, is left almost completely unregulated, both by legislation and law enforcement. What will be required to get the Texas House and Senate concerned about protecting the citizenry from the abuses of excessively loud motor vehicles? After all, the era of Sputnik Strain and biker majorities in the House and Senate has finally ended, though the biker rights groups arrogantly proclaim that the Legislative House is "their" house. Is it possible that a "common sense approach" to noise regulations in the Transportation Code could now prevail? Perhaps an "objective standard," an enforceable standard, one that is simply worded and easily enforceable, could be included in the Texas Transportation Code thereby eliminating the subjectivity argument which unnecessarily and exponentially increases "burden of proof" requirements during adjudication. Perhaps a decibel limitation (SAE J2825 Stationary Motorcycle Test) or the adoption of the "Label Match-up Program" would be viable options. Either of these "objective standards" would greatly enhance the chances of successful adjudication relevant to noisy vehicle citations. The motor vehicles in question were not manufactured to emit such dangerous, obnoxious and intrusive noise emissions, but their owners have modified them to their personal liking. Why has the State of Texas not interceded on behalf of the innocent citizenry who are bombarded daily by excessive vehicular noise? Why are our Legislators perceived as lacking any interest in protecting the citizenry from this harmful and illegal intrusion into their personal lives, the protective confines of their homes, places of work and worship? In my opinion, this reflects poorly on Local, County and State leadership.
I have ridden motorcycles, off and on, for some forty-years. I have ridden professionally, for pleasure, commuting and touring. I have accumulated hundreds-of-thousands-of-miles on two wheels. I have owned and maintained thirty motorcycles since age twelve. I am very familiar with motorcycles and motorcyclists in general. While in an enforcement capacity, I have stopped hundreds of motorcycles on traffic and inspected them for compliance. Every motorcycle I have inspected that is equipped with an aftermarket exhaust mechanism does NOT have the EPA label affixed to, or imprinted into, the exhaust in accordance with federal regulations and section 4909a(2) of the Noise Control Act (NCA). These motorcycles are clearly in violation of federal law and their noise emissions obviously exceed the 80 db(A) upper limit as mandated by the Environmental Protection Agency. The 80 db(A) upper limit on street motorcycle exhaust emissions is, according to the EPA, the MINIMUM level of protection for the public.
Why are distributors and retailers in the State of Texas allowed to sell and install exhaust mechanisms that are obviously in violation of Federal law (Noise Control Act) and State law?
Why are distributors and retailers in the State of Texas permitted to market and install illegal aftermarket exhaust mechanisms that clearly violate the rights of Texas citizens to enjoy a peaceful environment and domestic tranquility? These aftermarket exhaust mechanisms can be heard for distances up to a mile or more and reap havoc within our residential communities, day and night, as well as our places of entertainment, work and worship.
Why are distributors and retailers in the State of Texas permitted to market and install illegal aftermarket exhaust mechanisms that permit decibel emissions which medical research has proven to be harmful to the physical and psychological health of the citizens of Texas?
Why are distributors and retailers in the State of Texas permitted to market and install aftermarket exhaust mechanisms on street motorcycles that emit noise levels which rival or exceed exhaust systems restricted to racing or off-road environs? Some of these exhaust mechanism are discreetly marked "Not for on-road use," "For off-road use only," yet, retailers install this restricted equipment on a road ready motorcycle.
Why are motorcycle retailers permitted to perform safety inspections on motorcycles when these same retailers are the entity that installs the illegal aftermarket exhausts and "ape-hanger" handlebars in excess of the 15" handle bar height restriction? Is this not a conflict of interest and does it not compromise the integrity of the inspection process?
3. I contacted a couple of Texas State Troopers by telephone and inquired as to why nothing was being done to combat the excessively loud motorcycles traversing the Texas interstates? They responded by telling me they felt nothing could be done. Basically, they felt powerless to do anything about the unacceptable situation though they agreed with me that a serious problem with excessively loud motor vehicles does exist in the State of Texas, especially involving loud motorcycles. What will be required to get law enforcement more actively involved in the area of vehicular noise enforcement? Perhaps a clearly defined "objective standard," void confusing legal elements and unnecessary subjectivity, would greatly enhance the enforceability of TTC 547.604.
The Internet is alive and bustling with concerned and frustrated citizens who are begging for Federal, State and local intervention in the area of vehicular noise enforcement. People are literally suffering at the hands of an indiscriminate and unprincipled few who insist they have the right to drive and ride as loud as they please. Unfortunately, a majority of the populace has been inundated with illegal vehicular noise for such an extended period of time they naively believe these motor vehicles were designed to be obnoxiously loud.
Most people naively believe that a Harley Davidson motorcycle, equipped with "Samson" or "Vance and Hines" aftermarket exhausts (just to name two of many brands), was designed by Harley engineers to emit ear splitting decibel levels two-to-four times what the EPA has allowed. Truth be known, that same Harley Davidson motorcycle, properly equipped with its original EPA approved muffler (OEM), is almost as quiet as a 2011 Honda Accord. People also naively believe that their neighbors new Dodge Ram 1500, whose owner recently equipped it with a 40 series "Flowmaster" performance exhaust, was designed by Chrysler engineers to emit that illegal rumble which permeates the protective confines of their home and awakens their infant child, both day and night. Actually, the original equipment exhaust from Chrysler (OEM), before installation of the Flowmaster device, was practically audibly imperceptible from the street while standing in their children's bedroom at 2 am in the morning. I compare it to the "frog-in-the-pot" scenario; where consistent exposure over a long period of time negates and numbs the visible physical response but the damaging physiological (autonomic) and psychological (unexplained stress, irritation, anger) response remain.
A majority of people living in an urban environment will admit that "everyone seems to be so angry!" What is the causative factor? A consistent bombardment of unnecessary excessive noise in the environment has a direct negative effect upon daily "quality of life" issues. This is a legislative and law enforcement problem. Why are we not taking responsibility for our failure to protect the citizenry and their right to be secure in their homes? It is a travesty and embarrassing that we have neglected our responsibility to protect the general public from this audible assault for such an extended period of time.
My vehicular noise enforcement initiative is certainly not popular and I have suffered in my personal and professional life as a result of my firm stance on this issue. I have been labeled as a "religious zealot," one who is on a personal mission to harass motorcyclists because I am a conservative white male who has proudly and openly confessed my faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. My name and reputation have been slandered, via the Internet, by an unprincipled contingent of "loud" motorcycle operators who thumb their noses at law enforcement and obstinately refuse to respect the rights of others to enjoy a peaceful environment and domestic tranquility. Motorcyclists complain to the HPD Internal Affairs Division but find that my professional conduct during the traffic stop, recorded on digital audio/video, does not meet the criteria for a complaint; therefore, these unprincipled individuals falsify statements made on a sworn affidavit. On two different occasions I have attempted to file charges for perjury via the Harris County District Attorney's Office but those charges were refused, even though digital audio and video confirm the untruthfulness of the motorcyclist's allegations.
Those motorcyclists who participate in this illegal and unruly behavior have gone as far as suggesting that I be shot in the head as a result of my firm stance on the issue of vehicular noise enforcement. A cartoonish photo is available on the Internet, Motohouston.com, picturing a pig in a police uniform being shot through the head with a subsequent blog suggesting that "Holtsclaw" be terminated in like manner and "F--k HPD" (explicative intentionally deleted for this correspondence). Evidence relevant to this fact has been presented to the Harris County District Attorney's Office, but their summation of the evidence suggested that the threat was a "freedom of speech" issue. Though I have cited a large number of automobiles and trucks for violating the noise ordinance in my area of responsibility, it is only the loud, unprincipled motorcycle contingent that has attempted to deflect culpability via obfuscation. My enforcement actions relevant to vehicular noise enforcement, though only a relatively small portion of my daily activities as a patrol officer, are viewed as harassment by an unprincipled faction of loud motorcyclists who refuse to adhere to the law and respect the rights of others. They are quick to chant the mantra that "Loud Pipes Save Lives" when the Hurt Report (DOT Motorcycle Safety Study) completely debunks this pathetic excuse for audible misbehavior.
"No Smoking" legislation, during its inception, faced many challenges from a segment of the population that refused to respect the rights of others to enjoy a healthy, smoke-free environment. Those who initiated the legislation banning the use of tobacco in certain environs also suffered attacks on their personal and professional lives, but through patience and courage, these individuals changed the social environment for the betterment of all citizens. I am simply and old "beat cop" who is attempting to do the right thing and protect those in his area of responsibility from unprincipled individuals/bullies who are selfishly abusing them. Effective vehicular noise enforcement must begin at the State level with relevant legislation and support from the Office of the Governor as well as our State Representatives. I am asking that someone at the State level, someone with courage, authority and influence, stand up for the rights of the citizens of Texas to enjoy a peaceful environment and domestic tranquility. Will you please assist me in this endeavor?
Rickey D. Holtsclaw
Houston Police Department, Retired
"The day will come when man will have to fight noise as inexorably as cholera and the plague."
-Nobel Prize-winning bacteriologist Robert Koch, 1905.