Letters To The Editor

by

Donna Warren

I received a question from a woman in North Zulch, Texas who wrote:

"I have the utmost respect for law enforcement, as I come from a family of law enforcers. But never in my life have I been treated or harassed like we were at the Dawgs on Hawgs rally in Somerville. There were
many of us who would have liked to leave the park to go eat or just go riding during the five-day rally, but didn't because of the constant and seemingly indiscriminate harassment. I was appalled at the way the Department of Public Safety and other law enforcement agencies were harassing people outside the gates of the rally grounds.

I was just wondering if any of your members have ever experienced this kind of treatment and if so, how did you handle it?"

Several members responded. Here are some of their comments:

From Jean Lechman, "Hi, I just would like to respond to this letter! It is very unfortunate that she had such a horrible experience! I don't know how I would have handled such a situation other than to leave and never look back!!! Once I arrived at home is when I would take matters into my own hands and try to contact the "In Charge" of the rally along with the top local law enforcement official."

From Kate Feeney: "Get badge numbers and take names, if they are displayed .. be sure you are correct and write a letter to The Chief asking him the next step .. which is, of course, internal affairs. In most cases, The Chief's office will get back to you and probably try to smooth it over. He will also talk to each named Officer. The officers WILL be told about their behavior and they will not do it in the future.

If you are really angry, or you do not have any badge numbers or Officer names, then go straight to Internal affairs and also file a Municipal Complaint in Somerville. I suggest you retain an attorney if you go that route.My experience around here is that many Police ride and as such, are very nice to motorcyclists. "

From Alex Pesacreta: "Knock on wood, I have never been harassed by law enforcement while on my motorcycle. However, I would not have allowed the police to intimidate me and would have gone out to eat. The local merchants probably would have enjoyed the increase in business. Also, if I were to be stopped, I would be as nice as pie and provide the necessary info. The police were flexing their law enforcement muscles to show who was in charge and that no one was going to tear up their town. Can't blame them. The best way to eradicate the "bad biker" image is to be courteous. There will always be those who harass people who ride motorcycles. It is up to us to prove that the old stereotypes are just that-old."


On a much sadder note, I have to report that Ed Rodgers, who was a frequent contributor to this column, died. He will be missed.

The following article, written by Rick Malwitz, was Published in the Home News Tribune on December 10, 2004.

"Motorcyclist Dies After Crash

Edward Rogers, Jr., who taught safety courses to hundreds of motorcyclists, died early yesterday, the result of a motorcycle accident Tuesday night in North Brunswick.

The motorcycle he was operating collided with a car at 8:15 p.m. Tuesday at the intersection of Georges Road and the ramp for southbound Route 1 in North Brunswick.

He died yesterday at 1:35 a.m. at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, according to North Brunswick police.

Rogers, a resident of New Brunswick, is survived by his wife, Stacey, and the couple's three children, 7-year-old Edward III, Kristen, 5, and Sarah, 19 months.

He would have celebrated his 43rd birthday the day after Christmas.

Stacey Rogers said yesterday she will draw on her religious beliefs to cope with the death of her husband.

"I have to go on," she said. "God works all things for good, and somehow there will be good from this. I can't see it now, but I must believe it."

Stacey Rogers said her husband was devoted to his three children and the exercise of his Christian faith, and had a passion for motorcycles. He was employed as a software engineer for BEM Systems in Chatham, an environmental engineering firm.

Rogers had a second job as a certified Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF)Rider Course instructor at the Fairleigh Dickinson University Teaneck campus, through its continuing education department.

"It was a hard hit for us," said Joan Leder, the senior program director for the office of continuing education.

Leder said Rogers was known for wearing maximum safety and reflective gear."He was big on safety, and was capable of riding everywhere, in all weather," she said.

The courses he taught at FDU were for beginners and experienced riders, with 12 persons per class over a period of two and a half days.

"He taught hundreds, if not thousands," said Leder, who said she continued to learn safety tips from Rogers at monthly workshop meetings.

According to police, Rogers was traveling south on Georges Road, turning left onto the ramp for southbound Route 1. He was struck by a vehicle driven by Rachel Diehl, 18, of Manville. She was traveling north on Route 130 headed toward Georges Road.

The intersection was closed for nearly three hours during the police investigation.

Rogers and Diehl were transported to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital by North Brunswick rescue units. Diehl was treated for minor injuries .Rogers suffered serious injuries to his chest and legs, according to the police report.

No charges were filed.

Rogers' family were active members of the Mount Zion AME Church in New Brunswick, where Rogers led a program to provide emergency housing for the homeless at the church.

When Mount Zion was hosting a homeless shelter on a rotating basis with other churches, "he (Rogers) took complete charge, making sure there was clean bedding, and the place was neat," said Dorothy Carter, the church secretary.

Rogers was a member of the Christian Motorcycle Association.

Rogers, a native of Jersey City, met his wife when the two attended Rutgers University. Rogers graduated in 1988, and the couple resided in New Brunswick ever since."

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