All the talk around the Hall of Justice today was about yesterday’s battle royal, fought to the finish in Judge Jennifer Wilcox’s Division 101 traffic court. Two heavy-weights—local radio and television personality Terry Meiners, and LMPD’s star traffic cop Sam Cromity—fought to the finish over a speeding ticket. Late in the afternoon the jury returned a verdict of “not guilty;” a TKO for Meiners.
The 54-year-old Meiners has been a regular on WHAS-AM with his drive-time radio program, since 1985. Recently, he and Rachel Platt have started co-hosting the new Great Day Live morning show on WHAS-TV. Most folks in Louisville will recognize Meiners from his 25-year involvement with the WHAS Crusade for Children telethon, which he co-hosts with television news anchor Melissa Swan.
Louisville definitely has a love/hate relationship with the sharp-tongued comedian. He has won the “Best Radio Personality” readers’ survey contest sponsored by Louisville Magazine 18 times; and in 2010 the readers of LEO Weekly voted him “Best Local Media Celebrity You Love to Hate;” just ahead of convicted extortionist Karen Sypher.
Officer Sam Cromity, on the other hand, is relatively unknown outside of law enforcement and legal circles, where he has a reputation for writing speeding tickets. Lots of speeding tickets. He is usually at the top of the annual LMPD traffic-ticket list.
Although police officers receive no extra pay for court appearances while on duty, they receive $50 for the first two hours they spend in court during non-working hours and collect overtime pay after that. A 2009 newspaper article about the excessive cost of police overtime pay mentioned that Cromity logged more than 1,000 hours of court pay between 2004 and 2008, according to police records; earning nearly $50,000 extra pay as a result.
But whether or not the taxpayers are getting their money’s worth out of Sam Cromity remains an open question. A Courier-Journal review of his 2008 traffic and misdemeanor cases—nearly 3,000 in all—found that even when Cromity appeared in court, the vast majority of his cases either were reduced to lesser charges or dismissed.
And, while it is probably not definitive to quote the complaint of a disgruntled motorist, we note that the web site ratemycop.com carries the remarks of a one “easycheesy1,” who had this to say about Cromity: “I admit I was in the wrong for speeding. Mr. Cromity is a rude and very impatient officer that shows lack of professionalism. I have never had an officer get so inpatient and curse at me because I had to pull out my registration and insurance. He stomped away from the car as if I was wasting his time to write the ticket. He needs anger management.”