Because people had developed an annoying tendency to beat up traffic agents
, the city made manhandling them a felony
. Maybe the traffic cops have gone mad with power and are throwing their weight around, because the Times
says the city has employed sensitivity trainers for them
"to reduce the tensions that can arise" when they give a guy a ticket just before he gets his last quarter in the meter. Dr. Alan Hilfer, chief psychologist of Maimonides Medical Center, says the agents should make clear to their targets that "this is not something they're doing to them personally," but rather to a vision of them as human ATMs beheld by city officials. To this end he counsels soothing mantras such as, "I understand you're upset; nobody likes to get a ticket."
A refreshing response comes from former traffic cop and current head of their union, James Huntley: "You have the irate motorist, you have the irate pedestrian, calling us all kinds of names. They're the ones that need sensitivity training."