DesertExile: Why do they do that?

13 April 2006

Why do they do that?

You have often heard this phrase/question after a person has had a transaction with a police officer, or they have viewed the officer in action, either first hand or on some news clip.

As a former Officer, I was aware of these questions and the occasions that generated them.

Typical Scenarios are:
A person is stopped for a violation. The Officer walks with deliberation to one of the doors of the stopped car. REASON: You appraoch in a matter that shows by body language, "I have control here". If the stopped driver has given signs of resisting or evading while being stopped, that driver has put the Officer "ON Guard".

The Officer then informs the driver as to why there has been a stop. A driver may retort with a disagreement. This is not wise, and will be responded to with body language and a verbal message that says," I'm not here to debate". Unspoken is the thought:" If you had any hope of getting a warning--you just blew it".

The officer is testing also. He may have the impression that the violator is going to try something else. If the violator shows submission, the rest of the transaction will go smoothly

The best apparoch to maybe getting that warning is HONESTY! Our society has become one where NO one is at Fault-It is always someone else's input. Officers get so tired of hearing excuses, and arguments that:
The violator is late for____
The Violator has to get to a bath room.
The violator will be in trouble with___if he/she doesn't get to ____ in the next ___minutes.

Women: Tears will NOT work. In fact, the Officers I know feel that this is a bargaining chip, and will counter by making sure a citation is issued.

Officers usually have access to their sidearm, an automatic pistol, a shotgun, (rarely used) ,and a civilian version of the M-16.
As to when to use, the use of a weapon is decided by Department Policy, which is based on both Criminal; and Civil Law.
A weapon can not be used unless the Officer feels threatened, to save the life of another, or to capture a FLEEING, VIOLENT Felon. So, when you see the end of a chase, and the officers are NOT pointing guns luike they do in the TV police shows, that is why.

On the other hand, you may see a vehicle drive to the right and stop. Now, you see two or more police cars. The officers get out, guns drawn, and pointing at the stopped car. REASON: The officer has reliable, verified information that the person in this car has committed a felony, or the car was used in a felony.

BREAKS: Personal experience. 34 years ago, I stopped a man for about 95 miles an hour. He seemed like a nice guy, and was returning to Oklahoma City. He asked " Can't you give me a Break?" O K, so I write the citation for 80, as the speed limit was 70 then.
About a week later, the Segeant says," Come in to my office, and close the door". The Sergeant then tells that he has a complaint letter from Okie City guy, and the man stated this: The Officer told me I was going 95, but he wrote the ticket for 80. The officer is either not sure how fast I was going, or he is lying".
From then on, I never reduced the speed. Now, you have a third generation Radar that you can lock the violator's speed on, and show it to him/her. You would not dare write another figure on the citation.

Up to about 1980, there was an unspoken rule that if you went to a crash, or stopped a car, and the driver was an influentiaql person or another police officer, you drove him/her home, and made no record of the contact.
As time went on, upper police administrators developed a burning desire to CYA.
About 1985, an Officer working north of San Bernardino was sent to a crash with only one vehicle involved on a saturday afternoon. The officer should have thought," Ive been sent here--someone besides me knows what happened". The driver of the crashed car said in a slurred voice" It's OK. I'm a Deputy Sheriff from San Bernardino." The Deputy was obviouslu under the influence (DUI) and the Officer drove him home after calling a tow, and having the car towed to a collision reconstruction facility.
The next Monday, a retired couple came in to the Office where the Officer was based. They wanted to know what the crash driver's blood alcohol result was, as they had a bet with each other.
The Officer could not deny going to the crash. There was a log that showed he was sent, and a log entry requesting a tow to that loaction.
The officer was given TEN DAYS OFF WITHOUT PAY. The Agency issued a statewide Memo, stating that anyone who did not arrest a DUI driver would face 30 days off without pay the first time, and dismissal the second time.


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