Thursday, March 26, 2009


Citations. Rags. Stubs. Scratch 'em. Fang 'em. Bang one out.

Every now and then I go back into my blog archive and read some of my old posts. The other day it dawned on me that it sounds like I really enjoy writing people tickets. Well, sounds can be deceiving.

From the apparent tone of my posts, I appear to get a kick out of issuing people citations and pissing them off. This could not be further from the truth. I don't enjoy giving people tickets. I do it because it's my job. I do it to keep the roads a little safer. I do it to save people from their own piss poor driving. I do it to educate people.

I do, however, enjoy sharing the better ones with my readers.

When I issue a driver a citation, I have seen a violation of the Vehicle Code, and I am taking action as a result of what I have seen. If I am not 100% certain of what I've seen, and that you are the person I saw doing it, I will not issue you a ticket. That avoids the famous "bullshit ticket" everyone claims they have gotten. I guarantee you didn't get it from me.

Don't get me wrong. There are some citations I do truly love giving out. When a driver lays into me as soon as I walk up their window, that driver has immediately failed the attitude test, and I will thoroughly enjoy citing them. When I stop a driver who is unlicensed or suspended, I feel good about citing that person. When I am investigating a collision, I don't mind citing the at fault driver for the cause of the collision.

What I don't enjoy, is citing the nice, polite drivers who talk to me like I am a human being. In other words, about 95% of the drivers I stop. I usually cite them anyway though, because that's what the powers that be pay me to do.

These are the people for whom I feel the need to go the extra mile to "sell the product" so to speak. These are the folks who thank me when I leave. Even though I have ruined this person's day, I still feel like I leave them feeling satisfied if not necessarily happy.

So, no. I don't enjoy pissing people off. I don't enjoy citing most people.

So don't go getting any ideas...


mike said...

I was thankful for a ticket I got a few years ago. Well, not thankful for the ticket itself, but for the warning that came with it.

I was out Sunday driving, heading south on a dirt road when I came to a blacktop. As the officer said, I came to a complete stop, no problem at all in that regard.

However, I then immediately proceeded to pull right in front of the oncoming officer, not seeing him at all!

I had barely crossed the road and looked in my mirror to see the flashing lights. I was shocked, I mean I had just pulled out from a stop, I wasn't speeding, weaving or anything, plus, where did he come from?!?

So I pulled over, and a shaken, white-faced officer came up to my window and asked if I knew why he had stopped me. I told him, I had no idea, and he explained I had just pulled out in front of him so close that if he had been a speeding teenager, he would have t-boned my car.

I've never seen an officer so shaken up, and when I realized the implications of what he told me, I was pretty upset myself. He apologized but said he had to write me up. I didn't thank him, but I should have, for now I always look both ways before pulling out.

I don't know how or when I got in the habit of just glancing, and not really seeing, if anything was coming, but after the ticket I remembered a couple of times where I had been upset that someone had pulled out in front of me ... or so I thought. I then realized what had probably happened.

Anyway, long story, I hadn't really shared this before (maybe I'll post it on my site :-) but I really was thankful because I truly believe he saved my life. Not that day, but one day soon, I would have done the same thing with disastrous results.

Officer "Smith" said...

Thanks for sharing that Mike. That's exactly how I explain citations to most of my drivers. Reminders.

Leslie said...

Before I got into Law Enforcement, I always thanked an officer if they pulled me over and gave me a ticket. I always knew they were just doing their job.