Saturday, June 27, 2009

HALT! Who Goes There?

A guy I stopped yesterday for a sign violation spun me out a little.

He didn't have any ID on him, so I asked him for his horsepower (that's personal information for the uninitiated). He begrudgingly gave me his name, date of birth and address.

I ran the name and DOB he gave me through my dispatcher, and he came back "no match". To me, this means he might not be telling the truth about his name. I asked him if he had EVER had a driver's license or ID card issued by the State of California. He said he had, but he didn't anymore. He wasn't able to remember the driver's license number either, which could have saved us all some time.

I explained to my subject that since he was not producing ID, and I could not confirm the identity he had provided, I was going to search him for identification.

This guy got all indignant on me, saying "I TOLD YOU WHO I AM! WHY DO YOU WANT TO SEARCH ME NOW!?" I explained that I needed to confirm his identity for the citation I was issuing him, and that an unconfirmed verbal identification was not sufficient. "But I already TOLD you my name!"

Yes, sir, you gave me a name, you gave me an address, you gave me a date of birth, none of which I can confirm. I know this is going to sound unbelievable to you, but....

PEOPLE LIE TO THE POLICE...

That's right, occasionally people actually tell me they are someone else. Whether it be because they think they have a warrant, or simply because they don't want to be held responsible for whatever infraction I'm citing them for, PEOPLE REALLY DO LIE TO THE POLICE.

So, eventually I did search the guy, and he didn't have any form of identification on him, so he felt the need to throw it back in my face. "See? I TOLD you I didn't have any ID." I agreed, he had told me this. But now I knew it was fact.

If I had a dollar for every time someone told me they didn't have ID, then I searched them and found ID, I wouldn't have to do this job anymore. I'd still do it anyway, but I wouldn't HAVE to.

I eventually managed to find my guy's driver's license record, and confirmed the information he provided was real, scratched out the citation and sent him on his way.

He just could not get his head around the idea that people will lie to the police, and as such we have been given the right to search folks for ID. He simply could not understand that I must confirm the identity of the person I am dealing with, or I will likely lose the citation in court.

Case law allows police officers to search people and cars for identification in the event the person is investigated for a crime. Yes, jaywalking is a crime. Telling me you have no ID, telling me you don't speak English, not stopping when I tell you to stop, or otherwise trying to avoid responsibility for your actions are not viable ways for you to avoid getting a ticket.

Be an adult about it and just take your damned ticket...

9 comments:

Texas Ghostrider said...

If there is no match, we arrest and get fingerprints. A citation is only a promise to appear. Without ID a police officer cannot comfirm that the info is correct so the promise is out the window....
Most of the no ID's who are older end up getting charged for another case......

Sean said...

I had a nice catch come out of just this sort of thing a few years ago - passenger on a stop not wearing his seatbelt; didn't have ID on him & just didn't "feel right" to me... a little investigating with the other passengers & found out enough to get PC he was lying about his name & so I arrested him.

Found out five minutes later with his real info that he was wanted for a double homicide.

Talk about a great object lesson I've remembered & passed on...

BootedCop said...

Great story...click it or go to prison for murder

Front Porch Society said...

Sounds like a real nice guy. *sarcasm dripping*

People lie almost all the time to police, it seems. And they wonder why we question their identity when the information they give us comes back unknown.....gee, a no brainer.

Mrs. "Smith" said...

"PEOPLE LIE TO THE POLICE..."

...ok, ok, I can't take it anymore!! I wasn't really in the bathroom and couldn't make it to the phone, I just didn't feel like talking and let the machine get your call...*sob*

Officer "Smith" said...

Well..... okay then....

Bob G. said...

"Smitty":
Well, people only lie to the police IF (and when) it can BENEFIT them...

Take a homicide on "some city street"...
A group of people are present when officers arrive on scene (say within 30 secs of a man-down and shots fired), and while waiting for the meat wagon, some officers secure the scene while others start questioning those present...
Seems OK enough, right?

Guess again...

Everyone who YOU question (and every other officer there knows) SUDDENLY develops some type of "short-term memory loss"...

Nobody saw "nuthin".
(but 10 people, were right at the scene)
"We don't know nuthin". "We jus hear shots and he on the ground".

(yeah right, and I'm actually the POPE...I just do police work as my "side job")

Same applies to driving - you SHOULD be carrying SOME form of ID on you (in case someone decides to run that light and marry you and your car to the tree across the street).

Driving SHOULD be like a second job...it requires that much attention (or should).

That DOES explains why so many of these folks can't hold down their FIRST job, though...doesn't it?

Good post and comments by all.

Stay safe out there.

Egon said...

I may be speaking out of ignorance here, and if I am, forgive me. I am just beginning to read this blog, and I am catching up on older posts. While I agree with a lot you say this strikes a chord with me. There is a fine line between needing ID for a purpose (i.e. driving a car) and for needing an ID period. I understand the indignation here. You went in with the mindset of, "This person is lying to me about his ID." And while that may be the type of person you are more likely to get slack from in law enforcement, it doesn't mean most people would lie to you. The person here seems offended at being treated like a liar, and rightly so. It is hard to accept the idea of "papers, please" in free society. And while it makes it difficult for law enforcement, it is a difficulty that is necessary to maintain the freedoms we enjoy. I don't, and will never carry ID when not required. And I will always be upset at people not taking me at my word. These beliefs are core to my status as an American, and as a person.

Officer "Smith" said...

Thanks for taking the time to comment Egon.

What you may not understand is that I have to be able to identify the person I am citing. A verbal identification that cannot be confirmed with a DMV record is not sufficient.

The issue arises when the guy takes the citation to court, and the judge asks me how I identified him.

"Uhhh, he told me his name your honor."

"Did he provide you with any form of identification?"

"No your honor."

"Can you confirm that the gentleman standing to your left is the same person you stopped nine months ago?"

"Well, he told me his name."

I'm sure you can see how stupid that would make the officer look. By law, if I can't identify you, I can take you into custody and take you before a magistrate forthwith.

I think people believe they will get out of a ticket if they don't provide ID. Unfortunately, I have time on my hands to deal with the situation, and the ticket will be issued.

Folks I stop can save both of us a lot of time and trouble by just providing ID. It's not required, by any means. But it is helpful, and I do have the right to search you for identification if I have stopped you for a violation of the law and can't confirm who you are.