Saturday, June 20, 2009

People Just Couldn't Mind Their Own Damned Business Today...

Several people could not resist the temptation to stick their noses where they didn't belong.

Most notably was the jackass who walked past me on a traffic stop and said "Hey officer. That was some really nice reckless driving back there. I saw how you were driving like 80 miles an hour and you ran into the back of that red car."

Pardon me? It was all I could do not to say "I think you may have slightly over-estimated my speed, but thank you for the compliment anyway."

I refrained though.

As the prick kept walking away, what I actually said as I pointed to my pretty blue and red lights was, "That's why they give me these lights. If you want to discuss it, why don't you come on back here and we'll talk, instead of you making a smart-alecky comment and walking off."

He turned and said he didn't have time to come back and talk. If he didn't have time to talk, he wouldn't have made the damned wise-crack in the first place. More like "I'm too scared to come back and talk to you." I was disappointed.

I really wanted to explain to him that it is impossible to catch a 45 MPH speeder if I'm doing the 25 MPH speed limit. I wanted to include that I was in fact doing 50 MPH, not the 80 he claimed.

In addition, I was going to mention that if the red car had yielded to my lights before I was right on his bumper, I wouldn't have had to get right behind him. I did not, however, come anywhere CLOSE to "running into the back" of his car.

I wanted to further explain to him that I have been trained on how to safely operate faster than the general public, I take my speed seriously and my attention is extra focused on the traffic around me when I'm going a little faster than normal.

On top of that, I really wanted to tell him I don't stop him while he is at work and tell him how to program computers, sell lattes, or whatever the hell it is he does, so I'd appreciate it if he'd refrain from telling me how to conduct traffic enforcement.

Alas, I did not get to have such a conversation with him, because he saw fit to make a comment he was unwilling, or unable to back up.

Just a general note to my readers who are not police officers. If you feel that something you saw a police officer do was unsafe, unlawful, or just plain wrong, you have several plans of action available to you.

1) Wait until that officer is finished with what he or she is doing, then ask if you can speak with them for a moment. Politely voice your concerns, and listen to what the officer says in return. If you don't come off with an attitude, I will not reply with an attitude. I will certainly explain why I do what I do, in the ways that I do it. Hopefully I can allay your fears.

2) Call the police department Watch Commander and speak with him or her regarding what you have seen. The Watch Commander will be able to have the same conversation with you, but you will not have to show your face or identify yourself. You can vent your frustration, and maybe even get an education if you're willing to listen.

3) Go to the police department and complain. The people at the front counter are more likely to listen to you if you feel like whining instead of having an intelligent discussion.

What I do not suggest you do, however, is inject yourself into my traffic stop by making a smartass comment while I'm writing the ticket. By involving yourself in my business, you make yourself the focus of my attention. You might even find yourself becoming the subject of an arrest for obstructing me from doing my job.

Don't believe me? Look up 148(a)(1) PC.

Just sayin'...

23 comments:

TheBronze said...

What a punk.

Jay said...

I dare say he just wanted to rattle your cage. All mouth and no action. As previously stated "What a punk."

David Woycechowsky said...

The other weekend I was at the restaurant part of a bar / restaurant. At the next table was an offduty policeman and his wife. They were drunk and their converstaion was quite loud. They were mostly talking about the policeman's job and his quest to get additional alcohol testing machines and to thereby get credit for liason points by making that happen. They had much to say about police budgets and the cost of dress blouses ($600!) and the like. Although I could not avoid overhearing the conversation, it was interesting and entertaining to me.

They also said where they lived. It was not really within walking distance. From this and other circumstances, I got the distinct impression that the policeman was going to drive home drunk. He did not say that he was going to drive, but given all the circumstances it seemed like what was likely to happen.

As it turned out, I finished my meal at the same time the policeman and his wife were finishing their last drinks. I became concerned that I would be put in a position to see the policeman driving home, because they would be leaving at the same time as me. I did not want to be put in a position of reporting such a drunk driving policeman because I feared that the local police might retaliate in some way.

So what I did was to take measures to speed up the process of paying and getting out of there. I made sure to leave before the policeman and his wife, so I do not know if he drove drunk or not (although I suspect he did).

Did I do the right thing?

Officer "Smith" said...

Go away David.

Mrs. "Smith" said...

Oh, David....You live such a colorful life. Are you sure your reality is the same as the one the rest of us live in?

You posted: "I did not want to be put in a position of reporting such a drunk driving policeman because I feared that the local police might retaliate in some way."

If you don't report such behavior as you claim this officer displayed, are you not condoning the behavior? Do you not believe that such behavior would be of interest to his department? Do you really believe such behavior should be condoned, and his members of his department would really retaliate against you? Or, have you already been such a buffoon that the police are well aware of you and want as little to do with you as possible, and that is why you prattle your inanities here?

Front Porch Society said...

I would have slapped him with an "interferring with official acts" code and watched him squirm then. *snort* Why is it the morons can never back up their smart-ass comments?

Front Porch Society said...

Although....this moron also reminds me of a certain poster named DAVID. David feels like he can come around here spouting off smart-ass comments and yet he doesn't have the balls to make his profile public for us to see. Hmmmm.....what, are you scared there David? Got something to hide? Don't have the balls to be public? Scaredy cat....

And do what Officer Smith has asked you to do - GO AWAY you pond scum!

David Woycechowsky said...

Do you not believe that such behavior would be of interest to his department? Do you really believe such behavior should be condoned, and his members of his department would really retaliate against you?

I think they might not retaliate, or they might not. Reading this post about how the Watch Commander would dismiss the citizen's complaint out of hand (and teach him a lesson), and about how Officer Smith considered an delaying and obstruction charge is the kind of thing that makes me think a police department might retaliate.

Look at it this way -- the man was going on and on about how he badly wanted another bench test device for more DUI arrests, and yet he would have been the one driving home drunk (if he did and I don't know that for a fact). If the policeman would have been guilty of that level of hypocrisy, then how can I trust the folks who hired him and who work with him.

So, to get back to my question, did I do the right thing by aggresively minding my own business?

David Woycechowsky said...

woycechowskycorrection to previous:

--might or might not retaliate--

TheBronze said...

Maybe if everyone just ignores the Copyright Attorney, he'll just go away...

Alex said...

Thanks for telling us about the proper way to voice concerns.

Officer "Smith" said...

You don't sound convinced Alex.

Officer "Smith" said...

David,

Whether or not you did the right thing by ignoring the drunk off duty cop who may or may not have driven home drunk is up to you. Only you can decide what was the right thing for YOU to do.

I can only hope, if that copper DID in fact drive drunk, he got pulled over and hooked up before he crashed and killed someone. If not, I hope you'll be able to live with yourself for not doing something to stop him.

It is precisely this "aggressively minding one's own business" that is the problem these days. People see murders, robberies, or other crimes and intentionally avoid reporting it to the police based upon their unfounded fear of "retaliation", either from the police or from the bad guys.

If you believe arresting someone for obstructing me in the performance of my duties is "retaliation", I cannot help you sir.

If you feel you would be retaliated against for reporting a police officer for drunk driving, perhaps you have once again been watching too much of that television you claim not to have. Either that, or things are way different in New York than they are around these parts.

For the last time, David, if you don't have anything useful to say, please don't say anything at all. You clutter up my comments section with your inane questions, but you keep your blog from public view in an apparent effort to keep others from returning the favor. Not that I can think of any particularly anti-patent-lawyer comments to make, but that's not my point.

I will try very hard to ignore any irrelevant, provocative or otherwise defamatory statements or questions you may post on this blog in the future.

Good day to you sir.

David Woycechowsky said...

If you believe arresting someone for obstructing me in the performance of my duties is "retaliation", I cannot help you sir.

I don't believe that complaining to you about perceived wreckless driving is an obstruction to you writing a traffic ticket. Maybe if the guy or gal keeps talking after being ignored by you. But charging for misdemeanor obstructing in the circumstances you describe would be retaliation pure and simple. It is the kind of thing that makes citizens fear retaliation, the way you seem to consider the possibility with relish.

Sandra G. said...

David,

If the off duty officer got into his own car, you could have always made an anonymous call in to 911 with the licence plate number.

But then again, you would have had to have stuck around to see if he actually got into his own car or took a taxi.

You appear to have a predetermined attitude towards police, and seem convinced that all cops are crooked, deceitful and dangerous.

I know I shouldn't bite at your comments, but someone needs to point out to you that you are displaying the type of behaviour/attitude that you are accusing officers of having.

David Woycechowsky said...

That is an interesting point about anonymous calls, Sandra, but there were no pay phones in the area and calls from my cel are not anonymous.

I wouldn't worry about, "biting" at my post. The comments section of a blog is a great place to have a good discussion.

This thing of fleeing the potential bad situation with the policeman has been nagging at me a bit since it happened, but, I have to say, so far I think I would handle it the same if it happened to me again today.

It is quite difficult for a non-police to report police misconduct because there is nothing that a non-police can do if retaliation occurs. Many forms of retaliation (such as a police tail, instanter for one over, Terry frisks) are quite legal. Maybe it is good that it is legal for police to retaliate legally (because there are a lot of bogus complaints), but the other side of the coin is that a regular citizen is going to shy away from even a valid complaint if it cannot be made anonymously. In these days of disappearing pay phones, it becomes much harder to complain anonymously.

Front Porch Society said...

For anonymous calls from your cell phone, hit *67 first and then dial the freakin' number. Duh!!

Ronjii said...

David,David...
As an officer of the court (you have passed the bar, haven't you?) You have a sworn duty to report any illegal acts you're aware of ( as long as it's not your client, of course).You're like the rap 'star' that said he'd move his family out of his neighborhood if he discovered a child molester living nearby, but he didn't have any obligation to warn his neighbors. I can't decide if you're paranoid, a hypocrite, or both & by now I don't care - every village needs an idiot who's striving to be the court fool...

David Woycechowsky said...

Nice try, Front Porch Society. If that didn't work I could always go into the stationhouse in person wearing a ski mask and some gloves.

powdergirl said...

I don't question police officers about their conduct because that would be

patently ridiculous.

Me said...

David, I'd pay a dollar to watch you walk into a police station wearing gloves and a ski mask, and preferably carrying a realistic toy gun that you would like to turn in to "lost and found."

Mrs. "Smith" said...

My darling, I hope you know just how much I restrain myself at times.

Officer "Smith" said...

Done.