Saturday, December 11, 2010

A Royal Slap in the Face...

It really spins me out when people insinuate that I, or other police officers for that matter, am doing something wrong because I am doing something they cannot do. Especially when they use catch phrases like "above the law".

Whether it be driving without a seatbelt (which I don't do), talking on a cell phone while driving, driving above the posted speed limit, or whatever.

The problem is that these people are not police officers, have not the slightest idea how my job is done, and can't be bothered to find out. They also generally don't care to hear my explanation for what they have seen. They just feel like if I am doing something it is not legal for them to do, I must be wrong.

I'm sure it never occurred to them that I might be driving a little fast because I'm going to an in progress crime that doesn't rise to the level of requiring a code 3 response. Surely they haven't considered I might be talking on my cell phone because I'm checking someone for warrants and I personally know that person has a scanner in his car. No. I must just be doing it because I can.

Some folks are just not happy unless they are complaining about the police.

My normal response to folks like this (in forums other than this blog) is to invite them to come in for a ride along so they can see what my job involves.

I've never had anyone take me up on the offer.

Go figure...


Melissa said...

Hey, that's a great response. If they don't care to learn why you do what you do, then you don't have any responsibility to listen to their bitching.

By the by, I'd love to hear your take on the TSA right now. I wish they'd be held to the same probable cause requirements as the rest of law enforcement - 'you don't have to fly' is a really, really specious excuse for violating the fourth amendment in my mind. But I'd enjoy hearing your perspective on it, if you're inclined to discuss it.

suz said...

Some folks are just not happy unless they are complaining, period. The invisible bullseye on your car makes you a handy target. Sorry it sucks.

Ann T. said...

Dear Officer Smith,
In general, I have found that people who are tuned to supposed "perks" of other people generally take more than their share of their own.

As for the ride-along, I would love to go. Too bad I'm not in your state--and I don't really need convincing that you are working a job that few people could master.

Thanks for all your hard work on behalf of the people and the idiots,

And happy day to you.

Ann T.

Carteach0 said...

Yup, there is a real Us vs. Them attitude between some police officers and some regular citizens.

I suspect it's fed by stereotypes on both sides.... but don't most stereotypes happen for a reason?

Yup.... people blow past me on the highway all the time, but I *notice* the police officers who do it because their vehicles are covered with things *designed* to make me take notice. Since most every police car I see rolling on the highway is passing me well above the speed limit, I notice that too. Could they be going someplace important, on a call? Sure.... but every single one of them? How about that line of Ohio highway patrol cars traveling on the Indiana highway, each car with four people in it? The ones simply blowing past everyone in sight.

Like I said... I get passed a lot and don't sweat it.... but police cars are built to be in your face, for a reason. They are going to get noticed, and thought about. I might have been passed by a bunch of college kids in Indiana that day, and never had another thought about it.... but it was marked police cars blowing past me, and I never forgot them. I always have the same thought too... those guys will never get cited for doing that, but I could if I drove that stupidly... and the financial effect on my life would be huge.

I suppose I could blather on about all sorts of different behaviors between police and common citizens, but likely you know them far better than I do. I get the same sort of thing as a teacher, from folks who haven't a clue what my job entails.

The point is that Us Vs Them attitude. It's a dangerous beast, and ends up getting good people hurt. I'd rather not feed it. Wish more people had the same idea.

Carteach0 said...

Oh... and if you were in the Lancaster (PA) area I would surely take you up on a ride along offer. It would be a good experience.

I don't think our local officers do it, and I'm pretty sure the PA State Police don't either.

Meadowlark said...

You mean like the idea that every piece of information is something the public "NEEDS TO KNOW". Here's an idea f*cktard - you don't NEED to know anything besides keep your piehole shut.

Oh. Sorry. I sound b*tchy. Ignore those asstards. They suffer from little boy syndrome and hate anybody who can "make them mind" like mommy does.

GRRRRRRRRRRRRR. You keep doing what you do and ignore the stupid people.

Joshkie said...

Sorry, if I expect the police to set the standard not the exceptions to the rule. I really don't care what your reason for speeding down the road with out your lights on is. If it's urgent enough to speed than it's proble urgent enough to put your damn lights on.
My mother was t-boned by a cop without his lights or sirens on running a red light. (She is was ok.)
How can you or anyone have the moral authority to write tickets and put people in jail if your not even willing to follow the law yourself?
Sorry for the rant you hit a nerve to.

Vitriolic Virchow said...

Officer Smith

I will certainly grant that there are times when in the course of your duties, you must break the law particularly in the examples that you mentioned. I have also seen fellow officers, in marked cars that are out of their jurisdictions, ignore traffic laws or drive around obstructions at times and places which looks damn like ignoring the law to improve their commute. I have seen officers that were impaired on duty from ethanol driven quietly home when a non-officer would have been arrested and jailed.

Frankly, I do not trust the police to restrain themselves or police themselves. The actions of enough local bullies with distain for folks who don't wear blue polyester have poisoned the well. Frankly, I trust a uniformed policeman that I don't know as much as I would trust a Roman Catholic priest I didn't know to watch my child.

You want not to get critical comments about your not breaking the law? Don't do it then.

Gator Girl Tales said...

They just don't get it. And probably never will.

Mr.B said...

so, if you are not above the law, why is it ok for you to use a non-hands free cell phone when plain old civilians can't? And if driving faster than the speed limit is bad for us to do (and those limits are there for a reason, right?) for public safety or whatever, then why is YOUR driving above the limit without lights ok?

I have reflexes equal to ro better than most people. I have the driver training that exceeds what most police officers have. Yet I am subject to speed lawsa for a reason. As should you be.

Make no mistake, I admire what you do, and I admire the hard work that police do for our community. But to make excuses that YOU have a good reason to break laws which are in place for public safety (whether they are realistic or not) and it is ok for YOU to break them because your reasons are better just because YOU are a police officer is hypocritical. My reasons are just as good as your as to why I break the law.

I just don't have a badge or a sense of superiority to "excuse" my actions.

Seriously. You should look at your words and imagine them coming from me, a non-LEO, and see if they sound valid to you.

mike said...

I've thought long and hard about your post - and I have the following comment B***S*** !!!

Yes, there are times you are doing things that require you to do things that civilians aren't allowed to do - but just stating "trust me, I wouldn't do it if I didn't have to" doesn't cut it when far too many of your brothers in blue abuse their position on a regular basis. And yes, I have seen it many times and actually know the circumstances.

So sorry, you will just have to live with people questioning your actions and motives. Don't like, then leave public service.

HonkingAntelope said...

It's not that I'm unhappy unless I'm complaining about police. What spins out myself and a lot of others is seeing certain members of your profession break the law while the exact same violation would (and often does) cost an average Joe anywhere between $250 and $500+ with fines being at extortionist levels these days.

I remember reading a post on another blog by a motorcycle cop where he would deliberately speed up to 80mph+ just to bait someone into speeding up over 65 and then turn around and cite them for speeding. Suffice to say, he did not cite himself for committing a maximum speed violation in the process.

I agree that you have great reasons for punching the gas pedal or making an occasional cell phone call to keep stuff off the radio waves, or driving without the seatbelt if you're expecting to have to get out of the car in a hurry. No one in their right mind does the speed limit unless they've been drinking or have drugs in their trunk.

Trouble is, an average Joe can't count on getting a free pass even when he/she has a decent reason for it and no real safety violation took place.

Moose said...

The problem is, there are bad apples in every bushel. And there's an old customer service saying that you get 1 positive comment for every 10 complaints. And there's a psychological thingy (Yeah, I know, technical terms!) about how bad things stick in your mind harder than good things, which is why annoying ad jingles and songs get stuck in your head.

So, yeah, there are cases of cops acting like they are "above the law." A friend of mine once saw a cop do a pause at a stop sign and said, "Nice stop, there, officer." Next thing he knew he was face down on the hood of the cop car, cuffed, and being screamed at. (He was not arrested, just manhandled and screamed at for a while, then let go.) I had an off-duty cop working in a supermarket throw me out of a supermarket for telling a woman needlessly SCREAMING at a clerk to calm the hell down. All I said was, "Lady, your screaming isn't helping this, would you please calm the hell down?" The cop threw me out of the store, claiming I was making trouble.

Do I generally disrespect police officers? Do I think they're all clueless twerps? Do I think they all think they're above the law? Hell, no.

But the scary truth is, Officer, is that that one bad apple in a place of power, and abusing that power, is 1000x more terrifying than your random bad jerk.

p.s. and i would take up that offer of a ride along in a microsecond :-)

Mad Jack said...

...invite them to come in for a ride along so they can see what my job involves.

I've never had anyone take me up on the offer.

I'll go! Straight money, I've always wanted to ride along with the police and I've never been able to find the opportunity.

I think it would be a ton of fun to ride along and watch the police at work.

Jay said...

Some people just want to complain. If you took them for a ride along and they saw for themselves the whys and wherefores you would take away that pleasure (and right before Christmas, what could you be thinking.)

fuzzys dad said...

Merry Christmas and God Bless

Stephanie Belser said...

"Professional courtesy".

Are you saying that cops never use their badges to get out of tickets?

Officer "Smith" said...


How did you get that idea from this post?

Lil Ole Me said...

Come on.... attorneys lie and twist facts around to suit themselves all the time.

Oh wait, that's only 1 out of 50... but I'd prefer to focus on the one piece of sh*t rather than realize that most of them are respectable human beings doing their best.

Just sayin'

Stephanie Belser said...

Officer Smith,

I worded that badly. What I was trying to ask about was whether off-duty police officers use their credentials to get out of tickets.

Lil Ole Me said...

@Stephanie - I apologize for the snarky anti-lawyer comment. Sorry. I'm hotheaded that way.

Stephanie Belser said...

Come on.... attorneys lie and twist facts around to suit themselves all the time.

That's the best that you've got?

Officer "Smith" said...


Yes, they do. That's no secret. The thing to remember is that not every cop flashes a badge when they get stopped, and not every badge flasher gets out of a ticket.