We interact with them frequently, both under friendly terms and when we’ve gone against what the law says we can and can’t do. That’s life. And frequently, we freely tell law enforcement officers exactly what we think about being pulled over for speeding/bad tail light/etc.
Believe it or not, some of these encounters do not end with either party exchanging phone numbers to arrange a casual meeting in the future. While cops have heard everything five times, they rarely tell us what they REALLY think.
Sure, they quote a law or a regulation that justifies what they are stopping you for but as far as what they think about the situation, not so much. Here are a few examples from some blogging cops that shed some light on what the men and women in blue are thinking when they stop you.
A blog called ‘Cop Thoughts’ writes his thoughts about a traffic stop that has probably happened dozens of times:
I believe you, I really do. Your excuse borders on outrageous, but still hovers over feasible. I’ve never heard that excuse before either, which I always appreciate. You saved me the effort of having to speak by blurting it out before I even had a chance to ask for it. Thank you for being prompt, honest, and completely vulnerable. You’re still getting a citation.
I understand you want to get home as soon as possible, and that you have about ten miles to go. I can see that you’re wearing a decent pair of jeans, and you have seat covers in your car. You don’t have any passengers, so I can assume I’m the only other person that knows. I’ve taken all of that into consideration and decided to write you a citation for driving 21 miles an hour over the speed limit. In my assessment, you’ll still have time to get home, driving safely of course, before that brown bomber you’re supposedly sitting on ripens.
If you think about it, the real damage is already done. Slow down, I wouldn’t want you to have an accident.
The writer of the ‘Cop-n-Attitude’ blog shares his opinion on drinking and driving:
Supposedly tonight is one of the biggest drinking nights (Thanksgiving) of the year due to all of the college kids being out and about.
I have extra manpower for DWI enforcement.
Tonight looks promising indeed. So if you must drink, don’t drive. If you do drink and drive, I have several designated drivers who will be looking for you with an aim to getting you where you belong: our station.
Finally, the Press Hard 3 Copies blog gives us a short lesson on etiquette during a traffic stop:
There I was, parked in the shade and minding my own business, people watching. I see Joe Citizen roll to a stop in the left turn lane talking on his cellular phone. Joe looked over at me and continued talking on his cell phone. I’m thinking to myself either Joe is a complete idiot or from out of state and unaware of California’s cell phone law.
Joe’s light cycles to a green arrow and he makes a legal U-turn and begins to drive off in the opposite direction. I decide to conduct a “stop and talk” with Joe.
ME: Hi, good afternoon. May I get your driver’s license, vehicle registration and insurance card.
JOE: What for?
Here’s a clue, people. Motor cops don’t just arbitrarily pull people over for no reason, contrary to what you may have heard or believe. If you’re pulled over and asked to produce the aforementioned documents by a police officer in the performance of his or her duties, don’t begin the contact with any such or similar question. (Don’t believe whom ever said that there is no such thing as a stupid question because there are such things and “What for?” is one of them.)
I just looked at Joe through my sunglasses and he needed no further prompting as he begrudgingly handed me his driver’s license which just happened to be from this golden bankrupt state of California. I told him I had stopped him for not using a hands-free device for his cell phone.
JOE: “But I wasn’t driving, I was stopped.”
Then he attempted to hurt my feelings by saying I had nothing better to do, and why wasn’t I out there catching “real” criminals. I told Joe that I had seen him roll to a stop as he conversed away. Joe was adamant about not driving and therefore no violation had occurred. I again told Joe my observations which he disagreed with and said he’d see me in court.
My original intention was to “catch and release”, which was to stop Joe, explain the cell phone law to him, and send him on his merry way being more aware of at least one of the state’s myriad of vehicle code laws. Typically, if I am going to write a ticket to someone, I’ll usually give them a warning on some other violation which commonly is no current registration paperwork or no insurance card.
Joe had basically talked himself into a ticket which I was more than happy to oblige. I can write tickets fast or really, really slow. Needless to say, Joe had a very, very legible ticket. In Joe’s haste, he forgot to hand me his vehicle registration and insurance card and him being an adult, I didn’t ask him twice for them. I just added them onto Joe’s ticket as additional violations.
Do I ticket every driver I stop? No. My attitude or niceness is in direct relation to that of the driver. Nice driver, nice motor cop and possible warning. Asshole driver, asshole motor cop with your personalized invitation to the local traffic court presented to you with a smile by yours truly. Education or education through enforcement, Joe opted for the latter.
We do give breaks / warnings, but attitude is everything.
At some point in your life, you will encounter a police officer. A good rule of thumb is this: They are human, and we all like to be treated nicely. A little politeness can go a long way, especially with members of a profession who are routinely ridiculed and criticized.