Sunday, March 19, 2006

Helpful Suggestions for Police Officers

With full recognition that there's another side to this story, I offer these tips to police about how to be obnoxious, pompous, and almost guaranteed to be taken to court on a ticket, treated to a screaming fit, or physically attacked by a stopped driver. These techniques were observed first-hand by me while serving as a police offier, and also gleaned from police reports as an attorney:
-- Use patronizing terms like, "Buddy" or "Hon" when speaking to the subject.

-- Deliver pompous and overblown lectures to the effect that anyone who does 53 in a 45 on a long stretch of speed-trap tarmac is a disgusting specimen of pseudo-parent who doesn't deserve to raise children.

-- Follow the subject's car for two to three miles and then hit him with the lights and sirens when he turns into his own driveway.

-- It's good officer safety to put your hand on or near the butt of your firearm when approaching a stopped car. It's ridiculous and offensive to keep it there through the whole stop without cause. If you can't tell whether you're in a threatening environment while you're going through all the motions of contacting the driver, returning to your cruiser to check license and registration with Dispatch, returning to the car, talking to the driver again, writing him a ticket, and then having him sign for the ticket, well, you probably ought'nt to have a gun in the first place.

-- Deal with a driver's raised or exasperated voice by ostentatiously calling for "backup" for the sole and express purpose, not of serving your legitimate concerns for safety, but of intimidating the driver into being "nice."

-- Make the driver get out of his car. Tell him you're giving him a warning, not a ticket. Then tell him you don't think he's being appreciative enough, and maybe he hasn't learned his lesson.

-- When there's no manhunt or amber alert, act like you're doing a scene from Hotel Rwanda. Shine your maglite right in the faces of everyone in the car. Ask for everyone's ID, including the kids.

-- Make the driver get out of his car. Notice the square object in his shirt pocket. Demand to see it "for officer safety." Then take a couple of cigarettes out of the pack of Marlboros and tell the driver you're checking for marijuana.

-- Do everything you can to prolong and distract your contact from its actual purpose. Respond to every frown, every rolling-of-the-eyes, and instance of pique with admonishments to respect law enforcement, pay attention, shut up ("backtalk" and "sass" are particularly good words to use), and/or calm down.

-- Be sure to invade the driver's personal space when speaking to him. Words delivered from a distance of eight inches in a low, menacing tone of voice will be sure to impress upon the driver not only the need to use his turn signal, but your own power and authority.
If you'll follow these tactics you'll be guaranteed to make more arrests, have more fights, and show up in court on your off-duty time than any other officer you serve with.

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