HUMOR IN UNIFORM
THE WISE GUY
No one likes to receive a ticket. But when the Sergeant or Lieutenant says “the boss wants some paper…” we all know what that means. I remember stopping this female driver who was well above the 30 mph speed limit. Clearly, she was not having a good day before I stopped her. I asked for her license, registration and proof-of-insurance. Everything appeared to be in order.
I asked her if she knew why I stopped her. All she had to say was “…was I speeding?” My response would have been “…yes. Slow down and have a nice day.”
But to my inquiry, she responded, “WHAT IS THIS? TWENTY QUESTIONS?”
I respectfully submit to you, my brother officers, that that response stops the conversation. Rather than get into a “pissing match”, I simply return to my patrol vehicle, wrote the ticket, and walked up to her and handed it to her.
She then started asking questions about where and how to respond, but, as you all know, irritated drivers will use ANY and ALL responses against us in court. I told her to ‘read the ticket and send it in.’
A driver in that frame of mind will use ANYTHING you say against you in court. If I had quoted the Bible and said “…..come unto me all ye who are weary and heavy laden. Peace I bring to you,” she would have mentioned how offended she was that I quoted the Bible to her.
Sometimes you cannot win.
My absolute favorite response from a speeding driver is to mention another officer’s name, as if we know every police officer in a hundred mile radius.
It just so happened once, that I DID know the officer that this driver had mentioned. He said “… do you know Officer Johnson? He’s a good friend of mine …”
It just so happened I did know Officer Johnson and quite well, but I decided to have some fun. I responded “… Officer Johnson? … i can’t stand the guy.” I wish I had an 8×10 glossy of the look on this driver’s face at that remark. It was a sort of combination of food poisoning and ‘I knew I shouldn’t have asked that’.
I got back in my patrol car and called Officer Johnson. He knew him, a neighbor, and asked if I wrote him yet. I said “… no. I’m calling you.” He thanked me, told me the fellow was a good guy and that he’d talk to him. Fine with me.
Another time, a driver mentioned another officer I knew very well and my response was “… HIM? HE OWES ME MONEY!!!” Then I got the look that says ‘… Oh God, I’m in trouble now…’. But I let him off with a warning.
NO COURTESY HERE?
I did stop a car that was traveling well above the speed limit. When I approached to interview the driver, he produced his license, registration and proof-of-insurance AND a business card with UNITED STATES SECRET SERVICE prominently stated on the top.
I asked him “…are you a federal agent?” He responded “….no. That’s my brother-in-law. If you ever need anything give him a call.” I said to myself ‘if I ever need anything?’ I responded “….well….. If I run for the Presidency, he can protect me, but outside of that, I can’t think of anything I would bother him with.”
I returned to my car, wrote the UTT, returned and handed it to the driver to which he indignantly said “…WHAT’S THIS? NO COURTESY HERE?” I responded “…I’m being courteous.” He then asked about his “brother-in-law’s business card” and if that didn’t mean anything to which I replied “…have him give me a call.”
Then came the questions: what’s the number? Who should he ask for? What’s your name? I answered simply “…he’ll know what to do.” Never got a call from anyone from the US Secret Service on anyone’s behalf. I wonder how many tickets that driver got out of using that card.
THE BUSINESS CARD TRICK
The public will use business cards, PBA cards (the most annoying), POLICE publications, Police hats, hand you a cell phone telling you it’s the Chief of Police in their township (and you really don’t know who you’re talking to) and a whole assortment of approaches to respond to the situation that they’ve created for themselves.
As I always say to relatives and friends, when stopped by the police, just BE NICE, don’t make any abrupt, quick moves and you’ll be surprised how that attitude goes a long way. Be ready for anything but always be courteous. As the great Redd Foxx said once on the TV series SANFORD & SON:
“…loveth thy neighbor, but, locketh thy window.”
Words to live by.