Aside from the inherent danger of approaching a vehicle stopped for a traffic or parking violation, I have gotten much amusement from the greeting I get when reaching the driver’s window.  Here are some classic non sequiturs:



On a Saturday afternoon, a car didn’t make much of a stop at a STOP SIGN, so the vehicle was stopped. As I reached the open driver’s window, I was greeted with, “I LIVE RIGHT OVER THERE!!!!”  A teenager was pointing to a residence across the street.

In a more sardonic vein, I was tempted to respond with, “Let’s go back to that STOP SIGN. We can check to see if there is any small print saying, ‘The STOP is not required if the operator lives RIGHT OVER THERE.’”

But I did not, and asked for his information (driver’s license, vehicle registration and proof-of-insurance).  The operator had just received his driver’s license three weeks prior. As per state law, if convicted of a moving violation, during the six month probation period, he would lose the license.

He started to cry, telling me of all the sports teams he was playing on, taking his grandmother to doctor’s visits, picking up his little sister, and so on.  So, I simply said, “With all those people relying on you, I would be a little better driver.”  I gave him a warning and he was most, MOST grateful.



On a Sunday evening, a vehicle was stopped because it was going well beyond the posted speed limit. I approached the car and asked for the standard information. The response however, was NOT standard, instead he responded to with, “Do you know Jimmy Brown?”

I asked again for his license, registration and insurance card but then asked, “Who is Jimmy Brown?”  He told me he was a friend of his on the NYPD and wondered if I knew him.

Now the New York City Police Department’s jurisdiction is sixty-five miles away. It seems civilians think every police officer knows every other police officer.  We play cards together, go golfing, even go out for a beer now and then – even though there are 35,000 NYPD Officers. But in this operator’s mind, we all know each other.

His speed was rather severe (70 mph in a 45 mph zone) so the traffic citation was issued. Of course, the operator was very annoyed that he received a ticket, or perhaps he was even MORE annoyed I didn’t know his friend, Jimmy Brown.




I was checking a local shopping center when a teenage driver was driving through the parking area, but not looking where he was going.  He appeared to be looking for a friend or acquaintances.  He finally pulled into a parking spot and I approached him.

My opening salvo was, “You should watch where you’re going rather than watching for your friends.”  It was the Christmas season with people shopping, not paying attention to what they’re doing and carrying packages. This type of behavior could lead to tragedy.

All he needed to say was, “Yes, Officer, you’re right.  I am sorry.” But he decided to go the ‘wise-ass’ route and looked at me saying, “Why don’t YOU watch where YOU’RE going?”  With that remark, war was declared, and I took a closer look at his vehicle.


During my examination, I found a broken windshield, an expired inspection sticker (four months overdue), very low tread on his tires, a loud exhaust and he was wearing no seat belt.  Five tickets later, I believe he was very sorry for his remark and resorted to say nothing but politely accepting the tickets.

Incidentally, he did come to court with receipts for a replaced windshield, a receipt for the valid inspection, new tires, and a replaced exhaust resonator.  I dismissed those tickets and he plead guilty to the NO SEAT BELT violation, with the Judge accepting my recommendation of no fine but only the surcharge.

After that experience, I have seen him a number of times and always with a pleasant and respectful greeting.



I was on patrol on a lovely summer day when a Porsche 911 passed me with its front hood not secure.  I stopped the car and as soon as I reached the driver’s window, the operator barked at me saying, “WHY DID YOU STOP ME?”  I pointed upwards with my index finger, walked to the front of the car and gave a shove to the front hood which made the resounding ‘click,’ securing it.  She then said, “I’m impressed you noticed that.”

I replied, “Well, I have one of the cars, so I know this happens quite often.”  She was indignant.  “YOU HAVE ONE?”  I responded with a simple, “Yes.”  But, I wanted to say, “Do you think they only made one and you bought it?”

The woman was apparently insulted, thinking a police officer own a car that she also owned.  She drove away.  I could only think that some people expect police officers to drive banged up Chevys and Fords and not appreciate finer vehicles.



I was running radar on a town road to discourage speeding. I stopped a car and walked up to the driver’s window to introduce myself. I then asked, “Do you know why I stopped you?”

I expected that the female operator would say, “Was I speeding?” I could have answered in the affirmative and added, “Please slow down.  Have a nice day.”

But no, after my initial question, her response was, “WHAT IS THIS?  TWENTY QUESTIONS?”  This is the type of remark that stops conversation.  My response to her was, “I’ll be right with you.” I walked back to my patrol vehicle, wrote the speeding summons, returned to her car and gave it to her.

She then had numerous comments and questions about where to send it, if she needs an attorney, where was I when I observed her, and others.

I looked at her and said, “Madame, we are through speaking. The directions on the ticket are self-explanatory.”

She actually brought an attorney to court and through the attorney, I offered to lower the speed, but nothing else.  He accepted my offer. She refused to speak to me.  Unless the lawyer was her brother-in-law, his services probably cost her over $500.



On a beautiful Sunday afternoon, I witnessed a BMW pass me at a very high rate of speed.  I was completing a field report, which I put down and followed the vehicle.  When I caught up to the BMW, at first, he hesitated, but then finally pulled over.

I approached the driver’s window and asked for his information.  He willingly offered it to me but then said, “You know, I could have SMOKED YOU.”  Not fully understanding what exactly he meant by that remark, I asked him to explain.

He went on saying, “You know … I could have outrun you.”  I picked up my radio, showed it to him and asked, “Can you ‘outrun’ a radio signal?  There’s another officer right up ahead.  And I have your plate number.”  He then said that he could have ‘smoked me’ again. I suspect it’s a phrase he enjoyed saying.

I am always curious as to when people purchase a car like this, what the salesmen say to convince them they can outrun the law.

Once again, as I have said before, just BE NICE when stopped by a Police Officer or Deputy Sheriff.  Comply with their directives and you will be pleasantly surprised how far courtesy goes.

At the bottom line, it’s all about saving just ONE life.




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