View Full Version : Cops

05-09-2008, 06:25 AM
The discussion on the Sharpton civil disobedience thread got me thinking. What has been your experience with cops? I've never gotten a ticket. Yes, never. My only real experience was a DUI twelve years ago. Man, that was no fun, and I never wish to repeat it. Once they have you, they've got you. Chained to a railing at the station, there was no reasoning with them. Maybe the worst part was that they took my glasses away. How can you argue with someone you can't see? ;)

But seriously. I look at some parts of the world and count my lucky stars. The police need to be constrained by good courts.

Have you ever been in a position of power? I don't mean a boss of people, I mean power, where you can lock someone up? I haven't. The closest I came was in grade school when an experiment in teaching gave a small cadre of kids the power to grade their fellows.
The results weren't pretty. The kids in power were brutal to their fellows. There was a certain sadistic glee in the cop who wouldn't let me see.

The Bigfella
05-09-2008, 06:45 AM
Plenty of experience - both sides of the fence. Interesting world they live in.

Andrew Craig-Bennett
05-09-2008, 06:45 AM
I received a Police Caution when I was 16.

I was cycling down Colchester High Street on a summer Sunday afternoon. I had a nice Falcon lightweight - my pride and joy. Ahead of me was a white Hillman Imp with a blue stripe. Colchester High street is a one way street, downhill, with a 30mph speed limit.

I overtook the Hillman Imp, pedalling hard downhill. I must have been doing 40 or so. As I did so, I read the words


on the car.

On went the blue lights and I was duly formally cautioned for "exceeding the speed limit in a built up area"..;)

The Bigfella
05-09-2008, 06:48 AM
Nice one Andrew. I remember heading back to the city from the country very early one Monday morning - overtook a car - and as I went past the driver at about 160 kph, looked in to see the police uniform. No probs, kept the throttle open and I was gone. He was on his way to work too.

05-09-2008, 06:54 AM
I know cops, at one time I wanted to be a cop, I was a cop in the Air Force, I've gotten tickets from cops, been chased by cops, and been arrested by cops.

My biggest problem with cops is I think they concentrate too much on moving violations (ie speeding) and not enough on stuff I feel is more important.

But with that aside I've not really had too much of a problem with cops being overbearing. Tis a rough job with a lot of stress. Most cops on the whole do a great job and we are better for it.


Phillip Allen
05-09-2008, 07:00 AM
Cops...a bunch of 25 year olds...(yes this is a generality). Think of Ill-Jay with a gun

bob winter
05-09-2008, 07:07 AM
Apart from a couple of speeding tickets, my experience with cops has been pretty positive. I am told that a lot of them have issues. Not surprising, given the job they have.

05-09-2008, 07:11 AM
Was asked to pull over to the side of the Bayswater Rd one evening in the summer of 70. I was doing over 40 mph in my Austin Mini-Cooper.

They were in a Panda (Morris Minor 1000) car. I politely told them I was unaware of my speed (a lie).They looked at the glamorous Venezuelan girl at my side and let me off.

The Bigfella
05-09-2008, 07:15 AM
Its an unusual job - most of what they do is support people (those who have been assaulted or suffered from some other crime for example), a fair bit of regulatory stuff (gun licences, etc) and least of all, deal with offenders.

It is somewhat insular - in that all staff start at the bottom and climb the same ladder - somewhat different to the armed services where officers and grunts climb very different ladders. I believe they suffer from the lack of lateral recruitment - bringing experience in from other organisations. It is vulnerable to cronyism - environments like that can lead to everyone making sure they get the dirt on their peers.

I've been booked for speeding when I wasn't - and in those days I was still a struggling student and the fine cost me more than 3 week's income. The cop was booking another motorcyclist, looked up when I went past then pulled me over when I stopped to pay a toll. He was a true pig and for many years after he did that to me, I wouldn't have pissed on a cop if I saw one on fire.

Twenty years after that little incident, I got the starring role in a million dollar consultancy to develop a customer service strategy and training regime for one of the world's largest police forces (I was an employee - so I just got wages on that one). As part of that, I even got to hold up the "Stop Police" sign in a 160 kph metropolitan car chase - part of an induction program we did across all aspects of the police force - from drug stakeouts, death notifications, etc ... right across the force - including interviewing a cop who had shot and killed someone.

I went on to manage a team of 15 that developed a very detailed performance management system for major police forces. Spent a year at that and we cracked a few interesting problems. I gave it away when someone said "you could spend the rest of your life lecturing to police forces around the world".

05-09-2008, 07:52 AM
Generally speaking, I've been a law-abiding person, but during my lifetime I've had numerous unpleasent experiences with police. In Connecticut, with it's many small town police departments I was stopped many times without cause. They like to just pull people over and see if they can find something wrong ( emmissions, insurance, license, etc). Nightime, when they are bored, is when they commonly do this. The boat cops are worse. Random stops are the norm. I was hit on 3 times in one day, simply drifting off the mouth of the Connecticut River fishing for fluke. Typically, they want to see papers, life jackets, flares, etc, etc. supposedly in the name of "safety, but they are really looking for revenue. In many areas in Connecticut, I've watched them go from boat to boat, all day. The cops love the week-end duty. It's over-time for most, and triple time on holidays. The Connecticut Dept. of Environmental Protection is the worst. They do random stops constantly (especially at boatramps) and to me it amounts to harrassment, bothering people who are just trying to get a little fun and relaxation instead being bothered and detained by cops. It is a money game. The DEPs' role is to enforce wildlife regulations, but they have morphed into boat cops, and do little to fulfill their intended role.

In Florida the boat cops are pretty agressive. We have two in my area who like to motor by and give you the "stare-down" - actually burn you with their eyes, just hoping you'll say something. Another, in Venice has a national reputation for his aggressive behavior especially directed at out-of-state boaters. He's a big, tough guy who plays the intimidation game and has incited many many boaters to complain, even to the Governor.

Phillip Allen
05-09-2008, 08:04 AM
fits my experience Saltie...that said, I DO know cops who are good guys and even may be the majority...but if someone is firing a machine gun at you it is pointless to say that most of the bullets are harmless

Nicholas Scheuer
05-09-2008, 08:12 AM
Lots of experience; with a couple of exceptions, all positive.

I had a teeage daughter run away; gone for a month. The assistance rendered by Chicago Detectives was amazing. I was glad I wasn't on the wrong side of them.

We had a 9mm shot fired through our house a couple of years ago. The fast repsonse by local Police was inspiring.

I was caught by a large "Street Sting" several years ago for not wearing my seat belt (Cop out on the median spotting offenders, with many more cops by the curb writing citations) . They were all courteous and Professional.

Most of the time I've been stopped for speeding, they let me off with a warning.

I was worried only once. An Illinois State Trooper stopped my 5 miles from home on a 150-mile trip late at night on US-20 because I had a trailer taillight out. He almost went berserk. He was only 5-miles from his HQ on US-20.

One of my wife's brothers is Chief of a nearby small town police dept. He is universally known as a "super-nice guy".

Moby Nick

05-09-2008, 08:27 AM
I'm not bad mouthing cops. Tough job. But that guy, officer Moroni(like the LDS angel of all things, I'm not making it up) pissed me off taking away my specs. I'm blind as a bat without them. He knew that, and knew it was a form of intimidation. I asked why I couldn't have my glasses and he said it was policy, so I couldn't hurt myself. BS, it was intimidation. Funny, I got them back as soon as I agreed to a breath test.

I'm not complaining about that arrest. They were right and I was wrong. I took my lumps and moved on, though I think there were probably better things the Orange Police could have been up to at two in the morning.

The Bigfella
05-09-2008, 08:42 AM
I think there were probably better things the Orange Police could have been up to at two in the morning.

What - than stopping drunks killing people on the roads?

S.V. Airlie
05-09-2008, 09:37 AM
lets see.. two speeding tickets..

One 55 on a 50 going downhill.
Second, going uphill 46 on a 35 as she was parked right at the 45mph sign.
Always pleasant.. but always figuring out, correctly, how to fill in the blanks on the ticket.

05-09-2008, 09:41 AM
"What - than stopping drunks killing people on the roads?"

I dunno. Orange was both a sleepy little town and pretty rough in places. I'm not justifying what I did. They caught me and I didn't fight it in court. Yep, I was over the limit and behind the wheel. Stupid, and I've never done it since. You could hurt someone. I'll wager most here have done it a time or two. It was a deserted country road at two AM and I was unlikely to hurt anyone except maybe myself. But that's no excuse.

They didn't have to take my glasses. People with good eyes can't understand how infuriating that was.

Setting aside the very real moral issues of driving with a load on, you don't want to get popped DUI. Here in New England, and in most of the US, the penalties have gotten stiffer and stiffer. First time it's a ninety day suspension of license and a court date that costs a grand in lawyer and court fees. Just to plead guilty! Insurance goes way up. Then there are seemingly interminable education classes with a social worker still wet behind the ears. Nup, stay off the road if you've had more than a glass of wine. Even one drink is a bad idea.

Back to cops. Except for the specs incident I've always been treated fairly. The last time before the DUI I got stopped in Baltimore one night for a wonky tail light. The cops were very professional, if a bit gruff. I was driving an old Ford van, and they were obviously on the prowl for something nefarious. My driving instructor, when I was sixteen, taught that you get out of the car and talk to the cops face to face. Well, they were having none of that. I opened the door and they were adamant, STAY IN THE VEHICLE! Okay, okay, just don't pull that Glock! LOL. There was nuthin' going on but that bad tail light.

Ya gotta love 'em, and hate 'em just a little.

Dale R. Hamilton
05-09-2008, 10:12 AM
What amazes me is how the police maintain a generally nice disposition- given that their job requires them to be up close and personal with the worst riff raff of earth. I mean- look at the criminals sited above- Geez

05-09-2008, 10:38 AM
My son in law is a detective in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area. I propbably hear more than I should about what goes on behind the scenes.

05-09-2008, 10:47 AM
some cops are good, some are bad.
Many are on a power trip.

I would avoid them if I could.

martin schulz
05-09-2008, 12:04 PM
I experienced something funny while on vacation in the US.

At a student street party in Chicago I was standing around with a couple of guys (1 American, 2 Europeans) chatting.
Then a police car arrived on the scene and almost instantly everybody (except a puzzled me and those other Europeans) jumped of the street on the sidewalk.

The funny part is that in Germany nobody would have moved. A police car actually has to "plow" through the people standing there drinking beer.
Nothing to write home about, but definitely a different approach to executive-forces.

05-09-2008, 12:15 PM
I know my son in law when he was "on patrol" was one of those cops that if your kid was pulled over he was the guy you would want to do it.