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DEALING WITH LAW ENFORCEMENT

Posted by Tim Bryce on July 12, 2018

BRYCE ON COPS

– Should you be adversarial or respectful?

Click for AUDIO VERSION.
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I recently found myself embroiled in a passionate argument about law enforcement. Someone had posted a video on social media showing a man in his car eluding police allegedly after a road rage incident. He refused to stop until he pulled into his driveway at home. The fact he failed to acknowledge police commands and argued loudly when he was caught agitated the police who forced him to the ground and put him in handcuffs. A few of the viewers commented how outrageous the police acted and they would have done likewise in resisting arrest. In contrast, I made the remark the suspect only had himself to blame; had he done as he was instructed, I doubt it would have turned into an ugly episode.

This resulted in a firestorm of comments against me for taking the side of the police. Frankly, I was surprised by the push back. In my defense, I described how I was taught to drive years ago by my father, who said if the police pulled me over, to keep my hands on the steering wheel, do not argue, and treat the officer with respect saying, “Yes Sir” and “No sir.” As the police see a lot of people during the day, they know nothing about me and will naturally approach cautiously. As such, it wouldn’t pay for me to pose a threat to them by being a smart ass.

I found this advice to be invaluable over the years. By acting this way, I was able to talk my way out of a ticket on more than one occasion. Each time, as the officer saw I wasn’t a threat and was heeding his instructions respectfully, I was let go with a simple warning.

After explaining this on the posting, I was accused of being a wimp and should have stood my ground and taken the officers to task. One gentleman claimed it is necessary to resist the police, simply because they are looking for an excuse to impound your vehicle. I have never heard of this before, so I have no way of knowing if this is true or not.

The way I see it, law enforcement has a difficult job, and they meet a lot of strange people in their daily routine, some not exactly playing with a full deck of cards. My philosophy in dealing with the law is to demonstrate that I am not some kook who poses a threat to them. When this is established, I find it is relatively easy to have a rational conversation with them where I can explain my side of the story. Regardless of how I tried to rationalize it, others in the group thought I had behaved cowardly. The only thing I know, I probably get fewer tickets than they do.

In a way, I am reminded of the classic comedy routine by Chris Rock titled, “How To Not Get Your Ass Kicked By The Police.”

What bothered me about this little incident was the total disregard for law enforcement, portraying them as disreputable ogres who are to be fought with, not respected. I recognize not all law enforcement officers are perfect, but to have people openly provoke a confrontation doesn’t make sense to me. Frankly, this adversarial relationship is disturbing as I believe law enforcement serves a vital function for the community and should be appreciated for their efforts. Then again, maybe this is just another sign of our changing times. I grew up in an era when we were taught the police were our friends, but I have a feeling this is a lesson no longer taught. It disturbs me when I hear 29 officers were killed in the line of duty thus far this year (compared to 44 for all of 2017). Frankly, I’m surprised how patient and professional most officers conduct themselves in light of the animosity against them.

Next time you are stopped by law enforcement, keep your cool and act respectful, they are only trying to do their job and not get killed in the process.

P.S. – Perhaps the most imaginative way I’ve heard of someone talking their way out of a traffic ticket was the father of a friend of mine in Chicago years ago. The father, named Al, was a baker and typically worked the late shift. One night, as he was driving home in the wee hours of the morning, he was tired and anxious to get to bed. Consequently, he was driving a bit too fast.

As he passed a billboard, he spied a patrol car hidden behind it, undoubtedly running radar. Seeing the car pull out from behind the billboard, he knew he was going to be ticketed. Thinking fast, he pulled his car over to the side of the road, popped his hood open, jumped out and began jiggling his carburetor (Yes, this was before electronic ignitions). As expected, the patrol car pulled up behind Al’s car and the officer stepped out. Al looked up at him and said, “Oh, thank God you’re here. Something’s wrong with the carburetor and the car was running away on me. Boy, did it scare the heck out of me.”

The officer looked at Al, then the carburetor, and gave him a warning to get the car fixed before he got into an accident. Yes, he let him go. Brilliant, just brilliant, and a great story he told for many years thereafter.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

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Copyright © 2018 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Listen to Tim on WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

 

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5 Responses to “DEALING WITH LAW ENFORCEMENT”

  1. Tim Bryce said

    A T.S. of Tampa, Florida wrote…

    ” Most definitely respectful. Law enforcement have a lot on their hands. If you break the law then suck it up and do the right thing.”

    Like

  2. Tim Bryce said

    A W.H. of Boulder, Colorado wrote…

    “A little over a couple of months ago, a similar incident occurred in Colorado. A woman was driving erratically (during the daytime) and we had not only body-cam video but dash-cam video from the police showing the woman blatantly ignoring the police car instructions to pull over for quite a while. The woman driving would wave (finger wave, that is) at the police and loudly tell them to leave her alone. Finally, she pulled into a grocery store parking lot, and by that time, another police car had arrived to block her further escape. The original officer was a woman who went to the door of the car and the driver was screaming obscenities, being totally uncooperative, and finally another car arrived. At some point, the officers told the driver to get out of the car, and she refused. They finally opened the door and it literally took FOUR rather burly male officers to get the rather small wiry woman driver out of her car – kicking, fighting, and screaming rape and assault all the time. They got her on the ground, repeatedly told her to comply, she refused. Finally, she kicked one of the officers in the face – dislodging his body cam in the process. At that point, they tased the driver and she still didn’t quit. Eventually, they were able to handcuff her, put her in the back of a squad car and take her to the station for processing. Later, we learn that amongst the charges were “driving under the influence” (ecstacy and another drug that is common today) the combination of those drugs apparently triggered her adrenaline which is why she could be so difficult for four officers to subdue.

    Bottom line…

    YOU are not advocating cowardice in dealing with police – you are being smart. If someone wants to be a “smart ass” – well, they’ll get what they deserve in the process.

    My son-in-law is a police officer. I’ve met many of his co-workers (it’s a relatively small department as those go). ALL of them are really great guys who are charged with a very difficult and dangerous job, and not paid a lot for doing it – something like our military. They don’t do the job to get rich, they do it out of a sense of service. Hopefully, they are trained well. Everyone has a bad day now and then, but if you as an individual make it worse for them, they’ll likely make it worse for you.

    The REASON you keep your hands on the steering wheel is because that way, the officer can SEE that you don’t have a weapon and do not present a threat. Especially today with all the concealed weapon carry permits being issued.

    The viewers advocating resisting arrest are stupid – either that, or they have something to hide – like they are in possession of, or using, drugs/alcohol while behind the wheel and they think that will somehow keep them out of trouble.

    As I learned a long time ago, alcohol and drugs affect what is called the “inhibitory response” that is built into your brain – the thing that keeps you from doing stupid things that will hurt you (like jumping off a cliff or the roof of a building, etc). The drunk driver SEES the red light; KNOWS the red light means stop; just doesn’t care – which is why they run through it. Sometimes, when they do that, nothing happens. Sometimes, though, when they do it, someone gets seriously injured or killed, and its rarely the drunk.”

    Like

  3. Tim Bryce said

    An F.T. of Tampa, Florida wrote…

    “Respecting them at all times…standing upon the rights afforded under the law and constitution of this CONSTITUTIONAL REPUBLIC NATION UNDER GOD…it’s easier to teach and reciprocate respect when being a patriot than to act under satanic actions by being disrespectful and ugly…”

    Like

  4. Tim Bryce said

    A T.M. of Boston, Massachusetts wrote…

    “We are in full agreement. Those who contend an adversarial relationship, or also the first ones who would expect Lauren Forssman to stand up for them! I contend you cannot have it both ways. You cannot expect an adversarial relationship to result in full trust for each other! Keep the faith!”

    Like

  5. Lawrence Marlin said

    My experience with the police is they are not looking for trouble. If they pulled you over you were probably breaking the law. Take the fine or go to court. But you do no one any good by making a scene. Chris Rock gave good advice.

    Liked by 1 person

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