April 16th, 2010 07:36 PM
Disarmed by the Texas Highway Patrol, busted by a former LEO, and other trip stuff
I do not seek confrontations with state police. Seriously.
Yes, I realize I could have avoided the entire situation. I think.
Amarillo, Texas: apparently a grady-speeding-free zone
I attended a cousin's wedding in New Mexico last weekend. I decided to drive because of all the hassle of flying, plus I enjoy seeing the country. I can also visit relatives and friends along the way.
The rental company had one full-size car, a HHR. It doesn't strike me as a good long-trip car, so I decline and tell them to give me a call if they find something bigger. A couple hours later I get the call: "We have an Impala." "I'll take it." I get there, and it's an Impala alright, with the color of "arrest me" bright red. No matter, I've learned my lesson about speeding... or so I thought.
700 miles later I'm nearing Amarillo on I-40, speed limit 70, with my cruise set on 71 or 72. People are zipping by me like there's no tomorrow. I look over in the east-bound lanes and a Texas Highway Patrol car with 2 officers is finishing up with a traffic stop.
I watch in my rear view as the patrol car crosses the median and pulls in about 1/4 mile behind me. A car was in the process of passing me, but apparently he noticed also since he backed off and pulled in behind me, matching my speed.
The patrol car was going only a couple miles per hour faster than we were, and it took him a loooooong time to catch up to us. He was in the passing lane, very slowing gaining.
He eases by the other car, then I see the patrol car's front end slowly coming into my peripheral vision. Due to the Impala's construction, the officers cannot see my face from the rear (window post, head-rest up, seatbelt in the way).
The front bumper gets about even with my dash and I glance sideways toward the car. At that moment, I see the front end of the patrol car raise as he rapidly decelerates, then he wedges in between me and the car following, and lights me up, all within the space of about 3 seconds.
My distinct thoughts were:
- Aw , here we go again.
- What the did I do now?
- This stop is bogus.
There is an off-ramp immediately to my right, so I take it and then pull off on the shoulder.
From the patrol car's external bullhorn: "Driver, pull on up farther off the highway!"
I pull on up, watching him, then pull off in the grass.
I know the drill: car off, keys on dash, window down, hands on the steering wheel. BTDT. 3 years ago, actually, same stretch of road. EXACT same stretch of road. I was doing 77, thought it was okay... no ticket then... I thought 71 or 72 was okay, also... :(
One officer approaches driver's side: "Good afternoon, sir."
Me: "Good afternoon."
Officer: "You were speeding. Are you going to an emergency?"
Me, trying not to sound as incredulous as I felt: "I thought the speed limit was 70. I had my cruise set on 71 or 72."
Officer: "I clocked you at 73. The speed limit is 70."
Me: "I need to inform you I have a concealed carry permit, and I am armed."
Officer: "Without moving your hands or reaching for it, where is the location of your weapon?"
Up until this point, the officer had been very pleasant, professional but pleasant (except for his slightly terse anunciation of "70"... give me a ... break. People were leaving me in the dust. )
I knew this was the point where things might go bad... I remember thinking to myself "buckle up, this ride may get bumpy."
So I began listing weapon locations. And I continued. Then I continued some more.
I looked up and noticed his smile was completely gone. His brow was beginning to furrow, and his "happy eyes" were now smaller and darker. I thought I'd better say something in an attempt to lighten the mood, so I said "I'm going shooting at my Uncle's."
Officer: "Oh, okay." But his expression didn't change a bit. Still darkening.
So I continued listing weapon locations. As fate would have it, my largest range bag was sitting on the passenger's seat beside me. So I continued listing weapon locations for awhile. (The funniest thing about all that was, I realized later, that I left one out. )
Officer: "I'd like to see some identification, but if it's near a weapon, I don't want you reaching for it."
Me: "Yes, it's in my left rear pocket."
Officer: ...silence... he's thinking...
Me: I'm trying to be cooperative so as to avoid
- getting his Sig pointed at my face
- getting sprawled out beside the highway
- getting a trip downtown--that would conflict with my travel plans
- getting my weapons confiscated
So I offer a suggestion. (Note: I know a lot of you guys would never do this--you deal with LEO's who have a history of citizen-rights abuses. I understand your situations. My next actions would not be what I would do in every situation, but I was trying to play this one as best as I could at the moment, 700 miles from home.)
Me: "If you'd like, I'll step out and let you get my wallet."
Officer: "Yeh, why don't you do that."
So I step out, walk back to side of my car just behind the rear door, spread my feet, lean forward and place my hands on the side of the trunk. Officer #2 is to my right about 8 feet or so.
So Officer #1 starts digging in my left rear pocket. My billfold is the type that has 4 credit card areas when opened, and is very flat. He is having difficulty getting hold of the billfold.
The next thing I know, his right hand had come around my waist and is grabbing my .45. I was carrying it in an OWB with extreme forward cant, about 50 degrees, in the appendix area.
He tugs. Then he tugs again. Then again.
At this point I'm thinking, "What a great advertisement for retention: appendix carry and extreme forward cant... he can't get it out... and I could easily stop him if I wanted." His right arm was wrapped around my waist so far it was dang near over my privates. If I wanted to clamp down on his right arm with my right (strong) arm... I would have the advantage for a moment.
I'm not advocating harming LEO's. Don't get me wrong. I'm just discussing tactics. But had he been a bad guy, I had a few options: one, the .357 in my left front pocket, attainable with my free left hand; two, the TDI on my belt about 11 o'clock, attainable with either hand. Of course, his partner would have attempted to perforate me in about 1 1/2 seconds if I had made any such movements, but if I was committed to action, I would have gone for the bad guy furthest from me with my first shot. Then I would have dealt with the guy whose strong hand was being controlled by my right arm.
Again, I'm not advocating in any way harming LEO's. I'm just thinking tactically if the situation had not involved the police.
In fairness to the officer who was disarming me, he might have chosen a different way to disarm me if he was either alone, or if he considered me an immediate threat.
So after 3 or 4 tugs, he finally gets my .45 out of the holster. All this time I ain't moving, and I ain't saying unless asked a question. And when I answer, I answer politely and fully.
He steps to my left, I turn my head and watch him handle my .45. He's looking it over, he can't get the mag out. In fairness to him, the mag release is VERY stiff. I have to push up on the bottom of the mag to get it to release. I really need to clean/lube it. I change mags often, and I should have given it attention before now.
He flips it over, checking it out. I tell him, "It's chambered."
He did have very good muzzle control, keeping it pointed down and away from us at all times. Once he gave up on trying to get the mag out, or once he was done examining it, he opens the rear door and plops it down on the back seat. "I'll just put this here for now."
Officer: "Is your second one on your ankle?"
Me: "No, left front pocket."
He starts digging with his left hand.
Me: "It's tight in there. Try not to shoot me in the foot." Said with no malice, and taken as such, I think.
He pulls my Ruger out, turns it side to side, I tell him it's a .357, and then he plops it down next to my .45 on the back seat.
At this time Officer #2 approaches me on the right.
#2: "You have one on your ankle?"
Me: "Nah, I never did carry there. I've read a lot of guys don't like that method of carry. What do you think?"
#2: "It's great!"
(Since both officers mentioned ankle carry, I'm guessing that's where they carry their backups, but that's just a guess.)
At this time I turn around and dig out my DL and CCW permit (yes, I know a permit isn't needed to carry in a vehicle in Texas, but at this point I'm still trying to be cooperative so I don't end up with one of the 4 scenarios listed above, or a speeding ticket.)
#2 goes back to the car and starts running my info.
I look at Officer #1's gun and ask him if it is a Sig .40.
Officer: "No, it's a .357 Sig."
Me: "Oh that's right. I read you guys all carry the .357 Sig."
Then he starts telling me of the ballistic results he'd seen, and how impressed he was with the .357 Sig. He said it's not as appropriate in the city due to possible overpenetration, but out where we were (wide open), plus the possible need to shoot through trucks and vehicles, the .357 Sig was the better choice.
At some point #2 comes up with the results... they decide to give me a written warning, all printed out nice on their portable gizmo. I feel like a dancing banana, but I keep it in check for the moment.
#1 says "Do me a favor: we're going to pull out, but I want you to wait until after we leave before you reholster."
Officer: "Stay safe." And I really believe he meant it.
Me: "You, too." And I meant it.
Again, if I had evil intentions, I was standing right by my car's back door where the weapons were located... but I guess they believed me to be a good guy at that point.
Still wanting to make them feel at ease, I walk to the other side of my car back by the trunk so as not to be near my weapons as they pulled off.
Now comes the funniest part of the entire event. I feel annoyed that I had been selected for the interview (although I realized I had been partly at fault for it), but also relieved that I didn't have anything bad happen to me or my weapons.
But at the moment, I am entirely unconcerned about keeping my weapons concealed. I had just had an intense interview with some of Texas' finest, and I had passed. If they say I'm good, then I'm good.
So beside the off-ramp, in full view of the highway, I begin to rearm. I grab my .45, and as I raise my shirt to expose my holster, another car takes the off-ramp. My black holster is silhouetted against my white t-shirt, and any occupants of the oncoming car have a clear view of my holster and the gun in my hand. I am reholstering at the moment they approach. As the car reaches me, about 3 feet from me, I hear the driver floor the accelerator... on the off-ramp. Gotta get away from the bad man with a gun.
Bottom line: my fault for giving them a reason to pull me over. I was travelling alone, and I probably didn't look like I belonged in the 2010 car. Here's why:
None of those are illegal or wrong, but taken together they may have aroused the officers' suspicions. I read years ago how some officers had great drug-bust success by pulling over single male drivers in new rental cars going just a few miles over the speed limit. The speeding gives them a reason to make a stop.
- I had a scruffy hat on.
- I had wrap-around shades on.
- I hadn't shaved for about a week. Black and white stubble didn't make me purdy... more like homeless.
- I was leaning my head way back on the headrest because I was tired.
I don't think it was a racial issue, since Officer #1 was Latino and Officer #2 was a brother. I don't believe it was racial: I believe it was facial. I didn't look like a clean-cut family man. I looked like... well... like grady.
The officers were very pleasant, and their pleasantness did not seem fake. They were polite and professional. The one who handled my guns had excellent muzzle control. They didn't sprawl me out or take my weapons. It could have been much worse, in many ways.
Oh yeh, one final insult: In a few miles I get into Amarillo where the speed limit drops to 60. So I do 60 or slightly less. And continue. And continue.
I drove for about an hour OUTSIDE Amarillo before I see a 70 mph speed limit sign. All the while people are passing me like I'm standing still. Yet I'm afraid to crank it up because I haven't seen a sign. I know I won't get a second warning in one day: another stop and I'll be paying.
Then I remember 3 years ago experiencing the same thing: no 70 mph sign for an hour. Exact same situation, and somewhere on DC may be the post to prove it.
So either I was too traumatized to notice the ONE sign that MAY be out there somewhere, or either there ain't one. For 60 miles or so. Uh, do ya'll need some money for signs, or what? Surely the THP has made enough money off of speeders to buy another sign?
On the return trip, the Smokeys were out there again, this time on both sides of Amarillo. I laid my speedo on 70... sorta dared them to stop me again. Hey, I had survived 73, I should be able to survive 70.1, or even a wickedly fast and evil 70.5.
Bottom line: my fault, I could have avoided the entire thing. But 2-3 miles per hour, on a 11-hour trip, means I get there 20-30 minutes earlier... still, I acknowledge I could have avoided it.
Others can speed through there, but apparently not grady. :(
Oh, next time I'll add one more thing to my drill of preparing for the officer to walk up to my window: have my i.d. in hand. That might have avoided/prevented the whole disarming process.
Final note: because I was carrying so many weapons, I had photocopies of all my receipts with me in case some roguethiefofficer wanted an excuse to confiscate my weapons. And I had a second copy in another location in case roguethiefofficer destroyed the first copy. Then I could have showed them to roguethiefofficer's superior, and hope he wasn't a worseroguethiefofficer.
So ya think I'm paranoid? Apparently I've got a reason to be around Amarillo.
A couple other things happened on the trip, but I'm tired of typing, and this is already too long. So I'll finish later.
April 16th, 2010 07:49 PM
EOD - Initial success or total failure
April 16th, 2010 07:58 PM
Been there, done that, Grady. My experience was September 2009 on I-30 between Dallas & Texarkana. TxDPS pulled me over for 73 in a 70. That must be the magic number...
I had my Taurus 85 in a Smartcarry. Did the same keys on the dash, hands on the wheel at 10 & 2 and wheels locked right & told the trooper where my wallet & insurance were before reaching for either. I presented my TDL & CHL. Trooped asked if I was carrying, told him yes, he asked me to step out. Asked me where it was, I told him, he did not disarm me but asked me to stand between his car & mine while he ran my license & tags.
Left with a warning. Wife warned me the rest of the trip.
That was the first time I've been stopped for less than 10 over. I have no idea if they've changed their marching orders, but even my LEO buds were surprised.
April 16th, 2010 08:00 PM
Grady... I friggon LOVE your stories! You're the man!
In all seriousness. I believe you were right about everything you posted. Don't believe it was a racial car stop. If they were racist's... you would have known it.
As it was, they remained professional and courteous.
But, damnnnnn... Why does it always happen to you, buddy!
I'm glad it turned out okay. No harm, no foul, eh?
Other than that... How'd the trip go? (read: Other than that, how did you like the play Mrs. Lincoln?)
Btw... I'd ride shotgun with you anytime buddy! (Of course, we'd look like Samuel L. Jackson and John Travolta from Pulp Fiction! )
"The gun is the great equalizer... For it is the gun, that allows the meek to repel the monsters; Whom are bigger, stronger and without conscience, prey on those who without one, would surely perish."
April 16th, 2010 08:03 PM
1. With the gun problems with the Mex. drug cartels, having receipts for that many weapons is probably a good idea.
2. With so many budget cuts, many PDs are no longer going with the "Over nine and you're mine" margin of "error" on speeding. It's an opportunity to raise some extra capital.
Retired USAF E-8. Lighten up and enjoy life because:
Paranoia strikes deep, into your heart it will creep. It starts when you're always afraid...
"For What It's Worth" Buffalo Springfield
April 16th, 2010 08:13 PM
Shew Grady. You had me real nervous there for a minute. Thought you were a gonner! LOL. Glad they were professional and didn't violate any of your rights. I guess you'll keep it AT the speed limit next time through there won't you?
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April 16th, 2010 08:15 PM
You got pulled over for doing 73 in a 70?
They were fishing and they came up dry.
Good story though.
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April 16th, 2010 08:23 PM
Glad to see you back as I always enjoy your posts. Sorry you got the hastle.
Usually I am in blue jeans and T shirts without pockets, but when I am going on a long trip (road or even air) I will put on a regular button down shirt--usually Western style-- and pop my DL, CHL, and Inurance Card in the shirt pocket.
It is hard to get to the ID when it is the pants pocket and you are held in by the seat belt, and the LEO is afraid to have you move your hand near your hip, or toward the center console. If your shirt has two button down pockets (snaps, as on some Western shirts) or a pocket over the left breast, it is easy to reach the left pocket with your right hand, remove the credentials and hand them over.
April 16th, 2010 08:58 PM
Great story, glad you were unscathed, but what a 'crock of toro feces' for a stop...IMHO
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April 16th, 2010 09:02 PM
Ya know...Im pretty pro-LEO but I aint got much use for a cop that stops someone for doing a couple over the limit.
I dont know of many cops that do either.
April 16th, 2010 09:17 PM
April 16th, 2010 09:18 PM
In my opinion you were PROFILED. If a LEO around here gave a speeding ticket for THREE over the speed limit it would liekly be thrown out.
I agree with Hotguns, they were fishing.........They saw an out-of-state car.......
Quemadmodum gladius neminem occidit, occidentis telum est.-Seneca
"If you carry a gun, people will call you paranoid. If I have a gun, what do I have to be paranoid about?" -Clint Smith
"An unarmed man can only flee from evil, and evil is not overcome by fleeing from it." -Jeff Cooper
April 16th, 2010 09:24 PM
Sounds like one of the troopers was a rookie in training. Texas troopers are normally single person patrol units unless they are newbies. Certainly some of the things you were describing sounded rookie to me.
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April 16th, 2010 09:28 PM
Ya' know, Grady, reading all these boring road trip stories of yours is a drag. Don't you ever doing anything interesting and exciting?
An armed society is a polite society. Manners are good when one may have to back up his acts with his life. - Robert A. Heinlein
April 16th, 2010 09:31 PM
I think you're right. You may have appeared conspicuous and the 3 over gave them a reason to check you out. Glad it went ok. Stay safe.
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