Where in GA?
This is a discussion on Good LEO Encounter within the Concealed Carry Issues & Discussions forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; For a few weeks, I've been driving on expired tags. I've just been too lazy to go down to the govt office and give them ...
For a few weeks, I've been driving on expired tags. I've just been too lazy to go down to the govt office and give them the check. Every time I see a police car behind me, I cross my fingers.
Tonight, my luck ran out. A police car pulled up behind me at a red light. After it turned green, I drove carefully, hoping to see the cop drive past me, but instead, the lights came on, and so I pulled over.
This was my first time being pulled over while armed, so I was a little worried.
The officer walked up to my window and told me he had pulled me over for driving on expired tags. He asked for my driver's license, which I gave him. He asked if I had been drinking, and I said no. Then he asked whether there were any weapons or drugs in my car.
"I have a pistol in my right rear pocket, and I have a license," I responded. I handed him my Georgia Firearms License.
"Don't reach for it," he said. "I understand," I said.
He went back to his car. At this point, I noticed that a second police car had pulled up behind the first one. I sat there with both hands at the top of the steering wheel, wondering if I would be frisked, or given a field sobriety test, or arrested.
After a few minutes, the first officer walked toward my window, while a second officer walked up the right side of my car with his flashlight shining in the car. The first officer thanked me for telling me about the weapon, and informed me that he was citing me for driving on expired tags. I signed the ticket, then he gave me my copy, gave me back my driver's license and GFL, and told me I was free to go.
I'm not happy about getting a citation, but I can't complain about the officer's behavior. He was totally professional, and he didn't give me any grief about the gun.
You're lucky on two counts. First, that the officer behaved professionally. Second, that you were allowed to drive away.
In Connecticut if you are stopped and anything is found wrong with your registration you have to lock up your car were it sits and walk. They then send a tow-truck to come get it.
The police drive off and you have to sneak back to your car jump in and hightail it!
Don't hit at all if it is honorably possible to avoid hitting; but never hit soft!
-- Theodore Roosevelt --
The LEO was very professional.
I think the vast majority of LEO's are.
fortiter in re, suaviter in modo (resolutely in action, gently in manner).
I had some trouble getting my car to pass the emissions test, so I drove with an expired out of state tag for almost a year. As of last week, I'm legal :)
As I've posted about before, in Georgia I think it's generally a bad idea to tell the officer you have a weapon. It can lead to a non-consentual search of your vehicle.
But, you were directly asked about the presence of weapons. You've got to make the call on how to answer that at the time. But, I certainly wouldn't volunteer that info.
I remember many years ago I was stopped for speeding in Hinesville, just outside Savannah, for going 13 miles over the limit. I was carrying at the time, with a Georga permit, and informed the officer of that. Result was that his first comment was, "are you going to war?" I had 13+1 with two spare 13 rnd mags. His next step was to arrest me for speeding. I had the option of spending the weekend in jail until I could go before the Judge on Monday morning or posting bail an paying the fine. My guess is that he put me thru this hassle because I was carrying. Well, I paid the fine and then, while standing at the desk of the Sargent on duty, I loaded and holstered. It was the most satisfying feeling I have ever had....
Of course this was also some 25 years ago....
Most places without psychotic reams of conflicting laws will have a decently-trained police force that understands the simple good that comes from armed citizens. If you handle it with basic respect and decorum, it's not likely to go sideways on you ... or the LEO(s).
Had a "good" stop a couple months back. A guy performed a very nice hit-and-run on me, in traffic, then fled the scene. Little damage, aside from a small 3/4" pucker on my car's fender, so the responding police officer was a little less than motivated to hammer the idiot once they found him. Based on my having written down the license number and description of the car/driver, they did. He initially lied, then admitted it. The police wouldn't arrest or charge, despite my look of disdain. Still, as part of the talk with the police, I did notify them when they arrived that I was carrying. They said "fine; leave it there." The partner moved back and to my right, slightly behind me, until the encounter was over. Nice tactics, handled professionally but with a modicum of preparedness on their part. Had I gone sideways, they each could have responded in support of the partner; as it was, they simply let it ride, as it should be. Smart way to handle things. I respect the tough job LEO's have to do. It cannot be easy to walk that blue line.
Of course, the best way would have been: haul the little offender's butt to jail for a little catch-and-release plus fines, lest he gets the impression there is nothing to stop him next time. But then, that ol' karma wheel's a *****. It keeps comin' around. He'll find it loses a spoke, at some point.
Since when is it luck that an officer will treat you professionally? Do you really think you have to be "lucky" to be treated professionally by a law enforcement officer? I can understand the total distrust of LEOs in certain communities but to feel that love in the gun community when most street officers (the non-political working stiffs) are the most pro-gun folks you'll ever know. Wow.
"Respect all ... Fear none!!!
Here in Houston, it depends on the officer, but in most cases he'll just give you a citation for expired registration stickers, inspection stickers, heck, if you lost your license card but still remember the ID number, some cops won't mind. The only time that you are in trouble if he smells alcohol or other drugs, or if you license in suspended. Well, even then I got luck on that one.
A cop pulled me over for tail lights, I left my insurance in my dad's truck. He ran my ID and it turns out that it was suspended a week before. He let me know that and that if I didn't get that fix that I am going to jail next time, I just got a ticket for tail lights and not having my insurance on me. I got all that dismissed in two weeks and got my license thing straightened out. The whole time, the officer was very professional. As long as I treat the officer with respect I believe the officer will reciprocate.
Heck, even when I got arrested three years ago, I still didn't argue with the officer, I kept a calm conversation with him, after all, he's just doing his job. But it paid off, when I got to the city jail, the officer told the receiving officer this, "Hey John, take care of this one, he's a good kid, no trouble." I got out in less than 16hrs. not bad for a Houston city jail time.
Last edited by skippythenurse; April 6th, 2007 at 02:34 PM.
I have found that in Texas if you are involved in a traffic stop, this procedure seems to work:
1. With the driver's window down, get out DL, CHL, and insurance card and place them in your left hand
2. Place both hands on steering wheel where they can be readily seen
3. Greet the officer and use a normal tone of voice and good manners
4. Follow any and all instructions and remain calm
5. Listen to what admonitions the officer may have and/or sign the ticket form
6. Tell the officer to be safe
So far, using this method, I have received 2 warning tickets and the rest of the times I have been asked to slow down a bit. Sometimes the conversation even goes to what I'm carrying and why I chose it and vice/versa. LEO's have a tough job and when they encounter an individual that doesn't give them a tough time, they usually respond with not only courtesy, but friendliness.
Now, if I would just learn to slow down a bit...
noli nothis permittere te terere...
Some don't feel the general public should carry guns, and that by doing so they are a hazzard to themselves, those around them and the police in "routine" situations (such as traffic stops*)
Just because you (and other officers you know and may be friends with) are "Pro-gun" & "Pro-ordinary citizen owning/carrying guns" doesn't mean they all are, same goes for some of the politically appointed positions/officers, some are very pro-gun and some aren't
I also don't feel the officer telling the op to "Not reach for it" is a very positive stop. If anything he should have thanked him for informing that he was armed and left it at that, after all if the op was going to "reach for it" he wouldn't likely have bothered to tell the cop he had one would he.
*talking about the law abiding people, not the otherwise criminal in these situations.
I have been pulled over more times that I care to admit (heavy foot on the accellerator ) and I have never had an officer do anything I would consider unprofessional.
Maybe I am naive; I certainly don't have any statistics to back up my argument but I honestly think that most of the people who have bad encounters with LEO have been the UNLUCKY ones.
Maybe certain communities are so anti-gun that they only hire anti gun cops. Luckily, I haven't personally witnessed them.
Being treated fairly, I believe, is the norm.
fortiter in re, suaviter in modo (resolutely in action, gently in manner).
Last edited by Jules357; April 6th, 2007 at 08:18 PM. Reason: add a forgotten detail