People not trusting cops
I had jury duty recently and one of the questions that was asked of all of the potential jurors was if anyone had an issue trusting police offers to tell the truth. To my surprise there were 3 people who raised there hands and said they would not and could not believe anything ever said by any police officer and believed that all police were corrupt and self-serving. After listening to more comments from these same people I eventually determined they must be consistent law breakers since two of them outright confessed to using drugs and other petty crimes. So their opinions sort of didn't hold a lot of water for me.
But, I started thinking about all of my run-ins with the police. And now that I actually stop and think about it, most of them have been pretty negative. Sure, I've had 3 speeding tickets in my life and I deserved all 3 of those. I even admitted to the officers that I was speeding, and things moved along by the book. But I thought I'd share some of the unfortunate scenarios for discussion.
- About 14 years ago I went to the courthouse in downtown Ft.Worth to get my marriage license. I parked at a parking meter which said "No Parking 4-6" I had plenty of time, so I thought. When I came back out the time was 3:55pm by my watch. But there was an officer writing a ticket for my car. I thought the meter had expired. When I saw that it had not, I asked the officer why he was writing me a ticket and he yelled "NO PARKING 4 TO 6!" I looked up at the HUGE clock on the top of the court-house and even it said that the time was "3:55pm." So iasked the officer, "What clock are you going by? that big clock that is supposed to be the official city time says it is 3:55." He completely ignored me and moved onto the next car. Then I realized there was a whole string of tickets he had already written for other vehicles down the line. That means those vehicles were ticketed well before mine. I never did fight it, I just paid it.. but I sure thought pretty lowly of that officer.
- When I just turned 21, many years ago, and was trying to get my first CHL, at that time we had to visit a police station to get fingerprinted on a card. So I called my local station and asked if they could do that. The officer that answered said, "Sure, come on down, we can do that for you." So when I got there, and entered the main entrance there was nothing but a lobby and a phone. I picked up the phone and an officer answered. I told him what I was there for and he chewed me out saying that they don't do that there. I asked, "Can you please check with somebody else because I just called up here..." before I finished my sentence he chewed me out again and told me if I didn't leave immediately that he would come out and have me arrested. I left and went to a neighboring city's police station and got it done. Fortunately, for CHL we get fingerprinted by a special 3rd party company now.
- About 10 years ago there was some kind of accident in front of my street when i came home at night. The police had the street blocked off. There is no other way into my street. I pulled up and the officer told me that the street is blocked off and nobody is getting in. So i turned around and pulled onto the street directly across from mine and parked along the curb. The street was plenty wide enough and people park on the curb there all of the time. So I figured I'd just wait it out until the problem was cleared. About 10 minutes later an officer approaches my car and asks what I'm doing there. I explained that I was waiting for my street to open so I could go home. He then started to accuse me of something I had not done. "You are the kid who came barelling down this street at 90 mph and nearly ran us over aren't you! I told you to get lost, now get out of here or I'll have you arrested." of course, that is totally untrue. I saw the flashing lights half a mile away, I would have had to be a retard to do what he accused me of. In fact, I approached them barely crawling at all because I was afraid I'd run over some debris that might puncture my tires. So I left and came back a few hours later.
- I was pulled over a few years ago for a speeding ticket, going like 6 mph over the limit. The officer asked for my license, so I opened my wallet and handed it to him. He saw my CHL still in my wallet which had been behind my driver's license. He asked if I was carrying a weapon and I said yes. Then he proceeded to chew me out and tell me he could have be arrested and my license revoked for not telling him up front that I had a weapon with me. Then he wrote me a ticket and sent me on my way. Now, interestingly enough the reason I didn't tell him right away was that a law had recently changed in Texas which now allows any citizen to carry a firearm in their car even without a CHL. And it is not required that you tell the officer that you are carrying a weapon, either. However, when I took my most recent renewal class my instructor actually pointed out the irony of this. If you are a regular non-CHL citizen you can carry a gun in your car without telling the officer. BUT - if you have a CHL, you are still required to inform the officer. How odd is that?
Anyway.. So those are all of my bad run-ins. I know police are human and all, and I do believe that most of them are just trying to do their job and get through the day alive. I also know that they have to deal with a lot of low-life scum. But on the other hand, I can certainly see why some people might not trust them.
Well that stinks to have that bad of luck with the laws. Well I agree with you that it is hard to trust a officer and he's word they are human just like we are. Even though they are the law there is some out there that still break the laws because they don't think they will get caught. I have never had a problem with the law yet. but I hear about officer get into trouble all the time there is a five officer right now in my town that are getting into trouble for the pretty bad stuff. they were accused of planting drug evidence on people they arrested. and some were charged with corruptive practices. and some other thing I'm sure not listed so don't that just want to make you to listen to the law.
My run-ins with police:
- My car broken into in high school. I saw it when I was about to leave for school. My books scattered in the street, some equipment missing from the car as well as a case full of CDs. About $800 worth of stuff. In the 45 minutes the police took to show up after calling I had time to clean up the mess, make a list of everything that was missing - including listing each individual CD I could remember - and made sure all my school things were in order. The officer informed me that they weren't going to take any evidence and I basically had no chance of getting my stuff back, and wouldn't give me anything to indicate to the school why I was late.
- My first ticket, for an expired tag. My tag had expired a couple months earlier and I didn't know as my dad had received the notification, but forgot to tell me. I also got a ticket for not having insurance verification up to date as it had just rolled over to a new 6-month period and I didn't have the new one in there. He explained that if I renewed the tag and took it to the police station, they'd negate the ticket for that, and if I brought them verification that I had insurance coverage the day I was pulled over, they'd negate that one as well. He was very polite and informative, and I got both tickets removed from my record without paying for them.
- My first accident. I got really unlucky at a hairy interchange on the highway. I had to enter the highway and get into the far left lane quickly, so I slid into a space and eased off the gas to give myself room once there. Unfortunately, right after getting into that lane, an older white pickup I couldn't see up ahead slammed his brakes. The older blue pickup in front of me didn't hit his in time. He ended up pushing a small sedan into the back of the white pickup, then I hit the back of him. There were no brakelights on the blue pickup directly in front of me until I'd already seen the steam from the sedan's radiator. I slammed mine as quick and hard as I could, but ended up bumping the guy's trailer hitch. It put a moderate dent in the chrome part of my Silverado's bumper and bent his hitch. An officer came along, cleared up a path to the shoulder, took our statements politely, mine last. He informed me I was getting a ticket for "following too closely" as was protocol, but his report would state that I came in at the last of the accident, which would later save me as the other tried to blame me for the whole thing.
- My second accident. I was at a stoplight, the lady behind me got rear-ended, pushed her into me, the driver who hit her took off. The officer had us move our vehicles, took statements and said they'd try to find the driver who hit the lady behind me. The lady got no ticket, I was just out of luck. Luckily there wasn't too much damage. The officer was nice enough and explained everything we needed to do.
- My third accident. Shortly after buying my Jeep, I was driving on an icy road and a delivery truck I was passing drifted into my lane. As I was deciding what to do, my right tire bumped an outcropping and sent my left front tire into the step under his passenger door. Cracked my rim and put a hole in my (rather expensive) tire. I called police but they couldn't send anyone unless there was an injury, which was understandable. An officer happened by and stopped. I walked up to him as he exited his car, my CWL in hand and informed him I was carrying on my right hip. He smiled and said as long as he didn't see mine, I wouldn't see his. He helped us exchange information, said he couldn't make a determination of fault and neither of us ended up filing insurance. After the other driver left the officer and I stayed and talked about how he likes responsible citizens carrying and isn't a fan of polymer frames like my M&P.
- Unknowingly found myself in an area I shouldn't have been. I was at the lake with my lady and my Jeep and we wanted some good pictures, so we took it down a path. An officer drove by, exited his vehicle and I approached him. He began asking what we were doing as I was fishing for my ID and CWL, I informed him we wanted some pictures with the Jeep and took it down the path. He informed me in a rather snarky tone that we were trespassing and he could have my Jeep towed. I told him that considering the path, the lack of signage and the lack of barriers lead me to believe that there wouldn't be a problem. Handed him both cards as my GF at the time came up behind me. His tone changed and he asked me if I noticed the rocks at the start of the path, which I had, but I told him that I thought they were just part of the terrain. He had me pull my Jeep out and left us alone.
Most of my experiences with police have been positive, including the citizen's police academy I did with a local PD a few years back. I'm always polite, make sure they tell me what they think I did wrong before I admit to doing anything, if needed I inform them why I thought what I was doing was OK etc. I have a lot of respect for the police, and have generally found that as long as you act like it, they'll respect you right back.
Police are human and make mistakes. I do my best to avoid making the mistakes that will put me in contact with them, and when I do anyway, I do my best to remain respectful and friendly and it generally works out.
About 18 years ago @ RFK Stadium in Washington DC at a concert. I tried to drive around a fender bender up on the curb/grass. Very lovely woman DC police officer put her hand on her weapon and told me "if you do not get back on the road, I will blow your f'ing head off!"
DC's finest and a creakhead mayor.
Forgot about the friend of my next door neighbor in York PA who pulled my credit and criminal reports (nothing exciting on either) for s and giggles. I raised hell with the chief and IA but nothing happened.
Have also had several positive experiences, mainly nice cops who let me off tickets because I was in a rush to get to the OR for a case.
I had a run in with a sheriff who pulled me over for a taillight once, then searched me and my car for a good half hour while I stood on the side of the road like an idiot. Aside from some random debris, there was nothing in my car. He looked for a half an hour; no idea what for. He had asked me when he pulled me over if I had any drugs or guns in the car, which I didn't. Kind of a sour encounter, even though he didn't write me a ticket. Maybe they were looking for someone in a similar car.
On the other hand, in the town I live in now the police have been nothing short of awesome every time I've ever dealt with them. They've shown up within minutes of us calling 911 and went out of their way to be helpful. Maybe it's the town, maybe it's the difference between being 22 and 35; I don't know. I do know that if asked I'd have to say that I have a very positive view with the police in my area.
I trust nobody by default, just because they have a badge does not make them anymore honest than anyone else in my mind.
I've had a few less than positive encounters, I used to dispatch so I had literally thousands of positive interactions. But I'm also aware there are bad apples in every crowd, one officer I dispatched, recently plead guilty and was sentenced on child porn charges watching it on his MDT in his car on duty between calls (when it takes minutes to get there and you need an officer in seconds...). I'm aware that officers know the system and will use that to their advantage, I've seen them knock down the speed on a ticket so it's not a must appear in court, in hopes to get people to just pay it.
They are human, and as such they don't get my blind trust; but then again nor does anyone else until they've proved they earned it, and even then.
I have not counted my "run-ins" with law enforcement.
I have had good ones (even when being pulled over for speeding and getting ticketed) where officers were polite and professional and courteous. I have had some bad ones where officers were rude, accusatory and maybe even what some would consider hostile and I have had encounters that became tense and ended well through deescalation, patience and compliance (it works even with LEOs).
I have had a lot of interactions with law enforcement that were not related to crimes being committed as well. My brother-in-law is an officer, many of the instructors I have had over the years are officers, people I have worked with are either part time or retired officers, I have helped with range qualifications for entire departments and interacted extensively with law enforcement in assisting them in finding off-duty carry rigs, etc.
What it all comes down to is that police officers, their personalities, biases, opinions and morals are as diverse as the general population.. because, let's face it, they come from the general population.
For some, police work is a calling. For others it's just a job like any other.
I find my world-view towards law enforcement is the exact same as it is toward everyone else: I look for the good and start every encounter as though it is going to go well but am not horribly surprised when I get the bad.. just like I wouldn't be surprised if the gal behind the counter at the local Subway was dishonest and a grouch vs another more happy/helpful employee.
Now, if asked whether or not I would trust exactly what a police officer said on the stand in a court of law I would have a hard time answering because I know that humans in general are great liars. I would, however, expect everyone (officer or not) to uphold their vow to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth knowing full well that doesn't always happen (even with police officers) but, as I said, I look for the good and am willing to give everyone (including a police officer) the benefit of the doubt that he (or she) will be an honest individual.
Interesting website, AZC.
Over the past 20 years the "trust" factor has gone by the wayside, along with morals and character. That said, trust and respect are two different things. I respect the fact that the police have a tough job to do, however as one of the earlier posters state, I don't trust anyone.
I'm for cops, however with that said my trust with them isn't all that good. Not even going into my inter-workings with police, I've had two negative run-ins with them were both times they straight up lied about what I was doing. One pulled me over for doing 55 in a 45 mile zone, weaving in and out of traffic, tailgating, and window tint. I was really doing 44 in a 45 zone, changed one lane over since a guy stopped in front of me to turn without a turn signal then I moved back into my original lane. Then after he saw that he wasn't going to get me upset, he just wrote me for the window tint. Another time, the cops (3 of them) hassled me for my knives that I was legally carrying.
One time, at band camp, the hall monitor yelled at me for talking during assembly, but I wasn't talking. It made me mad. I felt violated.:rolleyes:
I currently have a issue with a LEO on a pretty regular basis, although he doesn't know it. I have a feeling that he will get a kick out of the frustration that he causes. Every time one of SIXTO's post comes up I reach to smash the bug moving on my screen!
Some of the mistrust could well have something to do with the local Police Department's reputation. I don't know where they stand now, but my local County Police used to have a less than a stellar reputation.
All of my interactions with LEO have been positive, and that's been numerous states and towns within those states. I certainly hope my string of positive interactions continues uninterrupted.