Police Officers and Patents of Nobility

I read this today in our local paper.  It is written by a local police sergeant and is entitled "Safety tips: How to talk to an officer if you're pulled over"

First, be polite. No good will come of the situation if you are immediately argumentative or uncooperative. Tell your passengers to do the same. You may not agree with the reason for the stop or the outcome, but the side of the road is not the place to debate this. If issued a ticket, you will have your time in court to present your case to a judge or hearing officer....

Do not address the officer with any slang terms or comments. Treat the officer as you would like to be treated, with respect.

Being polite is a nice thing to do.   But no one would write a "safety tip" article about being polite to your Starbuck's server.  Everyone knows the above guidelines are good safety tips (though Chris Rock said it better), but no one mentions the real elephant in the room:  That if you are not polite or not obeisant or somehow "disrespect" an officer, he may well arrest you on a trumped up charge or even physically abuse you.  The stories of this are ubiquitous, and everyone has heard them.  Essentially, the officer writing this is saying to the rest of us that "beware, some police officers are thin-skinned, short-tempered jerks and will abuse you if you do not kowtow to them like some Mandarin emperor."

I guess there is something to be said for the truth in advertising here.  Next week I suppose the DMV will write an article on getting a drivers license that emphasizes bringing a book because their process is so slow and horrible that you are likely to be there all day.


  1. skhpcola:

    I was walking down a sidewalk with a friend one night when a deputy said "Fuck you" to me after I looked at him. I asked my friend if he heard what the asshole said and if my ears had heard the asshole correctly. My friend said that he had heard it, so I asked the uniformed assclown what he had said, to which he replied, "Fuck you." I responded with "No, fuck you, you fascist pig"...which slightly preceded me getting hoisted in the air by 4 other deputies and slammed face-down on the hood of a cruiser before being shoved in the backseat and taken to jail.

    I had a right to say what I did and I was never charged with anything, but I did spend a night in jail. Point being, the police can arrest you and take your ass to jail for anything, at any time, with total impunity. I probably could have done something to secure "justice," but you and I don't win those battles.

    Being polite and compliant is the best advice, even if the LEO is a total retard. You may win in the end, but you'll have to suffer some to do it.

  2. FelineCannonball:

    Be polite to the grumpy DMV lady too. She may not taser you but she can make your photo look like you have been. If she's a real jerk she can hold up your license with an immigration review, or hold back the paperwork on your registration.

  3. 3rdMoment:

    The biggest problem with this to me is the lack of reciprocity or accountability.

    If you curse at the judge or refuse to shut up in court, you may be held in contempt and jailed. I don't really have a problem with that. But if the judge curses at you, he may be removed from the bench (or at least one might hope). In any case, the whole proceedings are public. Cops may not be held to any standard at all, they have a union to protect them, and they may even be able to prohibit video or audio recordings.

    Unfortunately few on the political "right" care about any of this, unless they somehow become a victim.

  4. NL7:

    I would compare this to advice for dealing with muggers and wild bears: don't provoke a wild animal and stop worrying if it's fair. Treat police as you would treat dangerous animals with no moral accountability. Don't focus on how unfair it is, and you're more likely to avoid harm. It's still monstrously unjust, of course, but the advice itself is sound on a practical level.

  5. Andrew_M_Garland:

    Where did you get that wristwatch?
    Is that a stolen IPhone? No? Prove it.
    Please step out of your car sir. Do you mind if I take a quick look?

    Anything but a polite but limited exchange is dangerous because there are so many laws that you break every day. You are usually protected by invisibility. The police need to see "probable cause" to examine you further. You are clearly visible when you consent to a search or you are answering questions, so watch out.

    Never Talk to the Police

    Prof. Duane explains in two videos why he is proud of the 5th Amendment, and will never, ever talk to the police without a lawyer. You shouldn't either. Don't take his word for it; he cites the advice of Nuremberg Trial Chief Prosecutor Robert Jackson and the U.S. Supreme Court. Prof. Duane is animated and interesting. This lecture is an eye-opener.

    What is worse than living in a police state? Not knowing the extent that you are living in one now.

  6. ErikTheRed:

    Everybody should watch that video until it's memorized.

  7. Matthew Slyfield:

    Someone wrote a song about that.


  8. Mercury:

    Can anyone identify a single, post-Rodney King case where a law enforcement officer anywhere in the US has been seriously disciplined (like jail time) for use of excessive force?

    If not, this is, like it or not, more than just good advice.

  9. CT_Yankee:

    Book? Coyote is stuck in the dark ages. Please charge your smartphone completely prior to entering the DMV office. The wife renewed her license yesterday, and used almost every electron in the thing while waiting around in various lines long enough to qualify as a change of residence.

  10. JKB:

    Seems like sound advice. Always be polite to someone with a penchant for violence and low accountability. We had something similar in regards to the collision regulations for ships and boats. It was the unwritten rule of maximum tonnage. Oh, you may be in the right according to the rules of the road, but get in a collision with a tanker, you'll still be dead.

    But, one must also have the humility to realize that in street interactions with the police, you do not know the rules of the game as well as the guy who plays the game every day. The police may just make up nuisance charges to give you the ride. But more likely they will give you the opportunity to violate a law to haul you in on. You aren't smart enough to know when you are being presented with an opportunity to violate a law. Take, for example, the Harvard professor who was arrested that Obama stuck his nose into. The man was upset at the officer's justifiable inquiry in response to an unknown citizen's report. The professor decided to have his say. The officer having completed his justifiable task of verifying the professor's identity chose not to stand and take it but to leave the man's house. As he should. The professor decided to follow and continue his harangue as the officer probably guessed he would. Only the professor didn't realize that once on the porch, he was now in public where public disturbance charges can be justified. Whether the officer intended it or not, the professor for all his education did not know what the officer did, that continued loud haranguing in public justifies the officer to arrest for public disturbance.

    Unless you have years of experience as a patrol officer, you will not have the knowledge to know when you are walking into an arrest if you let your emotions or desire to be heard govern you interaction with the police. Be nice, be calm, get away from the threat as soon as you can without alarming them.

  11. Incunabulum:

    You might want to take a look around at those on the political 'left' also.
    Neither the Clinton nor the Obama administrations have been good for civil rights. Nor are civil rights well protected in leftist bastions like Chicago, or Detroit.
    The Dems only seem to pay lip service to civil rights when the R's are in power, otherwise its 'exitus acta probat' as far as they are concerned.

  12. Incunabulum:

    ' Please charge your smartphone completely prior to entering the DMV office'
    Hah. The way things are going, soon you'll see 'no electronic devices' signs posted up.

  13. Matthew Slyfield:

    [Sound of crickets chirping]