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Old April 4, 2008, 04:26 PM   #26
KMO
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"Badge-Heavy" Approach Not Effective...

An officer's initial approach to nearly every law enforcement encounter should be to de-escalate, not to make a bad situation worse by their own trigger-happy demeanor. Professionalism has traditionally included the ability to gain compliance through a level-headed thoughtful approach, not through a "Barney Fife" badge-heavy approach.

Granted, our officers are dealing with a greater number of meatheads in today's society, and a steady diet of rough incidents is bound to have an effect on one's disposition on the job. Nevertheless, that's no excuse; dealing with difficult situations is a part of that job. If an officer is unable to handle the difficulties of the job without losing control of his own emotions, he should not be in a law enforcement career.
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Old April 4, 2008, 04:49 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kmoffitt
"Barney Fife"...without losing control of his own emotions, he should not be in a law enforcement career.
It's funny you should mention Barney.

During the early 1970's my club rode quite a bit all over south central Wisconsin. We were well known, in fact, many local law enforcement agencies knew us as individuals.

Sometimes a LEO might say to our president, "Look, I can tell by the sound that none of you guys even know what a 'baffle' is or does, so no burn outs on the main street. Don't do anything I have to react to."

Then we would go into a friendly tavern and make the bar-keep a wealthy man.

Other guys would come down at the first sparkle of chrome like it was D-Day. We called these guys "Barney Fifes."

When our club was organizing bikers to fight the helmet law, we rode pretty much throughout the state. A club from their city would organize a party, we'd go and watch the girls dance and have a few Mountain Dews. We'd build some alliances and talk about the helmet vote.

Before sundown, Officer Fife came blazing into the campground in his cruiser and he was immediately showered with over 500 bottle rockets. A clear showing of disrespect. What was he going to do, handcuff all 1,200 of us?

One of his offciers talked to my president and told the prez that he had a little Harley Sportster. Our club officers asked him what time his shift ended and he informed us around 11:00PM.

We gave the nice cop a "visitor's button" and welcomed him back a few hours later.

All you have to do is ask...
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Old April 4, 2008, 04:58 PM   #28
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In a situation with a known violent felon, maybe there is a place for an "aggressive tone" right off the bat. But absolutely not with John Q. Citizen who only offense was slow rolling a stop sign or not knowing he had a blinker out. Sometimes leo's forget that they are there for us not IN SPITE of us. Having a "bad day" doesn't cut it either. Gee, if I had a bad day, would that get me off of a speeding ticket? Kinda doubt it. In some professions you just cannot have a "bad day".

To the good ones out there putting their lives on the line, a tip of the cap, a raise of the glass and a sincere, heartfelt "thank you". To the bad ones on ego trips, well they can go scat in their hat.
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Old April 4, 2008, 05:36 PM   #29
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Some of my LEO friends tell me that there is noticeble "line" and it shows when it gets' crossed.

When a officer only has LEO friends, when all citizens are "potential felons" and perps and there is the increased use of tobacco and alcohol, you've got a guy that needs to be on the rubber gun squad for a bit.

While everyone seems to know this, domestic policing is being a "peace officer," not the military shock troops.

Some folks may think this is simply "tree hugging," but our former chiefs Couper and Williams stressed "community policing." And guess what? The animousity dropped, even in tough neighborhoods. As much as I would dearly love to see a gang-banger selling drugs in a school yard get his brain ventilated, I know that the singular act would close down comminication. Other work will undoubtedly suffer.

I call the police in my little town often for info and to report on our neighborhood watch program. They are not the enemy, and we all live more securely.
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Old April 6, 2008, 01:37 AM   #30
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There's a reason CHP is known by other law enforcement as "The Auto Club with Guns." The ones I've run into have all been bullies with a badge and a gun: arrogant, rude, demeaning, and condescending. BTW, I've never been pulled over by the CHP. They have a very poor reputation, and deservedly so.
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Old April 6, 2008, 01:02 PM   #31
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Quote:
There's a reason CHP is known by other law enforcement as "The Auto Club with Guns." The ones I've run into have all been bullies with a badge and a gun: arrogant, rude, demeaning, and condescending. BTW, I've never been pulled over by the CHP. They have a very poor reputation, and deservedly so.
I lived in San Diego for twenty years, rode a bike, carried every day, drove all over the southern counties with rifles strapped to the sides of the bikes and met many of the CHP officers and Sheriff's deputies. My experience with them is much different from those mentioned in the above quote.

Most of the officers I met were people. Professional, polite and doing their job. After doing their job, or, when met off the clock, they were fine folks. I did meet two Sheriff's deputies who were (*)holes, but they were such off the job, also. As I said, police officers are people.

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Old April 6, 2008, 04:54 PM   #32
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The theory behind the "command voice" is to utilize a forth-right aggressive tone in a situation where someone has a weapon or when the person your dealing with is under considerable stress. The person who has a weapon wont usually hear soft-spoken words because of the stress involved so a "command voice" is needed so they can actually hear you.

Think about it. When you have a weapon or are under considerable stress, you can't really hear or are not paying attention to the people around you. So someone needs to yell at you in an aggressive tone to get their point across. When soldiers are in battle and engaged in a firefight, it usually takes several aggressive shouts from commanders to stop them from firing.

However, in routine traffic stops, where the officer is acting as the tax collector for the state and levying fines then a softer approach is probably the better approach.

Does the fire inspector go into the local bodyshop acting very aggressively shouting at the staff when a fine needs to be levied because the paint was lieing out in the back? In the same way, the officer should probably just collect the tax for the state, do their job and take off without emotion or circumstance.

I believe that the state patrols in many of these states such as South Carolina and California are too aggressive and bring a bad reputation on the hard-working locals who make every attempt to community police. The state patrols make it hard for a local officer to really build a reputation in their own community.
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Old April 7, 2008, 07:54 AM   #33
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Please answer the questions I posted earlier pfch1977

Quote:
Please quote your source.
Quote:
a policy to use an aggressive tone of voice with just about everyone they pull over.

. Have you seen thier policy or been involved with thier training?

Or is this just your opinion.
Quote:
They are always using a sarcastic tone and their behavior at times is simply downright rude and unprofessional to motorists.

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And you statement:
Quote:
The state patrols make it hard for a local officer to really build a reputation in their own community.

And you give very little credit to the local population who are not able to tell the difference in uniform, vehicle and maybe even facial recognition of a local police officer. And in the same breath you show how little you think for a local police officer that the people he interacts with everyday will not be able to sway his own community by an attempted pleasent and neigbhorly manner.


And I dont know where this thread took a turn onto this subject after discussing intial approach and then it leaps to "command voice". I am not following your progression. Command voice is something utlitzed in high stress and potenially dangerous situations that demmand immeadiate action, not walking up and asking someone for the license and registration.
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Old April 8, 2008, 11:36 PM   #34
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Policy is sometimes not in written form due to administrators not wanting or needing the liability of civil torts. There are certain forms of policy that are communicated verbally and informally by department trainers and higher ranking officers.

For example, the policy of racial profiling is not a written one along the NYC-Florida highway corridor, however, it is very much still in use.

You can tell when there is an unwritten informally communicated policy when all of the officers seem to act and deal with a certain situation in a similiar manner.

Therefore, when the Chief takes the stand, then he can say that he had no knowledge of the policy and the plaintiff attorney will not be able to produce a manual which states such a policy.

However, just because a policy is not in a manual or in written form does not mean it does not exist.
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Old April 9, 2008, 12:38 AM   #35
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Quote:
You can tell when there is an unwritten informally communicated policy when all of the officers seem to act and deal with a certain situation in a similiar manner.
Indeed you can, that is well stated.

However there is something missing.

How many officers in the pertinent jurisdiction act in the manner you describe, and what source did you use to determine this percentage/proportion/number?
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Old April 9, 2008, 08:00 AM   #36
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I agree with you the "enviroment" of an organization is highly important in how certian members will react to typical and even atypical situations.

But the larger the oganization such as the California Highway Patrol the policy usually sets the tone more than the local enviroment of each station or precient. Otherwise there would be widespread chaos as to what the standards are and how they are met. In smaller to medium size departments the informal method of letting persons know what is expected is much more prevelant.

But a smart attorney trying to win a case against a police department for not following thier own policy would not have to dig that deep to find other examples of the department violating its own policy. (usually in the most aggregous manner such as use of force)

An example. Policy states that once a person is placed in cuffs a certian form must be filled out indicating the offense of the arrest. But the enviroment is such that cops put kids in cuffs all the time and just transport them home. Well one day a cop gets sued because during one of these transports a kid was hurt.
The Lawyers come and the lawsuit begins.
When questioned on the stand the officer says the policy says one thing but everyone knows that the standard is something else. And he can name at least one officer (or two or three) who have violated the policy as well.

Now the agency can do one of two things: Admitt the actual standard is different then the policy, or hang the officers out to dry in some way shape or form.

Whatever happens this is going to be an agency that has greater problems then just this one incident.


But anyways, where is your proof that this is the "standard" of the CHP or is this just your opinion.
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Old April 9, 2008, 12:38 PM   #37
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I disagree.

To me it's not the environment or the situation. It's the guy hearing the command.

After all of these years, I've had my belly fully of loudmouths, employers who haven't got a clue, drunks, Barney Fife's and idiots who act up public social functions. To me, the guttural tone is the mark of a man out of control.

It is the mark of a man who dearly needs to get his azz kicked.

Again, a domestic policeman is a "peace officer." A man who is so poorly trained and observant that he endangers the staff at his side is simply no man with whom I want to work.

A mouthy Fife who wades into a crowd of drunks, rioters or angry bikers because he is a Judge Dredd needs to be winnowed from the staff of professionals.

Put yourself in the mix. Imagine if it was your job to contain a large group of partying Mongols or Pagans with small town staff and a limited budget. The state police are fifteen minutes away and your area is too small for a Med-Flight style abulance service. It's just you and your partner, sent with the assignment to contain 75 bikers whose collective rapsheets exceed all of the arrests of the citizens in your jurisdiction.

Your partner decides to use a command voice. "Alright you thugs, I want a quiet, straight orderly line to form up right now, and everyone is going to stand still, shut up, and turn their pockets inside out. If I find anything, you are under arrest as of this second..."

At that moment, one of the bikers grins and says, "...I get the fat one..."

Well, truth is, I've heard worse. And remember, you are the one standing next to him.

Professionalism, professionalism, professionalism. I've also seen a cop wander into a bigger group and get smiles and compliance.
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Old April 9, 2008, 02:32 PM   #38
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Nice scenario you've got there; quite the everyman standard.

I agree though that it might be the person hearing things in addition, and even in lieu, of other factors.

Which is not to say that all interactions between LEOs and the general population go as they should, or that a given LEO handles every situation well, every time. Of course not.

But these kind of all LEOs or LEOs in a given agency treat people badly every time by policy statements are often times made by folks who'd be shocked to find out that many, if not most, people might not agree with them.

"How many officers in the pertinent jurisdiction act in the manner you describe, and what source did you use to determine this percentage/proportion/number?"

Also how many people encountered in the pertinent jurisdiction would agree or not, and what source did you use to determine this percentage/proprtion/number?

The "they always treat me and people I know poorly" argument is as much of an indictment of you and people you know as the officer or agency, after all.
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Old April 9, 2008, 06:13 PM   #39
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I don't know how it is in LE agencies in general (and hate to generalize anyhow), but I do think what was taught to the SOs in my company is likely more common in LEAs than the opposite. I say this because our trainers (and most of our management staff) are LEOs or former LEOs from many departments nation-wide. My branch manager is a retired city police Chief of 30 years and our direct branch trainer is a former NYC detective and retired FBI agent.

Their training stresses the fact that initial contact between Officer and citizen(s) determines in part the direction the encounter will take, and that in their experience the majority of those encounters that turn bad do so because the Officer allows it to.

The recommended attitude by their training is one of confidence and authority of presence with-out being aggressive or confrontational. Politeness isn't a recommmended policy, it is insisted upon. Rude or arrogant behavior from the get-go is the surest way to defeat yourself. These folks even design our basic SO uniforms so color and appearance project trust and authority while downplaying force and aggression. Both force and aggressive posture are taught and used, but only when the situation dictates and no other alternative is available. They are NEVER considered first contact options though.

It's my personal opinion that the automatically aggressive, rude LEO is a stereotype promoted and projected by hollywood and mass media and based on the exception minority rather than the rule. Over-broad generalized statements like the original posters serve to perpetuate that myth until it in fact becomes what is expected by the general public.

These myths seldom play out in RL; the Dirty Harry/ Andy Sipowicz detective, the Barney Fife PO, the 'gun nut' NRA members who desire only violence and wanton killing......
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Old April 10, 2008, 07:02 AM   #40
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But at the same time Erik, there will always be a group that says that
Quote:
"they always treat me and people I know poorly"
. That is the nature of the job, anytime someone has unpleasent consquences for thier behavior, (a speeding ticket with fine for driving too fast).

Because lets face it, not all people are as mature as you and I and take a speeding ticket for what it is, punishment for breaking a law we knew about.

So the best law enforcement can do is keep that number as low as possible, and keep the ones who say "the cops are a bunch of thugs" to a minimun with polite, professional and respectful tones during less than ideal circumstances.
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Old April 10, 2008, 10:09 AM   #41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Erik
How many officers in the pertinent jurisdiction act in the manner you describe
Wisconsin is one of those areas where if you drive ten or fifteen minutes outside of Madison or Milwaukee you are in farm country. In fact, if I drive a short stretch of Hwy 19 to get to the four/six lane highway leading to a big Harley dealer in Sauk City, the entire drive is rural.

Some little burgs have found it easier to simply disband their city police forces and use county sheriffs.

Old Sportster gas tanks held 2.2 gallons of fuel. Before they needed a refill, you could actually be in towns like Mayberry and see cops that make Barney Fife look like a Quantico graduate. Not every jurisdiction has all of the toys and personnel of a CSI television show.

Stumbling across these idiots is simply a fact of life.

About a year ago we had a nineteen year old sheriff shoot and kill several of his friends at a party over some childish teenage fit of pique. Trust me, the Fife family lives on.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/liv...n_page_id=1811
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Old April 11, 2008, 11:24 AM   #42
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Every contact is different. Every officer is different. Every shift is different.

No hard and fast rule covers all here.

I find it odd that you specifically mention the CHP. I've had at least 3 contacts with CHP during my years of driving, I've received a total of one citation, but deserved far more.

I've always found the CHP officers I've dealt with to be among the most professional officers I've ever met. Always polite, always smiled.

Is it possible you are not passing the "attitude test"?

Here's a few simple tips.

Pull over immediately, don't keep going hoping it's someone else.

When stopped, don't fidget. Keep your hands on the wheel and look straight ahead.

Roll down all the windows in your car to give the approaching officer a good view of the interior. If at night, turn all inside lights on.

Be polite and answer all questions honestly. Don't cop a negative attitude or argue.

Don't BS. They've heard it all.

I have had some bad contacts with officers form local departments. Still, I don't give them any guff. For all I know they just had to scrape a little kid off the road and notify the parents.

Unless there is outright abuse of authority and or a violation of my rights, I don't beef them. I've had bad days too and I've been a jerk when it wasn't warranted.

In all my years I've never had a contact with a LEO that was any worse than the little prick that ****** me off at Blockbuster yesterday.
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Old April 11, 2008, 11:39 AM   #43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scorpiusdeus
Every contact if different. Every officer is different. Every shift is different. No hard and fast rule covers all here.
Sure it does. My enumerated rights trump your badge, your attitude, your "feelings" or the rough day your wife gave you.

I am a citizen of the USA, and frankly, I could give a crap about your ego and "command voice."

Give me the ticket, I'll sign it. But save the windmill fuel for somebody who cares.

As for "BS," I've heard it all before, myself. I've heard it on Adam-12, Hawaii 5-0, Full Metal Jacket, CSI...

My "job" as a citizen is not to make the tresspass on my rights an easy job for your shift. Your job is to make community policing conform to the statutues and enumerated rights as written. Unless you have a specially drafted Writ of Mandamus in your BDUs, signed by a judge, giving you magical powers to circumvent The Constitution, save me from the dinner theater.

Treat me with respect, state the charges, give me the ticket to sign.

You will be amazed that I will say "Thank you." I will tell my friends you are a decent cop and you will have built more bridges within the community than twenty Rambos.
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Old April 11, 2008, 11:59 AM   #44
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Well tourist, you can have a very bad contact with a law enforcement officer and never have your rights violated. It happens every day.

See, I'm speaking to folks who might just have forgotten to fasten their seatbelt, or maybe they were unaware they were 7 miles over the speed limit. Decent people who just made a little mistake. Many officer will just remind you of the law and send you on your way. No citation, all rights in tact.

Then there is the guy who cops an attitude, the officer might, as you say, have had his wife treat him like crap. Maybe he doesn't smile and maybe he's a little firm with you. You decide he's being a jerk and treat him like a jerk. all within your rights. The officer, with in his rights in in keeping with his job description decided to cite you for the seatbelt, the driving in excess of the posted speed limit and the missing rear view mirror that fell off a week ago while YOU were having a bad day. He gives you your citation, you get to pay it or fight it after taking a day off work only to loose in court, but boy you showed him. Didn't put up with his unfriendly behavior did you. Everyone leaves, rights in tact.

Yes, you have your rights, and the officer has his.

Knock yourself out.

I'm trying to give some folks what I think is good advice. If you disagree you can give that little speech the every officer, deputy, and patrolman you encounter. No skin off my nose.

You have a fine day sir.
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Old April 11, 2008, 12:17 PM   #45
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Originally Posted by scorpiusdeus
Well tourist, you can have a very bad contact with a law enforcement officer and never have your rights violated.
Oh, I agree with every word you have written. This debate centers on the issue of a "command voice," a totally worthless idea that might get somebody killed.

Professional officers never use it. They don't have to. Period.

Let me demonstrate this. Turn-about.

Let's say you come to our Harley dealership on a Saturday. The place will be packed.

In your visit, you meet a guy drenched in leather, swaggering, smartin' off to the girls, dazzling about his mileage, his friends in The Angels, and the tremendous speeds he has driven a bike.

Do you think you have met me?

Of course not. Mileage. Pfffp. Dig up my oil-change invoices, I don't have to brag about anything.

As usual, I'm in the breakroom, dining on free tube-steaks, laughing with the other graybeards because we've had decades of fun and we all know it.

In fact, if you buy a new Sportster, it will be one of us who walks out into the parking lot and gives you a few suggestions. It's not going to be one of us who uses our "command voice" and berates you for being a newb or a poser. (We save those epithets for the guy drenched in leather.)

And how will you treat us? How will you relate this story to your wife when you get home?

You'll say to her, "Hey, I met some bikers today..."

Same with me. When I get home, I do the same thing, I tell my wife about my day.

"Hey, dear, I was a cruisin' a bit fast today on the bike, and I got a ticket. Met a cop I've never seen before. He was a nice guy...
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Old April 11, 2008, 07:58 PM   #46
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You can always escalate your tone or volume, but it is hard to go backwards. If you start out with a lot of 'bluster' you are stuck with it. There are times however that you start out with the "Command Voice" at top volume and let everyone know who is in charge.
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Old April 11, 2008, 08:01 PM   #47
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"Be polite, professional, and have a plan to kill everyone in front of you."

So it's been said, and there's truth there.

I'm only a lowly reserve LEO, but I want everyone to understand, through verbal and non-verbal communication, that I/we are in charge, make no mistake about it. The person stopped or being FI'd gets to choose, by their actions or demeanor, where things go. Easy begets easy, hard begets harder. Stern voice and words are part of the force continuum, and it goes up from there. My $.02

Dear Tourist,

Quote:
About a year ago we had a nineteen year old sheriff shoot and kill several of his friends at a party over some childish teenage fit of pique. Trust me, the Fife family lives on.
A very unfortunate incident, to be sure. As I recall, and it's been a few months since reading, they didn't do a good job screening that kid for emotional stability. Though we let kids be soldiers at 18 or 19, I believe it's too young to be a cop...not enough direct supervision. The scientific evidence is that the frontal lobes of males don't finish developing until the age of 21-22, iirc, meaning "men" under that age are mentally underdeveloped, literally.
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Old April 11, 2008, 08:32 PM   #48
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My two cents...

I don't think I have had any contact with the police in well over 10 years.

I had a new work vehicle and I guess he thought I was going a little fast.
Kind of funny considering how fast people drive on I-95 in South Florida.

I behaved in a very non-threatening way and was treated politely.

Some encounters for traffic offenses in my teens and early 20's weren't as
pleasant but my attitude could have contributed to it.

(One in Philly had me looking down the business end of a gun!)
I was cut off by a cop and I pulled off and away. All of a sudden his unmarked car started aggressively following me. Not knowing he was a cop, I took
evasive measures to get away, thinking he was a nut. The very second he hit the lights, I pulled over, stopped and had my hands in plain sight on the steering wheel.
He comes up to the car with his gun pointed at me! (A 1st for me!)

I explained that I did not realize he was a police officer.
He made a big production and took my license and told me to follow him to the main police station (strange). He got another call, gave me my license back and went on his way.

I think that usually, if you, as a citizen, act courteously and non-threatening, it will be returned.

BTW, one of my neighbors is a retired cop. He is one of the most soft spoken
people I have met. He is not tall, just kind of solid.

He told me his ability to verbally defuse situations was good enough that
he never had to shoot or Taser anyone in his career.

Then there are people in my community (as seen on Cops!) who
continue to talk on the cel phone when a police officer has repeatedly issued her an order
to put the phone down and exit the vehicle.

If you are not going to comply and show the police respect, you better be ready for the consequences. In her case, several requests to put the
cell phone down were ignored and she got Tasered.

Just be cool and treat the police with respect and you will be fine, IMHO.
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Old April 11, 2008, 11:10 PM   #49
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Quote:
Oh, I agree with every word you have written. This debate centers on the issue of a "command voice," a totally worthless idea that might get somebody killed.

Professional officers never use it. They don't have to. Period.
Sir, you are simply wrong. Well, maybe if you ARE from Mayberry that might apply, but if I pull down an ally at 01:00 hours and come upon 5 MS13 bangers stripping a BMW, I can assure you the first words out of my mouth are not going to be "hey fellas, what's up, may I please see some I.D."?

Some of these guys have done a nickel or more up at the gladiator academy and are using every second to determine if they can 1) run 2) overpower me or 3) drawn down and fire on me.

I can assure you that the Mr Rogers approach will only encourage them to make a move faster than being drawn down on and being told in my best drill instructor voice that they need to get on their knees, cross their legs, hands on their heads facing away from me until backup arrives.

In MANY situations your idea might apply, but to say "never" shows a certain Utopian naiveté

As I read you are a bike rider, I can sort of understand your point of view. I'm very aware of the propensity for various LEOs to immediately assume anyone on a Harley is a felon on probation. A large number of motorcycle riders in an area is immediately seen as a biker gang blowing into town.

I don't see that much around here. Most of our "biker gangs" consist of teachers, lawyers, doctors, business owners just enjoying the freedom of cruising down the road with the wind in their face. The vast majority of LEOs here understand that. Even the occasional HA or Mongol doesn't kick up much fuss in these parts.
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Old April 12, 2008, 12:40 AM   #50
The Tourist
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scorpiusdeus
Even the occasional HA or Mongol doesn't kick up much fuss in these parts.
Corner one of them and insult them in your best "command voice."

Let us know how it all works out.
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