A Little Professional Courtesy, Please.
November 29, 2006 3:18 PM   Subscribe

"If we can't take care of each other then who will. Your a disgrace to any police dept. u no ball havin piece of @#%$. I hope when your out there alone writing a ticket "joe citizen" pumps u full of lead and leaves u there to rot u fuckin @#%$ u." Welcome to Cops Writing Cops. Be sure to check out "Dick of the Month" and the forums.
posted by Optimus Chyme (82 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Those interested may in something similar may want to cf NYPD rant.
posted by subtle-t at 3:22 PM on November 29, 2006

This is a site for officers getting traffic tickets that ANY normal civilian could get a warning on, verbal or written.

There are things "any normal civilian" would normally only get a warning for? And by "any" one means "not just those with breasts"? I can't recall ever getting just a warning once I've gotten pulled over...
posted by clevershark at 3:23 PM on November 29, 2006

Wait - cops get tickets?
posted by gottabefunky at 3:34 PM on November 29, 2006

I've gotten at least two warnings in the last ten years rather than tickets. Yes sir, no sir, and my mistake are all useful phrases, in my experience. History of getting pulled over could have something to do with it - the last time, just last month, the officer was gone for several minutes, supposedly checking my driving record. If it hadn't been clean I supposedly would have ended up with the ticket.
posted by phearlez at 3:34 PM on November 29, 2006

Oh, and I do not have breasts.

Well, maybe very small ones. But they're kinda hairy, so I don't think they motivate anyone to do me any favors.
posted by phearlez at 3:35 PM on November 29, 2006

Wow, that site is just amazing. I am unsure if I'm more torn between the cognitive dissonance ("If you have been arrested for a crime and want to use this as a podium to rant, go somewhere else.") or the sense of entitlement ("when pulled over the driver of the vehicle handed over his information with my family member pba card" and many more)

I think if someone pulled that on me I'd be looking for more ways to cite them. Why not put a folded up $20 in there too, sparky?
posted by phearlez at 3:43 PM on November 29, 2006

"Waah waah waah, I'm a cop so I shouldn't get a ticket even if I'm driving dangerously fast."

Screw that. Cops aren't above the law.

And I've never gotten a written or verbal warning for speeding. Ever. Not once in five different states. Don't kid yourself there, off-duty officer, speeding stops result in a citation almost all the time.
posted by zoogleplex at 3:50 PM on November 29, 2006

Wow, this site is amazing!

Cops think they're above the law because they have 'brothers' in law enforcement. I see cops speeding, turning corners without signals, running reds without their sirens on, and running rampant with their sirens on through light traffic and then parking to make phone calls. Cops need to learn they only have the same rights as everyone else when they are not on the job. And for all those 'family' members with brass cards: do not speed, it's against the law, you idiots.

Complaining about getting a ticket because they were not wearing a life preserver in the middle of a lake. Gimme a break.
posted by parmanparman at 3:50 PM on November 29, 2006

Cops need to learn they only have the same rights as everyone else when they are not on the job.


Cops need to learn they are under the same laws as everyone else when they are not on the job.
posted by parmanparman at 3:52 PM on November 29, 2006 [1 favorite]

Even with a good attitude I still right cops and I will continue to do so. If you don't like it, make 10 more sites and cry about it all you want on them!

The thing is "joe citizen" has many hardships too, (whether or not he is employed in law enforcement or has family that is). I write joe citizen and guess what? When your off, your joe citizen to me too!

Now I realize most of you are dirty "officers" and love to use your badges and dept. IDs for personal gain, but DONT think that I care when you say things like "Oh who is going to help you when your getting your a$$ kicked.. ?" Who will help me? Other VSP, sheriffs etc. that I can count on to see past childish personal grudges and DO THE JOB.

Don't bother having a good attitude, just adjust your driving habits accordingly so that they are not in violation of the law

Well, at least there are a few good apples out there.
posted by doctor_negative at 3:53 PM on November 29, 2006

"He decided he would write me a ticket. I realize I was wrong and explained to him who I was. I wasn't asking for much, but I am disabled because I did my Job. I have stopped and let go many Police Officers in my years, including some Virginia State Troopers who were respectful. I never thought I would be disrespected like this and then lectured afterward. I retired from the Tampa Police Dept and thought there was some professional courtesy,if I knew this would happen to me, I should have wrote all those out of state Officers who came down here. I'm glad I didn't, I will never go so low. "

Where's the waaahmbulance?
posted by ericb at 3:55 PM on November 29, 2006

There is a thing cops call "Professional Courtesy" which is supposed to be a way for cops and their families to be above traffic and other minor laws. I've seen it in person - a kid I know has a father in law enforcement and he missed a turn and drove on the wrong side of the street to get back to where he was supposed to be going. The cop pulled him over, he showed him his license and gave him a card saying his father was X with the local Police dept, and he got off. The officer was really really pissed off but he got off without a ticket. Another quick incident I know of is when a parole officer was doing extradition duty and he got pulled over in a rental car and he was above the legal limit (before he picked up the guy) and he didnt get a DUI. He just got a letter back to his department head with all the information. He got in trouble at work but no DUI on his record.
posted by SirOmega at 3:57 PM on November 29, 2006

From the CopsWritingCops forum:

Ya know something, ----? There are basically two types of people in the world. One is the type that runs to the source of trouble (gunfire), and the other is the type that runs away. You are a classic "run away" type.

You come to a cop forum, don't have the stomach to complete a profile, don't ID yourself, remain anonymous, and tell us how mean and rotten we are.

Well boo-hoo.

Cops are different, dude. We have a lot of power (that bothers you, doesn't it), and best yet is we have a lot of discretion how we exercise it. See lawyers like you (you ARE a lawyer, aren't you) would never think of filing a misconduct complaint against another lawyer - even one who abuses his authority as an officer of the court, i.e., LIES). Similarly, when is the last time you heard of a doctor screwing up a surgery that results in some poor sob dying being reported by another doctor? All professions exercise some form of courtesy to others of their ilk - its human nature. So a cop lets another cop go on a BS traffic infraction he's probably let dozens of civilian go on. Wow - big deal. So what. Means nothing to you or anyone else - least of all the cop.

Get some balls, buddy. Better yet - why don't you take the test, join the cops, and show us how a real man does the job?

No? I didn't think so:)
posted by parmanparman at 3:57 PM on November 29, 2006

clevershark: "There are things "any normal civilian" would normally only get a warning for? And by "any" one means "not just those with breasts"? I can't recall ever getting just a warning once I've gotten pulled over..."

Interesting. They don't give warnings in Canada? How much do the tickets cost? How many can you get before losing a license?

I've been warned countless times. The way it works here, I guess, is that there are hundreds of regulations that are usually enforced only in order to investigate violations of more serious ones. I drive a big 1985 Chevy van with no seats and spraypaint all over it. (I love that van. And I'm trying to save money.) I've been pulled over at least ten times without "serious" cause, for reasons ranging from "there's a small crack in your taillight" ("but officer, it's covered up with red tape!" "well, um, it's not really covered up enough. Just put another piece on there, and it should be fine.") to "you changed lanes a little fast back there" (huh?). I've even been asked for license and registration when I was pulled over by the side of the road talking on my cell phone. Why all the hassle? Because I look exactly like I'm running drugs.

It doesn't bother me too much. If I were a cop, I'd want to check out somebody driving a van like mine, too.

I guess I don't know if cops give warnings in other states in the US, either. I live in the west, and warnings seem to be a general rule. But I've never been pulled over in NY (the highest density of cops anywhere, so far as I can tell) without getting a ticket, though; I think they've got some kind of 'zero-tolerance' policy there.
posted by koeselitz at 3:57 PM on November 29, 2006

Much like the TV show COPS, this site is probably not a showcase of law enforcement's best and brightest. Some join the police to protect and serve; some to eat doughnuts (or at least draw a steady pay check) and then there are those for whom the alure is the appeal of wearing a gun and harrassing everyone around them.

Guess which group I think generates most of these posts.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 3:57 PM on November 29, 2006


I got pulled over a few years ago coming home from work. It was after midnight, and I guess I wasn't paying attention because I never intentionally speed, but I was going something like 60MPH in a 45 zone. Cop pulled me over, got my registration, and about ten minutes later just told me to watch my speed next time.

And I don't have breasts. (Unless you count man-boobs.)

Of course, I also didn't have any prior record, even of speeding. The only thing that could've been in the system about me was a freeway accident a few months earlier, and I wasn't cited for that.
posted by Target Practice at 3:58 PM on November 29, 2006

Metafilter:very small ones. But they're kinda hairy
posted by CynicalKnight at 4:18 PM on November 29, 2006

I've had one speeding ticket. Thrice I have asked for, and received, a warning instead of a ticket. The worst that can happen is that they'll refuse and write you a ticket they wre going to write anyway.
posted by mistermoore at 4:22 PM on November 29, 2006

Let's make a deal. Cops don't have to write each other speeding tickets if the very moment one finds out another is committing acts of brutality he/she goes to IA and the media.
posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 4:29 PM on November 29, 2006

"How about a little professional courtesy?"

To which the answer should be

"How about a little professionalism?"
posted by Dipsomaniac at 4:31 PM on November 29, 2006 [2 favorites]

Unbelievable. They really feel that they and their wives, siblings, etc. should be exempt from traffic laws because they are police officers. To them, the honorable thing for a cop to do is say, "Oh, your husband is a police officer in another state? I won't give you a ticket then. It's okay that you were speeding." What?

Substitute "Professional Courtesy" with "Nepotism" and you have it.
posted by Riovanes at 4:32 PM on November 29, 2006

There are quite a few places in the country where trying to pull the "professional courtesy" bit will get you in *more* trouble. Down south is one area where they frown upon such behaviour. You'll wind up hearing that since you're a police officer, you should be setting a better example and not breaking traffic laws.
posted by drstein at 4:38 PM on November 29, 2006

And by "any" one means "not just those with breasts"?

I have breasts. They're quite lovely. They've never gotten me out of a ticket.
posted by jrossi4r at 4:51 PM on November 29, 2006

My favorite part about the forums is that they use the word "discretion" endlessly - only in this case discretion is not "coming to judgment by weighing various factors" but rather, "applying a hard-and-fast rule, that cops don't write other cops, even for DUI." It is shocking and disappointing.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 5:00 PM on November 29, 2006

The only difference between cops and common thugs is that common thugs are brave enough to commit their crimes without hiding behind a badge.
posted by nightchrome at 5:01 PM on November 29, 2006

This kind of thing frustrates me to no end. I know cops, both local and federal who are really decent people. I've hung out with them. Drank in bars with them. Talked about movies and cars and music and books.

What I'm saying here, is that I know that not all cops are bad.

And yet, when I see a site like this, I get very angry. The astonishing sense of entitlement coupled with the petty power trip that these assholes ascribe to themselves is infuriating.

Yes, if you break the law, you deserve to be punished. No your occupation does not alter this fact, nor should it abdicate you of your responsibility to act inside the law both on and off duty.

This page is indicative of the greater problem in law enforcement today. We just don't have enough quality officers out there. I know they exist, and I don't want to tar the entire community, but the fact is that this problem is systemic. The only way to fix it is to change the whole game.

I've said this before, the fastest way to fix the police is to double their pay. Right off the bat, you are going to be getting a higher quality applicant. Next, you need to hold officers responsible for their actions. Internal affairs conversations become an every day kind of thing. And IA needs to stop being demonized. They are quality control. They are there to ensure that we, the paying customer, get the best quality service possible.

Sure the stereotypical former high-school jock with a chip on his shoulder will still be drawn to law enforcement, but under the new system, he will wash out quickly, and there will be a steady supply of better applicants waiting to take his job.
posted by quin at 5:05 PM on November 29, 2006

How about a little professional courtesy?

I don't know how many times I wish I had "favoritism" which is the synonym for "professional courtesy" . Why ? Because in my country the system is based on clientelism, favoritism and even when it actually isn't or could not be, people believe it is.

Why ? Because it is almost the public knowledge, it is tolerated because it may favour us. Everybody likes a shortcut.

Yet the price of an uncertain favour thay we may enjoy is paid by the certainity of corruption, shady business, lack of openess, secrecy, fear and betrayal. We tolerate this exercise of power upon us because we like the delusion of having power help us.

When a law is formed in a way that may affect us, we delude ourself in thinking it will never be used against us and often look at short term consequences, ignoring long term ones.

If the system gives us a speeding ticket we like a friend to remove it, but we don't think it would be better to find why the law is punishing a behavior that in some area is safe, in others very unsafe. Why is the speed limit so the same in all the streets, regardless of the conditions of the street ?

Too much work ! Let's just ask the cop not to punish us in exchange for a favour : we think we are avoiding a lot of troubles, while we are preparing the cop-favour mentality by living it, enabling it, tolerating it.
posted by elpapacito at 5:07 PM on November 29, 2006 [1 favorite]

"When the trooper came back to my car he stated he wrote me a summons for RECKLESS Driving because I was driving over 80MPH. When I asked about the trooper extending Professional Courtesy the trooper stated he gives Courtesy "BUT NOT AT THAT SPEED""

Note well: DO NOT, under any circumstances, mess with the New Jersey State Police, no matter who you are. They don't fuck around, not at all.
posted by zoogleplex at 5:19 PM on November 29, 2006

Little too much professional courtesy in the city of big shoulders right now. Damn shame. I know a lot of guys who are good men getting hosed. But it’s always been tough to be law-abiding in Chicago. Corruption tends to be the rule.
...actually that explains a good deal of my issues with anger now that I think about it.
posted by Smedleyman at 5:19 PM on November 29, 2006

(also, well said quin)
posted by Smedleyman at 5:20 PM on November 29, 2006

A police officer expecting more leniency for breaking the law is like a doctor caught smoking cigarettes and expecting less judgement over it from his/her patients.

No, I don't expect doctors and police officers to be perfect, just have little humilty and respect for what they do.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 5:39 PM on November 29, 2006

This post from the forum is, um, interesting:

Two years ago, I stopped a Sheriff Deputy for speeding his newly brought Corvette. I asked him what was the reason and he said "I was just testing out the speed on this thing". I let him go because he was showing remorse and he had a nice attitude.

Doesn't matter who you are, you speed on purpose just for fun/your own benefit, you will get a ticket from me. And it doesn't help to show bad attitude.

OK, so sometimes it matters who you are.
posted by jikel_morten at 6:05 PM on November 29, 2006

Am I misunderstanding this, or do police departments actually issue these 'Family Brass' cards, that are effectively licenses to break the law? Because that is just un-fucking-believable.
posted by jack_mo at 6:14 PM on November 29, 2006

Interesting. They don't give warnings in Canada? How much do the tickets cost? How many can you get before losing a license?

I can't speak for anyone else but I've never gotten a warning. You get the same 12 point system as everywhere else (or at least I'm told that's the general case in North America). Fines vary from province to province.

Then again Canadian cops don't do the "pulling someone over because they might happen to have a gram of weed" stunt, so you won't be pulled over unless you are speeding, or weaving, or driving like a jackass.
posted by clevershark at 6:25 PM on November 29, 2006

The cop mentality is just the criminal mentality turned inside out.
posted by Huplescat at 6:33 PM on November 29, 2006

"Then again Canadian cops don't do the "pulling someone over because they might happen to have a gram of weed" stunt, so you won't be pulled over unless you are speeding, or weaving, or driving like a jackass."

Hah. Bullshit. If you have California plates in British Columbia, they'll pull you over for damn sure. And if you're a white guy with long hair, you'll definitely get a whole bunch of questions and accusations of transporting drugs from the Canadian cops.
posted by drstein at 6:40 PM on November 29, 2006

jack_mo wrote: Am I misunderstanding this, or do police departments actually issue these 'Family Brass' cards, that are effectively licenses to break the law? Because that is just un-fucking-believable.

My guess (and hope) is that the cards are issued by unions, police officers' associations or some other group that extends legitimate benefits to family members of cops. If, on the other hand, police departments actually print up "Don't give my wife a ticket" cards, well... there outta be a law against it.
posted by thinman at 6:56 PM on November 29, 2006

quin is on the right track. We need to clean up our police forces. Stronger and more active IA is important. If anything there should be stiffer penalties and fines for police officers. They should also have military style PT tests, and be well versed in the basic code of law and constitutional rights.
posted by MrBobaFett at 7:10 PM on November 29, 2006

Am I misunderstanding this, or do police departments actually issue these 'Family Brass' cards, that are effectively licenses to break the law? Because that is just un-fucking-believable.

In NYS you used to see plain-text bumper stickers that read simply, "Support your State Police/In honor of (some killed-on-duty officer whose name I've unfortunately forgotten)" These were only issued to State Troopers, so if a cop saw a car with that on the back they knew it was driven by a cop/cop's family member/cop's friend. Every now and then I'll notice a similarly-unusual police-oriented bumper sticker and I assume it's the same kind of thing going on.
posted by Opposite George at 7:11 PM on November 29, 2006

jack_mo writes "Am I misunderstanding this, or do police departments actually issue these 'Family Brass' cards,"

I think it's the PBA, which is the officers' union, that issues the cards.
posted by concrete at 7:12 PM on November 29, 2006

And oh yeah, quin is totally right -- pay officers enough to attract high-caliber applicants who take their responsibilities seriously.
posted by Opposite George at 7:12 PM on November 29, 2006

I've gotten warnings before, but I've always gotten the impression it was because they received a call for something else more important; or perhaps more desirable for them to deal with (traffic tickets = paperwork). It's usually marked by them leaving with lights on.

That said, I've been ticketed for going 5 miles per hour over the speed limit on an empty highway. I had no past record and I was courteous (I always am, I find police to be intimidating).

This website is pretty outrageous, BUT, I think it's a little unfair to generalize about police; this is a website dedicated specifically to cops who share this opinion, so naturally it's going to be a cesspool. Given how many law enforcement people exist over the entire country, I'm going to say this website user list represents a minority.
posted by cj_ at 7:29 PM on November 29, 2006

I have gotten warnings instead of tickets, and I once got a speeding ticket and was told "this would be a warning, but you blew by me as if I didn't exist" (I wasn't speeding much (10-15mph in NJ is 'not much') but I passed a police car doing it.).

Politeness. Total honesty. Calm. Discretion. The shock this causes alone can paralyze many officers.

Others are 'under pressure', or 'already having a bad day', or 'are total flaming assholes all the time', and nothing matters.
posted by hexatron at 7:29 PM on November 29, 2006

As for the magic cards--a relative who sold stuff to police departments had an 'associate PBA card' or some such thing. I don't think he ever used it, but he had the kind of personality that could. He offered to get one for me, and I refused.
posted by hexatron at 7:32 PM on November 29, 2006

The percentage of DWI arrests that are the result of an accident is probably under five percent. The percentage of DWI arrests that are the result of an accident when the defendant is a cop is probably over 95 percent? Why? Pretty easy to figure out -- professional courtesy. When there is an accident they typically can't extend the professional courtesy because the accident victim will go crazy.

I have been practicing law in my city for eight years. There has been one arrest of an officer for a DWI in that time. It was an accident. Police officers are young men, and they like to drink as much as most groups of young men. One DWI? Let's be serious. (There have also been zero arrests of members of the DA's office for that offense during this time -- not that lawyers like to drink or anything)

Also, I have represented a few policemen or former policemen who have been given traffic tickets. They were all from out of the area. Each one of them -- to varying degrees -- expressed outrage that they were given a ticket in the first place.

If we can ever limit professional courtesy to include only speeding tickets, then we are making significant progress.
posted by flarbuse at 7:33 PM on November 29, 2006

Wait, I don't get it. If you're a cop, why isn't your wife supposed to get speeding tickets? Cops are sure as hell not supposed to be above the law, let alone their family members.
posted by tehloki at 7:49 PM on November 29, 2006

Wait, I don't get it. If you're a cop, why isn't your wife supposed to get speeding tickets? Cops are sure as hell not supposed to be above the law, let alone their family members.
posted by tehloki at 7:49 PM on November 29, 2006

Last year, dismayed by dimming job prospects, I decided to actively tried to become a police officer. I actually got pretty far in the process before I realized the job would not be the least bit right for me, but it did teach how many departments are pretty much designed to hire the least fit for the job.
posted by drezdn at 7:50 PM on November 29, 2006

I've only gotten one speeding ticket, and it was in new jersey. The cop was nice, in that he 'clocked me twice' and wrote my ticket at the lower speed (the lower speed avoiding a court date, he hit me as i crested a hill, and then as i slowed down at the bottom, difference between 85mph and 84mph is a a court date apparently). I was in a speed zone, so it was a double fine on top of that. But I think it helps that I saw the cop as soon as I came over the hill, and when he pulled over, I was already on my way to the right hand lane, and pretty much pulled over by the time he was turning on his lights.

One of my friends from college is from a small PA town, and the new local sheriff is a guy from his highschool who dropped out and got his GED. When the new sheriff took the job, the old sheriff gave him a list of people and cars he shouldn't pull over in any circumstance.
posted by mrzarquon at 8:23 PM on November 29, 2006

I used to prosecute tickets as part of training for the Crown, and many cops I worked with espoused a "tough-love" philosophy with regard to other cops -- ie: a bit harsher on other cops, within reason. But part of that may have been a acute perception of being in the public eye during that time period. They wanted to avoid any impression of favouritism.

As for warning vs. ticket, that's not the only kind of discretion. When I was in the courtroom, the cops I knew had a kind of shorthand with me: a ticket for the max given the speed over the limit meant that the driver was an asshole. Whereas a lesser ticket meant cooperation, which meant that I could also be a bit more lenient in the courtroom. ("lesser ticket" meaning, for example, a car tagged going, say, 130 in a 100 zone, gets a ticket written for going 20 over the limit)

Oh, I will add that cops HATE those "POINTZ" services and the scumbags they hire, and I had full and enthusiastic support when I nailed one of their clients to the wall.
posted by dreamsign at 8:25 PM on November 29, 2006

whenever, that is.
posted by dreamsign at 8:25 PM on November 29, 2006

A give away to an off duty cop driving like a complete asshole is the thin blue line sticker. You see them frequently around DC. It just screams professional courtesy.

do police departments actually issue these 'Family Brass' cards, that are effectively licenses to break the law?

I have a neighbor who has stories about being picked up on a few DUI's (three I think) during her high school career. She has never received a ticket, never gone to court. Her father is a homicide detective, her grandfather was the police commissioner at one time. She'd get picked up wasted , but when they ran the plates they'd see who's daughter she was and call her parents to pick her up at the station. She said on the last one she would have rather spent the night in jail then the night with her parents. They're not bad people for this. They're just looking out for one another. She does still have her father's name on the registration to her car.
posted by peeedro at 8:32 PM on November 29, 2006

I have a relative who is an ER nurse and a relative who works in a prison. Both have had "professional courtesy" extended to them for relatively minor traffic violations. I sometimes feel like Eddie Murphy when he discovered the truth about another secret world that excluded him.
posted by madamjujujive at 8:34 PM on November 29, 2006

If you have California plates in British Columbia, they'll pull you over for damn sure. And if you're a white guy with long hair, you'll definitely get a whole bunch of questions and accusations of transporting drugs from the Canadian cops.

They just recognized you as a troublemaker, that's all :-)

Actually this is probably because they don't want people buying dope in BC to bring to the US. Vancouver is pretty close to the US border.

The second motive -- which is probably more a propos -- is that you're from out of the area, which means that if a cop gives you a ticket for pretty much any reason you're unlikely to be in a position to fight it in court even if it is bullshit, because that would mean coming back in one or two months or whenever the court date is. This is not proper to Canada, it happens everywhere. You're more likely to be pulled over in New York State if you have Jersey or Quebec plates than if you have NYS plates, because then you might be a local.
posted by clevershark at 8:51 PM on November 29, 2006

peeedro : They're not bad people for this. They're just looking out for one another.

See, this is where I disagree. They cut her slack three times. They are giving her tacit approval to drive drunk, and by doing so, endangering all the people around her car. Knowing that there would be no repercussions, she never had to take steps to make sure her way of getting home didn't endanger anyone.

So let me get hypothetical; what if the next time she went out, she skipped a stop sign and broadsided a guy. That guy is now injured because a person with three potential DUIs in her pocket (enough to make her lose her license for several years, and possibly do some jail time) was never reprimanded for her antisocial behavior.

And never mind the fact that she wasn't even a police officer herself. She had done nothing to warrant special behavior other than having a blood relation. I can almost forgive cops being lenient on other cops for speeding. In theory their training has put them into positions where they have had to practice handling an automobile at high speeds. The primary point of speed laws being to keep people from driving beyond their skill set. Like a race car driver, a cop who spends every day behind the wheel would have a better capacity to drive fast than the average commuter, and thus might deserve some slack under the spirit of the law, if not the letter.

But I can't imagine how this applies to relatives.

As to the 'They're just looking out for one another.' aspect. I would like to think that their time would be better spent keeping known drunk drivers off the street and thus be 'looking out for everyone else'.

[Rereading this, it's sound more than a bit like I'm attacking you directly. Please don't read it that way, this kind of thing is a problem everywhere and your example worked very well for my purposes. No offense is intended to you]
posted by quin at 9:12 PM on November 29, 2006 [1 favorite]

In the late eighties in N. J. I knew a lady who knew another lady whose father in law was the president of the PBA (Union) of a north Jersey town. Never met the guy or even knew what he looked like. Yep. I got me a brandy new PBA card every year. A gold one too. But I am proud to say I never used it. But would I have? In a heart beat.
posted by notreally at 9:18 PM on November 29, 2006

Oh. And I like to believe that the "duty" of police officers is to protect the wealthy and their property. That way I am never surprised by their attitude to the non wealthy.
posted by notreally at 9:21 PM on November 29, 2006

This type of "professional courtesy" is not looked on the same way on the West Coast as on the East, I think. Giving or accepting this "professional courtesy" is a serious breach of trust and can actually be grounds for dismissal (in Oregon, at least.)
posted by leftcoastbob at 9:25 PM on November 29, 2006

In summary:

- all cops are not bad; this site caters to the worst of them, just as any profession's vent board would sound smug, entitled and scary (imagine an anonymous teacher's lounge or doctor's bulletin board)

- PBA cards should be abolished

- plenty of non-cops get warnings too

- what flarbuse said about cops and DWIs is much more serious and deserves some serious investigation

- thank god for the internet where we can enter these secret worlds without notice and find stuff out
posted by django_z at 9:49 PM on November 29, 2006

When I was in High School, In Oklahoma, I was the kind of troublemaker who got away with it all the time. I don't have anything approximating breasts, but I assumed it was because my dad was one of the major business magnates in a small town. I got two tickets from three years of awful driving, one of which was from an accident (and which was thus upheld - the only one I've had to pay) and the other of which was dismissed immediatey by the judge without him even reviewing the circumstances. Every other time I got a polite warning, not only for traffic violations, but also for tresspassing, and on one notable occasion tresspassing with friends up on a particularly scenic hill, which we didn't realize was in perfect view of the municipal airport where the governors plane had just landed, so we actually were questioned by the officer as to wheter we were attempting an assassination.

Twice (2 times) I was caught in flagrant delicto in public by the sheriff - with his son's girlfriend - and we were let off with a warning both times. For a smart-ass highschooler, this all seemed awesome to me at the time.

I've lived in NYC ever since, and as such rarely drive, but when I've had to (for film shoots) I get pulled over CONSTANTLY. I've never been issued more than a warning, ever. I've never even been asked for my liscense, which is handy, as I lost it (physically) years ago and bureaucratic tangles with Oklahoma have prevented me from getting it transferred to NY. AT one point, I was pulled over for driving the wrong way down a one-way street in a car that wasn't mine. Warning. An hour later I was pulled over for the same reason, only this time I was on my cell phone with the actual owner at the time. Again, warning. So it wasn't my dad after all. The trick is to look as if you need help when they come to the window, and they'll help you out.

My freshman year at NYU, a friend who'd grown up in NYC told me a story about the one time he'd been caught jumping the turnstile. An undercover transit cop pulled him aside, and my friend flashed his family brass card. That solved everything. Since then, whenever I get a letter from the PBA, I send in the minimum donation. I've never had the chance to use it to get out of anything, though I would, but it has smoothed things over with cops who were just being dicks for the purpose of being dicks, which is thankfully a small minority out here.

Moral - I want to get away with whatever I can, and seem to, so I can't fault these cops for wantnig to do the same. I don't know if it should extend to DUI or truly dangerous practices (and by "don't know" I mean that it shouldn't) but to me, the professional courtesy, while definitely corrupt, is just a perk of a dangerous, low-paying job, and for some reason the corruption doesn't bother me that much.
posted by Navelgazer at 10:36 PM on November 29, 2006

Fuck cops. I would kill one in a second if I knew I could get away with it.
posted by scose at 10:49 PM on November 29, 2006

scose : Fuck cops. I would kill one in a second if I knew I could get away with it.

Yay for you. Thankfully since you are the kind of person that would post something that painfully stupid to the interweb, you are obviously not the kind of person that could 'get away with it', and thus cops everywhere are safe.

Or was that sarcasm? My snark meter has been acting up.
posted by quin at 12:10 AM on November 30, 2006

Twice (2 times) I was caught in flagrant delicto in public by the sheriff - with his son's girlfriend - and we were let off with a warning both times.

It was said of the Sheriff of Calhoun Parish,
Not to ever touch his daughter Emily,
For to look at her with a lustful eye was certain,
To get you time in the penetentiary.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 12:30 AM on November 30, 2006

Nice post, seems "professional courtesy" has lowered my already low opinion of cops.
posted by jeffburdges at 12:39 AM on November 30, 2006

This is such a good post that no-one's had the time even to point out how good it is.
posted by imperium at 2:46 AM on November 30, 2006

while definitely corrupt, is just a perk of a dangerous, low-paying job, and for some reason the corruption doesn't bother me that much.

Oh yes one can frame it as a minor thing, something that is "acceptable" considering that many cops may have dangerous experiences more or less routinely and the pay isn't often proportional to actual risks and potential risks.

So if we tolerate this behavior, does that imply they don't need higher pays because we already tolerate petty corruption ?

Setting aside really corrupt cops, who routinely exploit their knowledge of laws and system to obtain profit..why shoud ordinary decent cops feel compelled to create "favor" systems ? Who is rallying them toward this conclusion or why do they feel they are to be exempt from law ? Maybe because they know that the law has some problems, but don't want or are afraid to speak and try to fix it ?
posted by elpapacito at 3:24 AM on November 30, 2006

Knew a kid in high school who had an old Cutlass he'd fixed up. It had like a four hundred small block, something ridiculously powerful. He got pulled over on the interstate one night for going way, way over the speed limit, mentioned that his father was a state trooper (which was true), and was sent on his way without a ticket.

I worked with a former cop who told me about getting pulled over. My co-worker mentioned that he used to wear a badge and the traffic cop said "I wish I'd known that before I started writing the ticket."


I'm curious... what's this "'POINTZ' service" to which you allude? Google doesn't seem to have anything on it and I can't find any other references in this thread.
posted by Clay201 at 3:35 AM on November 30, 2006

Bad boys, bad boys
Whatcha gonna do?
Whatcha gonna do when they come for you ...
posted by bwg at 5:27 AM on November 30, 2006

You know Navelgazer, there's a little more to it than "look[ing] as if you need help when they come to the window." Usually, you also have to be white. And of a certain economic class. And apparently it helps to be a cop, be related to a cop, be a friend of a cop, or to have given money to a cop's fraternal organization. So, really, there isn't much of a trick to it. Unless that trick is one of birth and circumstance.

An anecdote: I was flying back from Europe around Sept. 11, 2002. All the flight attendants and security people were very much on their toes, checking and double checking everything imaginable. So I wasn't surprised when, as I came through border control in Philadelphia, the INS agent pulled me aside because my the laminate over my passport photo had come loose from its backing. I was surprised to get this little lecture, though. The agent said: "Look, you're obviously an American and you're coming back from vacation. But you could be flying on a forged passport. I'm not going to give you a hard time, but there are other people in this airport who will. So get this fixed as soon as you can. Have a nice day, brother."


What's my point? This sort of "professional courtesy is offensive not in its extension but in its selectivity. If I'd been a black guy or god-forbid a Muslim, would I have gotten the lecture and the pat on the head? Doubtful. I sure as shit wouldn't have been called "brother." So, every time you get a pass and you convince yourself that your "trickery" has gotten you out of a sticky situation, you're also helping (with the complicity of your "brother") to create a society in which rules are applied selectively based on racial or economic grounds.

Those kinds of unwritten rules do a lot to engender the kind of hopelessness and mute anger among non-whites and the poor that make cops (us, their "brothers") anxious in the first place.

Quite a trick, huh?
posted by felix betachat at 6:13 AM on November 30, 2006

A lawyer runs a stop sign and gets pulled over by a sheriff’s deputy. He thinks that he is smarter than the deputy because he is a lawyer and is certain that he has a better education. He decides to prove this to himself and have some fun at the deputy’s expense.

Deputy says, “License and registration, please.”

Lawyer says, “What for?”

Deputy says, “You didn’t come to a complete stop at the stop sign.”

Lawyer says, “I slowed down, and no one was coming.”

Deputy says, “You still didn’t come to a complete stop. License and registration, please.”

Lawyer says, “What’s the difference?”

Deputy says, “The difference is, you have to come to complete stop, that’s the law. License and registration, please!

Lawyer says, “If you can show me the legal difference between slow down and stop, I’ll give you my license and registration; and you give me the ticket. If not, you let me go and don’t give me the ticket.”

Deputy says, “Sounds fair Exit your vehicle, sir.”

At this point, the deputy takes out his nightstick and starts beating the ever-loving crap out of the lawyer and says, “Do you want me to Stop or Just slow down?"

I love cops.
posted by MapGuy at 7:07 AM on November 30, 2006

peeedro: A give away to an off duty cop driving like a complete asshole is the thin blue line sticker. You see them frequently around DC. It just screams professional courtesy.

Yep, those stickers are all over upstate SC, too.

Now if they're just memorial symbols to honor fallen police officers (search page for "Black-blue-black") that's one thing, but we all know that's not why people display them.

One man's "professional courtesy" is another's "the laws don't apply to me because I'm in the club".

scose: Fuck cops. I would kill one in a second if I knew I could get away with it.

Well, I wouldn't do all that, but there's one in particular that could use a good scrotal tasing...

But here's my legal "citizen IA" plan fantasy: I can't find a source now, but I have read that even a minor traffic violation committed by an on-duty cop is a Big Deal -- as in, they are docked pay, will automatically be passed over for their next promotion, etc. Every day, I see cops in their patrol cars violating traffic laws -- speeding, not using turn signals, and the like. I'd love to record those infractions with my handy bumper cam, then send an anonymous DVD of the offenders to the both local police station and the local media.

I'm pretty sure you'd find me in a shallow grave within months.
posted by LordSludge at 7:29 AM on November 30, 2006

quin: I can tell you're not going for my throat, thanks. I put that story out there because when I pieced it all together I had the same reaction as you and I think you laid it out well.

Here's another hypothetical: throwing this girl in the back seat of the squad car and calling her dad takes up a lot less time than following police procedures. The officers got a drunk driver off the road and instead of filling out paperwork, they had time to go catch another drunk driver. Everyone wins except our sense of fairness.

For clarity, she does not carry a get out of jail card. It was the patrol cop's decisions in every instance to let her off, the cop on the street has the choice between following procedure or calling a superior officer to come take care of his family. When I say the cops that I know aren't bad people I mean that they don't take bribes, or kick puppies, or eat babies, but they do live in world with a set of informal rules that seem incredibly unfair to the rest of us.

And this neighbor of mine was reprimanded, but by her family and not the criminal justice system. I heard the story because her mother told it to me, ten years later her parents still hold it over her head as an example of how she shouldn't behave. Every time she does something wrong, her mom brings this up in front of anybody that happens to be around. Being a cop's daughter is a little like being a preacher's daughter as far as I can tell.

Here's another one that is less flagrant: I was riding back from the beach with a friend who is a cop. He was driving about 25 mph over the speed limit when we were pulled over. He says to the cop "I have a loaded firearm in the car and I am an off-duty cop." The cop asks, "where is the gun," and then "can I see your driver's license and badge?" The cop lets us go with a warning, "there's a state trooper up the road that will give you a ticket for this." But there really wasn't a state trooper, he was really saying "if you continue to drive like an asshole in my county I will give you a ticket." And my friend drove the speed limit until he hit the county line.

: Do you consider the word, "Cop," pejorative?

I'm not a cop but I know some. For city or county police I know, "cop" is fine, or even preferred. I've never heard them use it as a pejorative. It's their way of saying "he's one of us." However, I know a uniformed Secret Service officer, but they are completely the opposite. They do not want to be lumped into "one of us" and cop is treated as a pejorative. He'd rather be called Special Agent in Charge of Sitting in a Cruiser on the 3200 Block of Massachusetts Avenue before he's called a cop. Cops don't call the game warden a cop, although he a law enforcement officer with a badge, gun and ticket pad.

So it depends on who and where you ask.
posted by peeedro at 7:42 AM on November 30, 2006

peeedro: My observations have been that cops can call other cops "cops", but Joe Public had better call them "police officers" -- because, you know, we're not brothers-in-arms and we need to show proper respect.

subtle-t: DUDE. Is that NYPD Rant site for real??

I did about 3 minutes of poking around there, and if those are cops posting there, it's pretty fucking scary -- makes Free Republic look like a bastion of progressive liberalism.

Here's a nice post requesting increased enforcement around a radio station as retribution for on-air antics. Here's a another one entitled "YO YO YO NIGGA" that pretty much speaks for itself:

They talk about why they dont go to 5th avenue and shoot white people - because 5th avenue does not have crack bars or whore houses - let the truth be known , blacks commit more crimes than any other race, some young ggirl just fried her baby in a microwave - BLACK she was indeed...3/4s of very collar I've made are BLACKS - go to Jamaica Queens and there are enough perps in pne block to fill a jail...Blacks dont care they b;lame everyone for there ills...

I am tired of black people comming into my neighborhood and commiting crimes and yes they do!!

Why doesnt Al Sharpton complain hold marches on all the black on black killings - babies having babies - black men in jail - gangs --- because he dont give a @#%$ about his people - his backward ass people are they only reason he has a job - if you can call it that!!!

Fucck all backward ass motherfucckers - I hope you start a riot and kill each other off - maybe you can finally meet your daddy in jail - THESE COPS DID NOTHING WRONG stop trying to paint PERP BELL as a victim you all know he was anything BUT - him and all his PERP FREINDS

WHAT IT MEANS TO BE BLACK - posted on another site edited by me

We call eachother niggers, but it's racist for whites to do so.
2. We think whites are evil and racist...yet, for some reason, we need to associate with them, ask them for money, jobs and go out with their white women
3. 70% of our babies are born out of wedlock and we have higher abortion rates than whites...yet somehow we think we'll win a race war against them.
4. Constantly blame whites and immigrants while the world passes you by
5. We think whites are 'ignorant' or 'evil' for only wanting to stay away from us, without realizing MOST OTHER RACES don't think to highly of us either
6. When we kill eachother it's 'the black life' while any white person that would do the same is a 'hate crime'
8. We use words like 'yo, yo, yo' and 'dog' and 'bling bling' and 'know what'm sayin' and think it's proper English
9. We call whites racists, yet we see nothing wrong with screwing them over or taking their rights away.

Keep up the black/black (and hispanic) killings, stay in your 'hood', shut up...and leave us the @#%$ alone and everything will be right. Aaaiiight? Peace, nigga!...

posted by LordSludge at 8:04 AM on November 30, 2006

Another Louisville cop killed a pedestrian with his car last night. They do that a lot here.
posted by davy at 8:10 AM on November 30, 2006

"cops"? What's the origin of the word?

COP = Constable on Patrol, but...
"Around the year 1700, the slang verb cop entered English usage, meaning 'to get ahold of, catch, capture.' By 1844, cop showed up in print, and soon thereafter the -er suffix was added, and a policeman became a copper, one who cops or catches and arrests criminals. Copper first appeared in print in 1846, the use of cop as a short form copper occured in 1859."*
posted by ericb at 8:11 AM on November 30, 2006

My observations have been that cops can call other cops "cops", but Joe Public had better call them "police officers" -- because, you know, we're not brothers-in-arms and we need to show proper respect.

Sure, just as I want the police to call me "sir" or "Mr. Peeedro" when we interact. Magically, they do. Public/police interactions should be courteous and professional, like in a courtroom or doctor's office. If you can read their rank insignia, call them by their rank; it's not a power trip that they play, it's the way our society ritualized these types of interactions.

I'm just saying that "cop" isn't a dirty word for most of the ones with whom I'm friends.
posted by peeedro at 9:44 AM on November 30, 2006

Two women were on a trip from Duluth to Minneapolis. Along the way, the driver realized that there were flashing lights coming up on her from behind, glanced at her speedometer, and said, "Oh, shit! I'm going to get a speeding ticket!"

As she pulled over to the side of the freeway, she turned to her friend in the passenger seat and said, "Quick! Your husband's a cop--tell me what to do to get out of this ticket!" The passenger said, "Act cute. Cops love it when they have a ditzy blonde who says something cute."

The driver watched in her rearview mirror as the Minnesota Highway Patrolman exited his vehicle, straightened his Smokey The Bear hat, and strode confidently to the driver's window. Before he was able to say a word, the woman batted her eyes at him and said, "Hi, Officer! I don't suppose you're selling tickets to the Police Officer's Ball, are you?"

The Trooper fixed her in an icy glare and replied, "Ma'am I am not an officer; I am a Minnesota State Trooper. And Minnesota State Troopers don't have balls!"

After realizing what he had just said, he turned, marched back to his vehicle, and drove off without another word.

Another ticket averted.
posted by leftcoastbob at 9:58 AM on November 30, 2006 [1 favorite]

What a bunch of whiners.

The mister recieved one warning while driving in British Columbia.
posted by deborah at 10:51 AM on November 30, 2006

Whiny jackasses.

Especially the ones who are upset because their *wives* got nicked for speeding. I can understand why a police officer can speed a little without endangering the public, but their wives and children should just suck it up and pay.
posted by Tacos Are Pretty Great at 7:09 PM on November 30, 2006

I once unintentionally cut off a state trooper in an umarked car (I hated the lousy aft and blind-spot visibility in that camper-topped truck!) and to top it off, she trailed me for a couple of miles, blowing the horn and flashing her blue lights -- which I couldn't see because she had 'em mounted in the grille of her car, I was driving a pickup truck, and the higher truck body and her proximity behind me were such that they were below my line of sight in the rearview mirror. When she tripped the siren a couple of times, it only confused me further. All I knew for sure was that I had this pi$$ed off woman in a big car tailgating me, and I wasn't sure if I was hearing a siren or not.

She tailed me all the way to my destination, walked up to my car, and rolled her eyes when I said, "Oh, my goodness, you're a cop!"; she was wearing a stylin' Highway Dep't -issue windbreaker, slacks and no hat. (The usual safety shoes & equipment belt, though.)

I explained all this patiently and politely; I was baffled, embarrassed, and apologetic, not defiant or argumentative. I was amazed that as angry as she was, she didn't bother with the ticket -- just a dirty look and a hyperagressive "You're welcome!" which was clearly an implied order: You will now obsequiously thank me for not ticketing your moving violation. Best I could manage was a tongue-tied, sheepish "Um, oh, okay."

I'll have to look thru the forums of the time to see if she wrote her colleagues a nastygram about me.....
posted by pax digita at 1:06 PM on December 1, 2006

I think I "get it" -- the cops demanding "Professional Courtesy" don't see laws as having much to do with public safety. They see laws as opportunities for tax collection. To be fair, a lot of us car guys see many traffic violation fines as taxes rather than anything to do with safety. Indeed, many small towns finance their govts largely on speeding tickets and the like.

Taken in that light, a cop letting a cop go without a ticket is little different than a movie theater worker letting his friends in to see movies for free.

Not that I agree -- there are huge ethical problems here...

(Weird, I posted this last night, but it's gone today.)
posted by LordSludge at 6:38 PM on December 2, 2006

I'm curious... what's this "'POINTZ' service" to which you allude? Google doesn't seem to have anything on it and I can't find any other references in this thread.

"POINTZ" and similar services offer to have agents go fight tickets for you. They usually advertise that they have ex-cops on the payroll and so are "experts" at getting you off.

The reality: while a few agents are indeed ex-cops,
i) that doesn't make them good lawyers, by any stretch, and
ii) other cops (ie: the ones providing evidence) tend to hate them, consider them turncoats, and encourage prosecutors to not cut deals with them.

Oh yeah, and
iii) they will lie to you five ways from Sunday.

For example, they turn up and basically beg the prosecutor for a deal, then report back to their client (in the rare instances where I've later had contact) to say that they "won their case". I had one agent who NEVER argued a case -- just cut deals or folded. I wasn't sure he knew how to argue a case. Then one day he turned up with client instructions and, due to a slightly unusual set of circumstances, the judge insisted that he argue the case. And sure enough, he didn't know which way is up.

It seems like most of these guys just take your money and go begging for you. The thing is, the prosecutor is more likely to listen to you personally asking for a deal than one of these crooks.
posted by dreamsign at 4:51 AM on December 8, 2006

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