The other day, I was sitting on the bike looking for your run of the mill CVC violations. The parking lot I was sitting in allows access to a four lane, major arterial road to both the downtown area and the freeway. It is shady. It was hot. There are no major visual obstructions between me and the road (and thus, drivers).
I was minding my own business when a car pulled up next to me and the driver, a rather grumpy older guy, decided he wanted to talk. About the manner in which I was “hiding”. As soon as he asked his question, I knew where the conversation was headed as well as that it would end up here. Please to enjoy…
COB (Crotchety Old Bastard): Are allowed to hide here?
MC: Who’s hiding?
COB: You are.
MC: I must suck at it what with you finding me and all.
COB (as he pulled out onto the public road): That’s entrapment and it’s not fair.
Okay…A)It’s not entrapment, but we’ll get to that in a minute and B) Fare is a four letter word that applies to the bus.
MC (getting louder as COB pulls further away): Actually, sir, it’s not entrapment. Perhaps you should research the meaning. Oh….and put on your seat belt!
COB (as he pulled out): And what about that truck? (He was indicating a large truck blocking the #2 eastbound lane (by hand signals no less)…a classic blameshifter (since he wasn’t wearing a seat belt) if ever there was one.)
MC: I’ll get right on that one, sir!
Now, before some of you get your panties in a bunch…I got the truck driver to move his truck. He wasn’t happy about it, but too bad, so sad. On to the crux of the post: entrapment. Here is the legal definition:
entrapment n. in criminal law, the act of law enforcement officers or government agents to induce or encourage a person to commit a crime when the potential criminal expresses a desire not to go ahead. The key to entrapment is whether the idea for the commission or encouragement of the criminal act originated with the police or government agents instead of with the “criminal.”
If I’m just sitting around and monitoring a given area for violations, I am in no way inducing or encouraging drivers to commit violations. If anything, being out there should have the opposite effect. Entrapment, as well as the concept of “speed traps” (which we’ve covered extensively), is a common pitfall that the public and media at large misunderstand.
More simply put, I can sit/”hide” just about wherever I can fit my bike. There is no legal requirement for me to announce my presence, leave lights flashing, warn drivers, etc. I’m there to enforce the vehicle code. I will say that, typically, if I’m sitting in someone’s driveway, I’ll talk to the homeowner and make sure they don’t mind. Just seems like the courteous thing to do. The fact of the matter is, however, that most folks encourage and appreciate it when I’m there because that means I’m slowing down drivers in their neighborhood!
I was really hoping that COB was going to loop back around to see if I had the truck moved or not…because I was gonna rag his whiny ass for not wearing his seat belt. Hell, I should have done it as soon as he pulled onto the public road. I just knew that if I did, I’d create a headache because he’d have complained and whined and I just didn’t feel like dealing with his bullshit any further….besides, he gave me blog fodder. For that, I thank you, COB…but don’t get cocky, ’cause next time it’ll be different.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic. Snark is encouraged. Being a prat is not.

8 thoughts on “Entrapment

  1. Technically, I suppose that could be true…but only if the owner of the property asked me to leave and I refuse would I be trespassing.

    I've never had that happen.

  2. There's only one part of the post I think is somewhat inaccurate. You state that I was minding my own business when clearly you were not. You were minding other people's business. You may argue that this is part of your job description, but the fact remains that you were minding other people's business. I think accuracy matters here.

    The COB didn't have a leg to stand on, and probably knows it. Unless you're in Puerto Rico, Guam or the Ryukyu Islands, State law provides a clear exception for the concealment of law enforcement officers mounted on motorcycles or horses for the express purpose of apprehending law breaking scofflaws, of which this COB is one (seat belt violation). He's lucky you let him off.

    And, while I'm at it, note that fair is a four letter word that also applies to the weather, women, or an exhibition – usually competitive, of farm products and livestock, often combined with entertainment such as the ring toss, the roll down and the hootchie kootchie girls, and held annually by a county or state.

    I further note that when the local constabulary were kind enough to establish a RADAR surveillance point in my neighbor's front yard behind some large trees for the purpose of ticketing traffic violators, the officers were under constant barrage from the civilians living in the area with offers of refreshment and congratulations on doing an excellent job. I offered cold beer and was reluctantly turned down.

    I would cheerfully provide lunch, dinner and shade for any officers that were willing to set up in my driveway and catch traffic violations.

  3. I find your definitions and explanations helpful. It helps me not sound like an idiot when I am around L.E. friends. Thanks, MC!

  4. Mr COB was a very lucky man that there was a truck that needed moving. However, if you had booked him I'm sure his word of the day would have changed from "entrapment" to "victimisation".
    As for having an MC in your driveway, there are definitely days that I would pay to have that. Just think, no more idiots driving up and down the street for the duration of MC's visit. There would always be the really stupid but they would at least serve to alleviate any boredom MC may be suffering.
    MC rental….It could be a new business venture for your Department.

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