I’ll start by welcoming the one Public Enemy fan who googled “Flavor Flav” and decided to click through to a cop’s blog. Â You will not find studio remixes of Chuck D spitting mad lyrics on Fuck the Police here. Â Read on, if you dare.
I have mentioned (read: whined) before about the public’s misconception about the terminology we coppers use surrounding the use of radar and lidar. Â I have lambasted them for their common confusion between the two. Â This post is not for them. Â This post is for you, my fine fellow LEO. Â I don’t often put my literary crosshairs on my brothers/sisters, but enough is enough.
I understand how John and Judy Citizen fail to grasp the not-so-subtle differences between a radar unit and lidar unit. Â They’re not trained and as I have repeatedly mentioned, they watch too much TV. Â I can no longer solely blame popular culture and Hollywood. Â It’s us. Â And by us, I mean you. Â Because I don’t say silly shit like:
1. I calibrated the device prior to my shift. Â Oh, so now you’re an engineer? Â Did you fall asleep in the 24 hr course and subsequent eight-hour follow-up for the lidar? Â (I’d understand by the way…wicked boring). Â Well, allow me to remind you. Â You don’t calibrate it. Â People that are smarter than us do. Â Now, pay attention, because I’m going to give the citizenry some ammo here which I’m hoping will improve your testimony.
Citizens: If you hear an officer testify that he/she calibrated the device, that is your opening for your defense. Â What, you expect me to write the rest of your defense? Â What are you, new?
Back to my LEOs. Â What you did was perform an “internal calibration check”. Â This allows the machine to check on itself. Â If anything unusual occurs, an error message will more than likely appear and you need to get the unit repaired.
2. I clocked the vehicle. Â Enter the Flavor Flav reference. Â This isn’t 1953. Â We aren’t using clocks. Â We are using sophisticated machinery to confirm our visual estimations of a vehicle’s speed. Â The term “clocking” refers to the equation in which speed = distance/time. Â If you are trying to calculate the speed of a vehicle, you get a known distance and use a stopwatch to time (read: clock) how long it takes the vehicle to travel that distance.
So, when I hear an officer in court testifying that he/she “clocked” the vehicle at XX mph, I die a little inside. Â I get why the public uses the term. Â They don’t know any better. Â We should.
3. Â It’s a marvelous night for a Moondance.Â Â This one has nothing to do with speeding vehicles, but a list is useless with only two points. Â Plus, Van Morrison kills in that song. Â Classic.
Do your old buddy, MC, a favor, fellow LEOs. Â I know it may very well be habit now, but do all of us a favor and work those inaccuracies out of your testimony. Â Why must we perpetuate such outdated verbiage?
So, there you go, Citizens. Â There’s something to be on the lookout for if you find yourself in traffic court. Â Oh, and if you find yourself in traffic court, it’s because you got stopped. Â And you know what that means….
Wait for it…
You deserved it.
What drives you closer to the nuthouse about others in your profession?
Photo Credit: Flickr and mattbooy