My Dilemma

Had an interesting conversation with the Powers That Be today regarding this little venue of mine. It was not negative in the least and I appreciated the perspective as PTB is in a position I am not. Specifically, Admin.

PTB’s concerns were, I think, valid. Let me be clear, here. PTB was not saying to no longer blog. PTB wanted to give me some food for thought. I appreciated the time and the effort. There is no case law on the books (as of yet and at least in CA) regarding information contained within blogs. However, there is a case out of NY in which an officer used Facebook. Apparently, one of his status updates said something about watching the movie “Training Day” and made commentary about that being the way it should be done. (Don’t quote me, I read about it a couple months ago). Suffice it to say, when the defense attorney got ahold of it after the officer was involved in allegedly brutal behavior, he used it to paint a pretty ugly picture of the officer.
Now, I know there are defense attorneys that read my blog. I also realize you have a job to do. Do I think taking a snippet of something I say here and using it out of context should, God forbid, I be involved in a case where someone got hurt and then blowing it up to paint a picture of me to a jury is fair/right/ethical/morally proper? No, I don’t. Unfortunately, it’s also your job.
The people that truly know me know exactly where I stand and understand the humor, sarcasm, and wit behind the things I write about here. As I’ve stated a number of times before, this forum began as a way to vent my frustrations about the folks I run into on a daily basis. I absolutely have certain opinions about them as people, but that does nothing to change the rights they have or the professional manner in which I conduct myself with respect to those rights. I took an Oath when I took this job and I believe in that Oath. I am also human and I have opinions. I have, what I believe to be, the ability to separate my personal feelings from my professional ones. I may very well find you morally reprehensible, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have the same rights afforded by the Constitution as I do.
Although it did start as a forum for venting and to entertain out-of-state relatives and friends, it morphed into what I have been told is a public service of sorts. This is why I started the Saturday Question weekly post. You all have emailed me a number of questions and I try to answer them the best way I know how. Prior to starting the weekly post, I would answer as many questions within the commentary section after readers have commented on a post. I have received quite a bit of positive feedback from non-LEO readers that never gave a second thought to how to properly act during a traffic stop, why officers approach vehicles a certain way, why we ask certain questions, etc.
There also remains the possibility that the “wrong person” will be led to the blog and not particularly enjoy the comedy within. Therein lies the possibility of being removed from a “Specialty Assignment” (e.g. Motors) and moved back to a different unit. Per PTB, this can be construed as neither disciplinary nor punitive as there is no loss of employment or pay. Some of you may have a different opinion. Hell, I may have a different opinion, but with a decade or so left until retirement is that a fight I want to take on? Take a guess…
Here’s something else to consider. My family and I have talked on a number of occasions about how the blog has benefited me. I think my attitude towards the public and work has vastly improved since I began blogging. It has afforded me a healthy outlet for what otherwise has the possibility of creating a very hard core jaded and cynical man. The blog has become a creative outlet for writing…something I’ve long enjoyed but never did enough of outside of college. The blog introduced me to two people and their families that I think will be life long friends (CCCPSC in tha house!). I never would have met them, otherwise.
So…to the dilemma. Do I worry about the what if’s and the maybe never’s? Do I sanitize what I have to say and how I say it? (Fuck that last one, that’ll never happen) Do I hope the spirit in which I say things shine through the profane way I say them? Do I straight nix the blog? Do I make it private? Do I buy a domain name and offer memberships after a vetting process to make sure the “wrong person” doesn’t misconstrue my meaning? These are the conundrums swirling about my dome today.
If it came down to it, I’m willing to no longer post. I would miss it terribly (never thought I’d say that, by the by), but my family comes first. If PTB’s PTB say, “The blog or the bike”, it’s bye bye blog.
The flip side to this is kind of ironic. For a guy that basically tells people what to do for a living, I really don’t like being told what to do. Weird, right? I find it particularly loathsome when I feel like I haven’t really done anything wrong and my First Amendment rights are called into question. Part of me wants to literarily thumb my nose at the Man (again, weird) and forge ahead with a “Damn the torpedoes” attitude. I don’t know that I have that luxury, though. If I was a few months from retirement, it’d most assuredly be different, but again, not the case.
I’ve made it more than obvious I am not a political animal. At this point, I’ve no desire to promote. I like what I’m doing far too much. I have posted repeatedly about “Selective Enforcement” and how I feel about it. I don’t do what I do to please PTB or PTB’s PTB (a mouthful, I apologize….cost of remaining anonymous). I think PTB knows that and, believe it or not, understands and respects it. However, PTB’s job description doesn’t really allow for personal feelings to enter into the equation. So, while PTB may very well appreciate my point of view, having it out in the public eye isn’t the easiest for PTB to deal with. I get that. The thing is, I don’t care about the political ramifications of it all outside of the obvious impact it could have on me directly with regard to my current assignment.
I installed statcounter back in February. To date, I’ve had 19,523 unique visitors to my blog in over 50 different countries. That freaks me right the fuck out. I’m not saying all of them like what they read, but enough of you have come back repeatedly to check out the latest shenanigans I’ve experienced (or created, as the case may be). I must admit to feeling no small responsibility in continuing what I’m doing here. I feel connected to you and I appreciate all the emails and comments. Believe it or not, even the negative ones. What is life without conflict? F’n boring, that’s what. Besides, out of conflict, understanding can grow. There is nothing wrong with seeing another side to the same blessed equation.
I don’t know that I have a final point that can properly put the bow on this convoluted package. I don’t know if I’m looking for your feedback or if I just needed to vent (how full circle is that?). I don’t know what the outcome will be. I’ve long felt that the blog was going to lead me to something bigger or something positive. Have I reached that point? Is making two new friends the pinnacle? Did I educate enough of you that I can call it good? Or is there more to come? Is there some other outlet for me to both shirk off my yoke at the end of the day and maybe relay a much needed chuckle to you after a rough day on your end?
I guess time will tell. I’ll sleep on it. Maybe for a few nights. I’ll pray about it. Maybe for a few nights. If you’re so inclined, feel free to do the same. If not, keep a happy thought for me. I’ll do the same for you.

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

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40 thoughts on “My Dilemma

  1. Brother I feel your pain. There has been many good cop blogs shut down. The reason is because they were not blessed first by the command staff. One day I will probably get the invite to the chief's office. I think these blogs show that we as Peace Officers are people to. Yes we are human and we do error at times. I also think it shows the citizens the other side. It shows what we go through everyday that is not on the saturday "COPS" show. I can not give you advise on what to do. When my time comes,I don't know what to do. Whatever you decide, you have a friend down here in TEXAS who has your back.

  2. MC,
    Friend making aside, the traffic your site gets tells the whole story. You are providing a public education element your service does not.
    I enjoy your saturday question a lot and all the posts about folks you encounter. It makes me feel better knowing you get the same BS I do.
    An entire generation of Americans have lost their way and they keep getting into ours for all the wrong reasons.
    I am not a praying man, but with you…I will. Not for you, but that anyone foolish enough to think your blog is anything but personal therapy that happens to entertain and inform, at no cost to your employer, falls in an open man hole.

    Hang in there Po-po a go-go!

    This can't be the end, we're just getting started.

    Your brother from another mother,
    Happy Medic

    Word verification: therapy

  3. I love your blog…I have even sent some of my peeps there.

    I walk the fine line with my blog too..I rarely post about my job, cough cough CSI in So. Cal…

    BUT OMG the stories that I could tell. I had our local newspaper feature me and my blog about running online. That completely freaked me out. I told them to not use my last name. My last name is not common…

    I hope you can keep the blog. I'm waiting for that call from PSU also..

  4. Here's one defense attorney that hopes you're able to keep blogging. I've greatly enjoyed reading it. Thanks for doing what you do.

  5. I think these blogs show that we as Peace Officers are people to.

    See, from a Jane Q Public POV, I think this is very true and vitally important. I read a few cop blogs–probably about five or six now; I've got a huge blogroll. I think blogging can definitely bring about a better understanding. I know a little more now. I'm honestly more careful of my driving (not that I was careless, but there's always room for improvement).

    I went back and read your blog from the beginning. I honestly don't think you've really been negative. I see a guy with a great love for his wife and a desire to do something that makes an actual difference in the world right then & there. You care, and it's obvious from what you write. That's a good thing.

    It was reading nurses' blogs and learning about their daily work that motivated me to pursue that career. It demystified it. I wonder if you haven't been part of leading someone toward law enforcement. My ex-husband is debating pursuing his TCLEOSE and going into law enforcement himself. I know I'm going to point him in your direction so he can learn a little and make sure it's what he wants.

    I really hope you continue on.

  6. Stick with it my friend. As long as you aren't criticizing your department or it's policies and as long as you aren't divulging details of serious cases, you should be fine.

    We have to walk that fine line between First Amendment rights and putting out anything the department would deem "conduct unbecoming" or "demeaning and disruptive" to the department.

    Talking about traffic stops, excuses for speeding, providing tips to the motoring public, and yes, even relating some of the everyday stuff with a touch of sarcasm is NOT a valid reason for transfer, demotion, or termination.

    I'm assuming you guys have decent union legal representation out there. Put them on alert and get an opinion from the lawyers.

    Where I am we have no unions, no legal protection. I work in an "at will" state which means I can be fired at any time without reason. That is why I blur some details and try to stay anonymous in my blog. I have another one that I don't update too regularly, but that's the one I don't care if they find out about.

    Good luck – we would hate to lose you. I have deleted too many police related blogs that went silent since I have started blogging.

  7. Another Jane Public here…I've been reading your blog as well as many other Law Enforcement and medical blogs for a few years and they've definitely changed my perception of the job – and how I should act. I enjoy your writing and hope you continue. I’d suggest changing enough of the particulars of stories and inserting enough CYA BS into each entry to make yourself feel a little safer and just going ahead.

    I read several blogs which I think are more fictionalized compellations of stories than actual recordings of events. I think most readers won’t care and that would satisfy your need to vent and to write.

    Do what you gotta do, but I’d hate to see you go!

  8. MC, this is something we have seen before in other police blogs, and to be honest, Dispatcher and I are wondering when we will get the call to come see the PSU. We are careful to never bite the hand that feeds us, but do find blogging and reading other blogs to be very stress relieving. When the time comes, you'll make the right choice for you and your family. But just know we are praying for you too. – Officer

  9. MotorCop,
    You should continue to blog for all of the reasons you mentioned in your last post. I agree with David Throop, read the very first post in my blog, it will explain a little further. The hard part is not telling anyone you know about something that you work hard to produce. I'm not gonna tell ya what to do, but I would miss your blog.

    I'll handle the back

  10. I just found you through Happy Medic, and I don't want you to stop now! I am an anthropologist and I am fascinated by all aspects of human behavior. I think that law enforcement and first-line medical folks like HM are like field anthropologists a lot of the time, facing unfamiliar or weird or funny or tragic situations and learning to navigate them, if not understand them. The next step, for the anthropologist, is to write about their field experiences. I love what you write because I can learn and experience vicariously what you go through. Please continue!

  11. I find your blog a valuable public service. Sure I read your blog because its entertaining, but its informative. The way the stories you post serve to humanize police officers and offer insight into on of our most important professions is something I think we need more of. The way these stories offer a part of the internal monologue and humor provide something the "Cops" show and the number of "Tru TV" shows lack, an officer's words filtered only by the officer's editorial control. And on your's and many other police blogs out there I have seen that control exercised in no way other than with exceptional responsibility. And when you the officer are author, editor, and publisher you produce a story that I don't think someone outside of your community could produce without the perspective you offer.

  12. I hope you continue blogging, but I see you're stuck between a rock and a hard place. I've learned about officers and why they do the things they do since I began reading their blogs and it's sad to see them disappearing one by one. It's great to have a forum where you can ask them a question and have them take the time to answer you. Good luck in whatever you decide, but I, for one, will miss the blog if you quit.

  13. Hey MC, I am just starting a career in law enforcement and your blog has been enormously helpful in finding questions I should ask on ride alongs, issues to talk about with my wife, and just a good idea of what life is like out on the street. There is a good chance that I would not have pursued this career without the stories I read on police blogs like yours. You really do provide a service and I would hate to see you go, however, if you have to pull the plug, I understand. Your special assignment and your family have to come before the blog roll. If you ever want to make another friend off of your blog and you want to visit Kansas, I will take you out for the best BBQ you have ever had. Thanks again MC.
    Scottish

  14. Oh I would miss you so much, there are quite a few officers in my department that love to read your blog also! Do what you need to do and know that I'll pray and send happy thoughts ur way too!

  15. MC, seeing as how I don't think any of us have the right to lean on you to continue at the peril of losing the favorite part of your profession, I think you can see from this sampling of responses that if you had to quit, you'd be missed. I don't have anything useful to add to what has already been said except a sincere thanks for sharing and teaching us. Do what is right for you, don't worry about us.

  16. As we parent The Kid(s!), we "follow our instinct". It hasn't led us wrong yet.

    As you know, I will always support whatever choice you make in regards to the blog, but I have seen a vast improvement in how you view situations at work. Rather than your usual knuckle cracking and sideways glares, there is a fire in your eyes for a different reason. It means you get to write. It means you get to share your talent with the world. I think it makes a calmer household, which I am all for.

    I have told you from Day 1 that this blog was a public service. Before I met you, I had a completely different opinion of LEOs, and in fact, couldn't believe I had fallen in love with one! You swore to "serve and protect". This blog is just a facet of your service to the public.

    I love you, and no matter what happens, I will stand by your side, as proud of you tomorrow as I am today.

  17. I understand your position 100%, as one who was in and out of the PTB's office over my blog. I understand how you must feel, do I stop and make PTB's happy and keep everything neutral or do I keep doing what I want and possibly PISS OFF a whole bunch of people.

    I enjoy your blog, it keeps me entertained and laughing, if it goes into hibernation, I will be saddened.

    You have the ultimate decision, your happiness and family come first. We all know you will make the best decision, one that is in no way an easy one.

    Just remember, there are always friends out there to support you in everything and anything you do!

    You helped me with my decision when it came to the blog world and I thank you for that!

    Keep up the good fight brother!!!

  18. Enjoy your writings! The good, the bad, the ugly, the witty. Keep your voice in your writings wherever you may go. Thank you for sharing.

  19. I join the throng to shout "keep blogging!" I agree with DH that you have a writing gift, the occasionally grammatical infraction notwithstanding. You perform a great public service with this blog. Too many online outlets for police-bashing exist, so voices from your side of the badge are much needed.

    As we parent The Kid(s!)

    Has Mrs. Motorcop let the proverbial feline out of the sack? Is three soon to be four?

  20. Mrs MC (The Wife), that was beautifully written. It's good to see MC has the support he needs.

    MC, I agree with the points Sabra brought up and as I've told you and other LE bloggers, you give us a perspective we wouldn't otherwise have.

    I would really hate to see this blog end, in fact it makes me very angry at the thought of it. Other professions have blogs as well. Many of them, it could be argued, could offend the sensitivities of the public yet they are allowed to continue. If the public doesn't like it, they can go elsewhere.

    I hope you are able to continue not just for supporters but for future officers who may gain a bit of wisdom from someone on the job and whose experiences and insights may help to keep them safe one day too.

    Good luck to you and God bless you and your family.

  21. I love your blog. It's one of the best written blogs I've seen. In a way, it's stress-relief to read it! Your style is great, and it's quite something to see the motor side of patrolling. To be honest, I've started looking at that specialization differently since starting to read your blog (and it's made me drool over the BMW bikes in the detachments in my city!).

    As a current LE applicant up here in Canada, blogs like yours have helped me glimpse a bit of the inside world of policing, and for that I am deeply grateful. Without that opportunity, I would still be in the dark about what it's like. This has cemented my drive to become an LEO and led me to strive harder towards it.

    I really, really hope that you can stay active in the blogging world. It would be a hard loss to see your blog go down. I, along with many, many others, would miss both your writing and you.

    But if you go, then you go. Family and career first. If my future boss comes up to me someday and says 'take your blog down or you're back to car patrol from xyz-specialization' (because I sure as heck will be blogging once I'm in), and I love where I'm working (hoping motor or K9)…well, that'd be an easy choice, too.

    Good luck and God Bless. Will pray.

  22. Gosh no please don't stop blogging! I've only recently found your blog and put it straight on to my RSS reader. I sort of know how the traffic police work here in England, and now I'm learning about America. You are really interesting and informative, and your sense of humour is what attracted me to your blog. Carry on, please!

  23. Your blog does not present any of the same issues raised in the Vaughan Ettienne matter. Ettienne is the NYPD officer whose Myspace and Facebook postings were brought up by a defense attorney at trial. With tongue firmly in cheek, Officer Ettienne repeatedly inferred he used excessive force and improper procedures. You are doing absolutely nothing of the sort with your blog. Here is more background on the Ettienne matter:

    http://preview.tinyurl.com/lg6lr6

    You have never shown yourself as other than 100 percent professional on your blog. So I don't think the NY comparison is at all warranted. You don't use your real name and never condone any improper procedures. You've gone out of your way to articulate how you abhor such behavior. There's nothing here a defense attorney could "throw in your face."

    You and your blog are a credit to both your department and to your fellow officers.

  24. Here comes the lawyer to fuck it all up-

    Bro, you know I love you. We go back a ways. I love reading your blog- its on my iGoogle page.

    But I gotta be honest- if I was a DA in your county, I would worry about your blog. Its true that you spend 90+% of your time doing traffic, but one day you just might be the first one showing up to a triple homicide, and your testimony might be critical.

    And you never know what innocent thing you are saying today might get thrown in your face tomorrow.

    Here is the most important thing, though- I don't want to see your career get fucked up. In the end, all it takes is some vindictive supervisor that decides (s)he hates you to use this blog as ammo to screw you. Its not worth it.

    I think you are doing a HUGE public service with this. I wish my "customers" would read it, and generate a few less files. I think you are hilarious, and I think you have elevated your profession and LE as a whole. I will miss your "wit" terribly.

    But I don't want to see you get screwed.

    My 2 cents. At $400/hour.

  25. My Brother what you need to do to CYA is to open a Canadian e-mail address to use on your blog. Your blog is much too valuable to fall to the wayside because of the powers that be. Under the CDN. Charter of rights and Freedoms ( 1982) and the Criminal Code of Canada ;
    No magistrate, justice of the peace, Provincial Court Judge, Appelate Court Judge, Superior Court Judge ( all Provinces and Territories), may issue a writ of assistance or warrant to divulge the name, address, or any identifiable means of the person holding said account, unless directly ordered by the Supreme Court of Canada, and only involving matters of National Security, Terrorism, Capital Murder cases, Human Trafficking, or Pedophilia ( child pornography).
    If it came to the point that you need to do this go to yahoo.ca, aol.ca, lycos.ca, or gmail.ca and open an account with them.
    May the " force" be with you on this undertaking of yours, and I mean the force you work for!!!
    A loyal reader and Canadian LEO.
    Check out my blog, I blast my Dept. constantly and there is not a damn thing they can do about it!! LOL!!! ( And we are really understaffed at the moment so the words " early retirement option" scares a lot of higher ups from commenting!! LOL!!!!

  26. Hi there
    Have you considered maybe having the blog as a members only site? People request to join, you get to pick and choose so you can weed out those who, er, seek to destroy you (for lack of a better word) and you can continue to entertain the audience you already have without worrying about stray people who wonder on in from Google searches. Blogger has this option available to you.

    Most likely, your audience will continue to grow as people refer your site to colleagues and friends but at least you can control the membership.

    Best,
    Cindy Smith
    Creator and Editor
    Education for the Driving Masses.com
    The Drunk Driving Masses.com

    — Canada's premier news, traffic and collision prevention websites dedicated to improving the way we drive through awareness and education.

  27. Please keep writing! I feel that you are actually providing a great community service…"Hey everybody, we're real people too!" Good days/bad days/funny stories…just follow the damn traffic laws 🙂

  28. Another vote for the "keep blogging" tally. You're blogging anonymously here so connecting the dots back to you is extremely remote. Frankly I think the lawyer is over reacting.

    Ultimately you have to listen to your gut. If you're feeling the heat from PTB then that's something you must consider but I think otherwise it's done on your own time.

  29. I vote we all go on a cruise and hang out and have a laughing blast!!!

    I would miss your blog – But totally understand. Like my officer said we wonder about ours also! We also have noticed that we are way less stressful then before. Even our therapist agree's that it's good for us!

    So what's it going to be? Europe? Alaska? Could you just visualize the looks on all the faces as they pass by us wondering what were talking about?

    Could you 'hand' this blog over to someone else to do? 😉 If it comes to that?

    and hey.. which one of ur followers is the PTB???
    -Dispatcher

  30. MC you have a decision which none of us would want to make although the decision is too easy. Family first which is closely followed by our careers.
    The PTB's have their way of "saying" things in a very "suggestive" way. Your blog would be greatly missed as it was you and your blog which inspired me to write.
    You can see by all of the responses from us followers, you have a gift.
    Keep the rubber side down Brother. You're one hell of a writer and a damn good motor cop.

  31. While I hope you continue your blog I understand the dilemma. I am an ER nurse and have thought many many times about starting a blog to tell my tales and the thought about loosing my job over it has always kept me from it. I hope you make the right decision!

  32. MC, in spite of that 'slight misunderstanding' we had when I first started following your blog, you have done nothing except show me respect and treat me like any of your other readers. This is your blog and you could have easily blocked me, but you didn't. So, I think you need to give yourself more credit for impartiality than you seem to. You are fair in your professional, and personal, life. For that, I thank you. And you have my respect for that, and for the job that you do.

    Like the rest have said, you would be missed, but we understand if you have to go. Yes, your family depends on you and must always come first, but the public depends on you to be out on your ride, keeping the roadways safe. I'd sacrifice my personal enjoyment in reading your blog for knowing that MC is out there, somewhere, doing what he was called to do.

    And, yes, you have my prayers, too.

    Cophawk

  33. Hi… been thinking about your dilemma for much of the week. I'm addicted to your writing, and I will certainly miss your crazy posts should things head that direction. I have nothing else original to add except a hearty "ditto" to most all of the previous commenters. 🙂

    Although I'm married to a LEO, he is not a traffic terminator like you. 😉 It's because of your posts that I stop for 3 seconds at stop signs (ha ha), drive (closer to) the speed limit, and generally work harder to ignore all three of my screaming kids while driving to prevent some bonehead move that you would certainly nail me for. thank you.

  34. If you aren't humbled by all of this support, you truly were raised by wolves!! Do your thing kid – it's who you are. Your #1 fan!!

  35. You touch on an interesting point. My facebook is limited to friends and family with a block on search ability and my blog doesn't outright mention my name or department (although a little bit o' googling would solve that). My blogging interests don't focus on "roadwork" so its nt that I worry about "what" it is that I'm saying as much as it is that I dont want any "customers" of mine out there able to cause trouble for me.

    I think that this issue is probably one of the big "up and coming" issues in LE administration.

  36. I'm late to this comment party, and new to your blog, but I'd hate to see you go.

    My husband is in the process of a career change to law enforcement (lifelong dream, and a layoff has finally afforded him the opportunity to do it). Reading your blog, and others like it, offer a human side to the LEO life that you just can't find anywhere else.

    As my own family dives further into the blue line, I hope to be able to make new connections, and maybe even contribute my own voice, in this blogging community.

    You do what you have to do to protect you and your family. Just know that if, for your own reasons, you decide to shut down, you'll be missed. Respected for your decision, and your contribution, but missed.

  37. I've just ran across your blog yesterday and have been reading it. The PTB can suck it. Keep blogging. I was in the Bay Area last night and kept giggling at all the funny stories you've told whilst saying a quiet prayer you'd be safe on your beat when I drove through Land 'o Rioting/Pillaging/Looting. Keep at this, don't stop blogging (obviously you haven't), and thanks for all the laughter you've brought me at the expense of Darwin Nominees.

  38. Shazza…

    Welcome to the party! Obviously, I made my decision and I've never looked back. I'm happy to have been around this long and am looking forward to entertaining you all for years to come!