Selective Enforcement – Part I

And I say Part I because there’s more to what follows. That is to say I’m not sure how to properly phrase what’s on my mind without stepping on my junk, you know? Think of this post and its eventual future part(s) as akin to Stephen King’s Dark Tower series, you just never know when that fucker is gonna write another one. Fear not, though, I’ll do something creative like name the follow up post “Selective Enforcement – Part II”. I know. I’ll wait for you to catch your breath.

At any rate, and without further ado, I present to you our first installment…
I stopped a very nice Mercedes today. It was driven by a well dressed gentleman. A gentleman that apparently likes to drive 13 MPH over the posted speed limit. He was very cordial during the initial contact and, to be fair, mostly cordial when I handed him his ticket. What he said, however, fired a synapse in my brain that has been irritating me more and more of late.
He said, “Why can’t we get a break? We donate all kinds of money to you.”
Oh, sweet tap dancing Christ on a crutch (Sorry, Lord, that has always rolled off the tongue so well), where to start. First…what’s with the ‘we’, chief? You royalty of some kind? In that case, Your Highness, thanks ever so much for deigning to speak with me, your humble ser….nah, fuck it, I can’t do it.
Second, and more importantly, I’d really like to make a sweeping overall point here. How to put it delicately….thinking, thinking…oh, I got it….YOUR CONNECTIONS/DONATIONS/BRIBES/CONTRIBUTIONS/MOTHER’S UNCLE’S SECOND COUSIN YOU BLEW ONCE IN THAT BOATHOUSE WILL NOT GET YOU OUT OF A TICKET!!!!!!!!!!!
I don’t care how much money you donated to the 11-99 foundation (which by the way is for CHP…of which I am not a member) or, for that matter, to a department I actually belong to. To the best of my knowledge, there is no caveat and/or addendum to CVC 22350 (speeding) or any other section, come to think of it, that includes the verbiage “lest you donate shitpots full of cash”.
If you feel so moved as to give freely and of your own volition to your local PD, God bless and thanks very much. We need any assistance we can get. Hell, we wouldn’t have a K9 program if it wasn’t for some well needed donations. Know what, though? Your generosity, although very appreciated, is not carte blanche to violate the law.
I’d like to think that if I had more money than sense and I decided to buy the DEA a new helicopter, I wouldn’t expect them to ignore the 300 acre grow I’ve got in the backyard. On a smaller and more realistic scale, if I donated some money to a PD and subsequently got stopped for speeding (or any other violation for that matter), I’d suck it up and take the hit. That’s what responsible people do.
Know what you don’t do? You don’t tell the cop that stopped you, “Hey, I gave at the office…what say you look the other way on this one.”
I believe my response to him was, “Well, sir, I didn’t realize donating money was an exemption to the speed limit.” Or something along those lines.
So, please, friends, if you feel so moved to give, please do. But, do me and the rest of us LEOs a favor, do it from the heart and not as a reason to get out of some future deed. It truly tarnishes the gift…at least in my opinion.
Now keep those eyes open for Part II…

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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15 thoughts on “Selective Enforcement – Part I

  1. Anonymous…not so much the one guy, but the overall tone of late with regard to similar behavior.

    Oh, and this is the 21st century. It's Starbucks and bagels, now. Time to move on from the stereotype.

  2. The expectation may have been put there by the fundraisers. When LEO's do dialing for dollars looking for donations, the pitch people often imply that a street cop might see a decal on your car, etc., and will "know that you support law enforcement" or some similar schtick. I get a couple of calls a year along those lines. It's manipulative, arguably unethical, undermines respect for the rule of law (in pursuit of a few extra dollars), and leads to exactly expectations like you describe.

  3. I think GritsForBreakfast has a good point. I've gotten calls like that where the caller has tried misrepresentation and subtle coercion.

    That said, protesting about donations is a very dumb thing to do. If the driver's position or political connections are such that it would make a difference, the police will know before the stop is made. If not, you know exactly where you stand when your license and registration is returned to you.

  4. The poor sap that calls my house to solicit a donation for "my department" NEVER represents my department. As a fund raiser for 30+ years I can tell you that there are so many "cop scams" out there it would boggle the brain. Never – and I mean never – give to a telephone solcitor who cannot properly identify the department he/she is collecting for. Anybody who plays the "I gave at the office" crap will likely be the jerk that complains because the PD didn't arrive quickly enough to "their" emergency. Maybe they should have given more to the phony telephone solicitor.

  5. I generally find that if I'm pulled over for speeding, it's because I was speeding and no amount of gifts given will change the fact that I just broke the law.

    I'm anxious to see Parts II – XIII on this.

    Are you going to have an entry on officers giving other officers a pass when they get caught? The only thing I've ever heard on the subject is some off-duty officers getting upset because they didn't but haven't heard much about them ever getting a pass either.

  6. Love the Dark Tower reference. I gave up waiting for a new one and moved on. *sigh* And where I live, the local LEOs ARE at the local bagel shop one morning and at Starbucks the next. (I'm waiting to see what'll happen if we get a Peet's.)

    The stories I've heard about people trying to get out of tickets because they gave money to some "law enforcement support" group are pathetic.

    Can't wait to see more posts on "Selective Enforcement".

  7. The really maddening thing about many of those fundraisers is that they give less than 10 percent to legit LEO charities, if that much. Some of them give exactly zero.

  8. Hey-

    Now donating to the 11-99 doesn't give you carte blanch to break the law as you said, but what's with the 11-99 license plate frames being sold on ebay for $500. Every couple of days somebody posts em for sale, never for the price of, say, a license plate frame. Maybe 11-99 doesn't get somebody a "get out of jail card" from you, but it's obvious by basic economics that it does amount to a "get out of jail card" from some officers. Maybe it's just the ponchers. Sorry for posting anonymous, just too lazy to create an account right now. Maybe i will another day when i have something else to say and some more time.

    -double oh from Ventura

  9. I'm sorry… but I must be missing something.. Don't they donate money so police can do a better job at … say.. catching the speeders and people breaking the law? as in the moron that just got the ticket!
    -Dispatcher

  10. 00Ventura…

    I about fell over when I saw the license plate frame. Un-friggin-believable. $500?!?!

    Something about a fool and his money…

  11. you know, i see the "fraternal" bumper stickers that people in this state get for donating upon receiving the soliciting phone calls…and I DO wonder to myself, "are you just trying to patronize the cop that might pull you over?" I sure as hell would never put one on my car for that very reason…. so i don't look like an ass-kisser.

  12. There is no doubt that police give "the benefit of the doubt" (let people off who are guilty) because of whatever crazy reason. My girlfriend is an intensive care nurse and has gotten off numerous times when she just happens to flash her badge at the officer. Makes schlubs like me sick to think that I have to obey the law and some special segment of society does not.