I have a love/hate relationship with our local police. For one, I have a couple of friends that are cops at a near by township, and from all of the stories I've heard, its not a job I'd like to have. Its dangerous, you have to deal with bullshit situations caused by the dumbest pieces of shit society churns out, and there's of course huge amounts of paperwork that goes along with it. I know a lot of them get paid very well, especially if they're represented by a union, and they have unrivaled pension plans, but its still one tough job. A good lot of them are regular people that are some of the most dedicated citizens you'll find.
But there's always a few that make everyone else look bad. I met another one today. Well, meet him again. I've had a run in with this guy last year when he caught me making an illegal right hand turn (which, I will argue, is a bullshit area for an illegal turn since there's no blind corner anymore, but its not his job to decide what law is). He's a cocky old bastard that seems to enjoy writing traffic tickets and racking up massive amounts of overtime, taking advantage of a hugely flawed OT system (show up for half an hour of court, get paid for THREE HOURS, time and a half, MINIMUM. BULL. SHIT.).
There's a lot of construction going on around here, making getting anywhere an ordeal. Most people have been finding shortcuts here and there, not all of them technically "legal" due to "no though traffic" signage, but when it takes half an hour and three miles of detours in congested traffic to drive one single mile, maybe its time to let a few things slide.
So, lately, I've been taking a shortcut that involves cutting through an industrial subdivision, entering and exiting via an unmanned car wash. Today, as I was leaving work and taking this shortcut, the guy in front of me (obviously taking the same shortcut), suddenly gets ambushed by an unmarked car driven by the cocky old cop, and ordered to turn around. When he asks me what I'm doing, I tell him "I'm patronizing this fine establishment; do you mind?". He didn't like my tone of voice, but fuck him- as far as he knew, I really was. Actually, my car was pretty dirty, but the goddamn stall I was in (the last one unoccupied) was out of order, so I turned around and started to leave the way I entered (to avoid taking the illegal shortcut).
My pal, Cocky Cop, had already pulled over two other motorists by then, and when he saw me leaving in my unwashed car, he darted into the middle of the street to stop me, then shout to me, asking why I didn't do what I had come to do. I informed him that the last unused stall was out of order, and I was on my way to another car wash.
He demanded that I pull over.
Well, since I had not broken any laws at this point, and both of us knew it, I had some choice words cooked up for him by the time he got to my car. When he did, and after I once again explained that the car wash was out of order and I had opted to go to another car wash instead of waiting, as was my right (yes, I did say that, with emphasis). The officer pressed the issue, wanting to know exactly which one, to which I did answer with a legit establishment that was closer to my house, that for all he knew was my destination. Keep in mind he asked for and received my license and registration, so he knew my address.
He then...get this...said that I was lying, and that I was using the car wash to cut through. The guy is technically right, but I still had the upper-hand based on where I was coming from, where I lived, and the obvious presence of fresh bird shit coating my Camaro, which I pointed out as my Exhibit A.
At this point, I grew more bold (but still calm and without anger), and let him know that as a tax payer I did not appreciate the accusation without sufficient evidence (since I had not once stuttered or stammered when he first asked about my business there; I'm a master of on-the-spot bullshit), and I certainly did not appreciate my tax dollars being wasted by defending a private business using tax payer manpower and equipment (pointing to his cruiser), especially at the rate of approximately 35 dollars an hour, when my own car has been vandalized multiple times in the last year, my neighbor's house had been robbed earlier in the winter, and another neighbor had been car jacked in her own driveway at "pretty much this time, on a Tuesday", all without any closure or even suspects in each case. I flat out told him that if a millage vote comes to this town, I will vote to strike it down, and so will a lot of people here today that get pulled over as they watch their friends, family, and neighbors become victims of far worse crimes than driving through an unmanned car wash parking lot.
He was just about to fire off what I'm sure would be a very heated, even angrier response in order to re-establish his authority over me in front of the witnessing motorists, when another cop car emerged from the car wash, passing through its lot, and then passed through with a wave. I also waved back.
If looks could kill...
He shoved my license and reg into my chest, and demanded that I "get the fuck out of here now, sir".
Without a word (but with a very big smile and a thank you), I complied, and waved goodbye to my bestest buddy in the whole wide world. I then returned home...without going to that other car wash.
While I'm positive that the situation could have gotten very ugly, despite me showing no actual evidence of motivation to willingly break any law, and that, barring my actual intentions with the car wash, I was in the right, the officer very easily could have made my day a whole lot tougher than it had to be, and that I'm actually incredibly lucky that his fellow blue boy passed by when he did.
However, I'd like to think that I had a legitimate point. There's far more serious crimes going on as we have this bullshit conversation, and yet we're having this ridiculous conversation in what would otherwise be a pretty desolate area. I think if I were actually able to speak freely without worrying about getting hassled, I'd flat out tell the guy I think he's being lazy by working a cake assignment and milking it for all its worth.
It does happen. Sometimes, cops do take the easy way out and avoid the tough calls by involving themselves in easier ones. You know, I can sympathize with that, since there's a few days when I don't want to go home a dilapidated wreck of a man, so I slow down when I unload those trucks and ask more of my co-workers than usual. But if I did that regularly, I'd be fired. If this cop does it regularly, though, he has a union and a contract behind him to defend his actions, meaning that if he chooses to be lazy, he can be. He can choose to make a ton of money without taking bribes, yet still do so in a morally questionable way.
Its not really all that fair, but like I said, the majority of cops on our streets are actually very decent people doing work thats definitely not as glamorous as the TV tells us it is. Its just that sometimes, some of them need to be reminded that the "to protect and to serve" slogan refers to something more than their retirement plan.
I say that there's limits as to what is acceptable behavior for a police officer. I think this guy was taking advantage of all of the construction, which created this choke point that he could exploit by camping out for some very easy tickets. Stuff like that, I don't find acceptable. Who's getting hurt if I pass through this place, so long as I still drive responsibly, and even occasionally use the car wash itself (which I do, actually)?
I'm not saying every cop out there needs to always be chasing down drug dealers and bank robbers throughout their entire shift, but when we live in an area with 24% unemployment (adjusted for actual numbers when you include people who have been unemployed so long they dropped out of the system), maybe they should exercise some common sense and let up on the OT milking scheme a bit. That shits barely tolerable when the economy is good, but certainly out of the question during times like these.
Has he ever asked himself what good he's actually doing by attempting to nail you on a trivial offense? Who is he serving/protecting here? While he's wasting his time trying to be important, someone's house could be getting broken into for all we know. It's just common sense, like you mentioned.