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Professional courtesy for a traffic ticket

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  • #16
    Originally posted by BHR Lawson View Post
    Reasonable enough question to me. Yes, I am a police officer on reserve status. In this state a reserve officer is vested with the same authority to cite, detain, arrest, patrol, eat, whatever...

    On another note, as I thought about it, I dont think I give professional courtesy so much as "professional understanding." Being a security and police officer, it only takes a security or police officer to tell me once "Don't do that." So I naturally expect the same of others in both lines of business.
    BHR, thank you for answering my question. You had me very confused there for a minute! lol
    111th PAPD Class
    Bravo Platoon 4th Squad


    • #17
      Personally I just don't get ticketed and I avoid the problem all together .
      -Protect and Serve-


      • #18
        I have received professional courtesy at least 4 times in the last year or so and several more times over the last several years.

        It has always been in the city I work in though. Even though I am not in uniform at all it hasn't even gotten to the point where they even required me to give them my DL and proof of insurance.

        It is a perk of the job I guess.


        • #19
          Our college security department works closely with the P.D. and the S.O.(sheriff), so they never ticket us. Every officer in our department that has been pulled over in town off duty in uniform usually ended up with the "Hey, Bob, I didn't realize it was you. How's everything been at the college?" Just a perk I guess. Another good thing is to have friends in law's not hard for them to make a call to arrange for a ticket to "disappear." Of course, this is might be harder to do that in other parts of the country.


          • #20
            I extend special consideration to all public safety personnel, whenever possible. However, it does bother me when people expect it.
            I believe I speak for everyone here sir, when I say, to Hell with our orders.
            -Lieutenant Commander Data


            • #21
              Originally posted by Tennsix View Post
              I extend special consideration to all public safety personnel, whenever possible. However, it does bother me when people expect it.
              Me too.

              In addition to that, I give a bit of consideration to nurses and such as well. we're talking about minor infractions here, I've received (but never asked for) such consideration so IMO it would be wrong to not do likewise.

              I've stopped a few private S/Os in uniform over the years, I only cited one, and I didn't want to. He decided to get mouthy about my "authority to stop" him in the 1st place, then refused to understand why I was "screwing with him" for only 10 miles over the limit.

              It was 7:15 in the morning, the college I was assigned to was across from an elementary school. It's called a School Zone for a reason, the yellow warning light was flashing (I always checked it before I set up in front of the school), the zone was active.

              I prefer warnings to cites, but this guy just didn't get it. So far he's been the only S/O I had this problem with (thus he got to explain his actions to the judge), the others had the good sense to at least look embarrassed (for being caught in uniform for doing something they knew was wrong) as I was warning them lol.
              ~Black Caesar~
              Corbier's Commandos

              " "The trouble with Socialism is that eventually you run out of other people's money." ~Margaret Thatcher


              • #22
                I do speed but try to keep it under 20Km/H over the posted.

                2 examples one being PC related.

                I was coming home after a week long course and learned that my night shift wasn't covered, Officer stops me and asks, "is there any medical reason you are speeding sir?" I told the officer No sir, I just came off course and wanted to get a few hours sleep in. Told my job and site/area and that I do radar on our property too and there is no excuse for 30 over and I wasn't paying attention to my speed (which I wasn't)... He says, OK I'll let you off under one condition (he knows What we do and the area we patrol which includes public areas that have our properties on them) The next time I'm chasing some idiot through that area, you F'n well give me a hand. I replied YES SIR any time.

                The last time I got caught I was doing 27 Km/H over (127 in a posted 100). Told him there was no reason for it. He came back with a ticket for 10 over and no demerit points, says ' you can pay it fight it and so on" I say "are you nuts? I'm paying this sir, you just dropped it for me big time. Thanks a lot and have a safe night". After reading the ticket I realized that I accidentally gave him the papers for my last Jeep even different model, so I could have fought it and maybe won. But he gave me a break that I didn't ask for, so I paid it, it only felt right for $60.00.

                I will never blame a copper for stopping me when I am in the wrong, it's my own stupidity for speeding. I also know how it is writing "in-house" violations and how people just love a security person who does there job and takes there driving privileges away...
                I'm the guy you don't want to be around when your doing something wrong, but you can't wait for me to get there when your down, to fix you up...

                If you don't stand behind our troops, feel free to stand in front of them.


                • #23
                  Ususally when I get pulled over, I'm speeding because I'm late for work and in uniform at the time. It doesn't happen often, I've been pulled over, maybe 3 times in the last 6 years. Twice I was let go, once they gave me a ticket (state patrol all three times). You win some, you lose some, but I would never use my position to try to get out of a ticket. Remember, your personal and professional integrity is only as good as you make it. I've been offered discounts at the local gas station for coffee because they thought I was a local cop. I always politely refuse and explain that I just work security at the hospital. The usual response is, "well, you're wearing a badge and that might have made someone think twice about robbing us for now." But, like I said, it's up to us to maintain our integrity.
                  Apparently a HUGE cop wannabe...


                  • #24
                    Ready to go home, a phone call from my replacement meant he may be late by a few minutes. Loading my car, he arrives $180 odd less in his pocket + 3 demerit points (we get 12 points over 3 years) for speeding. His smart mouth ensured a fine together with his BS story of applying for the police force (nothing done in 3 years) and ironically 2 hours later I was completing a statement for the police at the local station and in walks the same cop who booked my replacement. Spotting the uniform he asks if he booked me earlier and I say NO it was another bloke and then I hear all about his BS stories of being a wannabe cop. Guaranteed infringement notice for sure now.
                    "Keep your friends close and your enemies even closer" Sun Tzu


                    • #25
                      I have been pulled over three times while in uniform over the past 10 years. The first time I was pulled over, I had a head light that was blown out. The Deputy came up to me and stated " Be safe bro". As he turned around and walked away, I advised him that I was not a police officer. He said, "I know who you are . Good night."

                      Be Safe,

                      " We are determined that before the sun sets on this terrible struggle, our flag will be recognized throughout the world as a symbol of freedom on one hand and of overwhelming force on the other" - General George C. Marshall


                      • #26
                        The only time I speed is when answering alarms. Never have been pulled over for it. If pulled over and asked why I was speeding I'll answer "because I am responding to an alarm." Would never ask for any kind of courtesy but if in the LEO's jurisdiction would request the officer accompany me to the site that is in alarm and check it out with me.
                        formerly C&A


                        • #27
                          Originally posted by BHR Lawson View Post
                          When I stop someone, I can use my discretion to issue or not issue an infraction. There is a lot times when I may choose not to issue an infraction, more often than not actually. Professional courtesy, in my opinion, is NOT unethical.

                          I am not rewarding or punishing anyone by choosing to or not to issue an infraction. As a law enforcement officer, my role is to use my judgement to choose an action which I feel will best correct the situation that has occured. My role is not to "deal out punishment" as some would believe. I am not giving someone a reward by not issuing them a citation. I feel that most police and security officers, given their role in protective services, understand that they have committed the violation and it needs to be corrected simply by my word with no further action. If I choose to issue an infraction, it is not because I am pissed off and want to punish someone, it is because I feel that my word alone will not be enough to correct the situation and a monetary penalty would be the best course of action.

                          I am not the one saying "You have to pay x and x and x amount of money." The court system is. It is up to the courts to punish. If they feel my infraction is NOT the best course of action, they will dismiss it.
                          With respect, I fully understand that police officers have "discretion". I was a cop while you were still kicking the slats out of your crib, so it's not necessary to explain that concept to me. What I took issue with was the criterion by which you said you exercised such discretion. Whether you recognize it or not you were describing a criterion that does not fall within those that legitimately figure into the proper use of your discretion.

                          Proper use of discretion has to do with the nature and circumstances of the offense, and sometimes:

                          1. A reasonable explanation by the driver regarding the reason for the infraction. For instance - were they avoiding an accident or dealing with an unexpected hazard? Were they legitimately rushing to an emergency situation? Did another driver's actions contribute to this driver's actions?

                          2. The driver's prior record received from running their license. Are they a traffic scofflaw? Does their record generally indicate that they usually demonstrate (a) respect or (b) lack of respect for the traffic laws?

                          3. The totality of all of the circumstances and your belief as to whether a citation or a warning is sufficient to correct the errant driving behavior.

                          The fact of whether a security officer does or does not mention "professional courtesy" is no more relevant in the cite/warn decision than whether they do or do not ask you whether you're having a nice day, whether they happen to be a "cute female" or a male slob, whether they are wearing an old tattered shirt or their uniform, their race, their religion, whether they use good grammar, whether they call you "sir" or whether they went to high school with you.

                          ...and issuing a citation in itself DOES have a punitive element, Lawson, when you have the alternative of issuing a verbal or written warning. Even if a driver is ultimately cleared and is completely innocent of the charge, he has usually been put to enormous inconvenience, and perhaps even attorney's fees, just to go to court and defend the citation. This has nothing to do with the ultimate fine or disposition of the citation. And in many courts, the benefit of the doubt goes to the officer when it's your word against theirs, so they have no real hope of defending the citation anyway. They literally can't fight the ticket and win, and they know it. So...they just pay up and move on, except now maybe they pay more for auto insurance, they're out a substantial fine, and most likely they now harbor a richly-deserved hatred for you and your department because they were treated unfairly. Dig it.

                          Yes, you have discretion, but it is not "unlimited" discretion, and it sure isn't "whimsical" or "fanciful" or even "that hacks me off" discretion. It must be exercised in relation to the objective circumstances that are relevant to the infraction, and not any other irrelevant personal preferences, whimsies or fancies of what you happen to like or don't like. You issue a citation when a citation is called for, and a warning when a warning is called for. A driver shouldn't have to wonder whether they have said just the right thing to you, or something that "peeves" you. Your police authority, including your discretion in using it, isn't given to you so that you can enforce your personal preferences.

                          Interestingly, I had a couple of officers like you on my force. In both cases, they tended to issue warnings if drivers were sufficiently obsequious and "sucked up to them". If they were (or were believed to be) a "big-shot", if the driver showed the least irritation, if they showed any impatience while their record was being run, if they expressed any doubt about the violation, if they asked for "special consideration", if they interrupted the officer while he was speaking, or if they simply "bugged" the officer in any other way, they got a citation. You'd better behave just the way I want you to, and say the things I want to hear, or it's ticket-time for you, Bub! I can have a bad day, or be tired, or have a million pressures in MY life, but YOU had better not. Kiss my ring.

                          Well, how and WHY a department issues traffic citations is actually an enormously important issue in departmental administration - so important that I kept a close eye on how officers performed in this area, and how they made their decisions. I did not tolerate "citation cowboys". So, in both cases we had a discussion about enforcing personal preferences. One of them got it, one did not. One stayed on the department, one did not. I'll leave it to you to figure out which one was which. Mostly, my officers "got it" and I didn't have any trouble with citation cowboys....or, at least any trouble that lasted very long. Citation cowboys will ruin your department's reputation and foster well-deserved hatred for the police faster than a million officers beating up on a million Rodney Kings on live TV.

                          Oliver Wendell Holmes said: "Even a dog knows the difference between being tripped over and being kicked." Both police and security officers would do well to make that their motto. In other words, your motive matters. Citizens generally know, especially after the fact, when a citation was deserved or whether a warning would have been the reasonable option. You never issue a citation merely "because you can", to take out your personal pique on a driver, or for any reason OTHER than that it was the necessary thing to do, or in compliance with a departmental policy about certain violations.
                          Last edited by SecTrainer; 01-08-2008, 08:40 AM.
                          "Every betrayal begins with trust." - Brian Jacques

                          "I can't predict the future, but I know that it'll be very weird." - Anonymous

                          "There is nothing new under the sun." - Ecclesiastes 1:9

                          "History, with all its volumes vast, hath but one page." - Lord Byron


                          • #28
                            I was pulled over while a federal LEO by a local Deputy and I recieved a
                            ticket. (not in uniform at the time) I have been pulled over twice While
                            in my security uniform and released with a warning both times.

                            Professional Courtesy is not a guarantee, it is not something we earn just because we wear a uniform, and it is not something we should be asking for.

                            If it is given, good, and thank you officer. If it is not, okay, and again, thank you officer.


                            • #29
                              Originally posted by jbaerbock View Post
                              Personally I just don't get ticketed and I avoid the problem all together .
                              This is the way it should be. If someone is getting pulled over 2 or 3 times every couple of years, something is wrong.

                              I drove down to FL over the holiday and speeding is hopelessly out of control. Even states that had a 70 mph limit were plagued with drivers doing 80 - 90 mph.

                              I say: Bring on the cameras and nail speeders big time right in the wallet!
                              Security: Freedom from fear; danger; safe; a feeling of well-being. (Webster's)


                              • #30
                                I don't know how reserves in WA work, but here in MN, reserves can not enforce criminal law or moving violations. Reserves here are pretty much volunteer community service officers and can't even carry handguns while on duty...
                                Apparently a HUGE cop wannabe...