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Professional courtesy for a traffic ticket

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  • Curtis Baillie
    replied
    Originally posted by Minneapolis Security View Post
    Thats a very generous allowance, especially due to the inflation adjustment.
    We were required to wear suits and buy our own weapons.

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  • Mr. Chaple
    replied
    Originally posted by N. A. Corbier View Post
    Usually this is due to a law that states " for the purposes of X, a law enforcement officer is defined as a paid full-time or part-time law enforcement officer in the employ of a government agency." These laws are usually influenced to keep private security from being used as police, or to prevent towns hiring one full-time Chief and 10 non-paid "reserve" officers.
    I do not mean to hijack this thread, but...
    I make it a habit or perusing the want ads every week, just to see what is out there. One week last July I was looking through them and I found an ad that simply said: Part Time Police Chief, $13.00 p/h, followed by and address and date that I cannot recall off hand. No requirements were listed.
    Of course I could not resist so I asked my girlfriend (a local) where this town was, as I had never heard of it. When I found out how near it was I drove out there on my next day off to hand deliver my resume and cover letter.
    Upon arrival I stopped at one of the local establishments to find out where the city hall was located and to get a feel for the town. The ad simply listed a post office box as the address for the resumes.
    I mentioned the ad to some of the people there and they told me that they had a volunteer police force, but they were not sure who it consisted of. They went on to say that they had never met or seen any of these officers, and that when they needed police assistance they called the Sheriff’s office.

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  • Alaska Security
    replied
    In the traffic stops that I have been the stopped vehicle in, and have not been cited, I personally believe that my actions and demeanor in the interaction between the officer and myself have been the defining factor.

    I typically have some duty gear, wether it's a duty cap, uniform, belt, what have you... inside my vehicles.. just a byproduct of the job, I have junk spread out. I don't purposely conspicously place it trying to get off... and I try my best to obey the law.

    I just pull over in a safe area, providing a safer spot for the officer to perform their duties. If that means I drive for a short distance 1/4 mile or less to pull over on a less busy street, I will do it... I shut my vehicle down. Turn on interior lights if it's nighttime so they can see what's going on inside the vehicle. Keep my hands on the steering wheel. When they come up to my window, I inform them that I'm carrying and where the weapon is on my person because it's state law to do so. I'm either instructed to hand it to them, handle first, or simply to keep my hands away from there. I then give them the paperwork and identification they request.

    MP's, City police, and State troopers have given me warnings about various things... once for lights out, i had been offroad and my wiring developed a short. The officer was even kind enough to let me try to fix it right there since he had some damn good takedowns on the rig and a duty light for me to be able to try to get it to function again.

    Of course, it might also help that my drivers license still has a photo of me in military uniform and my post address, I have a star of life on one of my vehicles, veteran plates on both vehicles...

    One traffic stop for my offroad rig actually culminated in a simple warning and an invitation to apply for the city PD reserve force, and a compliment on my choice of sidearm... We ended up bs'ing on the roadside for about 5 minutes because I was headed for a offroad rescue for a friend who was broke down on a trail, and I was equipped for the trail... HK on me, AR and 870 in the rifle rack on the cucv...

    The only professional courtesty I expect is a courteous police officer in return for me being a compliant and courteous individual in question. Nothing more... if I'm in the wrong, I fully expect a ticket although I appreciate warnings if it's something I can do better or didn't know about.

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  • Minneapolis Security
    replied
    Originally posted by Curtis Baillie View Post
    In 1976 I got $1,200 per year. I worked plainclothes LE.
    Thats a very generous allowance, especially due to the inflation adjustment.

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  • Lawson
    replied
    Originally posted by Minneapolis Security View Post
    Thats one hell of a "uniform allowance", are you sure thats per month, and not per year?
    Oops, per year.

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  • Curtis Baillie
    replied
    Originally posted by Minneapolis Security View Post
    Thats one hell of a "uniform allowance", are you sure thats per month, and not per year?
    In 1976 I got $1,200 per year. I worked plainclothes LE.

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  • Minneapolis Security
    replied
    Originally posted by BHR Lawson View Post
    No, payment is up to specific agencies in WA, however, they have to decide to pay per hour or not pay at all. A lot of agencies used to pay for certain OT details, but not for patrol, or they would pay for an officer to cover a sick call in but not for other patrol, etc...

    The attorney general finally dropped the hammer and said this was a labor violation and you either had to pay or not pay.

    My agency cut pay all together and now we only get a $250-$400 "uniform allowance" per month that is strictly for purchase of uniform parts.
    Thats one hell of a "uniform allowance", are you sure thats per month, and not per year?

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  • N. A. Corbier
    replied
    Usually this is due to a law that states " for the purposes of X, a law enforcement officer is defined as a paid full-time or part-time law enforcement officer in the employ of a government agency." These laws are usually influenced to keep private security from being used as police, or to prevent towns hiring one full-time Chief and 10 non-paid "reserve" officers.

    Leave a comment:


  • Lawson
    replied
    Originally posted by Mr. Chaple View Post
    Lawson, do you receive any nominal payment/benefits? Around here the reserve police are paid a salary of $1 per anum in order to fufill technicalities about being employed in law enforcement. It is also some kind of requirement for the city to insure them. I believe the same holds true for our volunteer fire-fighters, because state law requires you to be employeed and insured by a fire brigade to test for Fire Fighter Class II.
    No, payment is up to specific agencies in WA, however, they have to decide to pay per hour or not pay at all. A lot of agencies used to pay for certain OT details, but not for patrol, or they would pay for an officer to cover a sick call in but not for other patrol, etc...

    The attorney general finally dropped the hammer and said this was a labor violation and you either had to pay or not pay.

    My agency cut pay all together and now we only get a $250-$400 "uniform allowance" per year that is strictly for purchase of uniform parts.
    Last edited by Lawson; 01-09-2008, 11:35 PM.

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  • Mr. Chaple
    replied
    Lawson, do you receive any nominal payment/benefits? Around here the reserve police are paid a salary of $1 per anum in order to fufill technicalities about being employed in law enforcement. It is also some kind of requirement for the city to insure them. I believe the same holds true for our volunteer fire-fighters, because state law requires you to be employeed and insured by a fire brigade to test for Fire Fighter Class II.

    Leave a comment:


  • Lawson
    replied
    Originally posted by sgtnewby View Post
    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...
    Reserves in Washington are authorized to enforce any WA State law that a full time officer can enforce. To put it simply, the difference between a Reserve and a fulltimer in WA is a paycheck.

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  • sgtnewby
    replied
    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...

    Leave a comment:


  • Mr. Security
    replied
    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!

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  • kingsman
    replied
    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.

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  • SecTrainer
    replied
    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.

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