The Disclaimer: Today’s blog is more SATIRE. It is not real; well, some parts may be. It is meant to poke a little fun at something many of us have experienced. It is not meant to attack or disparage anyone; well, maybe just a little. Okay? Just fun, is all…well, mostly.
Fortunately, my wife and I are rarely pulled over by a police officer while driving our cars. I would like to think this is because both of us are good drivers who follow the rules of the road and don’t make mistakes often. I do know, however, that sometimes whether or not you are detained by a police officer on the highway is merely a matter of luck. For example, in the 50+ years I have been driving, I have never gotten a speeding ticket. That is not to say I have never driven above the speed limit; I just never got caught…lucky me.
My friends know that I am not enamored with the attitude of many police officers. In fact, I often feel they create an atmosphere of hostility that would have never developed hadn’t it been for their hostile attitude. Since this hostile attitude, in my opinion, is so prevalent among all police, I honestly believe it is part of their training. They just all act exactly the same way. It is not coincidence
I realize police officers face incredible danger everyday and, as the line goes, are constantly putting their lives on the line. Okay, but I have to believe they have more uneventful days than ones on which they put their lives on the line. And, I would guess, the majority of the people they stop on the highway for a traffic violation are honest, law abiding citizens who pose absolutely no threat. Police officers, however, are trained to treat us all like hardened, horror-intentioned beings. It’s in their training manual. I am convinced.
After my wife was pulled over for speeding on the turnpike a few months back, and based on the incredibly hostile attitude of the police officer, I set about looking for answers. Now, I do not have conclusive evidence that the following is an official document and its contents are accurate and true, but I have uncovered an official (maybe) section of the police department’s Manual and Guidelines for the Enforcement of Highway Laws and Safety. This manual, I suspect, is used to train police officers on how to deal with a motorist whom they have stopped for the violation of some highway law. Here are some excerpts…
WHAT TO DO IF A CITIZEN ASKS YOU A QUESTION?
At the very beginning of any questioning from the citizen you have detained, it is imperative that you establish a demeanor that shows you are disturbed at being bothered by the citizen and that the citizen must know that it is a privilege and honor to have your attention. To establish this atmosphere, it is best to ignore the citizen and not respond to his question until it has been asked at least two times.
It is recommended that you keep the answers to any questions from the citizen to a minimum. One word answers are best. You are not obligated to answer any question so you should never feel that you need to be helpful or provide any useful information to the citizen. By responding with short, incomplete answers to each question, the citizen will usually become agitated and this may eventually lead to a hostile environment. Of course, when a hostile environment exists, as a police officer you should immediately feel threatened. Your first response is to call for backup.
Never let your guard down. Anyone inside the automobile should be considered armed and dangerous. If there are children, even infants, inside the car, you must assume they have been trained in hand-to-hand combat and are capable of flipping an armed police officer on his head and engaging a lock-hold around the neck. Infants, meanwhile, have diapers that can conceal an assortment of weapons and chemical gases.
HOW DO I PROCESS THE DRIVER’S DOCUMENTS?
After you ask the citizen for his or her documents, examine them with a very concerned look. A quiet sigh should accompany the concerned look. This establishes the concept that there may be something wrong with the documents the citizen has provided. If you show concern, he will become concerned, too. This increases the tension of the moment and enhances the sense of fear in the citizen.
Next, when you return to your car to process the documents, it is best to work as slowly as possible. You may even want to make a few personal phone calls at this time since you are not occupied with any serious law enforcement operation. The longer you remain in your car, the more impatient, fearful and agitated the citizen will become. All this fuels the hostile environment. Again, when a hostile environment exists, as a police officer, you should immediately feel threatened. By now, backup should have arrived.
A show of force, including multiple cars with emergency lights flashing and a large number of officers with hands placed firmly on their weapons, will cause the citizen to sweat profusely and stammer while speaking. The police officer should automatically assume these are behavior patterns of a citizen who has something to hide. You should immediately tell the citizen to exit his vehicle and lie prone, face down, on the ground. It is best that you pick a safe area but one that is especially dirty or over gown with poison ivy so that the citizen understands that he has now crossed a line of demarcation from trust to distrust and that you, as the police officer, will prevail. The citizen, meanwhile, should feel belittled, abused and totally out of control of his situation.
HOW DO I ISSUE A TRAFFIC VIOLATION CITATION?
If no other offenses can be documented beyond the original incident for which you pulled over the citizen, look harder. If still none can be uncovered, attempt to manufacture one. Otherwise, proceed with the writing of the traffic violation citation. Remember to check as many boxes as possible so that revenues generated from the traffic violation citation are maximized.
Upon handing the traffic violation citation to the citizen, provide no information about the offense. Explain only that the citizen should read the traffic violation citation for instructions as to how he/she can respond. It is best to write the amount of the fine as small and as illegibly as possible so that the citizen may not immediately realize how significant the fine is. Once the citizen learns the exact amount of the fine, a new and explosive hostile environment may be established. As a police officer, you should immediately feel threatened. Weapons should now be drawn and at the ready by all police officers present. If there are assault weapons available, these should be brought forth and accordingly poised ready to engage in a combative confrontation. It may be advisable that additional backup be requested, giving the Governor of the State ample time to call up the National Guard.
…and so goes the Manual and Guidelines for the Enforcement of Highway Laws and Safety. I am actually glad that I came across this document. It proves that our police are trained to behave the way they do. It is not their actual personality to be so inhuman. They are simply following procedure. If they lived next door to me I hope they would act like normal next door neighbors and not like cops…though I am not so sure.
I guess what I want is impossible. I want those who are hired and charged with protecting me and providing a safe environment in which to live, to be less arrogant about it. Arrogance is an ugly human trait. Somehow, I would like to think, there is a way for a police officer to deal with and respond to the dangers of his job without having to take an arrogant stand with everyone he or she comes in contact with. Maybe there’s a manual for that. They just haven’t gotten a copy.
Marc Kuhn is the author of three books. Recently published is an adult historical novel, THE POPE’S STONE. The other two books are for children: NEVER GOOSE A MOOSE…And a bunch of other things you should never do!; and ABOUT A FARM, lessons for life regardless of where you live. All three books are available at amazon.com and each has its own .com website under its title.
Intimate details about Marc Kuhn and other exhilarating stuff is offered at www.marckuhn.com