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Question for law enforcement types


groupw
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I was driving past a traffic stop this afternoon. The officer was back at his car and walked up to the other car. He appeared to have a penlight in his hand up high and appeared to turn it on momentarily. This was about 3:30 in the afternoon. Mostly sunny skies. Any idea what he may have been doing? 

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3 minutes ago, groupw said:

I was driving past a traffic stop this afternoon. The officer was back at his car and walked up to the other car. He appeared to have a penlight in his hand up high and appeared to turn it on momentarily. This was about 3:30 in the afternoon. Mostly sunny skies. Any idea what he may have been doing? 

Did the car have tinted windows?  My guess was checking the vehicle for hidden occupants or checking to see hands or areas obscured by darkness or tint.

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8 minutes ago, groupw said:

I was driving past a traffic stop this afternoon. The officer was back at his car and walked up to the other car. He appeared to have a penlight in his hand up high and appeared to turn it on momentarily. This was about 3:30 in the afternoon. Mostly sunny skies. Any idea what he may have been doing? 

Oh wait did you mean the other police car?  We held up 4 fingers or gave 4 quick bursts of a flashlight to let other officers know “Code 4” or its under control.  

It may have been him signaling other officers.

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1 hour ago, ChrisL said:

Did the car have tinted windows?  My guess was checking the vehicle for hidden occupants or checking to see hands or areas obscured by darkness or tint.

Driver’s window was rolled down. Only 1 police cruiser. One other semi-official looking guy was standing next to the officer. I didn’t linger. I was just curious what I was seeing. 

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24 minutes ago, groupw said:

 

Driver’s window was rolled down. Only 1 police cruiser. One other semi-official looking guy was standing next to the officer. I didn’t linger. I was just curious what I was seeing. 

Yeah I’m going to guess he was looking at/for something in the car and needed to illuminate it. I’d be holding the light up high shining downward if I was looking at something on the seat or floorboards.

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1 hour ago, ChrisL said:

Yeah I’m going to guess he was looking at/for something in the car and needed to illuminate it. I’d be holding the light up high shining downward if I was looking at something on the seat or floorboards.

And I was going to guess he was pretending to smell pot so he could do a more extensive search. 

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From my drive by, neither the driver nor car looked suspicious. I would have guessed she just got off work at the meat packing plant from where she was stopped. Not doubting there was a legit reason for the stop. Just had not seen that action by an officer in broad daylight. 

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1 hour ago, Prophet Zacharia said:

And I was going to guess he was pretending to smell pot so he could do a more extensive search. 

And I guess it is okay for me to assume that you lie and cheat at your job too, with no reason other than my own prejudices.

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6 minutes ago, ChrisL said:

I know it’s easy to bang on cops right now

Not now, they earned my disrespect years ago. Illegal search and all that. But I was just being snarky. And I’m glad your partner did his diligence.
Now, I enjoy my white privilege. But I know they’re profiling with their traffic stops in my town. 

Which isn’t to diminish the good work they do. But they do have to follow the law. And I hold them to that standard.

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Do they check for contraction/dilation of pupils of the driver indicating drug use, concussion, etc.?  That's the only thing that comes to mind.

When I coached high school sports, a requirement in Maryland is to take CPR (one day/year), Red Cross Standard First Aid (one week/5 years) and a 1 week, 8 hrs/day, college level course in Care and Prevention of Athletic Injuries that includes taping strained joints and looking for/handling heat exhaustion, dehydration, dizziness, concussions, etc.  I saw some kind of small penlight used to demonstrate checking for concussions by observing the contraction/dilation of the pupils where the instructor said, "Don't use a laser pointer."

If looking for hidden stuff in the car, I'd think they'd pick a wider beam flashlight.

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12 hours ago, Zephyr said:

So you paint them all with the same brush. 

It is an interesting phenomenom.  I have known really good cops (Chicago, Charlotte, Portland) and and seen enough bad coppery (NYC and Chicago) to know they are all over the place quality-wise.  I also know that the preponderance of your interactions will inform your opinion.  If all you see are bad cops doing bad cop things, then most cops appear to be bad and the good cop is the mythical unicorn.  If your interactions are good or non-existent, then you assume they are almost all good.

You do see tons of stories about cops going to jail for planting evidence, fabricating evidence, writing false reports, busting heads unnecessarily, writing tickets to satisfy quotas, etc. to know this is not an uncommon problem, it is in fact a constant problem.  I try to keep an open mind, and I am always polite when that option is there.  That said, I am hesitant to interact with them as one thing you say rubs them the wrong way, and you busted for interference of duty or disturbing the peace or whatnot, or in a worst case scenario, they accuse you of a major crime and arrest you and let judges sort it out.  Yup, I witnessed or experienced or have first-hand knowledge of some of this.

Anyway, hard to paint them all as bad, but a large and significant portion clearly are.  Can't paint them all as good, either, although another very large and significant portion seem to be.

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35 minutes ago, MickinMD said:

Do they check for contraction/dilation of pupils of the driver indicating drug use, concussion, etc.?  That's the only thing that comes to mind.

When I coached high school sports, a requirement in Maryland is to take CPR (one day/year), Red Cross Standard First Aid (one week/5 years) and a 1 week, 8 hrs/day, college level course in Care and Prevention of Athletic Injuries that includes taping strained joints and looking for/handling heat exhaustion, dehydration, dizziness, concussions, etc.  I saw some kind of small penlight used to demonstrate checking for concussions by observing the contraction/dilation of the pupils where the instructor said, "Don't use a laser pointer."

If looking for hidden stuff in the car, I'd think they'd pick a wider beam flashlight.

From the initial post I didn’t get the indication the officer was checking pupils but you are correct, a light can be used to check eye dilation & nystagmus.  Generally speaking the officer already has probably cause of intoxication and will pull the driver and check from the sidewalk.

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2 hours ago, Lard Bag said:

It is an interesting phenomenom.  I have known really good cops (Chicago, Charlotte, Portland) and and seen enough bad coppery (NYC and Chicago) to know they are all over the place quality-wise.  I also know that the preponderance of your interactions will inform your opinion.  If all you see are bad cops doing bad cop things, then most cops appear to be bad and the good cop is the mythical unicorn.  If your interactions are good or non-existent, then you assume they are almost all good.

You do see tons of stories about cops going to jail for planting evidence, fabricating evidence, writing false reports, busting heads unnecessarily, writing tickets to satisfy quotas, etc. to know this is not an uncommon problem, it is in fact a constant problem.  I try to keep an open mind, and I am always polite when that option is there.  That said, I am hesitant to interact with them as one thing you say rubs them the wrong way, and you busted for interference of duty or disturbing the peace or whatnot, or in a worst case scenario, they accuse you of a major crime and arrest you and let judges sort it out.  Yup, I witnessed or experienced or have first-hand knowledge of some of this.

Anyway, hard to paint them all as bad, but a large and significant portion clearly are.  Can't paint them all as good, either, although another very large and significant portion seem to be.

I have been thinking about your post for a bit.  I think we can all agree you can’t paint all cops with the same broad brush but consider this.
 
I have seen fellow cops act with brutality that would make your blood curdle and yet act with such compassion towards victims I thought damn is this the same guy?  The city I worked in had a strong Asian & Hispanic population.  You could see a cop treat a Mexican gang banger with a rough hand and a bystander might think damn look at that bad racist cop and yet see the same cop give a hug to a Hispanic kid walking to school as a gesture of good will and community building.  Wow what a nice cop...

It really is more complicated than good cop/bad cop. I’m not discounting or condoning illegal behavior but bad cops aren’t bad all the time and sometimes good cops do bad things. 

 

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1 minute ago, ChrisL said:

It really is more complicated than good cop/bad cop. I’m not discounting or condoning illegal behavior but bad cops aren’t bad all the time and sometimes good cops do bad things. 

Well, they are humans, aren't they?  I think it is safe to say we have all done things that were regrettable and hopefully ones that were quite great.  With law enforcement, it's more about 1) weeding out the repeat offenders, and 2) fixing the culture in departments where it is not focused on keeping things on the up and up.  Folks can make mistakes, but there has to be real and probable penalties for those actions.  We won't catch all crimes (by civilians or cops), but when we DO, they sure as hell better be treated consistently and fairly regardless of the person, position, or the crime.

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