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  1. #1
    countybear's Avatar
    countybear is offline BDRT - Baby Daddy Removal Team
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    So, you think cops drive too fast because they can?

    Recently, I dealt with three situations where a citizen complained about the speed of a police unit. In one instance, a young officer was attempting to overtake a speeder that he had clocked and who fled into a residential neighborhood. In another, a pursuit was in progress and an officer was responding. In the third, a drunk who had just been clocked at 77 in a 25 zone (by your's truly), loudly protested that "the cops drive like hell everywhere they go, but let me do it and my ass goes to jail"...

    We've all heard this at some time, allegations from folks who believe from their perspective that cops drive aggressively because they can get away with it. As this has been on my mind lately and it is heard so often, I thought I'd address it here. I'm not going to use some snappy smart-assed comment, only one cop's perspective, take it or leave it.

    I all-to-often pick up dead people on the roadway. I see quite a few. I help bag them (sometimes in pieces), I have watched the Fire Department hose copious amounts of blood from the asphalt, and even recently, I have held a child who witnessed their father's head explode into a concrete bridge rail. I have charged into the heat of a burning car to pull a victim away from it, only to find out it was just too late. I know what speed can do firsthand. I hold a wealth of vivid memories of the results of speeding vehicles out of control. Death is a terribly common result. I have seen it, felt it, touched it, tasted it, and smelled it. Don't tell me that "someone could get killed", believe me, I am more aware than you are of the risks of driving too fast.

    I investigate motor vehicle crashes, which means that I must assess, understand, and attribute each movement that a vehicle (and anyone occupying it) makes before, during, and after it (and its occupant) meets with destruction. I must use the twisted metal, the mangled bodies, and the marred and scorched roadways to reason out and document the cause and effects of a crash, and speed is overwhelmingly at the top of the list of "contributing factors."

    That being said, I am also painfully aware that I stand a statistically higher chance of dying behind the wheel of my patrol car than I do by a thug's bullet. The faster I go, the greater that chance exponentially multiplies. If you want to make a point about risk to life and limb, you sir or ma'am are preaching to the choir. I am deeply committed to surviving each shift on the streets. I have a family, and I am addicted to them.

    I am also starkly and constantly cognitive that at anytime I drive a marked (or even unmarked) police unit, I am held to the higher standard of being a professional than you, as a private citizen is when driving your personal vehicle. For an average of 40,000 miles per year, I operate this car. Should I make an error, my department's reputation and finances, my career, and my future all hang in the balance of my judgement, my tactics, and my execution of the task of operating that vehicle.

    Especially when I am compelled to respond to what could be a life-threatening emergency, or pursuing a fleeing offender, I take on a responsibility far greater than is readily imaginable. I literally assume the burden of the safety of every single vehicle and pedestrian that I could possibly affect as I travel down roadway after roadway. I am pumped with adrenaline and wide-eyed. I scan and react, but more importantly, I remind myself constantly of my responsibilities and I force myself to breathe deeply; to remain alert and in control. I rely heavily upon my training in driving an emergency vehicle.

    What I am really trying to say to you is that I don't find amusement in all of this responsibility. I treat it with a grave demeanor. I am a peaceful person at heart, and one who likes things to flow without too many ripples. I have chosen a profession riddled by turmoil and drama because I adore peace enough to pay the prices of conflict in order to preserve it. I am here by choice and by personal conviction, not as a thrillseeker. I hold the lives of those around me in high enough of a regard to place myself at risk to protect them, and yes, that means you as well. While you curse and revile me because of what you think I'm "getting away with", I challenge you to take on the responsibility of my profession. I am willing to bet my comparatively low paycheck that you couldn't handle it for one shift.

    Here's one more comment that you won't often hear from a police officer, I need your help. Stay alert when you drive. Stop thinking about what you plan to do once you get somewhere enough to think about getting there. Turn that 500 Watt stereo system down enough to hear my 100 Watt siren coming, and when you see me behind you, move over immediately, it just might be your house I am headed to.

    If you think its a thrill to make me chase you, be prepared to spend time washing socks and scrubbing out skidmarks for the prison basketball team. I take my safety and the safety of others seriously enough to vigilantly guard it, investigate and prosecute anyone who would so callously jeopardize it, and I will donate a great deal of life's most precious and perishable commodity; time, to seeing that your freedom is forfeited for such wanton stupidity.

    Finally, for you who surreptitiously criticize that which you have no understanding of, save your commentary for that which you are truly an authority on. In doing so, you will garner respect rather than display ignorance. If you must blame, place it where it rightly belongs, on the head of the person or persons who have caused the danger that I am responding to.

    /rant off

    "The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money."
    - Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

    Tell me not, Sweet, I am unkind,
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    The opinions expressed by this poster are wholly his own, and should never be construed to even remotely be in representation of his employer, its agencies or assigns. In fact, they probably fail to be in alignment with the opinions of any rational human being.

  2. #2
    armsmaster270's Avatar
    armsmaster270 is offline Ret. Sac. P.D. - 270th M.P. Co., Now with D.H.S.
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    We speed because we have to to do our job, not for the fun of it. If I want to speed I'll be a race driver its safer.

    Now bear tell us what you really think.


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  3. #3
    adroitcuffs's Avatar
    adroitcuffs is offline Visualize whirled peas!!
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    Once again, countybear, a point so eloquently made.

    Time and time again, I've heard civilians complain that "cops drive fast just because they can get away with it." I have, on occasion, asked the complainer, "If your house is getting broken into, or someone is beating you up, do you want me to go the speed limit and make sure I come to a complete stop for every stop sign?" Naturally the response is something like, "Oh, well that's different."
    One of my co-workers recently cited a woman for speeding. Shortly after the stop, the woman came in and wanted to file a complaint because the officer "had to drive over 90 mph to catch up to me and that's just not safe!" Some folks will just never get it!
    The true measure of your character is what you choose to do when you think no one is looking.

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  4. #4
    lewisipso's Avatar
    lewisipso is offline Injustice/Indifference/In God we trust
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    Discussed and approved!
    Do not war for peace. If you must war, war for justice. For without justice there is no peace. -me

    We are who we choose to be.

    R.I.P. Arielle. 08/20/2010-09/16/2012


  5. #5
    Terminator's Avatar
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    This is a subject that will rile me up quick. Most citizens just don't get it. I've had speed complaints. Hell, I've even had one guy have the nerve to motion his hand up and down and yell at me to slow down once while I was en route to an emergency. I was in full uniform, in a marked patrol car. I pulled out of a parking lot, checked en route, and activated my blue lights and siren. Captain Douchebag thought he'd busted another cop speeding "just because he can." He didn't know I was going to try and save poor, old grandma, who was struck and knocked unconscious by a motor vehicle, in the middle of heavily congested street.

  6. #6
    Wolven's Avatar
    Wolven is offline Major
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    Great post CountyBear..as usual.

    I am not sure how it works in any other county and/or juristiction, but in our county the dispatcher decides whether a unit goes to a call in emergency mode (lights and sirens). Why? I have no idea. That said, they will send us lights and sirens for a small cut on a hand in a traffic accident (because someone said they were injured and even gave the injury..so it is not like disptach wasn't aware the seriousness or lack thereof). On one shift we had a vehicle roll over on a street with a 55 mph speed...they sent Ex401MP in normal mode. I remember thinking to myself.."what?! for a vehicle roll-over?" just when he asked if he could run lights and sirens. Dispatch repeated normal mode. So Ex asked again, "for a vehicle roll-over?" and I believe their response was somewhere in the neighborhood of "no report of injuries". Hey..how bout that person may not be able to tell ya? Point being...there are times when we go faster than the speed limit...because we are more aware of the potential for injuries or harm if we do not and have not been given the ok-dokey by dispatch to go in emergency mode. Not scary fast...but with an urgency and with respect for the call given.

    And I do believe that is can be somewhat irritating to have the public babysit us constantly and complain, however, I have found that a lot of people will listen to the reasoning of why we do what we do..and for those that do not..nothing we do or say can change their mind so it is best to do our jobs to the best of our abilities and ignore the chatter.
    Never be afraid to do what's right, especially if the well-being of a person or animal is at stake. Society's punishments are small compared to the wounds we inflict on our soul when we look the other way" ~Martin Luther King, Jr

  7. #7
    Wolven's Avatar
    Wolven is offline Major
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    "I have a family, and I am addicted to them."

    OK..I am going to be a total girl here...that is just about the sweetest thing ever said. Yes, I am being a sap. I can't help myself.
    Never be afraid to do what's right, especially if the well-being of a person or animal is at stake. Society's punishments are small compared to the wounds we inflict on our soul when we look the other way" ~Martin Luther King, Jr

  8. #8
    Willowdared's Avatar
    Willowdared is offline Bendy not Breaky
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wolven View Post
    Great post CountyBear..as usual.

    I am not sure how it works in any other county and/or juristiction, but in our county the dispatcher decides whether a unit goes to a call in emergency mode (lights and sirens). Why? I have no idea.
    Is it really the dispatcher, or is it the Watch Commander, and the dispatcher is just relaying?
    Molly Weasley makes Chuck Norris eat his vegetables.

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  9. #9
    OXCOPS's Avatar
    OXCOPS is offline Usual Suspect
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    Quote Originally Posted by PDawg View Post
    Is it really the dispatcher, or is it the Watch Commander, and the dispatcher is just relaying?
    In some places, it is the dispatcher. They are essentially the first ones on the scene. They get the intel about the call. While that includes the who, what, when, where and why, it also includes things like tone of voice, fighting in the background, etc. A good dispatcher can pick up on key things that can mean the difference between a boring 911 hangup (kids playing on phone) and a 911 hangup resulting from a violent domestic in progress.

    Obviously, the response to both would be a little different. So, the dispatcher has the ability to authorize a higher 'code' response. Of course, the supervisors on the road can override that, if they deem necessary.

  10. #10
    Illiy is offline Corporal
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    I work right by the police/fire stations, so they are always speeding by. I do get irked at times because it is a pedestrian area (4way stop) with lots of old people... but I understand the need for it. I will give the department kudos because I know they do their best not to drive through these types of areas if they don't have to.

    I don't think I have ever thought that they speed cause they can...I have always thought that they speed cause they need to...

    When I am driving and there is a police car behind me I move out of the way because I know they are probably on their way to a call and I don't want to be the one holding them up...

    As far as I am concerned... you do your job the way you need to, I don't know what is on that screen or what you just saw that is dictating your speed or urgency...

  11. #11
    Rhino's Avatar
    Rhino is offline Meat-eater & Fire-breather
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    Wow, CB, that's quit a mouthful.

    Usually I just say "eh, go fuck yourself."
    "If everyone is thinking alike, then someone isn't thinking." -Gen. George S. Patton

  12. #12
    Willowdared's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OXCOPS View Post
    In some places, it is the dispatcher. They are essentially the first ones on the scene. They get the intel about the call. While that includes the who, what, when, where and why, it also includes things like tone of voice, fighting in the background, etc. A good dispatcher can pick up on key things that can mean the difference between a boring 911 hangup (kids playing on phone) and a 911 hangup resulting from a violent domestic in progress.

    Obviously, the response to both would be a little different. So, the dispatcher has the ability to authorize a higher 'code' response. Of course, the supervisors on the road can override that, if they deem necessary.
    Ummmmm, I know all that ^^^^^ as I'm a dispatcher.

    All we decide is the typecode/priority - we do not have the authority to tell a unit to respond code. Our deputies make the choice to respond code or not, we don't tell them. However, the Sergeant at the station may decide a code response is needed, and say "code authorized," or the Watch Commander at the CC may direct us to say "code authorized," but it's under their authority.

    We do have to get a sergeant's 10-4 on any code response, and he may also tell the unit to reduce. Again, it's not our call - we just relay the directive.

    So, my question remains, is it really the dispatcher telling you to go code, or is it the Watch Commander/Sergeant?
    Molly Weasley makes Chuck Norris eat his vegetables.

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  13. #13
    Wolven's Avatar
    Wolven is offline Major
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    Quote Originally Posted by PDawg View Post
    Is it really the dispatcher, or is it the Watch Commander, and the dispatcher is just relaying?
    Nope..it is dispatch..the watch commander has been the one on occassion to change it but the watch commander is on the road. I think they have a list of what we can and cannot run code to and stick with it. We have to ask the supervisor to bump it up.
    Never be afraid to do what's right, especially if the well-being of a person or animal is at stake. Society's punishments are small compared to the wounds we inflict on our soul when we look the other way" ~Martin Luther King, Jr

  14. #14
    OXCOPS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PDawg View Post

    So, my question remains, is it really the dispatcher telling you to go code, or is it the Watch Commander/Sergeant?
    Yep. Dispatcher tells you to. Patrol shift leader tells them NOT to.

  15. #15
    Star Man's Avatar
    Star Man is offline Guns only have two enemies; rust and politicians
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    Well said County Bear.

    As for running code here we decide ourselves. There are guidelines in the rules that tell us when it's more ok than others, but it's still up to us. If it's not a major call then we kind of have to quickly say why we are running lights and siren "I'm 10-18 to get through this heavy traffic" (running to crash scene or moderately violent call.....).
    ...........................................

  16. #16
    Code6's Avatar
    Code6 is offline Beep,Beep!!!
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    CB,
    Well said!!!! Amen!
    What if the Hokey Pokey is what it really is all about?





    Police others as you would have them Police you.

  17. #17
    Motorwaycop's Avatar
    Motorwaycop is offline Retired Plod
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    I've been the passenger when I've had to tell another officer to slow down.
    Cops, especially taffic cops, make bad passengers.
    Driver training here is generally quite extensive and we have different types of vehicles for different levels of drivers.
    It does get easier to see things more calmy as you get older and especially when you have children at home.
    It is down to us as individuals when we go "twos and blues" (You know... nee na, nee na)to a job. However as with most things as a cop ultimately the buck stops with you and you alone.
    the sole advantage of power is that you can do more good.
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  18. #18
    Jks9199 is offline The Reason People Hate Cops & Causer of War
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    Great post to start the thread, and some great responses.

    I've had someone actually complain that I was driving too fast as I was running code! But -- as ridiculous as it sounds, there's a point to that complaint. (I don't think it was accurate... nor did my supervisor.) It's important to remember that, even with lights and sirens on, we are still responsible for both our own and the public's safety. So that may mean that we shouldn't be running quite so fast, every time. It doesn't hurt to look back and assess whether your driving was really responsible. OK... 'nuff said, there. And CountyBear said it better, anyway!

    Regarding the decision to run code... My agency leaves it up to us, generally. The concept (it seems to be mostly West Coast) that a dispatcher can determine how we should respond to a call is just foreign to me. I'm relying on the dispatcher to accurately relay enough info about the call for me to assess whether I need to run hot to the call or not, as I consider the traffic, relative locations, nature of the call, time of day, and the rest. A supervisor or the first officers on the scene may tell everyone to slow it down, if needed -- or to expedite.

    But -- the bottom line of it is simple. If that cop is running hot, there's a reason. The public needs to stay alert, and get the hell out of the way.

  19. #19
    mavriktu's Avatar
    mavriktu is offline Patrol Sgt.
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    Great post,great responses,...What is going on here????On a serious note,I am one of those that gets complained on ,I RARELY,run lights and siren,I follow the "run silent,run safe" technique.It has been my expierience that people do the most stupid shit imaginable when they see lights and iren behind them.and if I just "sneak" through I am by them and on my way,before they know what happened.If I come to an intersection I stop,Light em up,go through,and shut em down,I am sure the citizen thinks I am on a donut run,but know what? I dont care,as long as the log shows I was rolling on a call,so be it.

  20. #20
    Willowdared's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wolven View Post
    Nope..it is dispatch..the watch commander has been the one on occassion to change it but the watch commander is on the road. I think they have a list of what we can and cannot run code to and stick with it. We have to ask the supervisor to bump it up.
    Interesting.

    Are your dispatchers sworn?

    I can't even imagine telling my deputies to roll code on something, other then a code cover request. My job is to make sure the Sergeant and Watch Commander are 10-4.
    Molly Weasley makes Chuck Norris eat his vegetables.

    Do not puff, shade, skew, tailor, firm up, stretch, massage,
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