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  1. #1
    Jks9199 is offline The Reason People Hate Cops & Causer of War
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    Disabled Vehicles... how far do you go?

    A couple of recent incidents brought this to mind, and I thought it might get some discussion going...

    I'll start by describing the situations...

    First one -- driver runs out of gas. It's oh-dark-thirty, and they died pulling into a closed gas station. So... end up transporting the driver a mile or two down the road to get gas. Get them back, and now the battery is dead. So... we've got a jump pack, and I get them going. (Driver was also very lost and very clueless...)

    Second -- early evening, again, out of gas. Some good Samaritans rolled them off the main road, and, again, I end up running the driver up for gas and bringing 'em back to the car.

    In the past, I've changed tires, pushed plenty of cars, and called plenty of wreckers.

    How much help do you give a disabled motorist? What influences your decision? In both of these cases, call volume was very slow, so I had time. Weather was less than ideal for a stroll. Neither could rely on calling someone for help in a reasonable time. And -- yeah, both happened to be females in their early to mid 20s.

    My general guide for something like that is simple: Within GOs and good safety for both me and the driver, what would I want someone to do for my wife/mother/sister-in-law? If we're slammed -- I may just call 'em a wrecker.

    What do you do? What does the public expect of cops? How do you make your decision?
    Voting against incumbents until we get a Congress that does its job.

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  2. #2
    Xiphos's Avatar
    Xiphos is offline I Void Warranties
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    It's great PR. Most people don't ever deal with us unless their life is in tragedy or they got caught doing something stupid while driving. So helping them out on a disabled vehicle is great PR.

    I look at it as preventing an accident. I'd rather throw down some flares, run someone to the gas station, and get them off the road, than do the 5 page accident report later.

    How much I do depends on their location, time of day and weather, as well as call volume/priority. If I can help, I will.
    Pleasing nobody, one person at a time.

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  3. #3
    Broke Hoss's Avatar
    Broke Hoss is offline Corporal
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    what would I want someone to do for my wife/mother/sister-in-law?
    I too have found this to be a very good guideline. Our department's motto is "We serve those we protect."

    Wednesday night I did pretty much the same thing; 2 ladys & a 9 yr old girl out of gas & cash and 30 miles from home on a fairly cool night. We have access to vouchers for meals, gas or lodging. So after a quick trip to 7-11 they had $20 bucks worth of gas & were on their way home.

    The week before I had a guy with a flat tire on the Loop around town. Initially, he said he was alright, but I was just gonna stay & try to keep traffic off of him. But, his jack wouldn't work so he used mine. Ended up he couldn't bust 2 lugnuts loose so, after moving his truck all the way off the road, I gave him a lift to a nearby convenience store to wait for a buddy.

    Like Xiphos says; beats the heck out of working a wreck & gives him something positive to say about cops.
    Blessed are the the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. MATT 5:10

  4. #4
    jmur5074's Avatar
    jmur5074 is offline Moderator
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    I won't do anything to their car, like changing a tire for example. I tried helping a woman change a tire one time, and the tire was stuck on the hub. So what is the easiest way to break it loose? Kick the tire. Not the car, not the rim, not anything but the rubber tire. I kicked it, and the woman freaked because I kicked her "car." She made a complaint on me, so I don't help anyone "do" anything to their car anymore.

    But like it's been said above, depends on who they are, if the area they're in is safe, if help is a reasonable walking distance away, if they have the ability to get themselves out of their predicament, if our call volume isn't high at the time, if, if, if.

    Basically common sense on my part depending on the totality of the circumstances. I'll certainly go out of my way to help them if I can. But if the stars aren't aligned, it's just not gonna happen and I'll call them a tow truck if they want it.
    No one has greater love than this, to lay down ones life for ones friends - John 15:13

    "The Wicked Flee When No Man Pursueth: But The Righteous Are Bold As A Lion".

    We lucky few, we band of brothers. For he who today sheds his blood with me shall be my brother.

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    The opinions, beliefs, and ideas expressed in this post are mine, and mine alone. They are NOT the opinions, beliefs, ideas, or policies of my Agency, Police Chief, City Council, or any member of my department.

  5. #5
    bayern's Avatar
    bayern is offline Officer First Class
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    I give up helping stranded motorists years ago. If they are out of gas, yeah, a quick ride to the local Stop 'n Rob is OK, but changing tires, etc., No Way Jose. I was real nice to this young lady back in 1984 changing a tire. She went on her way without a thanks, and a week later I'm in the hospital with a Hernia Operation. I tell them to call AAA.

  6. #6
    Darin's Avatar
    Darin is offline I'm sooooo gonna score
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    I'll do what I can to help. I'll change a tire in the right circumstance. I'll give them a ride to get gas. My last disabled motorist was a bit different.

    Guy ran out of gas and was just sitting at a stop sign. Didn't even have the courtesy of putting his 4 ways on. I get there and ask him what's up. Through his cigar smoke he says he's out of gas. He says he has no money and no gas can. I try to push him out of the roadway and he never even attempts to help! I guess he didn't want to mess up his cigar. I get 2 more oficers there and we push him off the oradway. I even had to turn his wheel for him because he couldn't turn it. We get him out of the road and I tell him have a good day and enjoy his cigar.

    BTW he was in his 30's and able bodied.....although I think he had a tattoo of a unicorn jumping over a rainbow....if you know what I mean.

  7. #7
    McCrackhd's Avatar
    McCrackhd is offline Master Officer
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    First off...Jmur, please tell me that complaint didn't have legs!!

    But, I will do what I can to help people. I don't mind changing a tire for a woman, but I WILL NOT if it's an able bodied man. I will help, but he's gonna do most of the work. I have a push bumper, so if at all possible I push them out of the road. If there is just no way to get it out of the roadway, then I will call a wrecker. How long I wait to call it depends on the time of day and weather.

    I've gone so far as to go buy a gallon of water or gas for someone to help them out, even if they are off the roadway. Even if they don't thank me, my wife gives me an adoring look when I tell her about it when I get home. So it's all worth it.

    Our GO's are pretty simple on these: get it out of the road if you can, if you can't, tow it. Too bad if the person doesn't like it.
    YOUR ATTENTION, DO I F@#%ING HAVE IT?


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  8. #8
    Odd's Avatar
    Odd
    Odd is offline Cosmonaut Trainer
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    Do you do more on duty or off? Think the public has any clue why you might help more on your own time than while driving a car with "serve" on the side? (if you do less off duty, well that's your choice. 99% drive by whether on or off the clock for all sorts of reasons. I drive by all the time too. Damn cell phones have left few actual damsels in distress so mostly I help old folk Yup, I'm somewhat useful to the elderly.)

    Never have seen an officer lying back flat on the ground wrestling one of those under chassis spares out of place and if I ever do I'll stop way back, yell howdy, walk up slowly as I introduce myself to the world's newest recruit and suggest he signs up here while I finish up with the tire. Just watching the close call roadside vids alone have made me pause and rethink how helpful I'm willing to be, but nobody is looking for a chance to catch me with my guard down. Well, not looking to do me bodily harm anyway. *shrug*

    It is great PR, and so long as you can keep safe I hope you do, even though most people are ingrates. Jmur, I just hope you mule kicked it. Easy to hurt your foot otherwise.

  9. #9
    Motorwaycop's Avatar
    Motorwaycop is offline Retired Plod
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    We used to stop at every breakdown on the hard shoulder. Now the kind and broke government have employed a whole army of people to do that task(maybe why they are broke?)
    Consequently we don't do that now unless it is clear it is a lone female, family with kids very elderley(the usual)
    Will help someone who is unable to change a tyre do it and will provide safety cover for able bodied people. Did get so tired of watching one guy fail miserably in his attempt we did it for him in the end just to get going.
    Things get much worse in the holiday periods when people make there once a year venture from their home town. Well they don't normaly need breakdown cover there!
    Minimum fee here for someone to tow you off is $225. Same for them to bring you a gallon of go juice.
    Should have bought the $52 basic cover for breakdown that will last you a year shouldn't you.
    the sole advantage of power is that you can do more good.
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  10. #10
    Xiphos's Avatar
    Xiphos is offline I Void Warranties
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    I was travelling out of town for training back in 2005. I was in my marked take home car (I had no choice.) Being out of my city I didn't stop for disabled cars, I just called it in to the highway patrol. They have civilian units that run around taking care of disabled cars.

    I was 3 hours from my city and about 15 minutes from my destination. A family with kids was broken down in the median and actively flagging me down. I figure, I'm in a marked car I can't ignore being actively waved down. It could be a medical emergency etc and how bad would it look to just pass by and do nothing? They don't know I'm a cop 3 hours away. So I turn on my overheads and pull over. I get out in my civvies and get ready to tell them all I can do is use my phone to call the local uniforms.

    The guy broken down is a co-worker. He's with his wife and kids on their way to vacation and their car crapped out on them. Here they are 3 hours from home, broke down on the side of a busy highway, and here comes one of his co-workers in a marked unit. What are the odds?

    I helped them find a garage and tow close by and helped them get there. I was having dinner a couple hours later with ChesCopPodz and his lovely wife, when he called me back and told me he had to leave his car and needed a ride to the airport to get a rental. I had to cut dinner short and somehow we managed to pack all their luggage and kids in my patrol car and I got them to the airport.

    That's the most interesting story I have for helping a disabled motorist.
    Pleasing nobody, one person at a time.

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  11. #11
    Five-0's Avatar
    Five-0 is offline Super Moderator
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    I help people that NEED help. In other words, I don't change everyone's tire. I'll change the tire for elderly people and disabled people. Some people I will walk through how to change a tire. I've never understood running out of gas. I'll always stop when I think someone may have problems. I'll make sure they have help on the way and that they are immediately OK. In the cell phone world they will be able to do just as much as I can.

    Meanwhile, fishing in Russia:

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  12. #12
    kjlaw's Avatar
    kjlaw is offline Swamp Mafia Proud!!!
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    There are days that I feel like a motorist assistance unit. The majority of my calls are for breakdowns and we are expected to stop for every single vehicle on the shoulder if we are in our units anywhere in the state. Now the extent of our help depends on all of the above factors.
    Lead from the front and always remember those who came first.



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  13. #13
    Jks9199 is offline The Reason People Hate Cops & Causer of War
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    As I said -- I've changed tires. It's a judgment call. Can I do it safely? Why does the person need help; are they clueless, physically unable, or what? And how busy are we? Some folks just need some explanation. One gal impressed the heck out of me. She was in her late teens or so, and I was actually off duty. I helped her get to a parking lot. She not only knew how to change the tire herself -- but had a plan to work the lug nuts, which I expected to be at least breaking for her. It was a novel approach, too... This little 120 lb gal (maybe) busted all of 'em off, probably faster than I could have. She literally stood on the lug wrench!
    Voting against incumbents until we get a Congress that does its job.

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  14. #14
    lewisipso's Avatar
    lewisipso is offline Injustice/Indifference/In God we trust
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    I changed a tire on a camper trailer on the elevated portion of I-10. There was no way the elderly female was going to be able to do and I refuse to call a Trooper to such things. We have a good working relationship with our Troopers that when we call them we need them.
    She was partly out in the lane of traffic and was a definite hazard. It was either change it or tow it. The female had roadside assistance but it was going to take anywhere from 6 to 12 hours for some one to show up. Our local service was down on top of that. I put myself out of service, stripped down to my underarmour shirt in 100 degree weather and changed the tire. Now would I or do I do that on a regular basis? No. However it was either change the tire or wait and unacceptable amount of time.
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  15. #15
    CTR man's Avatar
    CTR man is offline Officer First Class
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    Years ago i was on the receiving end of one of these. I was on my way to pick up my wife from work and some idiot cut off another motorist in front of me causing her to spin out in heavy traffic, forcing her into the center median. He also forced another vehicle into the side of a 18-wheeler traveling in the slow lane. Had this vehicle been a car instead of a large van conversion, someone would have been killed. The motorist that caused all of this refused to stop, so I chased after him long enough to get his license plate number and then returned to the scene of the collision. My wife had all of the money and cards on her at the time. My car ran out of gas at the scene.

    The CHP officer that was called out to take the report was kind enough to take me to a gas station and with a few dollars that I had on me at the time I was able to get gas and continue on my way. It sure made an impression on me as to the caliber of the type of LE that I enjoy in my state.


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