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James F
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Alright, this is somewhat of a rant and somewhat of a question.

My friends and I are CONSTANTLY being pulled over by the cops. You wouldnt think that's too odd figuring we are all 19, but when I say constantly, I mean it. I think we average about 2-3 pull-overs a week. Now granted, we do drive very late at night. (1-3 am) but to me, that's no excuse to be pulled over. Its a free country and I should be able to drive whenever I want without fear of being pulled over. (especially when I do nothing wrong)

Now some people probably are thinking "yeah right, you must be doing something wrong" However, we really aren't. Tonight, for example. I was taking my friend home and of course, we got pulled over. The officer said it was because I was "failing to maintain my lane" Well I can tell you right now (along with my friend as a witness), this is completely un true. In fact, I saw the cop behind me so I took extra special care to drive perfectly. Furthermore, he didn't give me a ticket. (Of course, if I really was not maintaing my lane, he should have given me a ticket.) I know what it is though, its simply an inarguable reason to pull two teenagers over. After giving him my license, he and his partner spent 5 minutes looking in my car with flashlights and bothering me to search the car.

Of course in the end, the cop didn't give me a ticket. Maybe its because I didn't do anything wrong! To add on to this, its the same few cops every time. In fact, when he came to the window I said "good to see you again, officer" Its the same few that pull us over night after night. So my question is this: Is there anything I can do to stop this from happening? Is there a place I can file a complaint or get a badge number and report these officers?

I could go into more stories of how we are pulled over for no reason, but I don't think its really needed. Any advice?

James
rossmacrae
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Hard judgement call.

On the one hand, how many people have we seen who excuse their ineptitude with "they're all picking on me"?

On the other, a lawyer friend of mine often points to cases where the "offense" was imaginary: "He was pulled over for a DWB; that's 'Driving While Black'."

If you happen to have three hands, on the other other hand, where the heck are you going at 3am every darned night in order to be pulled over three times a week? Don't you have a home to go to?
Lyndel
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James,

Speaking as a former police officer, first let me say this... I don't know how large of a community that you live in, but if it's rather small, chances are, the police force is rather small. That means that the "same officers" are going to be out there every night patrolling the streets for crime.

Now, by no means am I saying that there are no bad apples in the barrel, but Ross does makes a good point. Most law abiding citizens with the exeption of bakers, newspaper delivery people, street sweepers, and a couple other professions are at home sleeping at 3:00 AM. That leaves - for the most part - only those involved in drug activities, burglaries, etc. to be out there creeping around on the streets. Of course there are exceptions to the rules. I'm not generalizing everyone out in the wee hours to be criminals, but then again, we shouldn't generalize all police officers as people bent on harrassing you and your friends either.

Imagine one of these burglars cruising YOUR neighborhood looking for a car to steal and they zero in on yours. But only minutes before they decide to do the deed, a cop pulls them over and finds out what they are doing riding around a neighborhood at 3:00 AM. Now there is a record of the traffic stop and if your car does get stolen in the morning, detectives at least have a starting point from which to investigate the crime.

Here is my suggestion... Go ahead and contact the police department - not to complain on the officers... But to see if they have a "citizens orientation ride along program" and make arrangements to ride along on midnight shift with the officer. Spend a few hours in the other guys shoes and you might change the way you regard the guys and gals in uniform who put their very lives on the line for very little money to keep you, your family, and your friends safe at night while you sleep.


Lyndel
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Bill Nuvo
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Have you asked the cops why?

Unless they are really doing something to violate your rights, you may just have to endure this. If you get their names, you can complain to the department, but sometimes this is known as a necessary evil as it were.

Police will sometimes pull you over for the smallest thing. Especially if you are doing something consider suspicious--Two teenagers making constant 3am runs and possibly moved outside of the lane at one point. Also if you all of a sudden start driving perfect, that can also arouse suspicion.

You should talk to SkipWay. I believe he was in Law Enforcement.
Marvello
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Find another route to drive, or try to curtail your driving at 3AM.

Also, take a look at the appearance of your car - I used to drive a car that had a lot of Grateful Dead stickers on it (bought the card from a deadhead) and found that I was getting pulled over all the time. I removed the stickers and stopped getting pulled over...

food for thought.
Never criticize someone else until you have walked a mile in their shoes. Then, when you do criticize them, you will be a mile away from them and you will have their shoes.
Skip Way
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In most jurisdictions, officers are justified in performing what we called "Field Interviews"...stopping a person within the public domain for little more than "let's take a look." Legally, you can be patted down for weapons during this stop and the officer doesn't need much of a reason to stop you. If you have a reputation for being in trouble...or always being around when something happens in the area, you're going to pop up on their radar alot...whether you're up to something or not. Cops, like gamblers, play the odds.

The officer didn't write you a ticket, but you can bet that your name and vehicle info was entered, legally, into a department database. If a crime occurs in your area, this database is consulted by investigators to see who might have been roaming through the area on that date and time. I've solved countless cases using this database and highly support field interviews. A minor convenience for the community good.

There are other reasons, as well. These interviews lead to countless arrests for drugs, DUI, burglary, suspicious behavior...even kidnapping and rape. If one were carjacked and forced into the trunk of the car after getting off of work at 2:00 in the morning, the sight of those flashing lights would be a welcome one. If your car was stolen and recovered through a random stop of this sort you'd be delighted. Let's face it, a vast majority of felonies occur during the hours of darkness and the wee morning hours. A good, experienced cop can tell when you're trying to hide something...or that you're just out cruising. If they had any reason to suspect you of anything, they would have followed through...believe me. Police work is a lot like fishing...you sit, you wait, you get a nibble and catch a lot of small ones that you throw back...but every now and then you catch that big one that would have got away if you hadn't had your hook in the water.

Marvello has a good point, as well. The appearance of the car has a lot to do with being pulled over. Radical stickers and slogans, band emblems, gang signs, obscene or rude bumper stickers are just a start. Loud, annoying music is also a great attractor for cops. Loud mufflers, lowriders, cars in poor mechanical or body condition, flashy rims and clearly expensive gizmos all attract the eye of the experienced cop. Maybe you were speeding...or he believed you were speeding but couldn't get a radar gun register on you...so he pulls you over for an interview...all perfectly legal. Fair? Probably not...but cars that display headshop and radical crap or pass by blaring bass-rending rap crap make great fishing holes for cops...often with big catches. Keep in mind that cop performance evaluations (leading to promotions and raises) often include the number and quality of busts made on their shifts. Do you really think your city pays them to munch donuts and swill coffee all night?

You have every right to be an individual...to put whatever sticker you want on your car, and drive around at 3:00 AM and have loud mufflers or flashy rims and play loud music. The cop has the legal right to drop his hook. Try to look and act less like bait.How many soccer mom vans get pulled over on your road?

What can you do about it? Be respectful to the cop and actually thank him for checking on your safety. Talk to him and get to know him. Ask him straight up why you keep getting pulled over so often...what can you do to put HIS mind at ease and maybe cut back on it some. He may not be a bad guy and knowing him may even come in handy some day. I had one kid that was a known drag racer and I had once caught him with an unloaded pistol under his seat. I pulled him over one night for a field interview. He started out with an attitude and the common donut insults. I challenged him to spend one Saturday night riding with me. He accepted. We became friends. And he's a North Carolina State Trooper today. Sometimes, all ya gotta do is ask.

If you have nothing to hide, let him look through your vehicle...why not? Sure you can stand by your civil rights and refuse...and he can continue to pull you over every time he sees you. He get's paid while you're ticked off. Where's the logic in that? Prove that you're not up to anything and maybe he'll back off. If you don't want to take the "good citizen" route...or you have something to hide...make an appointment to talk to the Patrol Division's deputy chief or the police chief in person. Dress well and be polite. Explain your concerns and ask for his guidance. Don't demand that it stop because "I'm a taxpayer!" It'll be open season on "James the Taxpayer."

Hope this helps. There is NO talking to or reasoning with some cops. They've seen to much and been suckered too many times to give a guy a fair chance. But, the vast majority are decent men women simply doing their best to do a very difficult and stressful job. Show them a little civility and interest and you might be very surprised at the results.
How you leave others feeling after an Experience with you becomes your Trademark.

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Cliffg37
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Well said Skip
Magic is like Science,
Both are fun if you do it right!
RandyStewart
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James,

You may be tired of being pulled over for routine checks, but some citizens are really sick and tired of being victimized. And the cops are REALLY FED UP having to deal with those up to no good at wee hours of the morning.

At almost 40 years of age and living in a big city, I have a really old fart's attitude about these things. Yes this is a free country and you can drive around with your friends at 3am but being a free country, we've put officers in place to keep it as free and secure as possible. There was a time when we could say that nothing good happened in my city after midnight. Because we took the highest crime rate in the country last year, bad things happen at any time of the day. But some of the big stuff goes down at 2,3,and 4am. But it's still a beautiful city and citizens and law enforcement are working together to clean it up.

Last year I woke to the sound of smashing glass and looked out the bedroom window to find my neighbor's SUV broken into. This is a common sound and occurrence despite being a good area! I called 911. I watched as the car thief ransacked her vehicle bagging certain things including stereo. He was very good and very fast! Within a coule of minutes he was done, amazingly enough was careful to close the door sloooooowly (wearing gloves) and casually walked away with the large black bag wrapped around his shoulder. I no longer have a stereo in my car. It was stolen sometime during the night.

I gave a description to police and off they went. Forty five minutes later there was a knock at my door and it was police. I ended up in the backseat of one squad car while they brought another car around the block. From a few yards away with spotlight on the other car, they pulled the suspect from vehicle while I identified him from backseat of the other car.

I've had to do stuff like this several times! All of these incidents happened between 2 and 4 am. These are preferred hours BECAUSE THEY KNOW HONEST WORKING PEOPLE ARE SLEEPING! To make matters worse, it was on a Monday morning - yeah great way to start the day.

A recent drug deal gone bad (like there's anything good about them) resulted in the shooting of a crack addict in the alley behind my building. Suspect is still at large. The victim was shot at 3am.

The stories go on and on. Don't expect any slack from those of us who are at home sleeping trying to get rest at 3am. If you are not drinking and driving, running drugs, vandalizing, or up to no good, I and many others thank you. This remains a free country for you and all of us to enjoy until you violate those laws then you go to jail.

Unless you are driving to or from work, responding to an emergency, headed home from a special event, or on a very rare trip to the corner store for something, you'll find most will have to suspect you of being up to no good. Nothing personal.

And you thought you were tired.
James F
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Wow, a lot of replies. Thanks for all the comments. You all made a lot of good points and I understand where everyone is coming from. I don't really think I can refute anything anyone said because I agree 100% with everyone. Of course, that doesn't change the fact that Im tired of being pulled over. (by the way, the reason we are always out so late is, well its summer. We usually are at a friends house watching movies etc and then decide to go home later that night) As someone said, I could allow them to search my car, but I wont. Yes, I have nothing to hide, but I also gave no reason to make them think I should be searched. I will never allow an officer to search my vehicle.

I appreciate what the police do and how dangerous their job is, but I honestly think the police don't have enough to do here.

One night (I was taking the same friend home actually) we were at a light turning. On the other side of the traffic light were two cops. We turn, and of course they follow us. (They were origionally turning a different direction) Knowing I get pulled over a lot and that it was late, I turn a few times and eventually enter a subdivision. (I don't want police behind me) This isn't my friends house so we wait a few seconds and then leave the subdivision. Sure enough, they are waiting outside for us and begin following us again. They follow me to my friends house and keep following me on the way back. After a while I put on my hazards and pulled over to the side of the road. He turned on his lights and asked me why I pulled over. I was honest and told him it was because I was tired of him following me and wanted to know why.

The officer said "You know, its kids like you that keep us from being out catching criminals." I responded simply by saying "I didn't ask to get followed officer" Eventually he let me go like always.

Im not saying the cops around here are "bad" or anything like that. But they are definitely seeing teenagers at 2am driving and pulling us over for no reason other than the fact that they may find drugs. To me, this is wrong.

Also, how the car looks is important I think. When we drive in my friends car we get pulled over much more often. In mine it is very infrequent. Infact, my friend gets pulled over so often in his car we thought maybe a car of the same model had been stolen or something. We couldn't imagine being pulled over so much for any other reason.

And one more thing "Unless you are driving to or from work, responding to an emergency, headed home from a special event, or on a very rare trip to the corner store for something, you'll find most will have to suspect you of being up to no good. Nothing personal."

Actually, I take that VERY personally. You are making a generalization with absolutely NO proof. DO NOT PULL ME OVER UNTILL YOU HAVE REASON TO DO SO. You don't pull me over for no reason, then HOPE to find a reason later. that's not how it works. It works like this: Im drunk and cant drive. You pull me over and find out Im drunk. It's not You pull me over for no reason. You then find out Im drunk.

James
Bill Nuvo
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Around here we have what's called a RIDE program. Police set up check points and stop all cars and ask people about if they had drinks etc. They usually have it around "Bar" time. Inconvenient for a non-drinker....yes, but if they catch one person who is drinking and driving, then all the better.

I remember one time I was patted down search while I was walking to a gig (to do balloons). I wasn't doing anything, but there was some sort of demostration downtown nearby and they weren't taking any chances. I went along with what they asked, answered questions in a calm matter of fact manner and then they sent me on my way in 5 minutes. I found out later in the paper that the police had captured a person with a gun heading in the direction of the protest. No gripes from me.
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1 -3am isn't "very late at night". It is "very early in the morning"

12pm is the very latest you can get at night.

If you were driving around at that hour and were the only ones ( worse if you are walking around at that time). I'm noit in the least bit suprised that you got pulled.

Howard
James F
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It seems people are more willing to give up freedoms to be "safe." Im not. I don't care whats going on or how late it is. If Im not doing anything wrong, leave me alone. End of story.

Being pulled over for no reason angers me, road blocks and random checks anger me, etc. All I ask for is to be left alone as long as Im not breaking any law. doesn't seem too much to ask for. I could understand extreme cases like mr. bill, but nothing like that is ever happening here. Being out late at night, driving perfectly and going the speed limit hardly flashes flags saying "LAW BREAKER"

Give me a break.

James
Brandon Delgado
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James--

I hate to tell you this, but I'm in agreement with Howard, here. You're 19 and out at 3 am. While it's your right to do so, it will arouse suspicion (probably would no matter how old you are, but at 19, it's even worse). As Skip said, the police don't need much of a reason to pull you over. They don't need proof of anything to do it. They only need suspicion, and just being out at 3 am, especially if you are one of the few out at that time, arouses suspicion. It's a pain, yes, especially considering you're doing nothing wrong, but the police are just doing their job and they are playing odds as Skip said. I would seriously follow his advice and the next time it happens; let them search. Ask why you're being stopped (politely). Give them absolutely no reason to suspect you of any wrong doing and put their mind at ease about it. It just might lead to fewer and fewer of these incidents. Seriously, if you keep getting pulled over at 3am and regularly refuse to consent to a search if they ask, you're only throwing up a red flag. It's your right to refuse, but why would you if you have nothing to hide? That's how they would see it. Sometimes you have to give in a little to get what you want.

-B
Skip Way
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Quote:
DO NOT PULL ME OVER UNTILL YOU HAVE REASON TO DO SO. You don't pull me over for no reason, then HOPE to find a reason later.


I just love these "I know my rights" types! They make the best Holding Cell Surveillance Video outtakes at the annual department banquets! Does a mechanic wait until your engine blows up to identify and change a faulty part? Does a doctor wait until the appendix bursts before pulling that pupppy out? Why should a cop wait until the crime has been committed to secure his area?

The officer's primary goal is crime PREVENTION...which is contrary to the popular misconception that the PRIMARY and PRINCIPAL purpose of the police officer is responding to crimes and hunting down criminals. A positive and well-managed interception program...such as stopping & interviewing teens who are making suspicious meandering turns through random neighborhoods at 3:00 in the morning...has a way of preventing crimes BEFORE they happen. That's what I want MY police department to be doing! You betcha!!

There's a saying...If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck...pull it over and see what he's up to! Or something like that...

Now...on to brighter topics!

Skip
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James F
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Then Im afraid we have VERY differing views. First of all, just because I have nothing to hide doesn't mean its ok to search my car. Its MY car and I have NOTHING in it. Move on with your life. Denying a search does not admit guilt just as remaining silent does not. If I have nothing in my car and no reason for you to suspect so, why search my car? Saying "you have nothing to hide so just consent" is ridiculous. No way.

And the officer was not preventing anything. He was out looking for someone to pull over just because he has nothing else to do. Want crime prevention? How about you go patrol through neighborhoods where crime is high? Or how about you sit on the side of the road where you followed me from, but instead of following someone who is driving fine and not breaking any laws, you wait untill someone drives by barely on the road. Chasing me while Im doing nothing is only keeping you from stoping those who need to be stopped. that's crime prevention. I respect officers and all they do for us. They have a dangerour job and its not easy. However the officers following me like this, in my opinion, are not doing their job.

And Im not one of "those I know my rights types" I simply know what is "right" and what is "wrong" ...You can follow me. Eventually, I am GOING to do something wrong. Im human. I don't drive perfect. Its not "right" to follow someone waiting for them to make a mistake. And then if I get tired of following you, just pull you over anyway and SAY you did something wrong! Come on, you'd have to be really thick to think that isn't "wrong"

It comes down to this. I should not be pulled over for following the law and doing nothing wrong. Its that simple. Yet I am constantly being pulled over for just that! There are a lot of bad people in the world, how about you go look for them instead of pulling people over and trying to find something wrong.

James
Brandon Delgado
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Quote:
On 2006-07-06 14:39, AJOJRF wrote:
Denying a search does not admit guilt just as remaining silent does not.


You're right, James, it doesn't admit guilt. It doesn't do much to eliminate the suspicion, either. Do you really want these guys to lay off? It's not going to happen if you keep doing what you're doing. You're a young male driving around at 3 am, into random neighborhoods. You refuse to let them look in your car when they ask. The more you cooperate, the less suspicious you appear to them.

“You got any weapons or drugs in your car?”
“No, officer.”
“No? Mind if we take a look?”

Let's see, do I refuse because they have no real basis for looking and it is my right to refuse? Or do I let them search and show them I'm not lying and really have nothing to hide? Regardless of what you may or may not have in your car, if you are constantly being hassled and constantly refuse, the police will think you're lying, especially if it's the same guys over and over. They will continue to stop you. They want to catch you, because your lack of cooperation is suspicious to them.

Quote:
Im not saying the cops around here are "bad" or anything like that. But they are definitely seeing teenagers at 2am driving and pulling us over for no reason other than the fact that they may find drugs. To me, this is wrong.


You seem to have identified why you're getting pulled over, here. Whether you agree with the practice or not, there is nothing illegal or unethical about it. Much like you are doing nothing wrong, they are doing nothing wrong. So cooperate with them. Once, let them take a peek. I'm not saying that you should just let them walk all over you. If they continue to pull you over after you've allowed them to look in your car, then you've got yourself a complaint to make. But, the next time you are pulled over, try this: be cooperative with them as opposed to putting up the resistance simply because it's your right and you don't agree with what they are doing. That should really do a lot to keep them from stopping you unnecessarily. Speaking as a young male, just like you: police like cooperative people, and are much less likely to hassle them.

-B
James F
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You make good points, but I think you are missing one thing. I do not believe the police remember pulling us over from other times. (Im sure they don't remember each un eventfull pull over like we do, because afterall, they do a lot more of them) They also do not remember the cars most likely. Therefore allowing them to search the car will only appease them for that one time. Then the next time I will get pulled over again. You say there is nothing "unethical" about it, but I must say I disagree. All I know is if I were a police officer, I would NOT do this. I would pull someone over who is doing something wrong. NEVER would I pull someone over without reason. NEVER. period.

Also, we don't drive around in random subdivisions. This was just ONE example of how persistant they were to follow me. I should not be being followed for extended periods of time. And when I try and get the officers to stop following me, they continue to follow me no matter where I go. This was one time and as I said, I later pulled over and explained to the officer I was annoyed with him following me. So driving around neighbourhoods is not really something to add to the supposed "suspicious" actions Im doing. Because we all know how suspicious obeying the law is.

James
Skip Way
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Actually...they do remember each car. Remember that database we talked about. Most departments these days require that all traffic stops be radioed (or computer logged) in. The dispatcher's (or the in-car computer console's) job when this call comes in is to log the stop and check for wants & warrants against the license plate and vehicle description. In many departments this includes a check against the field interview log to see when this vehicle was last stopped, why it was stopped, when, where and who was driving. For example, if you had been stopped on three previous nights in the same area where several burglaries or car break-ins had occurred...you might be in for a very long morning. Did the officer take your license back to his car while you sat at the side of the road? He was checking these databases.

Look...I apologize for my earlier tone...rereading it I can see where I came off somewhat rudely. I fully understand your annoyance and argument...and in a perfect world you would have a very valid point. I tried to "harrass" only those people I knew as potential problems. I tried to be civil with the kids I stopped and interviewed. You have EVERY right in the world to refuse every request for a voluntary search...and frankly, you're smart to do it. One of the very busts that got me promoted to investigations was the result of a man who was too afraid to refuse a search of a bag he was carrying. Who knows what a buddy may have left in YOUR car? Who knows what a cop might view as probable cause for a more thorough search? More inmportantly, you've done nothing wrong, so why submit? I agree with you.

That said, however, teens cruising at that time of the morning and acting a bit out of the ordinary ("...We turn, and of course they follow us. Knowing I get pulled over a lot and that it was late, I turn a few times and eventually enter a subdivision. This isn't my friends house so we wait a few seconds and then leave the subdivision.) just because a cop car is following them ARE suspicious and WILL be pulled over. Once again...it's your choice. Ask them face-to-face. Be polite. Show interest and appreciation. Maybe they'll post a note to your database file that says you're okay and the stops will slow down. Maybe. I CAN promise you that the cops are NEVER going to change their tactics...cause they're legal and they work!

Well, we've beaten that horse down to the bare bones. Best of luck, James.

Skip
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Magic Youth Raleigh - RaleighMagicClub.org
Brandon Delgado
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Hopefully, James you will find some way to get them to quit following you when you have done nothing wrong. I certainly agree that it shouldn't happen as frequently as it seems to happen to you. If allowing them to search is not something you wish to do, then it is certainly your choice. The most I can say is to follow Skip's advice in the last paragraph of his post above. Be polite and direct with them. That's being cooperative, and as I said before, police like cooperative people. Very best of luck to you.

-B
Jerrine
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Welcome to the land of the free. If you don't look like the average guy or keep "regular" hours you will be harassed, repeatably. That hour of the day police in a small jurisdiction have nothing else to do and you become a time killer.

In my youth I walked home from work regularly at 2a.m. and was stopped every single night by the same cop. He knew why I was where I was and what I was doing. Finally after months of this I simply kept walking and told him that he already knew all there was to know and to leave me alone. Fortunately for me he had some conscience and let me be.

I've had very similar things happen through the years from very many cops from many different cities. I've been detained for over two hours by 6 cops in 3 units for attempting to deliver a pizza at a gated community. I was all smiles and giggles too, no disrespect. Not one of them would look at the ticket and the hot pie in the bag to verify why I was where I was. Small town cops are as crooked as the letter S. Get used to it, it's not changing any time soon. Complain and you got yourself some extended trouble.

For the record I have no record and am no law breaker. I'm simply listen to a different drummer, which sad to say is enough to buy a fellow some time with local P.D. My significant other has worked in law enforcement for many many years in several capacities and has told me horrific stories of just such B.S. inflicted on the public and how Police revel and amuse themselves with such activities because they can. My advice? Move to a location where Police have better things to do than hassle citizens.
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