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A traffic officer pulled me over coming down the ramp to the straight stretch to the Portland (PDX) airport.

Of course I didn’t think it was fair, just an opportunistic wrong place, wrong time deal.

And I was ten mph over the limit.

In the van were my two kids, wife, and a French exchange student late for his plane home.

He was a good kid and needed to be home. To get there he’d make his plane.

I screwed the pooch by speeding. Bad timing for me.

Classic baby boomer moment with The Man.

Because of my French student, I didn’t want him to see me surrender to authority like France in WWII.

After prompting everyone to keep quiet I used the ticket technique my neighbor explained.

He knew lots about law enforcement. Too much.

Turns out he’d done two stretches in the Oregon State prison along with a boot camp term at the coast.

Because he was a felon he used a method to help officers stay calm when they stopped him.

This was a man I learned so much from, like how not to go to prison.

The short version is keep your hands on the wheel when the officer walks up.

Give short honest answers to each question, turning your head to look him in the eye each time you speak, then returning to eyes forward.

Don’t eye-ball The Man during a police stop.

When asked for license and registration, make eye contact again and describe what your hand will do to produce your license. Then wait for a command to proceed.

Do the same for registration.

By this time Officer Friendly knows you’ve been in the system. And he knows you’ve learned how to respond to authority.

Since I’ve been in the Army after being raised by a resting Marine I had a clue. But police are different.

They don’t know you from the Ten Most Wanted.

I performed the felony police stop routine and the officer walked back to his car to run my info. Then the chaos started.

Everyone in my car started yelling, asking what the heck I thought I was doing.

“Is this supposed to be funny?”

“You’re in trouble now.”

“Where did this come from?”

The officer came back with a warning and said, “Any other policeman would have given you a ticket for your attitude.”

I kept my hands on the wheel, eyes forward.

After he stopped talking I turned my head, took my license and registration, and said thank you.

Once back on the road everyone started yelling again. It was music to my ears.

I reminded them ‘we’ didn’t get a ticket. My student made his plane after this lesson in Civil Obedience.

What really happened?

Using the felon-in-traffic routine might have tipped the officer off that I was a bad man.

He was relieved to find I was just another fat man with family who didn’t slow down fast enough off an exit ramp, instead of a member of the 10 Most Wanted.

End result: A Portland Baby Boomer Academy Award for impersonating an ex-con.

I thanked my neighbor for unintended assist.

If you get pulled over, ask yourself: Would you rather be accused of smart-assery, or have a gun leveled on you.

police stop

via The Independent

It’s a police stop, not a theater audition for a moron play. Don’t be stupid. Save that for your peers. Live long enough to enjoy the moment.

Don’t make a policeman work harder than he needs to. If that happens he may be working you.

Then the crying starts, not that there’s anything wrong with that.

About David Gillaspie


  1. As to the story; results excellent, story itself-borderline at best. Lucky you weren’t taken into cusody as the story makes this reader think signifcant overacting had to be involved.

    • David Gillaspie says:

      Always keep an eye on the border. The main results turned out quite well for the example of speaking to authority without crossing the line. Show respect, attentiveness, and a willingness to take the consequences, all characteristics I’d want if I were a cop pulling someone over. It was a showtime moment where I knew I’d get a ticket, so I focused on the routine. I believe the policeman was torn between anger and laughter when he saw my clean driving record.

      I’ve fixed that one since then.

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