Cops and Smart@$$#$
I’m not saying that Brett Darrow was out of line when he encountered St. George Police Sergeant James Kuehnlein. I’ve actually been in Brett’s shoes and wondered what was wrong with the officer who was giving me a hard time.
We don’t have time to pull out our resumes and let officers know how wrong they are at the moment. They’re looking for thugs and drug dealers and sometimes they lose focus to tear down a law abiding citizen. Most likley out of frustration, because the police force as a whole isn’t doing that great of a job against crime.
What are they up against?
First of all, they are up against the very same law they are sworn to protect and serve. They get the guy dirty and he gets free. That’s got to be frustrating to have to do your job with split second decisions and finally get the guy you want only to have some runny nosed lawyer come in and play the “victim’s rights” game with your procedures.
They are up against their own intelligence. Criminals spend all their time trying to design the perfect crime. Officers only get to learn about new methods and techniques after a criminal has tried them. That puts the officers a step behind.
They are up against so much more than that, but the main one is the Double Jeopardy Laws. You get one chance to get it right. You mess it up and a guy walks free. For the rest of his life, he can admit to everything he did in the execution of his perfect crime because law enforcement can no longer touch him about it.
But, Brett Darrow is one of those smart @$$#$ looking for trouble and that’s not good. He’s had run-ins with officers in the past and he is just the type of person out looking for trouble. He pulls up to a DWI stop and initiates the conversation with the officer who responds friendly with a “What are you doing this evening, sir?” type of greeting. To which he gets a smart @$$ remark like, “I don’t want to discuss my personal life with you officer.”
Ok, so Sergeant Kuehnlein went overboard and on camera. Smack! I mean Smack!! But hey, Brett Darrow is the kind of troublemaker officers are up against in the course of their job.
If I were the officer, I would have played the smart @$$ right back. I would have said in a real calm voice, “Hold on for a second.”
“I ran your tags and we’re coming up with some kind of hold. I’d like to let you go right now, but I have to hold you for a second until you check out.”
“Umm, do you have any idea why the Homeland Security guys would be contacting me right now?”
“Uh, hold on. Yeah see, I’ve only seen this one other time in my life. I had a guy stopped who turned out to be a known terrorist. I think they’re running that check right now. Just hold on. I’m sure this is just a gliche. But, just in case will you stand against your vehicle with your hands above your head. I just want to make sure that everyone remains safe.”
I might keep that up for twenty or thirty minutes. The only thing that would save Mr. Darrow a little earlier would be a legitimate call that I would have to take.
You will see Mr. Darrow’s attitude change and he will be the most cooperative stop you’ve ever made. If he wants to show that tape, his friends will laugh at him for being the butt of a joke. If he wants to press charges, you’ll get the chance to say, “For what? Is there a crime in that?”
In other words, when you’re dealing with smart @$$#$, be a smart @$$. You don’t have to yell and berate a young 20 year old punk who thinks he’s gong to solve the world’s problems by removing officers from the force. Just treat him like he’s treating you.
When you start getting those snappy smart @$$ questions, say “hold on” and take a step back to your car. Take about ten breaths and come up with a way to mess with him a little. Don’t say you will charge him with something that’s false. Just act like he’s a highly suspicious individual and that the station has asked you to hold him for a minute while they run a check. Get a kick out of it! If you don’t, @$$()!#$ like Darrow certainly will.
And remember the old joke about the police officer who pulled the guy over for speeding. He said, “I’ve been waiting for you all day.”
Undaunted, the driver responded, “I got here as soon as I could.”
They both shared a laugh and hey, guess what, the officer let the funny speed racer go on a warning.