When my son learned to drive, I was the one that taught him. The very last thing that I went over was how to interact with the police. Have your license, registration and insurance ready, rest your hands on the steering wheel. Be polite and look at the officer when answering a question.

We then role-played where I was the cop. After handing back his info and telling him he was getting a warning. As I was turning to go, I said one more thing: You don’t have any drugs or weapons in the vehicle?

You may say well, you don’t trust cops. I don’t trust people. What I do know is that certain jobs or even activities, tend to attract a certain type of person. People that like to tell others what to do with little accountability for their own actions is a recipe for abuse. My advice to my son, limit your interaction with the police. Never consent to a search and ask if you are free to go.

Unless there is child abuse involved, whistleblowing is frowned upon almost universally. Don’t expect the good apples to report misdeeds, they’re more likely to seek a job transfer to a different location. This doesn’t just apply to law enforcement, it seems like it is part of our internal operating system as a species. A function and a bug, whether intentional or not.

When you are given special privileges, you might start to act special. If there are no repercussions or the consequences are minimal, there is no deterrent for bad behavior. The deck seems to be stacked. Qualified immunity, chokeholds, the lack of transparency about the conduct of public servants. There is a large section of our population that fears the police and rightly so. Power corrupts.

Look, I did a deep dive into the city budget seven years ago. What I found was that you were more likely to get drug tested if you worked in the water treatment department than the police department. The only thing that came from that article was that the website Transparency Frederick never posted another budget online. Nothing happened, no one cared.

So what are the options, ‘cause the police probably aren’t going to change. Ultimately it is an “us versus them” scenario and we, the public, are them. Unless qualified immunity is on the table and good luck with that, it is a near hopeless battle.

Ending the drug war or phrasing it a different way, ending the war on our own people would go a long way toward ending violent interactions with the police. Alcohol is already legal and if we were really concerned about people harming themselves with what they consume, we would be arresting people over a certain body mass index.

Active policing may have to go away. Fire, EMT’s, and social workers don’t go out patrolling for work opportunities. They respond when needed. At some point, the community has to be the deterrent. The criminal may not fear the police because they don’t fear the community will turn them in. The system is beyond broken and we may have reached critical mass.

I may be wrong, I won’t be protesting during a pandemic.

This is all I got “power to the peaceful.” But I want to leave with a word of caution, peaceful protests can only be rebuffed a finite amount of times. Meaningful change will be the only peaceful option in the end. Surely, a road less traveled.

John writes and lives in Frederick County.

(15) comments

veritas

Surely there was a pony in there somewhere, but danged if I could find it.

gary4books

Only if you want to find it?

Dwasserba

"At some point, the community has to be the deterrent. The criminal may not fear the police because they don’t fear the community will turn them in." This is about the wisest thing I've read in awhile. "See something/say something" is a catchy phrase many people never act on for reasons they consider more meaningful to them.

MD1756

I worry that if police are defunded you'll see more "see something shoot something" by people believing police will no longer respond in a timely manner or criminals being more bold figuring police won't be around to catch them. I also worry that there will be a bigger backlog of cases than there is now and more will be deemed too minor to followup which may again lead to more of my first concern.

shiftless88

I would guess that the average violent criminal does not weigh his options based on whether he thinks he will be caught.

DickD

Our high school taught me driving. We didn't worry about police, they were our friends. Much has changed, we need to look at the changes and ensure that our rights are not being violated.

MD1756

I have a hard time comprehending the logic behind the statement: "Ending the drug war or phrasing it a different way, ending the war on our own people..." Rightfully or wrongly certain activities are legal or illegal. Using certain drugs is illegal and using certain other drugs in an inappropriate manner is illegal. Why shouldn't those laws be enforced? A number of drugs are responsible for the conditions in Central and South America, and those who buy the drugs are helping to fund the drug cartels. I don't think the same can be said for alcohol or people overeating. I believe the writer should broaden his view of the impacts of various activities. Drug use does not just adversely impact the user alone.

I also wonder if active policing went away, if it doesn't just create another worse problem of enforcement of the laws by untrained people. I suspect response times are reduced by having patrols rather than responding from a central location and I suspect cars are cheaper than buildings so you can have the police cover a larger area with patrols. Before comparing the police to emergency response, the writer should look at the number and types of calls each service receives on a daily basis before making comparisons or recommendations for change.

bosco

"how to interact with the police. Have your license, registration and insurance ready, rest your hands on the steering wheel. Be polite and look at the officer when answering a question.".......more young people should be taught this. The chances that everybody goes home safely when the encounter starts off this way increase. [ninja]

gabrielshorn2013

Agreed Bosco. However, I always keep the registration and insurance card in the glove box inside my owners manual. If the officer asks for them, I respond "Yes sir", and tell them exactly what my movements are going to be before I do them. "I am going to reach over to the glove box and remove my owners manual, where those documents are kept. I am then going to reach for my wallet, which is in my right rear pocket for my license". Speak (in a courteous manner) when spoken to, and answer the officer's questions, and keeping my hands on the steering wheel in view at all times. I have never had a problem because of this.

bosco

Gabrielshorn2013....me too. No sudden moves and I explain where my paperwork is and what hand I'll use to get it. Same with getting my wallet out. Where it is and which hand I'll use.

[ninja]

phydeaux994

The problem is bosco, that there are many dead Black drivers that did all those things and it wasn’t enough.

bosco

Always searching for that cloud around that silver lining, eh Fido? And, Fido, plenty of White drivers, Brown drivers, Yellow drivers - pick a color, any color.

What's wrong with what gabrielshorn2013 and I have said as a way to defuse a potential situation and ensure everybody gets to go home safely? [ninja]

Piedmontgardener

Unfortunately, you refuse to recognize that we have a problem with militarized police since 9/11 and the watered down Warren Court rulings on the 4th Amendment, all of these things come together to make disproportionate use of force a reality. But hey, enjoy your day.

bosco

Thanks, I enjoy every day this side of the grass. [ninja]

gary4books

Just a technical note to a good article, but few trust the body mass index to domuch for personal health unless it is way out of normal. Some thin people can have lots of body fat and a low number and many who are shorter can be very fit but heavy with muscles and have a high BMI. A skin fold test gives a better idea of the per cent of a body that is fat and cost very little to administer.

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