August 20, 2014

When was the last time you called a cop a liar?

Recently a friend of mine suggested I ask the general question: “When was the last time you called a cop a liar, to his face?”

Now, most people will say, “I’d never call a cop a liar to his face.” Really? Well, never mind lie, some people also swear at officers. In fact, when writing my book, Is There a Problem, Officer?, an editor challenged me on my relating an incident during which a driver swore at me. She didn’t believe anyone would ever swear at a cop. Well, people do swear at cops, and they also lie to cops. However, while people lie to cops all the time, quite often it’s not in the way one might think.  Consider this passage from my book:

“Oh, no Officer. I did too stop for that stop sign!” The plump, pasty-skinned woman spoke confidently from beneath a white, broad-brimmed hat and from behind dark sunglasses.

“I’m sorry, ma’am, but you failed to come to a complete stop.”

“Oh, no, Officer; I’m sure I stopped,” the woman challenged, turning her nose up and looking away.

“Ma’am, I was sitting in my patrol car in a stationary position right over there. I had an unobstructed view of your car. I saw quite clearly that you didn’t stop.”

“But I’m sure I stopped.”

“Sorry, ma’am, you didn’t.”

“Are you sure, Officer?”

“Yes, ma’am, I am.”

The woman sat silent for a moment, carefully considering her situation. She slowly turned her head back up toward me and said, “Well—maybe I didn’t stop-stop, but I stopped.”

It’s sure hard to argue with her special form of logic. I chose not to and wrote her a ticket. Following her quasi-concession, she began to argue that she truly thought she’d stopped. I explained I’d be concerned about her if she couldn’t determine whether or not her vehicle was stopped or in motion. I still remember this encounter even though it occurred over a decade ago. It wasn’t the first incident I’d had where a motorist had challenged me over a stop, but it was the earliest one I still remember in detail where the first words out of a motorist’s mouth were essentially, “Hello, Officer—nice day, isn’t it? Oh, and by the way, I don’t mean to offend you, but you’re a liar.”- (Lyons Press, 2007).

Lying to a cop is bad enough, but lying without realizing one is lying, is a mistake no driver should ever make—it could be a very expensive one.


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