Now I've found this article interesting. The author (A columnist for the Chicago Tribune) basically wants cops to cease making traffic stops. My first thought was, "Moron, to be effective, police work has to be assertive..." Here are some of the highlights.
Curbing Traffic Stops Would Save LivesMr. Chapman, perhaps you missed the story from the Chicago Tribune. You are giving the reader an impression of four kids just joyriding and the police shot for no reason. From your newspaper's article:
So why do cops rely so much on the practice? Enforcing traffic laws is a large share of what they do.
Last weekend, in the wee hours of the night, Chicago police stopped a car carrying four people. When officers approached it, they saw a passenger holding a gun. The outcome was a familiar one: an 18-year-old man was shot by police...
Mr. Chapman, perhaps you didn't know this, but private possession of a firearms in Chicago is basically illegal. Also, an 18 year old cannot possess a pistol, period. You are trying to imply the cops were wrong in stopping the vehicle and defending themselves. News flash, they were not....Officers stopped the car in an alley between Mulligan Avenue and Mobile Avenue. While the officers were asking the driver for a license and registration, the officers saw that one of the backseat passengers, the 18-year-old man, had a gun, Nagode said.
"The subject did have a weapon in his hand," he said. "He was making several statements where he was threatening in nature."
The officers exchanged words with the man, but Nagode said the 18-year-old did not put down the gun...
...Too often, traffic stops lead to tragedy. Philando Castile was shot to death in his car by a police officer in Minnesota. Last week, a mistrial was declared for a University of Cincinnati officer prosecuted for killing 43-year-old Samuel DuBose, whose car had a missing front license plate. Sandra Bland, yanked out of her car by a Texas state trooper after allegedly failing to signal a lane change, died in jail. All three victims were black.Yes, I saw the video of the Castile stop. Not the Facebook live stream his girlfriend did, but the one of the officer. Where the first thing he does is tell him, "Don't reach for it...Don't reach for it!" Can we say we say Mr. Castile did "reach for it," no, we didn't have that point of view. But it's not the lie put out that the cop fired without warning and for no reason.
I've been a cop for almost two decades and yes, occasionally, I get stopped. And it's rare I am not carrying a weapon. So the first thing I do as the officer approaches is put my hand out and announce, "Officer, my hands are where you can see them! I am armed!" I show him my ID, he knows I am authorized to carry a weapon, and we go on.
By the way, Sandra Bland did not "die in jail," she killed herself in jail. And the trooper is at no fault for her death. Once she was accepted by the county jail, she is their responsibility. From what I've read there are some issues with the jail staff, but the trooper is not responsible for that.
...Cops are also at risk. In March, a police officer died in a shootout with a passenger who ran from a car that had been pulled over in Tecumseh, Okla. In June, a police lieutenant was fatally gunned down after a stop in Newport, Arkansas..."
Actually LT Weatherford was investigating a vehicle break in, not on a traffic stop:
The Arkansas State Police said on Tuesday that Weatherford was responding to a vehicle break-in when he was shot.
...When an officer stops and approaches a vehicle, both the cop and the driver are vulnerable. Any wrong move or misjudgment can turn the encounter deadly.
"Traffic stops and domestic violence are the highest-risk calls—you have no idea what you're walking into," John Gnagey, executive director of the National Tactical Officers Association, told the Orlando Sentinel in 2010...
A seven year old quote, kinda weird. I guess Google was lazy the day you wrote this.
Even when motorists get off unharmed, the experience can be frightening, infuriating or humiliating. Stops breed fear and distrust of law enforcement, particularly among minorities.
"Even when motorists get off unharmed,..." You are implying people getting "off unharmed" is not common. From the Bureau of Justice Statistics, in 2011 62 million Americans had interaction with police, of which approximate 13 million were traffic stops. If 10% of those stops/investigations ended in injury or death of the officer or a citizen, we would be talking about 1.3 million people. Hate to tell you, there is not an epidemic of violence around traffic stops.
...So why do cops rely so much on the practice? Enforcing traffic laws is a large share of what they do. Ignoring motorists who drive too fast or ignore signals could foster chaos on the road...
And to let you in on a secret, it also leads to other crimes, such as Driving While Intoxicated, Operating with a Suspended License, no insurance, etc. Also, going back to that 18 year old who was shot in Chicago. Did it occur to you the four kids (around 20, at least one armed, out at 3:00 am) what were they doing. Likely planning a criminal act. The fact they were stopped (speculation on my part) may have prevented another crime later on in the night. You stop them with a traffic stop, arrest them for illegally carrying the weapon, and the armed robbery they were planning never occurs.
But there are other ways to combat bad driving. University of California, Berkeley law professor Christopher Kutz points out that police in France do traffic stops at less than one-third the rate that American cops do. In England and Wales, it's one-fourth.
The obvious alternative is using cameras. Speeders and red-light runners can be detected and ticketed by electronic means. Upon paying the fine, says Kutz, the offenders could be required to show that they are licensed and insured.
I've gotten citations from red-light and speed cameras, and while I resented the fines, I was grateful that I wasn't detained on the roadside by an armed officer. The time I got a mere warning for (barely) failing to come to a complete stop on an empty suburban street after midnight was considerably less pleasant.
Forgive me, but you claimed to have "...(barely).."failed to come to a complete stop. OK, we'll take you at your word for the moment. However, if police switched to only camera enforcement of traffic laws, what will preclude people from covering their license plates, steeling license plates of similar vehicles, etc? BTY, I will lay money the next column comes up from you will be complaints about being fined without being proven guilty of a crime, such as running a red light.
...Being a gray-haired white male, I've been pulled over only three times in my adult life. Castile, 32, had been through that experience 49 times—and "was rarely ticketed for the reason he was stopped," according to the StarTribune of Minneapolis-St. Paul.
Joel Anderson, an African-American reporter for BuzzFeed, said on Twitter last month that he's been stopped more than 30 times since he started driving—including five times for seatbelt violations when he was wearing his seatbelt...
"...rarely ticketed for the reason he was stopped?" OK, was he ticketed for something else? I didn't see a breakdown of what Castile had been stopped for and the results, if you have that, please put it out. Oh, to be fair, why don't you restate Mr Anderson's claim, "He alleges he was stopped five times for seatbelt violations when the was wearing his seatbelt."
Traffic stops are often an excuse for cops to search a car for drugs and guns. Curtailing police reliance on this pretext would free motorists from being dragooned to "consent" to searches for which the cops lack probable cause.
If the cop doesn't have probably cause, the driver can say, "You ain't going in there without a warrant..." I agree, stand up for your rights.
...True, the change would let criminals operate at less risk. But hassling the innocent to catch the guilty is an abuse of our constitutional principles. In Illinois last year, police conducted 2.17 million traffic stops. Just 8,938 yielded contraband—one bust for every 242 stops...
Yes, it would let criminals operate at less risk. And the general public at more. Before Rudolph Giuliani came in and instigated, among other things, "Stop and Frisk," New York was a war zone. The Big Apple had over two-thousand murders in 1990.
Sorry Mr. Chapman, effective policing, by it's nature, must be aggressive. We must go out and find the criminals, if possible, before they strike (see your example of the 4 hood rats stopped by CPD). You may not like the fact we do this job, but don't worry. In spite of your bad opinion of the cops, we will still respond to you when you're getting your ass kicked. To paraphrase Jack Nicholson's great speech:
We live in a world that has walls, and those walls have to be guarded by men with guns. Who's gonna do it? You? I have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom. And my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves lives.
You don't want the truth because deep down in places you don't talk about at parties, you want me on that wall -- you need me on that wall.
We use words like "honor," "code," "loyalty." We use these words as the backbone of a life spent defending something. You use them as a punch line.
I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom that I provide and then questions the manner in which I provide it.
I would rather that you just said "thank you" and went on your way. Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a weapon and stand the watch. Either way, I don't give a damn what you think you're entitled to!