Is police 'professional courtesy' justified?

According to, the state of Montana had fewer accidents when there were no speed limits. Unsafe speeds were always enforced, however, meaning that if you were speeding well out of pace from traffic flow, you would be ticketed.

I have a lot of speeding tickets on my record. Part of the reason for this is that I foolishly let tailgaters get the best of me. What I’ve recently begun doing is pulling over to let them pass. I think of it as “letting them get the ticket.” Sometimes I’ve wondered if the tailgaters near small towns are working with the cops, making sure you don’t drop down from 45 to 25 before you get nabbed by the conveniently positioned cop at the intersection of Main St. and Division.

Speed contributes to the severity of accidents a lot more than the likelihood of them (although it does reduce reaction time and increases stopping distance). But I’m about to drive on the highway within the next 45 minutes, and if I decide to slam on my brakes because of an animal on the highway, I will be hit from behind by the inevitable tailgater behind me. I would bet that tailgaters currently outnumber speeders, but there has yet to be a radar detector that measures following distances. It’s a lot easier to pull over speeders, even if they are speeding safely.

I’m the guy who says that my insurance rate should go down due to all the speeding, and no accidents. You have to be damn good to drive that fast, that often, and never hit anything.

This reminds me of something I think when I see those police car chase TV shows. The commentator says something like, “Watch as this man weaves in and out of traffic, at 100mph, with the bumper hanging off - and later on he was found to be on heroin! What terrible driving!”. I can’t be alone in thinking that that’s actually brilliant driving. I certainly couldn’t do that.

Here’s an interesting site
Cops Writing Cops

I’m sorry, but really… I’m not trying to point out you specifically, I know I’ve done this in the past as well (learned not to by being called out on it), but read the thread before you post.

I agree. I may be a 20-year-old male driving a red car of a model favored by drag racers, and I may drive at least 20 mph over the speed limit during most of my highway commute, but I’ve only ever had one ticket and one accident–both within a couple of weeks after I got my license. I should be rewarded for not actually causing accidents, but instead I’m considered a high risk. What kind of system is that?

Same here.

Do you mean your brakes actually got stuck, or do you mean that you braked hard while turning, expecting the antilock system to correct for your error, and then were surprised when it didn’t do so?

My best friend in high school became a cop. he was always a raving maniac behind the wheel. he totalled 2 cars in one week in high school.
After he was a cop he killed a pedestrian when he was off duty. They decided it was the pedestrians fault.
If the reason for speeding tickets is safety ,then everyone speeding should get a ticket. If it is about revenue ,then its mostly bs anyway.

It’s extreme because it’s a total strawman that you made up out of thin air. Who said anything about spitting? I think there’s probably a law against spitting on a police officer - something along the lines of “assaulting a police officer”, I imagine. The proper response would be to cite the person for that, not give him a traffic ticket.

Threatening an officer is another matter. There is already sufficient incentive for people not to threaten an officer, namely that it is illegal. I don’t see how a person who would otherwise threaten or attack an officer, and surely be immediately taken to jail, would be dissauded from doing so out of fear of getting a ticket. That’s like saying we should give cops discretion over giving jaywalking tickets to bank robbers to prevent bank robberies.

Let’s imagine that I say to an officer, “I think this is a bullshit ticket.” (Not that I would, but for the sake of argument). I say it in a calm voice, I make no threatening moves, and I obey all the officer’s instructions. What law have I broken? Clearly I have a First Amendment right to say so. Are you arguing that you agree with a system in which I am punished for expressing my opinion, solely at the discretion of the cop? Or because I didn’t smile at him? Or because I didn’t call him “sir” or “officer”? These things have nothing to do with whether I’m guilty of the traffic violation.

Even if you are a great driver, you can’t ignore the laws of physics. If anything goes wrong at high-speed, there’s more kinetic energy and less reaction time.

Oh, missed this last part:

The question was “is it justified?”, not “have you ever broken a rule?”

Like I said, I just consider it a fact of life. I do not contend that I am morally superior to anyone. I have broken rules in my life, and I do not try to justify doing so. I merely consider myself human and fallible just like everyone else. I agree with you that the police “professional courtesy” doesn’t keep me awake at night with worry. But is it justified? I haven’t heard a successful argument for that yet.

Having said that, I don’t think your example is apt. Giving someone a coupon is hardly the same as allowing someone to violate traffic safety laws with impunity.

Not only did she marry the San Jose city cop, she married him a number of times.

I was attempting to speak metaphorically. You can imagine the verbal expression of distrust such a driver could make without actually breaking a law.

However, I don’t feel that ticket immunity is justified either. But it’s way down there on my list of troublesome world problems.

That site ticks me off. It’s bunch of crybaby cops whining because they broke the law and had to pay the price, just like common ordinary people. WAAAAH!

The cops post stories about being ticketed by other cops. Many stories say they were going 15 MPH or more over the limit, some going about 100 MPH. Then they try to justify it, saying, “but I was the only car around” or “traffic was light and it was daytime.” If I had to guess, I think it’s probably the same excuses these whiney cops hear from civilans every day as they try fruitlessly to wiggle out of tickets… but the cops think these excuses should be OK for them but not OK for everyone else.

It seems the overriding justification the whiney cops have for “professional courtesy” is that cops are a “brotherhood” or “family” and that “family” extends to relatives of cops. If one cop tickets another, then the cop who got the ticket may elect not to support the cop issuing the ticket in a time of need, destroying the sense of loyalty and brotherhood from within. One story I read ended with the whiney cop saying something to the effect, “If Officer Smith, who wrote me a speeding ticket, was on fire, I wouldn’t so much as piss on him.”

One way to get cops not to issue speeding tickets to other cops is to STOP SPEEDING. I applaud all the cops issung the tickets and all the courts upholding them.

Nah! It wasn’t the same cop. She had to marry a different one every time! :slight_smile:

You know, you can never find those goddamn commas when you need one!

A typical heartbreaking whine from the site:

“My girlfriend, who has been living with me for some time and deals with my job everyday, was stopped for speeding by this officer. She told him where I worked and and what I did (PO). He said that he didn’t care and wrote her anyway.”

She’s not married to a cop but lives with one and deals with his job everyday.
She’s practically a cop herself! Give this poor long-suffering woman a break! :rolleyes:

Which is great, but it also leads to that blue wall of silence you see in investigations of cops.

Hey, I like it; Gil Grissom is a legend.

I’ve never been pulled over myself, but I don’t think the procedure is radically different. As far as spotting a cop’s wife is concerned, the special badge would seem redundant if you could tell from license and registration alone. Also, a cop’s friends would definitely need a special marker to distinguish them from the masses and to cue the ‘So you know Officer Jackson?’ chatter.

Doors, what I meant to say is that the powers that be make a big deal about the speed/safety link (naturally, they won’t admit to it being a revenue raiser), so it’s rather curious for them to be so open about letting cops off. I agree that going above the limit isn’t inherently ‘OMG DANGER!’.

So you believe it’s ethically and legally correct for a cop, who otherwise was not going to issue a traffic citation, to do so because he felt that the person wasn’t nice enough to him? Sorry, but that makes no sense to me. I know it’s done all the time, but I don’t see how you can pretend it’s ethical.

The only criteria that I can think of that makes sense would be if there were extenuating circumstances, or if the infraction was minor enough to warrant only a warning. Whether the driver said “pretty please with sugar on top, officer sir”, or had big tits, or was white, or was republican, etc. shouldn’t have anything to do with it.

I think it’s OK, as long as the violation is of a sort where the Officer would consider giving a warning to a non-police officer.

This is becuase more serious violations, such as DUI, can result in the off-duty PO losing his job. Few non-police would lose their jobs over such a violation.

A non-felony conviction of “spousal abuse” will also lose the Officer his job, as well as several other crimes where the results would be much less unpleasant for non-police.

In fact, some of these will not only cost the Officer his job, but his *entire career *in Law Enforcement.

So, yes, as long as the violations are of a sort that warnings are commonly given to non-police, off-duty cops should get a free pass almost always.