**In this town, we have a built-in filtering system. The local, small city cops (Manhattan Beach, for example) are fairly laid-back, the LAPD are so anti-“civilian” and generally power mad it’s frightening. If you get pulled over by a non-LAPD, non-Sheriff (I’ve never encountered a Sheriff, despite the fact that I live in an area supposedly patrolled by them) cop, you can expect a warning unless you are just vibrating with bad karma, outstanding warrants, etc. If you merely ask an LAPD cop for help, he’s going to assume you’re tricking or trapping him, and the best you can hope for is that he’ll leave the handcuffs off on the way to the station.
**1. If you’re familiar with law enforcement, do you find this story plausible? **
I’ve had a few cop friends - and been pulled over for a few traffic violations. That’s the extent of my personal experience. I’ve also worked on a number of surveys relating to police behavior and performance - writing, stats, etc. - and the writing and norming of a sergeant’s exam. I don’t know if that counts as familiar with law enforcement. But, yes, I find it plausible, though it isn’t something I see every cop doing. It’s just that there are a lot of cops, and a lot of nuts, and the two do overlap from time to time.
2. Can you envision this happening in your own locality, or have you heard any stories about it actually happening?
Haven’t heard any stories about it. Could see it happening here.
3. How worried does this kind of thing make you?
Very worried, even if it happens only very occasionally, but then I’m something of a privacy nut. I realize in this world we sacrifice our privacy for convenience every day, but it scares me that we are putting powerful privacy-invading tools in the hands of people no better, no more trained, and no more respectful than the common citizen.
4. Will you be more worried when your local law enforcement implements face recognition software and streetcorner cameras to potentially track any person’s movements?
Of course. But I sincerely hope this is an ‘if’ instead of a ‘when,’ although I am not sanguine.
**5. Have you considered, or might you consider, changing your behavior in light of this? By this I mean how you conduct your personal and professional life (maybe being careful who you talk to and limiting information that could be subject to extortion) and especially how you view and interact with law enforcement. **
I’m not sure. I’ll have to think about this last one a bit more.