So a funny thing happened when I got pulled over today . . .

I was tooling around town today and the local cops pulled me over for an expired registration. I swear I renewed it a few months ago, so I’ll be visiting the DMV this week.

I didn’t have a valid paper insurance card, I forgot to put the new one in the car. Fortunately, the cop accepted electronic proof (GEICO online).

He ran my record and came back in a few minutes, then the conversation began:

Cop: I’m turning off my bodycam and sound. When I turn it back on I’m going to tell you we’ll be towing the car due to lapsed registration. I’m going to direct you to pull into the parking lot ahead and you say “yes officer.”

Then he winked.

Me: dang, you’re towing me?!

Cop: “look at me.” And he winked again. “Do you understand what I’m telling you?”

Me: you’re towing the car.

Cop: (sighs and repeats previous directions. Then winks again).

Me: “so you’re towing the car. Can I call my wife for a ride . . . OH! I get it!”

Nice cop was telling me he’d do the official “you’re in trouble yadda yadda” with his bodycam on, but I could just leave when he got back in his car. Thanks, cool dude!

Our local cops are enforcement crazy. I was towed a few years ago for a registration that was a week expired; I’ve been stopped because one of my brakelights “was dim” (it wasn’t); and I got a ticket for no front plate (NOBODY has a front plate here, but whatever). And Driving While Black around here can be pretty sucky (I’m white, some black friends and neighbors have experienced awful traffic stops).

I’m glad I got Officer Nice this round.

You gotta love life’s little victories.

Wow! Go you and thanks to Officer Nice. :slight_smile:

He made me really nervous when he kept saying “look me in the eyes!” It was so he could wink to get me on the plot, but the eyes thing made me think I had to take a field sobriety test or something . . . I was a bit speedy due to the Claritin I took this morning.

Of late, it seems something weird happens when I leave home to run errands. Last Sunday I fixed a stranded motorist’s car. She thought I was the Triple A guy – it’s a hilarious story.

I used to get treated really nice, like what you describe, but not anymore. I have been pulled over a few times in the last 2-3 years, once for going 32 in a 25 school zone, and yes, I deserved to get pulled over, and yes, I got a ticket, fine, fine…but the cop was rude and unnecessarily nasty despite my best efforts to be pleasant about it. I’m just some Lily-white Southern woman, and I will admit I am just not used to being treated that way, especially by a policeman. Call it privilege or whatever, but it has been eye-opening for me to get a taste of what other people have been complaining about.

I travel for business and spend much of my time driving in rental cars, especially all over Florida. Well, for some reason I am a magnet for the Florida State Patrol. Was driving down 301 in central Florida (and for those of you familiar with the area, yeah I know to slow way down in Starke and Lawtey) but this FSP pulled me over because he said my tag wasn’t coming back to anyone, I produced my rental agreement, and he still kept me on the side of the road for about 40 minutes and basically accused me of driving a stolen vehicle and acted like a 17 layer jerk.

Another time, I learned the hard way that when you pick your rental car up in Georgia with a temporary tag and drive it into Florida, the FSP will pull you over and tell you (in an extremely not nice way) that you cannot operate said vehicle on Florida roads because they don’t recognize temporary tags. He told me if I drove the car form this spot he was going to arrest me. I said look, I am a woman traveling alone for business, and you are telling me you are just going to strand me on the side of the road? Yep. That’s exactly what he did. Wouldn’t let me drive it to the nearest Enterprise and swap it out, nope. He drove off, and said if he saw me move the vehicle, I was going to be charged with some kind of felony, which I thought was total BS, but his lack of concern for my safety and welfare flabbergasted me. He was dismissive and completely ungentlemanly. Thank goodness for Enterprise. They were wonderful, they sent 2 agents from their nearest location and drove me to their office to get another car.

I freely admit, I grew up in a small town where the police were our friends and neighbors, and I probably have gotten away with things over the years I shouldn’t have. I don’t expect any special treatment anymore, I am a big girl, I can take responsibility for my own actions, but my recent encounters combined with what I see on the news every day makes me wonder if there are any nice policemen out there anymore.

Jennshark, it was nice to read your story that you came across one!


New Jersey is a two plate state, as is my state of Missouri, so I wonder why you think you only need to have one on the car? I’m glad they let you go, but I would like to understand why you thought the officers mentioning your lack of a plate was unreasonable.

Way too cool, if you ask me. If he turned off his camera and sound, then why not just tell you what he was going to do, instead of going through the wink wink nudge nudge routine?

Notice that the way he handled the situation allows him essentially perfect “plausible deniability” if anything went wrong with his plan. “This lady is imagining things, I certainly didn’t wink at her”.

So, his body camera will have him telling you to move the car so you can get a ticket and be towed, but there’ll be no record of the ticket or towing. Isn’t that going to look like you fled?

The whole point of body cameras is to record officers as they do their work, warts and all. I don’t really want the police turning them off and on to only capture what they want the world to see. It’s odd that in this case the part he was trying to conceal was him actually being a decent guy and letting you off with a warning. Not the usual way this sort of thing sometimes happens, but worrying in its way.

I’m glad it worked out for you, and I hope it continues to, but I’m not sure I like the broader implications of what happened.

What a nightmare scenario if you’re in an unpopulated or desolate area. A cop turning OFF their cam and audio recording would mean shit’s about to go down, and not in your favor.

So you had an expired registration AND no front plate? I think the latter is far worse than the former. I can’t figure out why he went through the whole wink-wink rigamarole. Are cops not allowed to give you warnings any more? In my 30 years of driving, I’ve actually gotten more warnings than moving violation tickets.

This is my reaction as well. Is he not allowed to use some discretion and just give you a warning? Why is he even manipulating his body cam and audio?

This could have/should have all been accomplished without all the doubletalk and creepy wink-wink-nudge-nudging.

And, after a re-read, your OP really does not make sense.

Was the bodycam on or off during the conversation?

If it was on, he recorded himself telling you that he was shutting the bodycam off and what to say and do in order to misrepresent the encounter.

If it was off, why all the winking and talking in code?

Yeah, this sounds to me like a trap. He’s on camera telling you to pull over, he already has your plate, and the car isn’t going to show up at the impound lot. Now he has convincing evidence that you fled the scene, which could lead to officers coming to your house in the middle of the night to arrest you. And is there any reason for anyone to believe your version in court?

If he wanted to let you off with a warning to be nice to you, then he would have said, on the camera, that he was letting you off with a warning.

It may be the law, but a majority of cars here don’t have the front plate on – in fact, many newer cars don’t even have the bumper indentation/drilled holes to mount a plate. I know “but everybody does it!” isn’t a defense, but spirit of the law and all that.

No, you mis-read my post. Yesterday was just the reg. The plate, etc, were a few years ago.

To clarify a few things:

  • He DID ticket me: $275.00 or court appearance.
  • Yesterday was for the expired registration, other stuff happened in the past.
  • It wasn’t an elaborate plot to catch me fleeing on camera; he obviously decided a recently expired registration wasn’t grounds to seize the car given that everything else was in order.

I wonder if he thought “Wife? Shit.”

I must be dense - I’m still not getting what exactly happened. He said on camera that he wanted you to pull ahead and park so the car could be towed, but he made it clear to you (off-camera) that he would not be towing your car.

Why the big on-camera charade? Wouldn’t that create an official record that he intended to tow your car? Wouldn’t that leave him with some explaining to do later (as to why he didn’t actually tow your car)?


I live in NJ and I’m occasionally in your neck of the woods. FAR from everybody does it. The vast majority of vehicles in NJ have both plates affixed. Spirit of the law? What do you think the spirit of the law is?

I’m assuming the cop knew the tape might be VIEWED by a superior, but there’d be no follow-through on the rest.
I’ve never gotten a ticket, but I did get stopped once for speeding. I hadn’t lived in that town very long, and I missed the sign that lowered the limit from 60 to 45, though I figured it out when I saw cars a ways ahead of me were moving slower. Still, I was definitely doing 60 when I crossed the plane of the sign, so yep, I was speeding. I didn’t try to get out of it, just asked the cop where exactly the sign was so I wouldn’t miss it next time.

He changed his mind an issued a warning instead of a ticket and added, “Thanks for using an infant restraining seat for your baby” at the bottom. :slight_smile: