Friday, November 13, 2009

Cops going "fishing"

I used to work for a software company that made Public Safety software: Software for Police, Fire, EMS, Dispatch, etc. I apparently wasn't there long enough to get the chance to ride with a police officer and see him use the software first hand. But I had a co-worker who spent a whole day with one. Luckily for him, he got to ride in the front seat.

Anyway, one thing he told us upon his return was that "cops go fishing." Meaning that they are looking for a break: someone who has a warrant, someone who is wanted, etc. They are looking for "the big one," and the way they find them is by pulling people over for minor offenses. They're hoping that by pulling someone over for an improper lane change, or broken head/tail light, that they'll find someone other than a soccer mom without a record.

3 case points:
  1. My co-worker, while riding with the police, pulled over someone for an improper lane change and the officer not only found that the woman didn't have her license, but she also had drugs in the car.
  2. FLDS president Warren Jeffs was on the FBI's 10 most wanted list. He had been in hiding for years, always eluding authorities. According to the all-knowing Wikipedia:
    On August 28, 2006 around 9 p.m. Pacific time, Jeffs was pulled over on Interstate 15 in Clark County, Nevada, by Nevada Highway Trooper Eddie Dutchover because Jeffs' red 2007 Cadillac Escalade's temporary license plates were not visible.

    Emphasis mine. The officer recognized Jeffs and took him into custody.
  3. Last night, 11/12/09, in Layton, UT, a car was pulled over for a broken headlight. When they pulled the car over, the 16 year old female passenger admitted to having a consensual sexual relationship with the 37 year old male driver. So a broken headlight led to a pedophile's arrest. See the article here.
The point of the story is, don't get upset if you get pulled over for something minor. The cops are just fishing, and if you don't have anything to hide, you just might get away with a warning. My family was pulled over while we were moving from Utah to Oklahoma back in 2005 because we didn't have a front Utah license plate. Since we were moving out of state, and didn't have anything else wrong with us (no speeding), he let us go. Catch and release.


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