This came across my desk and was too good to not pass on:
One of the civilian email participants posed the following question, “IÂ would like to know how it is possible for police officers to continuallyÂ harass people and get away with it?”
From the “other side” (the law enforcement side) Sgt. Bennett,Â obviously a cop with a sense of humor replied:
“First of all, let me tell you this…it’s not easy. In Chula Vista, weÂ average one cop for every 600 people. Only about 60% of those cops areÂ on general duty (or what you might refer to as “patrol”) where we doÂ most of our harassing.
The rest are in non-harassing departments that do not allow them contactÂ with the day to day innocents. And at any given moment, only one-fifthÂ of the 60% patrollers are on duty and available for harassing people
while the rest are off duty. So roughly, one cop is responsible forÂ harassing about 5,000 residents.
When you toss in the commercial business, and tourist locations thatÂ attract people from other areas, sometimes you have a situation where aÂ single cop is responsible for harassing 10,000 or more people a day.
Now, your average ten-hour shift runs 36,000 seconds long. This gives aÂ cop one second to harass a person, and then only three-fourths of aÂ second to eat a donut AND then find a new person to harass. This is notÂ an easy task. To be honest, most cops are not up to this challenge dayÂ in and day out. It is just too tiring. What we do is utilize some toolsÂ to help us narrow down those people which we can realistically harass.
The tools available to us are as follows:
PHONE: People will call us up and point out things that cause us toÂ focus on a person for special harassment. “My neighbor is beating hisÂ wife” is a code phrase used often. This means we’ll come out and giveÂ somebody some special harassment.
Another popular one is, “There’s a guy breaking into a house.” TheÂ harassment team is then put into action.
CARS: We have special cops assigned to harass people who drive. TheyÂ like to harass the drivers of fast cars, cars with no insurance or noÂ driver’s licenses and the like. It’s lots of fun when you pick them out
of traffic for nothing more obvious than running a red light. SometimesÂ you get to really heap the harassment on when you find they have drugsÂ in the car, they are drunk, or have an outstanding warrant on file.
RUNNERS: Some people take off running just at the sight of a policeÂ officer. Nothing is quite as satisfying as running after them like aÂ beagle on the scent of a bunny. When you catch them you can harass them
STATUTES: When we don’t have PHONES or CARS and have nothing better toÂ do, there are actually books that give us ideas for reasons to harassÂ folks. They are called “Statutes”; Criminal Codes, Motor Vehicle Codes,Â etc… They all spell out all sorts of things for which you can reallyÂ mess with people.
After you read the statute, you can just drive around for awhile untilÂ you find someone violating one of these listed offenses and harass them.Â Â Just last week I saw a guy trying to steal a car. Well, there’s this
book we have that says that’s not allowed. That meant I got permissionÂ Â to harass this guy. It is a really cool system that we have set up, andÂ it works pretty well.
We seem to have a never-ending supply of folks to harass. And we getÂ away with it. Why? Because for the good citizens who pay the tab, we tryÂ to keep the streets safe for them, and they pay us to “harass” some people.
Next time you are in my town, give me the old “single finger wave.”Â Â That’s another one of those codes. It means, “You can’t harass me.”
It’s one of our favorites.