Saturday, March 16, 2013

Law EnFORCEment


From the time I was 14, when I was inducted into a life of crime, I've had many opportunities to interact with the uniformed officers of the Honolulu Police Department. I was an outlaw, a scofflaw of the most mediocre and common sorts. A juvenile delinquent who managed to avoid an overnight stay in a jail cell simply because of the judgement calls exercised by the HPD officers that apprehended me while I was in the act of defying the local laws and ordinances of my State.

As a Gen X'er, breaking curfew (10pm) to drink alcohol in the community parks and at the beaches with my pal's was a rite of passage. Everyone who "partied" in high school did it. Including most of the Cops who upon reaching adulthood and their chosen vocation, now found themselves breaking up the kinds of parties they themselves attended when they were growing up.

Most of these officers were cool. "Alright kids, dump out your beers, pick up your rubbish and get out of here."

Most times, we kids complied with no back talk and showed respect. We knew they could arrest us if they chose to, and that they were cutting us a break. But we heard tales of other kids who showed no respect, and found out exactly what HPD could do if they so chose to when they caught kids drinking. One kid in my school got beat up by the cops after swearing at the cops for  breaking up their after-hours party at the beach park. He then got arrested, resulting in the cops finding the drugs in his pocket. He eventually ended up in Juvie-hall, and eventually got taken out of his home by social services and had to live in a State half-way house until he was 18.

But most times, HPD was cool.

When I was a little older, I got my first car....but I did not have my driver's license yet. I got pulled over in a neighboring town with 3 of my friends in the car. We had been drinking a little beer (but not drunk). None of us had a license. (Told you I'm a scofflaw!)

As I was under 21, even .01% blood alcohol content is considered a DUI/DWI in Hawaii. Not only did I not have my driver's license, neither did any of my friends. No registration or insurance either. The cop that pulled me over could have literally changed my life dramatically at that point with an arrest and DUI charge. Instead, he told me to pull my car over onto the side of the road, and told me he'd drive us all home and that I could come back with a licensed driver the next day to get my car.

This is what the cops were like back in the late 80's and early 90's in Hawaii. It was much like small town Sheriffs in the old days. They exercised discretion and treated the citizenry like people. They realized that the law was excessively draconian if it were to be applied with zero tolerance or consideration of each situation.

Those where the good old days, when I had respect for most Law Enforcement Officers I encountered.
Things are different now.

Several months ago, I got caught breaking the law. I was using my cell phone while stopped at a red light. I didn't see the cop car behind me, and they turned on their lights and beeped their siren to catch my attention.


In the State of Hawaii, it's a $149 ticket for using your cell phone while operating a motor vehicle.

But, hey, the cops are just doing their job right?

Except things have changed. I've gotten pulled over before for speeding. Running a red light. Failing to come to a complete stop at a stop sign...hey, I already told you I've been an outlaw since I was 14!

Sometimes I got a ticket. Other times, I got a warning and let go. In all cases, the cop usually treated me with respect and didn't condescendingly belittle me or act like an asshole on a powertrip.

But THIS time, for the unconscionable crime of using teh cell phone while driving, I had TWO officers approach my vehicle in a hostile and aggressive manner. While one officer came to my driver's side window and demanded my license and paperwork in a condescending and demeaning tone and manner, his partner stood on the passenger side, with his hand on his gun, ready to draw, as he intently scanned my car with a hostile look on his face, looking for any possible reason to arrest me.

For the first time, the officer looking at my paperwork and interrogating me, began to ask me potentially self-incriminating questions in a manner as if I were a defendant on the witness stand being cross-examined by a Prosecutor. Did I have a firearm in my car? Did I have any illegal drugs? Open containers? Where was I going to?

This sort of traffic stop is something I recognized from the standard operating procedure as depicted on the Tell-A-Vision in locales like the inner city ghettos and major Metropolitan areas of the country.

First time I ever saw that here in Hawaii.

After I got my ticket and was on my way, I talked to some HPD officers that I know personally, asking about this new procedure, and if in fact the cops were actively looking for any reason to arrest me?

Yes, this is the new normal here in Hawaii. No longer are the cops given much leeway in using their own judgement. They are trained to ENFORCE THE LAW, instead of the formerly common practice of maintaining law and order in the community by policing with judgement and discretion. Cops can now get in trouble for letting people go with just a warning.

There is a difference in the two approaches. With things progressing like that here in Hawaii (the land of Aloha!), I can only imagine how much worse it is getting in other areas of our Brave New World Order.

With this new understanding of the new normal of law enforcement here in Hawaii, I found this post from Eric Peter's Autos blog timely and an important reminder to all of us Sheeple, beholden to teh Authoritah of those who carry a gun and a badge and a tax collecting "ticket" book. These are things you should always remember when you get stopped by an officer OF THE LAW:

* Never forget: Cops are not your friend; they are not there to “help” you. They are there to bust you. Don’t make it easier for them. Make it harder for them.

* Never forget that cops are legally permitted to lie to you. Take nothing they tell you at face value. Assume their intentions are malignant.

* Never forget that a cop is a law enforcer. He is there to enforce the law – any law, every law. It doesn’t matter whether the law is reasonable – or whether you’re a nice guy who doesn’t “deserve” to be hassled. Cops are paid to enforce the law. Period.

* If stopped, keep your window rolled up almost all the way; leave just enough of a gap to allow you to hand the cop your license/documents. If he “asks” you to roll it down, politely decline. Whenever a cop “asks,” it means you do not have to comply. If they order you to do something, then you must do it. But force them to make it clear you are being ordered to comply – “Is that an order?” – and are only complying under duress and not of your own free will.

* Be civil – not slavish. A cop is not “sir.” By so addressing him, you feed his inner bully and Rule Number One for dealing effectively with bullies is to not let them think you are a pussy. Simple – and curt – “yes” and “no” answers will get the point across without being directly confrontational.

* Never make the mistake of responding directly to a cop’s purposefully leading questions – which means, all of his questions. If the cop says, “Do you know why I stopped you?” You tell him, “I suppose you will tell me your reason.” If he says, “Do you know how fast you were going?” You say, “I’m sure you have an opinion.” If he asks whether you’ve been drinking, you remain silent.

* Never concede anything that could be construed – will be construed in court – as evidence in support of whatever charges are leveled at you.

* Never admit to anything – ever.

*Never attempt to excuse anything you may have done. Be silent. Shrug. But do not make excuses. Do not offer an explanation. If you do, you’ve just handed the cop exactly what he wants most – a tacit admission of guilt, which in court will become the basis for establishing your legal guilt.

* You have to give them your ID and insurance info – if you are operating a motor vehicle on “public” roads.  It is “the law.” But you do not – yet – have to tell them where you’re going, where you’ve been – or anything else. If asked, shrug.  State – politely, calmly – that you won’t be answering any questions.

* Ask – repeatedly – whether you are free to go. It’s an excellent stock answer to cop questions.

* If you have a concealed carry permit, the cop probably already knows – having run your license plate info through the computer in his car. Still, it is good policy to tell him, even if you are not legally obligated to do so (it varies, state to state). This is a psychological tactic which shows you (in the cop’s eyes) to be “cooperative” without your actually having complied with anything that’s against your interests. It may help defuse the situation – important when guns are involved.

* Never consent to a search. If a cop asks for permission, he is asking permission. It means he hasn’t got legal probable cause – yet. Do not give it to him. Politely tell him, “I do not consent to any searches.” Repeat as necessary.  If he searches you/your vehicle anyway, you may have a legal basis for challenging the admissibility of anything found. But if you gave your consent to the search – and not objecting is the same as consenting – then anything found as a result of that search can and will be used against you in court.  
* Record the interaction. Higher courts have consistently ruled it is legal to do so, irrespective of what the cop tells you (see point made above about cops lying). There is no expectation of privacy in public. He can record you – you can record him. Use audio and video. If the cop “asks” you to turn off the equipment, politely decline. Merely state you are recording the interaction in the interests of everyone’s safety.
Just like they do to us.

 All of these are excellent suggestions. The only thing I would add, would be to temper any of these with your personal situation. If you're pulled over in a public location with plenty of witnesses, all of these forms of compliance without self incrimination are probably safe and may get you out of the stop without even a ticket.

But if you get stopped by a cop in a deserted area with no witnesses around, it would probably be best to cooperate to some extent with the cop in order to avoid getting them angry and provoking them into acting above the law, protected by the thin blue line.

You never know which kind of cop just pulled you over. Some are law abiding, respectful and well intentioned. Others...not so much.


Nathanael Greene said...

It's more like Law Enfor$$ment. Definitely not your friends. They are looking to generate revenue. Even if it's a bogus charge, the trip to jail will mean you still have to pay bail. It's all about money now. The police are out there shaking down people for any thing they can get. Best thing to do is always be on the look out and avoid these packs of thieves as much as possible.

Unknown said...

Yeah, cops in Hawaii are really changing. I was driving to work in Waimanalo and there's this blind curve by a side road and a big tree where cars waiting to get out are often stuck for long periods. A whole line of them were waiting there, so I stopped my car and waved them out. A bike cop didn't like how I was holding up traffic, so he rode his motorcycle along the shoulder and started reaming me out and threatening to ticket me for causing an obstruction.

Later I was told by a coworker that motorbike traffic cops have a reputation for being major assholes even within the HPD, since they don't have to answer other calls. Basically it attracts bullies looking to cow people who aren't going to lash back.

OCS said...

Yup, as a local guy on Oahu, I can attest to that...though, not with first-hand experience! Now they even have a law in which you can't drive "too fast" if you're going past a police vehicle that's on the side of the freeway.

Do we honestly need laws for every single time someone does something stupid or has poor spatial skills? Yes, apparently. Hawaii may still be behind in some ways from the neuroticism of the mainland, but boy we sure do like to play catch-up.

Oh, and remember folks, if you're planning to come to Hawaii, the land of Aloha, and you're white, be very, VERY careful. A lot of Hawaiians I know despise whites (haoles).

The irony is that we had our own little pathetic Occupy movement, most of which comprised of white people who weren't from here.

OCS said...

Later I was told by a coworker that motorbike traffic cops have a reputation for being major assholes even within the HPD, since they don't have to answer other calls. Basically it attracts bullies looking to cow people who aren't going to lash back.

Well this explains why I get cut off by them on the H-1...

Brian said...

Mary Croft. She has an entire book written about how to get around cops, the legal system and banks. Basically, the legal system is set up to get you to 'misrepresent' yourself in court, thus automatically making you guilty of lying and putting you at the mercy of the judge. And yes, it's all about the money. The e-book is free.

Unknown said...

I've never had any problems with the police yet but if I do it's going to be nothing but "Am I being detained or am I free to go?" Otherwise I will say nothing.

Anonymous said...

When a culture begins a decline into degeneracy (which ours is now in the advanced stage), it's typical that the armed segments of the government (military and police) increasingly become laws unto themselves.

The problem here is that the police no longer represent any established law or legitimate government. Hence the force they use is simply arbitrary and has nothing to do with maintaining a secure and stable society anymore.

Go back to the case of Chris Dorner, the rogue LA cop. You knew they were going to murder him in cold blood without the slightest due process. Our military recently did the same to the president of Libya.

When tangible law no longer exists, the Law of the Jungle comes into operation.

Anonymous said...

Or it can turn out like this:

Anonymous said...

Go back to the case of Chris Dorner, the rogue LA cop. You knew they were going to murder him in cold blood without the slightest due process. Our military recently did the same to the president of Libya.

Cry me a river. Two homicidal scumbags who didn't deserve to breathe the same air as us are no longer breathing the same air as us.

Incidentally, "our military" didn't kill Kaddafi. The Libyan mob killed him. Good riddance either way.

Unknown said...

"Two homicidal scumbags"

You do mean the cops Dorner killed, right?

And why are you such a coward to post as Anonymous?

Deansdale said...

Some of these suggestions seem a bit hostile to me. Where I live there is no strict policy for cops to be assholes, but they are free to be one if they'd like to. And this has been the case for decades. I got stopped a few months ago and I didn't have my license on me. I was polite, and they let me go with a warning. If I was hostile the situation could be worse. So either your cops are waaay worse than our cops, or some of these advices are slightly paranoid. Why shouldn't you tell where you're going? Not answering is kinda' rude and I think it can anger the cop which is rarely a good tactic. You should be more cooperative, just don't say anything which could backfire on you. Saying you're going home is fine.

Zorro said...

It isn't just cops. I used to work in healthcare, and I knew a lot of nurses. All of them quit by Year Eight. Nursing isn't what it is billed to be. It isn't about caring for people who are hurt or sick. It's very much a churn 'em and burn 'em environment, and very few women (or men) stay in the profession. They always say there will be a huge call for nurses. They're right. The turnover is abysmal.

And so the encorporationalization of Amerika continues, with law enforcement turning humans into robots. Look at VAWA and mandatory-arrest regulations. A cop is no longer expected to use good judgment. If an accusation is made, a man is handcuffed and jailed. Cops are goons now.

Got that? Nurses are robots and cops are goons now. We are creating a society our children will despise us for. Those of us dumb enough to have children.

Don't even get me started on the brainless drones teachers have become.

Anonymous said...

You do mean the cops Dorner killed, right?

Nope, Kaddafi and Dorner.

Kaddafi was going to hang, and Dorner was going to get the chair, so their deaths only saved time, expense, and the tedium of listening to their bullshit self-justifications.

And why are you such a coward to post as Anonymous?

Ooooh, shaming language, how compelling! Please, tell me to "man up" or something.

Ras Al Ghul said...

The more the system gets strained for cash, the more the enforcement and the courts will fine the crap out of people.

Its desperation more than anything.

Someone mentioned bail, that doesn't do much for the government, it either goes to the bondsman (and their bonding company) or if you post cash they may get a small amount of interest off it, but they're really not set up to capitalize on it the way some corporations use short term money for gain (yet).

I have to say though that the officers discretion varies in the main land, the more blue the state, the less discretion there is.

This is trickling upwards as well, the prosecutors have less discretion too. Your MADD and "victim advocates" have been very active in getting money and power (many jurisdictions have mandatory fees that go directly to victim advocate groups upon conviction).

Then there is the stick of making people pay for the officer and witnesses time, as well as the jury and everything else if you go to trial and get convicted.

But money is now the primary focus of the lower levels of enforcement.


I don't know if that's your name or not (which seems unlikely), but considering so many people use aliases in this area of the internet, for understandable reasons which looking at your blog, you must understand, why it is necessary to belittle someone for posting as such.

Frankly, it is the system and villains that calls people like Zorro a villain and this is a time to emulate the fox.

Keoni Galt said...

Some of these suggestions seem a bit hostile to me. Where I live there is no strict policy for cops to be assholes, but they are free to be one if they'd like to. And this has been the case for decades. I got stopped a few months ago and I didn't have my license on me. I was polite, and they let me go with a warning. If I was hostile the situation could be worse. So either your cops are waaay worse than our cops, or some of these advices are slightly paranoid.

YMMV - As I wrote, this has pretty much been my experience with cops in the State of Hawaii for my whole life. Most treated people they pulled over with courtesy and an easy going, almost apologetic manner. "Sorry I had to pull you over, but you were going way over the speed limit, what's the hurry?"

Responding with politeness and respect probably got me out of half my tickets and let go with just a warning in the past.

Seems like the directives for HPD have been changed. I've never seen a duo of officers approaching a stopped car ready for action like I experienced that day, simply for a minor traffic violation like using my cell phone at a stoplight.

That this is supposedly our new normal here really bothers me.

Omnipitron said...

"Responding with politeness and respect probably got me out of half my tickets and let go with just a warning in the past."

Just had to respond to this. Years ago, my father had just bought a brand new Pontiac Grand Lemans (not sure what year, but circa late 70's to give you an idea). He was driving it to work during the frist week he had the car and got pulled over for speeding. The officer asked him why he was pulled over and my father was respectful.

He told him that he just picked up the car a week ago, and honestly wasn't used to how much power this car actually had. He was shocked to find out how fast he was actually going. The cop let him off with a warning and my father never got another speeding ticket.

Would that happen again? In this day and age I highly doubt it.

Anonymous said...

Around 1985, I was pulled over on my bike in San Diego doing 45 in a 25 zone. The cop asked me what I was doing and I replied "Showing off for those girls on the sidewalk there". He let me go.

Anonymous said...

Actually, this is a state reaction to the legal power that citizens have against the state, specifically litigation. It's a rational response to risk analysis.

In terms of liability, the cop is an agent of the principal, the city/state. That means if 1 cop - and only 1 cop - screws up, whether out of good, bad, or neutral intent, the whole department and city/state is on the hook (with yor tax money).

In court, the actions taken by the cop in the litigated incident will be judged against official procedure. If there is a detailed official procedure in place and the cop deviated - iotw, acted outside of his agency - then the city/state may escape liability and strip the legal protections from and blame the 'rogue' cop.

If the cop faithfully followed official procedure, irrespective of his particular intent or quality of judgement, then the cop will almost certainly not be held liable. The city/state may still be liable for a official procedure that violates a controlling civil rights statute. If the procedure is otherwise legal, though, the worst penalty for the city/state will be to update the procedure.

But if there is no official procedure or a loose procedure that gives much leeway to the cop's intent and judgement, then for the cop, the lines become fuzzy whether he is protected legally. (Barring a crime, the cop likely will be legally protected.) The city/state, however, certainly becomes liable in any litigation that results from the line-of-duty actions of the cop.

Again, it's about risk analysis. the city/state can risk giving cops more discretion in areas that carry less risk of harm. In higher risk areas, even if the vast majority of outcomes would be better if cops were allowed to use their discretion as their primary guide, the penalty to the city/state for the minority of poor outcomes would carry more weight. Giving cops greater discretion would require matching legal protections for the city/state in those areas from citizen v city/state lawsuits.

Having logged a few years in prosecutor's offices, I'm sympathetic to cops because their job is to arrive in the middle of and resolve bad situations on the spot despite a lack of knowledge of the situation that severely tests their judgement.

Generally, official procedures are more draconian in areas that are deemed to carry greater risk of harm should the cop make a mistake in judgement. For example, cops used to respond to domestic violence incidents by acting as a mediator, eg, spouse calls the cops just to calm down the wife/husband scenario. But enough of the DVs reflared to tragic result after the cops left the home that risk analysis led to strict official procedures put in place for even seemingly minor DV incidents that often upset victims who called 911 but didn't want their spouse arrested.

The same city/state risk analysis may have been applied to underage drinking and driving infractions.


Ras Al Ghul said...

"That this is supposedly our new normal here really bothers me."

As it should because it increases the "us versus them" mentality within the police forces.

You are no longer a citizen, but a perp.

Anonymous said...


Let me add:

NEVER let a cop get away with glancing at your ID and start off addressing you by your first name. He only has to say 'Joe' and I respond, politely but firmly, ' I wish to be called Mr. Texx. '

American liking for informality has allowed US to brainwashed by authority figures - cops, professionals, therapists, reporters, etc. We ARE supposed to believe the use of first names is meant to show that they're not stuffy - just regular guys. BULLSHIT!

Coming from them it is always meant to put you in an inferior, childlike position.

black said...

Every cop car is equipped with audio and video recording on two cameras, one pointed rearward in-cab and one out the front windshield.

Police work closely and consistently with the local judicial system.

You, as an ordinary citizen, are at an unfair advantage in any situation dealing with law enforcement. The system is set up this way and it's unfortunate it has been taken advantage of to the point of this being the new norm.

Hoots said...

I was pulled over recently in Massachusetts. I've been in this area for a long time, pulled over on numerous occasions, yet for the first time ever, there was an additional question posed by the officer.

"Are there any illegal weapons in the vehicle?"

My guard wasn't up at all, so I answered truthfully "no" but I couldn't get it out of my head for the rest of the day. What would you recommend as a reasonable response? I'm thinking something like "I don't believe I'm legally required to answer that." Losing freedom really sucks.

Anonymous said...

Anon335 &c.


Thank you for signing with your real name...LOL

'Two homicidal scumbags'

It maybe so: but the point is that they were a threat the real scumbags, who happen to be running OUR nation now.

You might be OK with the idea of a police state, where mercenaries simply gun people down at will (or on the orders of their criminal higher-ups); but the very reason our Founders insisted on Due Process as the LAW (the same BTW for military actions) was to keep murderous freebooters like the Democrats, Republicans, and the Wall Street Cartel from these kinds of predatory activities. Otherwise, you have a government of pirates; and 'Dead Men Tell No Tales' is the only law; and booty warfare the only economic policy.

dannyfrom504 said...

the great thing about southern louisiana is NO ONE calls the cops. and damn near everyone is armed. it's been in my experience that small towns have cops that are cool to the residents, but can be dicks to outsiders.

the only time i need a cop is to come collect the piece of meat i shot that entered my house illegally.

MarkyMark said...


In North Jersey, particularly the rural parts, it depends on what kind of cop you get. Most of them, particularly the older ones, have the old school mentality you spoke of; they're there to to maintain law and order with common sense and discretion. The younger guys (i.e. the newer cops), particularly in the more populated areas, are more like Nazi wannabes. Depending on what kind of cop you get (and you usuallly know within the first few seconds) depends on how I play it.

But yeah, in the last 10-15 years, I've noticed a huge change in the cops. It's not just the procedures that have changed; it's the cops themselves. The old school cops seemed to really want to HELP people; they seemed to live the 'protect & serve' maxim. The new ones seem to be power hungry assholes who enjoy lording their authority over people; they have an 'us vs. them' mentality that manifests itself when they call us 'civilians'.


Anonymous said...

That means if 1 cop - and only 1 cop - screws up, whether out of good, bad, or neutral intent, the whole department and city/state is on the hook

Which is basically the problem. You can't see it? The department is on the hook, not the officer, and not his boss. When you can pay for screwups (whether intentional or not) with other people's money, money ironically taken from the very people you harmed, all standard notions of accountability go out the window. If you could get your neighbor to pay for your screwups, you might not be so keen to avoid them. There's a reason it's called "moral hazard".

Add special dispensation not given to ordinary citizens, like qualified immunity and (generally) zero consequences for negligently injuring or killing somebody on duty, and conditions are ripe for what the posters here are seeing.

Avatar Games said...

"That this is supposedly our new normal here really bothers me."

As it should because it increases the "us versus them" mentality within the police forces.

You are no longer a citizen, but a perp.

Thomas / Boy Toy said...

Good stuff!
I will remember this when I get stopped by the police next time..

SteyrAug96 said...

I half-heartedly second Marky Mark's comment, as I'm also from NJ: The difference being, I'm closer to New york (Morristown & Denville). Odds of dealing with an @$$hole are much higher, even with the older ones.

The older ones had chances of watching Dragnet or Adam-12 or such. Even in Dirty Harry, he recognized he was operating OUTSIDE the law.

These days? COPS, if you're lucky. More likely dramas. And ZERO critical thinking (So, roughing up the gangbanger with a rap sheet a mile long is the same as roughing up the father yanked out of a family station wagon for speeding.)

I'd like to see frequent pig roasts. Since they can't "police" their own - we'll have to clean up FOR them.
(And the same regarding criminals on both sides of the law: Bloomberg, Clinton (either), Bush (W, mostly), Boehner, Reid, Feinstein, et al.)
And to make the point to future generations: Families are valid targets.
After all, OUR families are seen as valid targets... (Burned with flash-bangs; shot to death; framed; arrested on spurious charges, then forced into plea-bargains.)

Quid Pro Quo. They wish to be our Masters? The only way to do that is via force. We MUST respond in kind.
And that snake's been rattling for over 40 years now.

MarkyMark said...


Yeah, I was talking over in Clinton area, RT 31 corridor through Hunterdon & Warren Counties-quite a bit different from Denville & Morristown. But yeah, if you're in a more populated area, you're more likely to get the Nazi wannabe cops who are law ENFORCERS..