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Citizen Gives Cop A Parking Ticket:
Here's one from the "man bites dog" department, arising out of Portland, Oregon:
  An attorney who watched a police officer park illegally in front of a restaurant, then wait around while his meal was prepared, issued the officer a series of citizen-initiated violations.
  Eric Bryant said he was sitting at the restaurant March 7 when Officer Chad Stensgaard parked his patrol car next to a no-parking sign and walked inside to wait for his food, the Portland Mercury reported Thursday.
  Bryant told the weekly paper that when he asked Stensgaard about his car, the officer asked Bryant, "If someone broke into your house, would you rather have the police be able to park in front of your house or have to park three blocks away and walk there?
  Bryant filed a complaint as a private citizen alleging several violations, including illegal parking and illegal operation of an emergency vehicle.
  Stensgaard was issued a summons to appear in traffic court in May. The fines could total $540. . . .
  Cathe Kent, a spokeswoman for the Portland Police Bureau, said Stensgaard would fight the complaint in court, "as he rightfully should."
Lawyers at their best or lawyers at their worst? You decide.

  UPDATE: Commenter "ShoudBeStudying" brings up an excellent point:
I wonder if the cop actually said (or meant to say) something a bit different: "If I had to respond to a robbery call at your house, wouldn't you rather my squad car be right here (in front of the restaurant), where I can hop into it in a matter of seconds, rather than three blocks away?"
I'll bet that's right. Keep in mind that all we have is the statement of Bryant, the complainant, who is reporting what he heard.
FantasiaWHT:
Best. Cops need to remember they aren't above the law.
4.23.2008 6:03pm
Kathi Smith (mail):
Best. The authorities need to have the fear of the common man in the back of their minds at all times.
4.23.2008 6:05pm
Angry Citizen:
That's nothing. I've seen a whole fire truck parked in a bus zone so the crew could pick up some groceries from Safeway.
GROCERIES. More than once.
I know they make VERY good money too that that just burns me up.

GOOD on Bryant.
4.23.2008 6:05pm
swg:
The cop's response is not very good, is it. Of course I'd prefer the cop to park in front of my house if someone had broken into my house. But it doesn't sound like anyone was breaking into the restaurant. So I say good for the lawyer.
4.23.2008 6:06pm
Frog Leg (mail):
On a related note, I have noticed that cops NEVER signal their turns or lane changes. I have thought about doing this, but I guess I don't have Eric's cajones.
4.23.2008 6:07pm
alias:
Agreed with swg. The cop's response is ridiculous.
4.23.2008 6:07pm
hattio1:
He'll fight it like he should??? Why should he fight it? Does she think he really didn't park there, or that cops can park wherever they want?
4.23.2008 6:08pm
Anderson (mail):
I hate cops who speed w/out the blue lights going.
4.23.2008 6:08pm
Waldensian (mail):
Note that in most states, the circumstances under which cops can legally exceed the speed limit, particularly without using their lights/siren, are VERY limited. Their parking excesses are nothing compared to their moving violations.
4.23.2008 6:09pm
The Unbeliever:
Lawyers at their most lawyerly. How many "average citizens" who don't work with the law on a daily basis are aware they can do the same?
4.23.2008 6:10pm
aformerpoliceman:
I know that in NY (at least when I was a policeman) the police were exempt from the Vehicle and Traffic laws. Sure, if this cop was just too lazy to park legally to get his meal, he's a jerk, but on the other hand, when you spend 10 hours a day doing the job, sometimes it comes with "professional courtesy" (as every other job does, by the way... I suspect that law profs kids have it easier getting into law school than everyone else).
4.23.2008 6:10pm
aformerpoliceman:
oh, and before I get flamed -- you all would do the SAME if you had the job. Pleazzze don't tell me you wouldn't.
4.23.2008 6:12pm
Tareeq (www):
I probably would aformerpoliceman, but that wouldn't make it right. Your boy should be ashamed.

I don't think this is lawyers at their best, but it's very good in its small way.
4.23.2008 6:21pm
hattio1:
formerpoliceman;

Just because most people would do it does not mean it's right.
4.23.2008 6:21pm
seadrive:

I've seen a whole fire truck parked in a bus zone


Would it be different if it was half a fire truck?
4.23.2008 6:24pm
Citizen Skeptic:
aformerpoliceman: you all would do the SAME if you had the job. Pleazzze don't tell me you wouldn't.

I'm not so sure that's true. This is no flame on you, but I think there are many people, in particular the numerous civil and public servants with whom I've been fortunate to work, who take a deliberate and principled approach to their jobs.

Sparing everyone a slippery slope/rule of law argument, I simply suggest that not everyone would do what you suggest.

There's also a difference between me granting a local officer "professional courtesy" and that officer violating a law on his or her own presumption that I will grant such a courtesy.
4.23.2008 6:24pm
CPDL:
aformerpoliceman--you're probably right. If I were a police officer I'd probably do the same. But you have to admit, if you were a lawyer with the requisite knowledge, you'd at least be tempted to do what Bryant did, right?

What you see depends on where you sit.
4.23.2008 6:26pm
Ice Cube:
I think NWA said it best...
4.23.2008 6:27pm
Malvolio:
oh, and before I get flamed -- you all would do the SAME if you had the job. Pleazzze don't tell me you wouldn't.
Is it just traffic-violations that cops should get away with, or misdemeanors too? Can they shoplift? What about shooting people they don't like?

"I for one welcome our new policeman overlords." Wait...
4.23.2008 6:29pm
M (mail):
Sometimes police officers do things like this (or speeding, or going through a red light after flicking on the over-heads for a just a second, or lots of other little things) without good reason. To my mind this is quite bad, for the reasons mentioned by many above- it hurts respect for the law, makes people resent the police, and so on. It's not uncommon for police officers to do such things for no justifiable reasons- merely for slight gains in personal convenience or just because they want to and can. That's clearly bad. But, there are also cases where such behavior is warranted but not in a way that makes things completely obvious to those on the outside. Speeding (but not going full-out) w/o lights and siren or going through a red light w/ just a flick of the over-heads may be reasonable when there is a call that is possibly important but not so important as to require more disruption. These are pretty common. Parking some distance away, if that's the only way to park legally, can make it hard to respond to calls. That doesn't mean such parking is always okay, but that it might be on, say, an especially busy day when there are lots of calls. (Police officers don't usually get to take a real meal break- they have to respond if they are called and so often must grab food as they can.) It's hard to know what is happening from the outside, whether the behavior of the police officer is of the desirable sort or the undesirable. To my mind, this implies that while we ought to not accept bad behavior by the police that our responses ought to be done in a way that's more constructive than this one. Citizen review boards are not the best thing in the world, but they do have some effect. Lodging a complaint with one, or with the officer's sgt. or Lt. would have been a better option in this case, it seems to me.
4.23.2008 6:30pm
astrangerwithcandy (mail):
what is involved with issuing a citizen's citation?

this is over and done with it but...last week a cop in a residential neighborhood at dusk zipped through a stop sign without slowing or headlights/siren/redblue lights on. almost crunched me. i was pretty pissed off. would have been nice to know how to go about this then.
4.23.2008 6:31pm
Meh (mail):
Another vote for "best."
4.23.2008 6:36pm
Tennessean (mail):
I think including the spokeswoman's comment without including her rationale was a bit unfair. The article continued to explain that:
Parking is limited on city streets, especially with many construction projects downtown, she said, and officers remain on duty even when they are picking up food. "We are emergency responders and need to be ready to take an emergency call," Kent said Saturday.


I'm not saying I agree with her rationale, but it sounds, at the very least, like the department is taking the stance that this police officer's 'illegal' parking was justified on the basis of law enforcement concerns. So, they are at least in the ballpark, and at least publicly they are not relying on professional courtesy sorts of explanations.

You wouldn't expect otherwise, but I thought that her explanation of why he should fight the complaint should be included with her assertion that he should fight it.
4.23.2008 6:37pm
Tennessean (mail):
(The point she is making sounds a lot like what M was saying supra, had I been more attentive to all of the comments proceeding my own.)
4.23.2008 6:38pm
michael Hall:
You make a valid point, Tennessean.
4.23.2008 6:39pm
Thales (mail) (www):
A good start, but I'd like to see citizens' arrests of police officers who torture(d) suspects here in Chicago. The results of the internal investigation into the matter will be out any day now . . .

I would seriously like to see citizens in general be just a bit more assertive (not rude jerks, just confident) about their civil rights when confronted by police officers, e.g. refusing to consent to searches. Why don't civics classes teach children that the police do not have your interests at heart when asking you questions (and especially when asking to look inside anything!)?
4.23.2008 6:39pm
NotStarbucks:
Worst.

The cop had to be near his car in case of a call. If you want police calls going unanswered, the fastest way to do that is to set a pack of lawyers on the police department.
4.23.2008 6:40pm
Mike& (mail):
Man, lots of blind cop hate here!

What if your daughter was getting raped and she called 911. The dispatcher dispatches the cop. The closest cop to your house is eating lunch.

He has to run THREE BLOCKS to his car before he can drive to your house.

Yeah, that'd be so freaking awesome!
4.23.2008 6:43pm
Shouldbestudying:
I wonder if the cop actually said (or meant to say) something a bit different: If I had to respond to a robbery call at your house, wouldn't you rather my squad car be right here (in front of the restaurant), where I can hop into it in a matter of seconds, rather than three blocks away?

This bothers me some, but not nearly as much as the red-light running and other, above-the-law moving violations cited above in the comments.
4.23.2008 6:43pm
Alex Blackwell (mail):
I'm reminded of the 1963 episode "Citizen's Arrest" from The Andy Griffith Show, the one where Gomer arrests Barney Fife for making an illegal U-turn.
4.23.2008 6:48pm
Per Son:
Here it goes . . . worst. Cops should be near their vehicles. I first thought best, but I have been convinced otherwise.

Moreover, the money/time spent prosecuting could be better used toward some pro bono work.
4.23.2008 6:52pm
whit:
thank GOD i do not work in oregon and do not have to put up with that rubbish.

we are exempt from parking laws.
we can also drive in the HOV lanes and bus lanes.
im not speaking for the people's republic of oregon fwiw.

fwiw, the officer's response is reasonable. when we are on our lunches we are expected/required to reroute for certain priority calls. it is always a consideration how far away we are from our police cars in situations like that.

if the cop was off duty and parked illegally, then no he would not be above the law.

but when we go to lunch, we are still on duty.

i would not park in a handicapped space unless it was an actual emergency or in progress type detail. like i went to a pharmacy for an inprogress forgery (guy presenting a fake scrip to get CII drugs) and parked in a handicapped stall cause it was close and i wanted to catch the guy.

certainly, that would be inappropriate if i was going to lunch imo.

fwiw, some agencies actually specifically authorize their cops to drive above the speed limit because it allows one to "actively" patrol. iow, move through a traffic stream giving much greater opportunity to observe violators, etc. than having the same few cars around you. this does not authorize one to drive recklessly of course.

in regards to collisions, last i checked cops have a lower collision rate per hour driven than civilians DESPITE having to frequently drive "code", multitask (talk on radio, read CAD screen, etc.), etc.

cops should not be "above" the law. cops should be exempt from certain laws imo, and in many jurisdictions they are - if they are on duty.

another example, is the state law requires on to have a permit to carry concealed, but cops don't need a permit to do so off duty. however, many department policies in WA state prohibit us from carrying in the open (while in plainclothes and not on duty) which is legal for citizens.
4.23.2008 6:53pm
Malvolio:
If you want police calls going unanswered, the fastest way to do that is to set a pack of lawyers on the police department.
OK, let's make a deal: cops can park wherever they want -- bus-zone, handicapped parking, my driveway, my lawn -- while they have lunch, but if any cop takes more than three minutes to respond to an emergency call, he's tried as an accomplice to that crime.

Or, perhaps you are just saying we should allow police to ignore the law in the vain and foolish hope of getting good police protection? In light of Warren v. District of Columbia, 444 A.2d 1 (D.C. Dec. 21, 1981), that certainly seems to be the situation.
4.23.2008 6:53pm
Kent G. Budge (mail) (www):
"Lawyers at their best or lawyers at their worst?"

Yes.
4.23.2008 6:53pm
lostmycookies (mail):
Most people forget that cops are mostly revenue agents nowadays. Whether ticketing innocent taxpayers who are driving home from a real job, or stealing the assets of drugdealers, cops today are not here to "protect and serve" but to increase revenue for the State.

That said, anything that reduces the average cop's feeling of smug superiority over peon citizens is good.
4.23.2008 6:56pm
whit:
"I would seriously like to see citizens in general be just a bit more assertive (not rude jerks, just confident) about their civil rights when confronted by police officers, e.g. refusing to consent to searches. Why don't civics classes teach children that the police do not have your interests at heart when asking you questions (and especially when asking to look inside anything!)?"

this is rubbish i frequently see repeated here. our intention when questioning people (suspects, witnesses, victims, etc.) is to get to the truth of what happened. yes, if you are guilty, you can argue it MIGHT not be in your best interests to talk to the cops, although i have seen numerous cases where i have cut people breaks because they were honest and/or it offered mitigation, etc.

in MANY cases, even if you are a suspect and/or have been mirandized, by telling cops the truth it gets you OUT of an arrest/charge.

this has happened hundreds of times in my career. for instance, i not to long ago was speaking to a guy who had stabbed his brother. AFTER he gave me his side of the story, it turned out that we arrested the STABBEE because in fact he was clearly acting in self defense.

this kind of stuff happens all the time. it is a (defense attorney inspired ) myth that speaking with police is a bad idea, or they don't want to help you.

yes, if you just committed a bank robbery, you are guilty, and you don't want to make the prosecutor case stronger, then shut up shutting up.

we don't work for the prosecution. we are to gather evidence impartially - whether exculpatory or inculpatory

the VAST majority of contacts never result in arrest or charges, and the vast majority of people realize that in speaking to police they are helping their case.

many times offering a simple explanation is a very good idea.
4.23.2008 7:00pm
Noops (mail):
I'm with Malvolio. This is a two way street. And noone should be above the law.
4.23.2008 7:01pm
whit:
"OK, let's make a deal: cops can park wherever they want "

except fortunately in many jurisdictions we CAN do that legally.

people's republic of oregon may be an exception.
4.23.2008 7:03pm
NotStarbucks:
Most people forget that cops are mostly revenue agents nowadays. . . . That said, anything that reduces the average cop's feeling of smug superiority over peon citizens is good.

Sounds like you might be the one with the sense of smug superiority here.

I hate to break it to you, but in most major cities the police aren't the ones writing parking tickets -- there's a separate parking division just for that. The police are the ones out there sorting out the domestic disputes, taking care of the wounded, and looking out for your safety.

But, hey, if you'd rather opt-out maybe we can find a way.
4.23.2008 7:03pm
one of many:
True Mike&, BUT if I needed a doctor in a hurry to save a life I would also appreciate their not being hampered by having a poor parking spot. Likewise firemen who are on duty should also be alowed to ignore parking laws. Soldiers, sailors, marines and airdales likewise should be exempted, because if they are needed in a hurry then they are really needed in a hurry. And electricians who are sometimes called to deal with wires in the road. And a plumber if you need one in a hurry, for while a backed up septic system may not be a mater of life-or-death it ranks up there with rape, should not be hampered by having a crummy parking spot. While we are at it, we ought to exempt construction workers of all kinds since sometimes they are needed in a hurry to build dams and such.

Come to think of it, why do we have parking laws in the first place, they just make life more dangerous?
4.23.2008 7:03pm
DangerMouse:
While I can understand a need for cops to have exemptions to traffic and certain other laws, I think that in general cops these days are becoming too dangerous. The modern attitude towards policing treats citizens with barely concealed contempt and an assumption that everyone is a potential law-breaker. This attitude is reflected in a proliferation, and use, of unnecessary SWAT teams in small towns, and cops going crazy when people try to exercise their civil rights (such as carrying guns, or engaging in protests).

So while I'd be sympathetic to giving the police a pass in situations like this, they no longer deserve it. Maybe if the attitude were towards getting rid of SWAT teams, then I'd find these exemptions more acceptable.
4.23.2008 7:04pm
EH (mail):
Would it make a difference if the illegally-parked cop was called in to torture someone to find out where the nuclear bomb was about to explode? Hasn't this "ticking time bomb" rationale been soundly put down in the last few years?
4.23.2008 7:05pm
George Weiss (mail) (www):
i don't get how this could work from a legal perspective. the fact that he is a lawyer and the offender a cop in a non emergency situation seem both irrelevant.

what we have here is a private citizen issuing another private citizen a parking ticket (civil infraction)on behalf of the local government without any official delegation or verification from the government authorizing this citizen to give parking tickets.

it is true that sometimes citizens can enforce the criminal law by issuing criminal complaints and even citizens arrest. However, in almost every jurisdiction, parking tickets are civil violations.

Civil violations are essentially a case of the government suing you. Standing doctrine dictates that unless specifically authorized by law, nobody can sue on behalf of the government even when hte gov collects. This doctrine of standing prevents huge floodgates of litigation.

Now, If you agree with a cop having to pay this ticket, then you also have to agree that any citizen out there can give you a parking ticket which you would then have to defend or pay. Your also agreeing that every citizen has standing to sue on behalf of the government for almost any civil wrong. You could write a ticket to your neighbor for a zoning infraction etc... If you think nobody would do this, imagine if you got in a dispute with you neighbor over some other thing, perhaps a private tort. Suppose he could retaliate by watching your car every day to see if it went over the 6 inches from the curb line?

Its true that police should not break parking laws when they know there is no emergency. However, authorizing every citizen to sue for every parking violation, even if the judgment goes to the city, is a ridiculous solution that creates far more logistical problems than illegal parking by a few overly comfortable police does.

I also am not convinced by the 'ok but lets do it in this one case because we don't like the cop' argument. Every potential plaintiff could also say that. It doesn't matter if its a little thing, or a big thing. Standing doctrine is good.
4.23.2008 7:06pm
NotStarbucks:
@one of many

Come to think of it, why do we have parking laws in the first place, they just make life more dangerous?

I think you need to read Professor Volokh's piece about which slopes are actually slippery and which are just absurd. Yours is clearly in the latter category if you can't see a principled distinction between off-duty plumbers and on-duty police.
4.23.2008 7:06pm
Bored Lawyer:
A number of posters have advanced some version of this argument:


The police need to be near their cars to be able to respond quickly to a call or emergency. Hence they can break the parking laws -- at least if on duty.


Not a bad policy argument, although not necessarily convincing.

But, the real issue is: who decides if it's a good argument?

The police or the legislature?

Police are, at least in some circumstances, subject to different laws (e.g. re use of force).

Whether they should be subject to parking laws or have a partial exemption is debatable. But that should be decided by State or the City -- not an individual cop.
4.23.2008 7:08pm
hattio1:
Whit,
My problem with making police exempt from laws is that they will feel they have a right to violate said laws whenever they want. Cops ideas of "necessary" and mine usually differ. You provided a perfect example. A guy presenting a fake scrip for prescription drugs? How does this justify breaking laws (such as parking in handicapped spots)? The guy is committing a victimless crime, he will be on video if the cops decide they care enough about this case....of course, the cops won't decide they care if you don't catch him in the act. Which is why it's not important enough to be breaking generally applicable laws. (I'm not saying you broke the law, since it appears you have immunity. I don't know if you meant that in reality or in law.)
4.23.2008 7:10pm
Houston Lawyer:
There is also the bit about cops cutting other law enforcement officers slack for speeding. This was common when my brother was a cop.

A former co-worker lived for a while in Missouri. He said that local practice was to give attorneys up to three free passes on speeding tickets a year. All you had to do was mail in a copy of your bar card with your license.

I just want the same right to carry arms as cops have, since I am an officer of the court as well.
4.23.2008 7:10pm
Sean O'Hara (mail) (www):
You don't have to be a lawyer to do this. Remember the time Gomer saw Barney make an illegal U-turn and performed a citizens arrest?
4.23.2008 7:11pm
whit:
"And noone should be above the law."

the issue is not "above". it's "exempt".

if im driving down the road, and i see johnny dirtbag with 6 warrants that i have been looking for driving the other way, should i wait until i can make a legal (for civilians) U-turn or do one NOW and catch him?

and of course, my state allows me to make the u-turn as long as i drive with due caution, even though it would be otherwise illegal.

most of the people in this thread sound like petty children who after being sent to their room for some transgression now want to see THE MAN GET HIS OWN.
4.23.2008 7:11pm
Anderson (mail):
But, the real issue is: who decides if it's a good argument?

The police or the legislature?


What I was going to say. Some cops have themselves confused with the lawmakers.
4.23.2008 7:11pm
DangerMouse:
Whether they should be subject to parking laws or have a partial exemption is debatable. But that should be decided by State or the City -- not an individual cop.

That is true. I assume that any exemption would have to be authorized by a duly authorized and enacted law. The exemption can be as broad or restrictive as necessary, but it should passed by the state or city. I don't believe that cops should be allowed to violate any regulation, code, ordinance, or law just because they feel like it. Their exemptions should be statutorily grounded.
4.23.2008 7:13pm
Dave Hardy (mail) (www):
I'd say worst. He was harming no one, had a decent work-related reason (the ability to quickly get to his squad car if summoned), and it sounds to me like jacking him around for no worthy reason.

"Sometimes police officers do things like this (or speeding, or going through a red light after flicking on the over-heads for a just a second, or lots of other little things) without good reason"

I've seen both. My assumption was that he'd gotten one of those calls, I forget the code, that amounts to "get there as quick as you can w/o lights or siren," and figured that flicking the lights on briefly, and speeding, were allowable toward that end.
4.23.2008 7:14pm
alias:
In light of the update to the post and some of the other comments, I agree with those who have said that what the police officer did is fine if he was on duty and needed to be near his car.
4.23.2008 7:14pm
H Bowman, MD:
Firefighters out doing the shopping are on call and must be able to respond.

Police, at least in my experience, are free (absent a huge emergency) when they clear for lunch (10-7 in coptalk). If the cop doesn't have a portable radio (rare, these days, admittedly) how would he even know the lawyers houose was being broken into?
4.23.2008 7:16pm
michael Hall:
I'm somewhat sympathetic to both sides of the debate. I would probably be more sympathetic to the cop if I hadn't had some experiences. Several years ago in Arlington, Virginia, I was driving on Route 50. The speed limit was probably 45 where I was (can't remember for sure), but I very slowly passed a cop on the left. When I say that I slowly passed him, I mean that if he was doing 52 mph., I must've been doing 52.1 mph. This cop sounds his horn but keeps on moving (not moving behind me to pull me over). I slow down and pull up next to him with my window down, with us both moving much slower now, and I say something like "what's up?" He then says "slow down!" What a joke; I guess it was alright to speed by 7 mph, but speeding by 7.1 mph. is wrong. While I am somewhat sympathetic to these arguments about emergency response times, I suspect that this cop's arguments are simply an attempt to justify his disregard of the law. I mean, how many people actually think that he parked in the no-parking spot thinking, "I'd better park here so that I can more quickly respond to an emergency call." Possible, it's true, but to my mind unlikely.
4.23.2008 7:17pm
Anderson (mail):
Whit, we are not talking about minor violations committed in the line of duty; we are talking about taking advantage for the officer's personal convenience.

I mean, why not argue that the cop should be able to extort free food from area merchants, because a hungry cop is an ineffective cop?

Sheesh.
4.23.2008 7:17pm
DangerMouse:
whit: most of the people in this thread sound like petty children who after being sent to their room for some transgression now want to see THE MAN GET HIS OWN.

Do you really mean that? Because that statement seems like a perfect example of why people no longer respect cops. Here we are, engaged in a debate about public policy regarding police exemptions - and you assume that we're lawbreakers ("after some transgression") and look down on us ("petty children") just because we're engaged in this debate.
4.23.2008 7:18pm
ithaqua (mail):
Shorter whit: I should be allowed to use my judgment about which laws to obey, because I'm from the government, and I'm here to help you.

Sheesh. Also, best. :)
4.23.2008 7:18pm
Scote (mail):
Well, on a different note, I think all non-emergency parking patrols should have to find a legal parking spot every time they want to stop and give someone a ticket. It might just make them a tad more sympathetic to the rest of us if they weren't allowed to ever so conveniently double park every time they want to.
4.23.2008 7:19pm
H Bowman, MD:

I would seriously like to see citizens in general be just a bit more assertive (not rude jerks, just confident) about their civil rights when confronted by police officers, e.g. refusing to consent to searches. Why don't civics classes teach children that the police do not have your interests at heart when asking you questions (and especially when asking to look inside anything!)?


Go to Los Angeles - they'll treat you like a King!
4.23.2008 7:19pm
whit:
"Whit,
My problem with making police exempt from laws "

note: SOME laws.

"is that they will feel they have a right to violate said laws whenever they want."

this isn't about what people "feel". it should be about the law. many jurisdictions specifically authorize cops (on duty and/or off duty) from certain laws because they realize that it serves the cause of justice.

and i agree with this. it does not surprise me that this may not be the case in the PROOregon. But it should be.

legislatures need to CODIFY this stuff, and dept's need to have POLICIES. break policies and face administrative actions. break laws and face fines, etc.

that's how it should be. that's how it is.

" Cops ideas of "necessary" and mine usually differ. You provided a perfect example. A guy presenting a fake scrip for prescription drugs? How does this justify breaking laws (such as parking in handicapped spots)? The guy is committing a victimless crime, he will be on video if the cops decide they care enough about this case...."

you are kidding me right? look, if you don't think that a cop should be able to park illegally (fire lane, handicapped stall, etc.) to be able to have a better chance of catching an in progress felony than i just think your idea of justice is ridiculous. i can't argue with such a strange mentality.

and fwiw, i'm against the war on drugs. but given that it's illegal and it's a felony, i can't pick and choose to not enforce that law.

the he will be on video is also ridiculous. so what? assuming the drug store HAS video (not all do) AND it's turned on and decent quality, it is PREFERRED to make a summary arrest- evidence on scene, less chance of apprehending the WRONG person (see, that's helps protect the innocent... that's important), there is often physical evidence present with the suspect (such as the scrip, other fake scrips, other illegal drugs, etc.)

if you REALLY think that this crime doesn't justify parking in a handicapped stall, i just gotta say - you and i are never gonna agree.

"of course, the cops won't decide they care if you don't catch him in the act. Which is why it's not important enough to be breaking generally applicable laws. (I'm not saying you broke the law, since it appears you have immunity. I don't know if you meant that in reality or in law.)"

i mean that in reality. i am also a training officer, and if any trainee told me that he wouldn't park in a handicapped, fire lane, etc. to catch somebody committing an in progress crime (misdemeanor or felony), he would get corrective counseling, and i can 100% guarantee you my supervisor would back me up.

that's just how police work is done. i would suggest that even in the state of oregon, one would be perfectly ok doing THAT.
4.23.2008 7:20pm
LM (mail):
lostmycookies,

That said, anything that reduces the average cop's feeling of smug superiority over peon citizens is good.

Where do you live, because my experience with the much-maligned LAPD is that they're almost always polite and respectful. And I have it on good authority (friends and family) that I'm a shady looking character.

Worst.
4.23.2008 7:20pm
Mike& (mail):
True Mike&, BUT if I needed a doctor in a hurry to save a life I would also appreciate their not being hampered by having a poor parking spot. Likewise firemen who are on duty should also be alowed to ignore parking laws. Soldiers, sailors, marines and airdales likewise should be exempted, because if they are needed in a hurry then they are really needed in a hurry. And electricians who are sometimes called to deal with wires in the road. And a plumber if you need one in a hurry, for while a backed up septic system may not be a mater of life-or-death it ranks up there with rape, should not be hampered by having a crummy parking spot. While we are at it, we ought to exempt construction workers of all kinds since sometimes they are needed in a hurry to build dams and such.


Thank you for making yourself look like a fool.
4.23.2008 7:20pm
Uncle Fester (mail):
For "formerpoliceman" above.

Cops are not exempt from the V&T Law, and never have been. All of the V&T codes apply. The only exemption is when responding to a bona fide emergency, and then both lights and sirens need to be operating. ALL, and I mean all, other parts of the code apply to the police at all times. Even speeding with just the reds on is a violation of Section 1180 (you remember 1180, I bet). Need to have the siren too.

Police only think they are exempt, which I suppose is the real problem.
4.23.2008 7:23pm
Mike& (mail):
I wonder if the cop actually said (or meant to say) something a bit different: If I had to respond to a robbery call at your house, wouldn't you rather my squad car be right here (in front of the restaurant), where I can hop into it in a matter of seconds, rather than three blocks away?


That's how I read it. Hence my snarky comment.

I am the biggest critic of police misconduct that I know. But the comments here are just blind and hateful.

This thread also contains some of the worst analogies ever! I used to TA a critical thinking course. If I still did, I would literally make the students read these comments.
4.23.2008 7:24pm
whit:
"Shorter whit: I should be allowed to use my judgment about which laws to obey, because I'm from the government, and I'm here to help you"

false. i AM allowed to because my dept. policies, practices, and the law ALLOWS me to do that.

this is not about what *i* want. this is what policy and law says and should say.

again, i am not surprised that in the people's republic of oregon, the law may be different.

you simply are acting like a petulant child "i can't park in that space, so why should that meanie cop be able to? it's not FAIR!!!"

this is common in many of these threads. oh, and i feel the same way about fire dept. for the same reason. they need to be close to their trucks. when they go to safeway, they do and should park in the fire lane. i am PRETTY sure that if there IS an actual fire, that this will not be a bad thing (rolls eyes)
4.23.2008 7:26pm
Uncle Fester (mail):
Re: My prior post-

I think NY law may provide some parking exemptions, and I know there's a cellphone and seatbelt exemption. They're codified though, and pretty limited.
4.23.2008 7:27pm
rxlawstudent:
Whit, are you serious? It's better to talk to police? So, you can recall a bunch of times you've cut someone some slack because they were candid...how many times have you told someone, "it will be better for you if you tell the truth" where it didn't end up being better?

I'm gonna go w/ the advice of my evidence prof (not a defense attorney...he dreams of getting a spot in the jury for a capital case, so he can call his memoirs "Death Juror"):

The state is able to get all sorts of convictions that they wouldn't get otherwise, because idiots talk to the police. Good general advice: 1) never have sex 2) never say anything to anyone, anytime...like warning says: can and will be used in a court of law. And don't put it in writing. And if you did: shred it. Cops make cases by getting people to talk. Cops will say, "It'll be better if you just tell us the truth." LIE. LIIIIIIE! It won't be better.... They'll act like your friend.... but they're trying to screw you."--if you didn't call them, the police aren't your friends.
4.23.2008 7:28pm
Apodaca:
George Weiss:
what we have here is a private citizen issuing another private citizen a parking ticket (civil infraction)on behalf of the local government without any official delegation or verification from the government authorizing this citizen to give parking tickets.
Bryant is relying on this Oregon statute:
153.058 Initiation of violation proceeding by private party. (1) A person other than an enforcement officer may commence a violation proceeding by filing a complaint with a court that has jurisdiction over the alleged violation....
4.23.2008 7:32pm
michael Hall:
Mike&, you post such serious comments as "Thank you for making yourself look like a fool" and "Yeah, that'd be so freaking awesome!" and you want to present this thread to a critical-thinking class of your analytical skills? That might be a bad idea. Just out of curiosity, what is "blind and hateful" about the comments here? Which ones? Why?
4.23.2008 7:33pm
michael Hall:
Sorry, I meant to write, "as an example of your analytical skills."
4.23.2008 7:35pm
hattio1:
whit says;

this isn't about what people "feel". it should be about the law. many jurisdictions specifically authorize cops (on duty and/or off duty) from certain laws because they realize that it serves the cause of justice.


they may have provided exemption from certain laws for on-dty police officers because they realize it serves the cause of justice (I question that presumption, but anyway), but the reason they provided exemption for off-dty police officers is the power of the police unions.

As to us disagreeing about breaking the law to apprehend anyone, whether felony or misdemeanor, yeah, I guess I just have a strange mentality that certain things are not worth the general disrespect for the law they engender. When people see police officers disrespect the law, it causes them to disrespect both the law and police officers. I realize you don't think people should have this reaction, but you can't deny they do. Just look at the responses on this thread. I also realize that it may not be illegal in your state, but again most people don't know that. And, I guarantee your state didn't provde the exemption from generally applicable traffic laws to be used in any situation whatsoever. They provided you the power, assuming you would use it wisely and judiciously. That's where the cops feeling they can do whatever they want becomes important.
4.23.2008 7:38pm
theculturedredneck (mail):
i think it's wonderful that a citizen decided to take a stand against police-abuse of traffic laws. in this instance, the policeman did have a sound reason for parking as he did, but such sound reasons should be backed by statute.

i'm not arguing that EVERYTHING a policy officer does that varies with the liberties of the citizenry should be codified before it's blameless. parking, however, is such a common occurrence that would be easily dealt with in a statutory scheme. the absence of such a statute in such a common fact-pattern should speak to legislative disapproval.

the "perks of the job" argument fails. police, especially when on duty, must uphold the law in all the detail with which they assert it.
4.23.2008 7:39pm
whit:
"Do you really mean that?"

yes
" Because that statement seems like a perfect example of why people no longer respect cops."

except that's a false statement. not surprising. please check any recent polling data. police officers are very highly regarded by the public. moreso than most professions, and that includes lawyers.

why does it not surprise me that you didn't know this? why, because in order to support your argument you must not understand the underlying facts. here's the facts...

in terms of prestige, a poll showed that people ranked police behind (in order from top) scientist, fireman, doctor, teacher, nurse, and military

but ahead of

clergy, congressperson, engineer, architect, business exec, lawyer, entertainer, athlete, union leader, journalist, accountant, banker, actor, stockbroker, real estate agent.

that's the harris poll
in terms of honest and ethics, here are the results of public opinion

Nurses (highest rated of the 45 jobs and occupations tested, with 73%
rating them highly)
Pharmacists, 69%
Veterinarians, 63%
Medical Doctors, 58%
K-12 Teachers, 57%

Rounding out the Top 10 are

Clergy, 56%
Judges, 53%
Policemen, 52%
Dentists, 52%
College Teachers, 52%

so polling data proves (as opposed to your unsupported false assertion) that police officers are near the top of careers in terms of public perception of both prestige and honesty and ethics.

if you are going to argue from a false premise... well... i won't give you a lesson in analytical reasoning, but i think you know where i am headed.

get your facts right.

look at evidence, THEN form an opinion.
"Here we are, engaged in a debate about public policy regarding police exemptions - and you assume that we're lawbreakers ("after some transgression") and look down on us ("petty children") just because we're engaged in this debate."

i said many here SOUND like that, because they do. fwiw, i had the exact same attitude (note: this is an attitude, not an informed belief) when i was young and naive. it's very common, and very understandable, especially for those that are insulated from the real world.

it is clear that you don't understand basic facts, since you make the false claim that "people no longer respect cops".

respect for police is
4.23.2008 7:45pm
George Weiss (mail) (www):
Apodaca:

ok then. i retract. thanks for the info..it wasn't in the article or the post and i assumed Oregon was like everywhere else.
4.23.2008 7:50pm
whit:
"i think it's wonderful that a citizen decided to take a stand against police-abuse of traffic laws. in this instance, the policeman did have a sound reason for parking as he did, but such sound reasons should be backed by statute. "

that we can both agree with. the attorney in this case is a horse's a** but if his actions can spur the legislature to codify this, so that there is no ambiguity, that would be an improvement (assuming oregon has no such exception). so, he is at least a "useful idiot" in that he serves a greater purpose, even if his intentions are ridiculous.
4.23.2008 7:52pm
rxlawstudent:
Whit said:
that we can both agree with. the attorney in this case is a horse's a** but if his actions can spur the legislature to codify this, so that there is no ambiguity, that would be an improvement (assuming oregon has no such exception). so, he is at least a "useful idiot" in that he serves a greater purpose, even if his intentions are ridiculous.


So, is it your claim that going out of your way to get someone punished for something that is technically against the law but which doesn't actually harm anyone just because he can is the behavior of an idiot acting upon ridiculous intentions?

Isn't that part of your job description?
4.23.2008 7:59pm
rxlawstudent:
"he" should have been "one"
4.23.2008 8:03pm
DangerMouse:
Whit,

I'm not sure I understand your statistics. Are you saying that 52% of the public thinks police are honest (meaning 48% do not?), which is a high number in that poll? I don't think it's good to get into a debate over statistics in this thread, but if you provide a link to the data I'll look at it. I'll concede that among the general public, police are respected.

fwiw, i had the exact same attitude (note: this is an attitude, not an informed belief) when i was young and naive. it's very common, and very understandable, especially for those that are insulated from the real world.

I'm not understanding you here either. Are you saying you had the "exact same attitude" that you didn't respect police, or the exact same attitude that as a younger police officer you looked down on the public with contempt and as potential lawbreakers (and, now no longer do so)?

I'll assume you meant that you used to have the attitude of not respecting police (I hope that's the correct guess in furtherance of continuing this conversation). Well, for what it's worth, I used to resepct the police a lot, and used to always give them the benefit of the doubt. Until several things changed my personal attitude: the proliferation of unnecessary SWAT teams and use of dangerous midnight raids (often with police shooting innocent people), the Duke rape case where the police were complicit in a bogus frame job, viewing Youtube videos of police hassling citizens engaged in lawful carry of guns, and reading the Cops Writing Cops forum where police complain about not being exempt from the law.

For the record, I've never been arrested, never used drugs nor am I sympathic to the use of drugs at all (I don't like hippies), I've never gotten a traffic ticket, I've never been pulled over or hassled by police, and etc. I should be your natural ally. But you've lost me.
4.23.2008 8:05pm
whit:
"So, is it your claim that going out of your way to get someone punished for something that is technically against the law but which doesn't actually harm anyone just because he can is the behavior of an idiot acting upon ridiculous intentions?

Isn't that part of your job description?"

actually, no. we are expecetd to use discretion. we can give warnings for many offenses, including misdemeanors, and seek to educate, not just cite.

any GOOD police officer is intelligent and circumspect in his use of discretion. and im the FIRST TO ADMIT that the LEGISLATURE makes many many many many stupid laws that should be wiped from the books. but then im a libertarian so that goes w.o saying (yet i did).

but it is my belief that no REASONABLE person would get upset and/or seek a citation for a cop parking in a no parking zone in his ON DUTY VEHICLE while he got picked up his dinner. just as it is my belief that no cop who issued a speeding ticket for 2 over the speed limit is acting reasonably.

i am pretty confident that MOST people would think it entirely reasonable for the officer to want to have his car parked nearby when on duty and going in to get his meal and most people would support the officer's right to do so. that is of course my opinion. i have no polling data on this.
4.23.2008 8:14pm
Noops (mail):
@whit

"if im driving down the road, and i see johnny dirtbag with 6 warrants that i have been looking for driving the other way, should i wait until i can make a legal (for civilians) U-turn or do one NOW and catch him? "

You are introducing facts here. In an enforcement or emergency situation, then indeed, make a safe u-turn. This officer was in neither the enforcement or an emergency mode. So your strawman doesn't really carry water since, indeed, in that circumstance the office is "exempt."

If the officer is just getting some food or otherwise not discharging their duties in the course of enforcement or emergency, then they should be neither exempt nor above the law. The reason I said "above," is quite specific. The officer should be "exempt" in plenty of situations. Sitting down to grab a bite isn't one of them. Hence "above."

What's more is in the long run, your arguments are scorched earth. Even if the policy argument that a cop should be able to hurry to the car (a dubious argument, but I'll stipulate for this moment), then you're seeing the ill effects right here in this thread. That very perception of "above the low" whether right or wrong is contributing to the gulf between cops and the rest of us. It's just more "us versus them" that makes people fear/dislike/distrust the police. It makes people resent you and want nothing to do with you. It lends itself to the growing perception that Officers are no longer peace officers, but law enforcement officers. And it hurts the cause of the police in the long run when the people they "serve and protect" don't trust them.

And as a somwehat successful organizational leader (I have a C-level executive job at a pretty successful corporation), the "little perks" argument doesn't cut it and shouldn't. When people make little mistakes in my organization, and then tell me, "It's just a little thing," my response is, "If I can't trust you on the little things, then I'm damn sure not going to trust you on the big ones." I think that's roughly analogous here and speaks volumes to the trust and "scorched earth" issue.
4.23.2008 8:17pm
bornyesterday (mail) (www):
The Andy Griffith Show did it first.

Barney ticketed the mechanic on the show (whose name I forget) for parking illegally or something along those lines. As he pulled away, Barney made a U-turn right at a sign that said "No U-turns" and the mechanic chased after him yelling "citizens arrest!". I forget how the rest of the episode went.
4.23.2008 8:29pm
whit:
"I'm not sure I understand your statistics. Are you saying that 52% of the public thinks police are honest (meaning 48% do not?), which is a high number in that poll? I don't think it's good to get into a debate over statistics in this thread, but if you provide a link to the data I'll look at it. I'll concede that among the general public, police are respected. "

i STILL can't figure out how to use the "link" thing. just GOOGle it. the poll is a RELATIVE poll. iow, "52% rated them HIGHLY" in honesty and ethics vs. much lower #'s. again, google these polls there are many many many of them and they all dispute the OP's claim that citizens don't respect the police.

polling data repeatedly shows that his claim was false. that people do, on the whole, respect police officers and that as a profession, we rate consistently among the top professions in terms of people respecting cops etc.

that's inarguable. poll after poll.

the only reason i brought it up was to dispute the false claim that the OP made.

"fwiw, i had the exact same attitude (note: this is an attitude, not an informed belief) when i was young and naive. it's very common, and very understandable, especially for those that are insulated from the real world.

I'm not understanding you here either. Are you saying you had the "exact same attitude" that you didn't respect police,"

i had the same attitude that cops were generally just power hungry and used the law to "get away with stuff" etc. like in this case. many if not most smartass college students probably feel the same way, having had zero exposure to real world and much exposure to ivory tower academics etc.

it's kind of a combination of juvenile arrogance, general ignorance, and some shadenfreude too (many people here LOVE to see the cop get a ticket. STICK IT TO THE MAN!)

" or the exact same attitude that as a younger police officer you looked down on the public with contempt and as potential lawbreakers (and, now no longer do so)? "

no. i never had that attitude. as a younger police officer, i was certainly incredibly naive about how criminals act, as most people who are not consistently exposed to the criminal element IN their element are generally naive. shows like "COPS" etc. have helped educate the public.

"I'll assume you meant that you used to have the attitude of not respecting police (I hope that's the correct guess in furtherance of continuing this conversation)."

to some extent, yes. but the more contacts i had with police, the more i learned to respect them. because i saw that they were fair, and did their job pretty darn well.

" Well, for what it's worth, I used to resepct the police a lot, and used to always give them the benefit of the doubt. Until several things changed my personal attitude: the proliferation of unnecessary SWAT teams and use of dangerous midnight raids (often with police shooting innocent people), the Duke rape case where the police were complicit in a bogus frame job, viewing Youtube videos of police hassling citizens engaged in lawful carry of guns, and reading the Cops Writing Cops forum where police complain about not being exempt from the law. "

whatever. there will always be cases of misconduct, incompetence, etc. ime, they are relatively rare.

"For the record, I've never been arrested, never used drugs nor am I sympathic to the use of drugs at all (I don't like hippies),"

hippies suck!(cartman)

i could give a flying #$(#($ whether people use drugs or not. it's illegal, and i generally can't give warnings for felony drug crimes (i can for misdemeanors). the reality is that the vast majority of people who use drugs, specifically marijuana will never be arrested (fortunately) especially if they have the common sense to do it in private. and when and if they are, they will get in the vast majority of circ's a slap on the wrist, assuming no major criminal history.

" I've never gotten a traffic ticket, I've never been pulled over or hassled by police, and etc. I should be your natural ally. But you've lost me"

groovy. but if you think a cop shouldn't be able to park in a no parking zone while on duty to pick up his dinner, then i would hope to "lose you" because imo that's just a ridiculous belief to have.

i want cops to be well fed. not hungry. hungry cops are grumpy. im only half joking.

seriously. to me this is like a reasonableness litmus test to me. regardlessof what the law is (and the law clearly should allow cops to do this), anybody who thinks its somehow WRONG for this cop to have done what they did strikes me as an example of a person who has an unreasonable way of assessing such a situation.

one of the most important qualities we look for in recruits and during their training, is the ability to make sound judgments.
4.23.2008 8:30pm
great unknown (mail):
There's a person going around New York filming traffic police (i.e., "meter maids") parking and driving illegally. To date, the official response has been to ignore his data. How far is professional courtesy going to extend? Next thing you know, you'll have judges parking illegally in handicaped-reserved spaces.
4.23.2008 8:33pm
LM (mail):
whit,

Highlight the word you want to use as the link. Select "Link", paste the url into the prompt box that appears, and select "OK."
4.23.2008 8:44pm
DangerMouse:
whatever. there will always be cases of misconduct, incompetence, etc. ime, they are relatively rare.

I forgot one other thing: the video of the kid who parked in a lot at 2am to pick up his friend who was threatened by the cop that the cop would invent some false evidence to arrest him, only to see the cop change his attitude when he learned he was on camera. That was certainly an eye-opener.

Then there was the video of a man who was pulled over because of a domestic disturbance complaint by his (ex?) wife and the cops (MANY OF THEM) tried to plant drugs on him, until they realied that the cameras on their patrol dashboards were rolling. That was in the news a couple of weeks back.

Those things, happening in such a short time, definitely made me think that perhaps police corruption is more widespread than I had previously thought.

groovy. but if you think a cop shouldn't be able to park in a no parking zone while on duty to pick up his dinner, then i would hope to "lose you" because imo that's just a ridiculous belief to have.

It sounds ridiculous, but give a mouse a cooke and he'll ask for a glass of milk. Police are only human, after all. Do I think this particular cop should've been cited by this citizen? Probably not. I wouldn't do it. But the reason I wouldn't do it is because if I did, I'm certain that the cops would be looking for any excuse to pull me over in the future and that I'd be hassled for it. I'm afraid that if I were to become such a target, the police might try to plant evidence on me, like drugs or something, as revenge.

My attitude is that police corruption occurs more often than not that a law-abiding citizen should be afraid of dealing with the police.
4.23.2008 8:50pm
whit:
"You are introducing facts here. In an enforcement or emergency situation, then indeed, make a safe u-turn. This officer was in neither the enforcement or an emergency mode. So your strawman doesn't really carry water since, indeed, in that circumstance the office is "exempt.""

except i was responding to a person who didn't even think a cop should park illegally to apprehend a FELONY FORGERY IN PROGRESS.

so, it's not a strawman. it's in direct response to a scenario.

"If the officer is just getting some food or otherwise not discharging their duties in the course of enforcement or emergency, then they should be neither exempt nor above the law."

iyo. not in my opinion. while on duty, i think they should be able to park illegally (for example to pick up food) or do any other # of mundane tasks, especially if there are no close by legal parking spots.

we can agree to disagree, but this is my opinion, and i have seen no arguments that dissuade me of it.

"The reason I said "above," is quite specific. The officer should be "exempt" in plenty of situations. Sitting down to grab a bite isn't one of them. Hence "above."

except we disagree. fwiw, it is not clear to me whether the officer parked there in order to wait for his food for takeout OR was actually gonna sit down and eat it. imo, both are justified but im not sure which is the case.

if the officer was OFF DUTY i would agree with you. but as long as the officer is EXPECTED to be able to reroute for emergency calls, then i think his parking is fine.

"What's more is in the long run, your arguments are scorched earth. Even if the policy argument that a cop should be able to hurry to the car (a dubious argument, but I'll stipulate for this moment),"

the fact that you think this is a "dubious argument" shows me you are either willfully ignorant or just plain clueless.

believe it or not we do have to hurry to our cars sometimes to respond to in progress details.
and believe it or not seconds count.

that's the reality of street patrol. i suggest you actually do a ridealong with an agency so you can get a clue.

i've gone from sitting down to dinner to rushing to a shooting call SEVERAL TIMES. seconds count.

i, and any other street cop, has had scores of occasions where they have had to leave a meal (before or during eating) for this type of thing.

it's common. the fact that you think it's dubious, imo, renders everything else you say ridiculous, since you clearly do not udnerstand how patrol works.

" then you're seeing the ill effects right here in this thread. "

the ill effects on this blog are common. there is almost always a kneejerk "the cop is wrong" response on this blog from a lot (but not all) of the people here. i expect that. the only other sites where i have seen similar responses is democraticunderground.com and reason.com which also take reflexive anti-police positions.

and anybody who think it's "dubious" that on duty patrol cops should be close by their cars is woefully ignorant of patrol and obviously taking a reflexive kneejerk position out of ignorance and bias imo.

"That very perception of "above the low" whether right or wrong is contributing to the gulf between cops and the rest of us. It's just more "us versus them" that makes people fear/dislike/distrust the police."

except the vast majority of people don't fear/dislike/distrust the police. again, check the polls.

we are FAR FAR FAR more respected liked and trusted than lawyers, for instance. whether that's justified or not, that's the truth. check the polls.

so, i don't find your conclusion supported by evidence. and we in law enforcement like this pesky little thing called "evidence" vs. assertions without any support.

in my experience (and the polling data supports this) the VAST majority of people respect the police. the vast majority trust the police.

so, whether or not you want to admit it, that's the facts.

" It makes people resent you and want nothing to do with you. It lends itself to the growing perception that Officers are no longer peace officers, but law enforcement officers. And it hurts the cause of the police in the long run when the people they "serve and protect" don't trust them.
"

and i say again, anybody who thinks a cop in a MARKED PATROL CAR who parks in a no parking zone to pick up his meal is engendering resentment and mistrust needs to get out into the real world.

fwiw, i have had NUMEROUS occasions where i am in line for a meal and people ask me to go before them because they recognize that we often don't have the luxury to sit down and eat, and might have to rush off. this has happened dozens of times to me. so, again, reality disagree with your beliefs.

perception DOES matter. i think it would be a bad idea for example, for two cops to sit down at lunch for 2 hours (assuming they got no calls). THAT kind of stuff tends to make some people go 'hmm...".

but parking in a no parking zone in a marked cruiser? absolutely not.

"And as a somwehat successful organizational leader (I have a C-level executive job at a pretty successful corporation), the "little perks" argument doesn't cut it and shouldn't."

i'm not claiming it's a "little perk". im claiming it should be a clearcut right of an officer in a marked patrol car.

there are lots of little perks in our job, and there are also lots of things that we can't do that civilians can, and there are lots of ways we are under far more scrutiny and restriction than others. that's fine.

" When people make little mistakes in my organization, and then tell me, "It's just a little thing," my response is, "If I can't trust you on the little things, then I'm damn sure not going to trust you on the big ones.""

and i agree. but imo parking in a no parking zone is not a "little mistake." imo, it is perfectly acceptable behavior imo for the police officer to do this, and i support him. there are lots of things he might do i wouldn't support. parking in a no parking zone to get his lunch is not one of them.

fwiw, cops NEED no parking zones. if you have ever been a cop in an urban area, you know that is often the only place you can park. and whether you are parking there to do some foot patrol, get your lunch, talk to a storeowner (community policing) etc. i support that.

" I think that's roughly analogous here and speaks volumes to the trust and "scorched earth" issue."

not at all. since i don't see this as a breach of trust or a case of misbehavior. i think he should be authorized to do this. i am not saying this is a minor transgression, as you seem to think. i am saying it is not a transgression AT ALL.
4.23.2008 8:52pm
BT:
Worst. Here in Chicago, cops roll through stop signs, talk on cell phones while driving, don't wear seat belts, and park illegally. All against the law. Is that wrong sure, but does it bother me? No. I would do the same thing and I think the vast majority of people here would too. From a pragmatic sense what the cop said was correct.

I think it is fair to ask how many lawyers take various "short cuts" on their way to heaven, such as double billing, padding expenses, or looking the other way when one of their fellow lawyers does something a little outside the norm or, in effect, against the law? I think the answer is a fair amount of them. And you know what if I were a lawyer, chances are under certain circumstances I would do the same thing.
4.23.2008 8:53pm
whit:
"It sounds ridiculous, but give a mouse a cooke and he'll ask for a glass of milk. Police are only human, after all. Do I think this particular cop should've been cited by this citizen? Probably not. I wouldn't do it. But the reason I wouldn't do it is because if I did, I'm certain that the cops would be looking for any excuse to pull me over in the future and that I'd be hassled for it. I'm afraid that if I were to become such a target, the police might try to plant evidence on me, like drugs or something, as revenge. "

look. nobody denies that some cops are corrupt, some bad stuff happens, bla bla

can we stick to the fact pattern HERE?

imo, this is not a "minor transgression."

imo, what this cop did SHOULD be legal, and should not be discouraged. for reasons i explain in other posts.
4.23.2008 8:56pm
DangerMouse:
imo, what this cop did SHOULD be legal, and should not be discouraged. for reasons i explain in other posts.

Ok, you've convinced me. Cops might need to run to their cars. Fine.

Maybe in the future you can try to convince me that cops aren't to be avoided at all costs, because the risk of running into a corrupt one is too great.
4.23.2008 9:10pm
Ted10 (mail):
My son just graduated with a degree in criminal justice, completed a law enforcement skills course, and passed the MN Peace Officers licensing exam. He's looking for work as a cop now. He just did a ride along and they had someone pulled over. The cop was issuing a ticket when a car with tinted windows, spinning rims, and two black males drove by. The cop said it's too bad he was busy or he'd pull them over. My son asked 'what about probable cause?' He said the cop laughed and told him this was the real world. Now my son who appeared to have been well grounded in rules and regulations believes that 'bending the rules a little' (his words) like not needing probable cause is OK if you have a badge. $60,000 for an education down the drain thanks to one ride along with a moron. Excuse me, I have to go throw up again....
4.23.2008 9:11pm
Brian K (mail):

a backed up septic system may not be a mater of life-or-death it ranks up there with rape


huh? you want to explain how being raped "ranks up there" with a plumbing problem?
4.23.2008 9:19pm
whit:
ted, according to chris rock there are only two black people in MN - kirby puckett and prince.

so, they both drove by in the same car?
4.23.2008 9:23pm
DangerMouse:
Ted10,

That's just terrible. Seeing it in your own son... Sheesh. Police corruption is like a cancer that only spreads with each person it contacts. There's a word for that: evil.

Also, stupid. Your son will end up on Youtube one day if he doesn't fix that attitude. That's my one hope: that technology may be able to put a dent on that sort of thing.
4.23.2008 9:27pm
meh:
I, for one, am not so jaded as Ted10 or others, but as I guess my story made clear, it's somewhat difficult for me to take law enforcement too seriously. I have a good friend who is a Fairfax County cop, and he's a great guy, and I suspect that most cops are good guys, but there are some major-league jerk cops out there who make people wander. I know that I'm less likely to be believe a cop's word given what I have seen. It's too bad, but it's true.
4.23.2008 9:27pm
meh:
"wonder," not "wander"
4.23.2008 9:37pm
hattio1:
Whit says;

seriously. to me this is like a reasonableness litmus test to me. regardlessof what the law is (and the law clearly should allow cops to do this), anybody who thinks its somehow WRONG for this cop to have done what they did strikes me as an example of a person who has an unreasonable way of assessing such a situation.


Is it just maybe, slightly possible that you are not the one being reasonable. Oh, and in the same comment you claim that the "U-turn for Johnny Dirtbag with Six Warrants" comment came in response to my comment about parking in a handicapped parking spot while a big scary felony forgery was in progress. It wasn't. You were responding to someone who said noone (sic) should be above the law (your comment at 6:11). I never said "noone" should be above the law. You were responding to Noops at 6:01. So, yes, you were analogizing to an officer who was NOT in an emergency situation.
BTW, I think, at heart, this is the problem with most (though not all) police officers. Once they make up their mind that facts are a certain way, it'll take heaven and earth moving to change it.
4.23.2008 9:40pm
Ted10 (mail):
Actually, I believe that most cops, like the rest of humanity, are pretty decent people who believe in following the rules and doing the right thing. I just wish the ride along would have been with someone who told him the importance of doing the right thing instead of encouraging him to 'bend the rules'. It's certainly generated lots of discussion between us and I know that deep down he's getting into the business for the right reasons. Hopefully, he won't soon forget what those reasons are just because he'll end up dealing with a lot of creeps on a daily basis.
4.23.2008 9:41pm
hattio1:
Meh says;

I have a good friend who is a Fairfax County cop, and he's a great guy


Not to be too cynical, but unless you have been on a ride-along with him (or better yet, heard an audio where there wasn't a ride-along and he didn't know he was being recorded), you don't know that he's a great guy. You only know that he's a great guy TO YOU. And, of course, you know him socially. How people act socially and at work is often different for regular people. For cops, who believe they are dealing with criminals IN their element, to paraphrase whit, and thus treat people as if they were scumbags, the effect is often heightened.
4.23.2008 9:43pm
hattio1:
Whit,
You've said on this thread, and many others, that the best advice is NOT what defense lawyers regularly say...shut up and wait for a lawyer. Let me ask you a question. How many innocent people have you arrested after they told you a story that was true but slightly unbelievable? I'm assuming your answer will be none (or none that I knew at the time to be innocent), because I truly believe that you try to do your job the right way. But, you've been a cop for over a decade (I think around 20 years) in three different jurisdictions. The odds are you've arrested LOTS of innocent people without knowing it (or at least arrested people who were innocent of the crime you arrested them for). The point is; you don't know who those people who screwed themselves by talking to you are, because if they opened their mouth and told you a true story that really reasonably sounded like bullshit, you assumed you were being bullshitted and arrested them.
I guess what I'm saying is it's true that defense attorneys have a certain perspective....but so do you.
4.23.2008 9:49pm
Blades (mail):
Checked with a Cop friend of mine about cops speeding. He says the primary time cops (should?) speed is responding to a request for backup. For that, speed matters, but they are not authorized to use lights. What percent of speeding cops fall into this (legitimate?) use, I dont know.

I flew Medivac for 7 years. During that time the cops would also leave us alone, since (as backup crew) we would get called in for urgent medicav's and have to drive to the air field.
4.23.2008 9:49pm
Mike& (mail):
Ok, you've convinced me. Cops might need to run to their cars. Fine.

Maybe in the future you can try to convince me that cops aren't to be avoided at all costs, because the risk of running into a corrupt one is too great.


That's exactly my take, actually.

I avoid interactions with cops at all costs. If I were a crime witness, I would NOT come forward for fear that a cop looking to close his case would find a way to pin it on me. It's just not worth the risk to me.

Yet I don't see any tension at all from believing: a) there are enough crooked cops that it's best to avoid all cops; and b) many cops do valuable emergency work and thus should be near their cars at all times.

Now flip the script and imagine what people would say to this headline: "Fleeing Rapist Escapes Capture As Nearby Cop Sits At Donut Shop."

People would say, "Why was this lazy cop not at his car?!" Yet those same people want cops to be away from their cars.

It's a good example of bigotry. To the bigots, a cop cannot do anything right.

I prefer a nuanced approach.
4.23.2008 9:51pm
meh:
hattio1:
Not to be too cynical, but unless you have been on a ride-along with him (or better yet, heard an audio where there wasn't a ride-along and he didn't know he was being recorded), you don't know that he's a great guy. You only know that he's a great guy TO YOU. And, of course, you know him socially. How people act socially and at work is often different for regular people. For cops, who believe they are dealing with criminals IN their element, to paraphrase whit, and thus treat people as if they were scumbags, the effect is often heightened.


Sorry, hattio1, but I've known my friend since we were in high school, and he's the straightest character anyone will ever know. So yes, I do know that he's a great guy, and I find it amusing that you think I'm not qualified to say so. Tell me, do you have any evidence that I'm lying or that I'm misrepresenting my friend? (particilarly in light of my previous comments that I'm distrustful of cops?) Seriously, do you have an actual argument?
4.23.2008 9:54pm
hattio1:
Yeah,
I do. I hear audios of our local cops all the time. They treat suspects like scumbags. I also hear their friends, who have known them since they were in high school, talk about what wonderful people they were. Every once in a while, one of these wonderful friends is somehow connected with a case (or more likely it was THEIR child, friend, nephew, etc.). Then these wonderful friends get an earful of how their cop friend acted...and usually don't believe it. And then they hear the audio.
So, do I have any information specific to your friend? No. Do I think you're lying, or intentionally misrepresenting your friend??? Again, no. Do I think that, waaaaaay more likely than not you're mistaken? Yep.
4.23.2008 10:00pm
JohnnyKish (mail):
@Whit

I admire the work you do, both here, on this blog, and on the street.
4.23.2008 10:01pm
meh:
I guess the fact that I've not been on a ride-along with my Fairfax County cop friend is a fact that disqualifies me from commenting here, according to hattio1, but I regard his position as ridiculous on its face. In fact, I can't take it seriously intellectually. I've earlier commented on the fact that I have a problem with some Fairfax County cops because they're quick to flash their lights and sound their siren. Not sure how hattio1 rationalizes that.
4.23.2008 10:07pm
whit:
"I avoid interactions with cops at all costs. If I were a crime witness, I would NOT come forward for fear that a cop looking to close his case would find a way to pin it on me. It's just not worth the risk to me. "

this is roughly equivalent to a man saying he avoids interaction with women at all costs. because if you do, especially spend time alone with one, she'll just find a way to pin a rape complaint against you.

jeeze. what paranoia? i can't even count the #'s of witnesses, victims etc. i speak to in a year. hundreds? thank god NORMAL PEOPLE don't have this strange paranoia. it's kind of like inverse omerta.

"Yet I don't see any tension at all from believing: a) there are enough crooked cops that it's best to avoid all cops;"

see my woman analogy.

" and b) many cops do valuable emergency work and thus should be near their cars at all times. "

true dat

"Now flip the script and imagine what people would say to this headline: "Fleeing Rapist Escapes Capture As Nearby Cop Sits At Donut Shop."

People would say, "Why was this lazy cop not at his car?!" Yet those same people want cops to be away from their cars. "

word.

"It's a good example of bigotry. To the bigots, a cop cannot do anything right. "

i've become resigned to that in this blog. but it's ok.
4.23.2008 10:07pm
Philistine (mail):
@Whit


imo, what this cop did SHOULD be legal, and should not be discouraged. for reasons i explain in other posts.


I think, given the explanations on this thread, this very well may be true, and the legislature should probably pass laws making it so.

Until they do, why should violations be treated any differently than other things that people feel should be legal and not be discouraged? Say, medical marijuana for example?
4.23.2008 10:07pm
whit:
thanks, johnny. fwiw, i hope one day to also manage a hedge fund. so, i will go from one of the most respected careers, to the least. ;)
4.23.2008 10:10pm
aformerpoliceman:
What you see depends on where you sit.

Yep, I supposes so. But as a former policeman and now a lawyer I can say that lawyers are much more arrogant and more often to feel that they are above the law.

Most people forget that cops are mostly revenue agents nowadays. Whether ticketing innocent taxpayers who are driving home from a real job, or stealing the assets of drugdealers, cops today are not here to "protect and serve" but to increase revenue for the State.

With the state police that's true. With the city police that's not the case. But what would you do, not have the police enforce the traffic laws?

I'm with Malvolio. This is a two way street. And noone should be above the law.

This is overly simplistic. Heck, how many lawyers are "above the law" as you put it? When I was a policeman I knew of two cases where judges were involved in DWI accidents and guess what? Yeah, they didn't go to jail.

My problem with making police exempt from laws is that they will feel they have a right to violate said laws whenever they want

How about some perspective here? We're talking about a packing violation, not a felony crime. These damn slippery slope arguments are lazy thinking.

And if I may be a bit provocative here:

I find it curious that a blog dedicated to libertarian lawyers are so critical of the police. It's not as if lawyers are all that... honest. Just look at how many lawyers are disbarred every MONTH in NEW YORK alone for crying out loud.

And for all those libertarians out there... I have a libertarian streak in me as well, but let's be honest here, much of what being a "open" libertarian is about comes down to two things: (1) you want drugs legal so you can use them; (2) you have problems with authority figures. I'm not disagreeing with either of these two positions, mind you, but the idea that libertarians are all for lassie fair policies is kind of bogus. Ever notice how many libertarians favor a strong military and are pro Iraq war? How does this square with being for a limited government? (It doesn't)...
4.23.2008 10:10pm
meh:
So, hattio1, based on some experiences you've had, you think I'm "mistaken" about my friend? C'mon, get real, you clown. Cite some evidence, if you can. I know you can't, and you know that too. Sheesh.
4.23.2008 10:11pm
LM (mail):

@Whit

I admire the work you do, both here, on this blog, and on the street.

And I've got this speeding ticket.... :)
4.23.2008 10:12pm
meh:
If you bothered to read my earlier posts, you'd see that I'm skeptical of police actions. But the fact is, you have no idea what type of character my cop friend has, and if you were remotely honest, you'd admit it. Too bad.
4.23.2008 10:15pm
DangerMouse:
this is roughly equivalent to a man saying he avoids interaction with women at all costs. because if you do, especially spend time alone with one, she'll just find a way to pin a rape complaint against you.

jeeze. what paranoia? i can't even count the #'s of witnesses, victims etc. i speak to in a year. hundreds? thank god NORMAL PEOPLE don't have this strange paranoia. it's kind of like inverse omerta.


In my office, when I'm talking to a women, I NEVER close my door. It doesn't matter who it is or what we're talking about. I will not be seen alone in my work environment with a woman, period. And yes, I am a lawyer and work in a BIGLAW firm in Manhattan.

Once you realize the risk of acting "normal," your behavior changes. Normal people get burned.
4.23.2008 10:17pm
whit:
"Until they do, why should violations be treated any differently than other things that people feel should be legal and not be discouraged? Say, medical marijuana for example?"

i think what probably happened is basically, it never came up. i've been downtown portland. there is very little (legal) parking. if a cop wants to get out of his car AT ALL in certain areas, he either parks in a no parking zone, he double parks, or he would have to go to a parking garage 10-15 minute walk away.

cops have probably been doing this routinely and nobody CARED, so it never came up. but i agree that a good solution is to simply amend the law (assuming this is necessary. im not familiar with oregon mv code) to make a specific exception for on duty cops, fire, etc.

i doubt there is a city in existence where cops don't routinely do this, as they should.

medical mj is legal in my state, fwiw.

i wouldn't be surprised fwiw, if most cops didn't just assume that it WAS legal for an emergency vehicle to park as this guy did. i don't think most people thought they were ignoring the violation. they probably didn't even realize it was a violation.
that is conjecture of course.
4.23.2008 10:17pm
with all due respect ...:
Eric Bryant needs to chillax.
4.23.2008 10:18pm
meh:
Seriously, how does hattio1 rationalize his position? I'm quite curious to know.
4.23.2008 10:19pm
whit:
"In my office, when I'm talking to a women, I NEVER close my door. It doesn't matter who it is or what we're talking about. I will not be seen alone in my work environment with a woman, period. And yes, I am a lawyer and work in a BIGLAW firm in Manhattan.

Once you realize the risk of acting "normal," your behavior changes. Normal people get burned."

this is a good policy, fwiw. but assuming you were single, would you forego interacting with women, let alone taking them home to show them your CD collection :) lest they be given the opp to make a false complaint of rape?
4.23.2008 10:21pm
Vinnie (mail):
OK IANAL so take this at your own risk but: DRIVE THROUGH!!

as for this drek:
oh, and before I get flamed -- you all would do the SAME if you had the job. Pleazzze don't tell me you wouldn't.


Sorry but I wouldn't.
This is the "higher standard" that is supposed to apply?
How many police officers get administerial leave paid vacation for actions that would put normal people behind bars?
Why can't defense lawyers charge cops with purgery when they can prove they lied on the stand?
I know! It might hurt your career more than jail time would hurt mine. Right?
If you feel "bashed" by that, well good. If it doesn't apply, even better.
I was a poor teenager in the west where a car was a requirement for any kind of job or social life. I got to meet many many police officers who had questions about the soundness (or legality) of my makeshift repairs. Most were good cops(read peace officers) who were only concerned with my safety and the safety of the public. Others were little tin gods who should have never been trusted with the same authority as the shift manager at the local Taco Bell.
4.23.2008 10:22pm
Gaius Marius:
This is nothing. Cops in Michigan regularly look the other way with regard to escorts and "extra" activities in strip clubs in exchange for takeout with strippers and escorts.
4.23.2008 10:25pm
whit:
never ceases to amaze me how any thread about any alleged mal/misfeasance by any cop anywhere devolves into a coffee klatch with a bunch of disgruntleds telling their "cops r bad, mkay" stories/legends/myths.

otoh, cops and strippers are a BAD combination. just ask baxter slate!
4.23.2008 10:31pm
DangerMouse:
this is a good policy, fwiw. but assuming you were single, would you forego interacting with women, let alone taking them home to show them your CD collection :) lest they be given the opp to make a false complaint of rape?

I am single. And no, I don't forego interacting with women, but I am incredibly, incredibly selective (although not just because of the danger). No interaction of that type with girls I just met, or work with, or only know casually. This isn't the 70s anymore. I don't care if it's Adriana Lima who's eyeballing me across a crowded room - unless I know they're of good moral character, the risk is too great.
4.23.2008 10:32pm
rxlawstudent:
look whit, just pay the ticket and move on.
4.23.2008 10:45pm
aformerpoliceman:
I was a poor teenager in the west where a car was a requirement for any kind of job or social life. I got to meet many many police officers who had questions about the soundness (or legality) of my makeshift repairs.

So your car was not in compliance with the law. And you're surprised that you got pulled over?

This is my fav line I hear as lawyer:

"I was walking/driving down the road minding my own business when for no reason, the police pulled me over..."

Yeah, like we wanted to be bothered with people who were just minding their own business.
4.23.2008 10:45pm
Owen (mail):
My reasons for objecting to the officer's actions:

1) As has been noted, no law allows him to park in a no parking zone. He doesn't get to make this decision on his own, especially when it's for his own benefit.

2) Presumably, every no parking zone is there for a reason. If it was a fire zone, the officer could have held up the Fire Department. If the officer was parking in a no parking area near a corner, he was restricting traffic visibility and causing a dangerous condition. If the officer was in a construction zone, he could have been placing construction workers at risk or holding up a public project. Every time a person parks illegally, the risk is that somebody else is inconvenienced or placed in danger.

3) The excuse given is weak. The idea is that the officer, who is eating a sit-down meal, is still an emergency responder and may be the only officer who can respond in a timely fashion. First of all, that isn't a very likely scenario, and that small risk fails to justify the problems caused by illegal parking.

Also, we could just eliminate the whole issue by making a rule that the police have to either bring their lunches or use drive-through restaurants, because, after all, they are emergency responders and shouldn't be in a restaurant when that crucial call could come in at any moment. I don't think the department really wants to take that argument too far.
4.23.2008 10:52pm
whit:

"3) The excuse given is weak. The idea is that the officer, who is eating a sit-down meal, is still an emergency responder and may be the only officer who can respond in a timely fashion. First of all, that isn't a very likely scenario, and that small risk fails to justify the problems caused by illegal parking. "

complete rubbish.

again, shows a complete ignorance of the real world and how patrol actually works.
4.23.2008 10:57pm
Owen (mail):
whit,

i wouldn't be surprised fwiw, if most cops didn't just assume that it WAS legal for an emergency vehicle to park as this guy did. i don't think most people thought they were ignoring the violation.

The police are supposed to know the law. For a law enforcement officer, who goes around writing tickets and arresting people, to be mistaken regarding clear, black-letter law, is something I find disturbing and inexcusable.

Besides, ignorance of the law is no excuse.
4.23.2008 10:58pm
philo:
I tend to trust law enforcement--a half-dozen overwhelmingly positive experiences--and could sympathize with the "illegal" parking as described in the article; I just wish cops in my town wouldn't hide behind a bush beside a stop-sign on a little-travelled agricultural road, and ambush a guy who happens to roll through without coming to an absolute full stop (moi). That sort of revenue generation really undermines trust. So, while it's true that were I a cop, I would likely park "illegally" to get some food, I would certainly not hide behind a bush to snare some nearly perfect (Kantian-deontic-obsessive) law-abiding guy . . . or even a utilitarian.
4.23.2008 10:59pm
Vinnie (mail):
So your car was not in compliance with the law. And you're surprised that you got pulled over?


No I wasn't surprised. I mentioned that as a reason that I got to interact with so many LEOs. I have never been pulled over without at least a perceived reason. It is the actions of the officers after I was pulled over that I was judging. FWIW whenever i was pulled over I turned on my dome light(if it was dark) cracked my window ,and kept my hands on the wheel, and informed the officer of any movements that I was about to make.
Lets face it, I wouldn't want to approach a car under those circumstances. The least I could do was minimize the officers worries.
4.23.2008 11:00pm
Owen (mail):
whit,

again, shows a complete ignorance of the real world and how patrol actually works.

Enlighten me then. And if you do show me that police have to be on call at all times and within 10 feet of their squad cars, all that will prove is either a) that officers shouldn't be eating in sit-down restaurants that separate them from their squad cars, or b) that the public should take the hit on response times and either allow officers to go off-duty for a brief period during lunchtime or allow for parking delays.

The notion that illegal parking, which causes traffic accidents and delays for other emergency responders, should be tolerated and/or legitimized, simply doesn't enter the equation for me.
4.23.2008 11:03pm
NotStarbucks:
I've realized the problem:

A lot of people have incredibly strong prejudices against cops. They'll take any fact and twist it against the cop and make every assumption against the cop.

Why?

Because lawyers spend so much time badmouthing cops to drum up business.
4.23.2008 11:04pm
whit:
"The police are supposed to know the law. For a law enforcement officer, who goes around writing tickets and arresting people, to be mistaken regarding clear, black-letter law, is something I find disturbing and inexcusable. "

join the real world. im not a frigging traffic cop. i don't know half the parking codes, and i've been doing this for 20 yrs.

like i said, i had to look up whether we are allowed to in our state. i always assumed we were, and it never came up.

that's how the real world works.


"Besides, ignorance of the law is no excuse."

i didn't say it was an EXCUSE. i said that this was a likely situation.

i would bet you dollars to donuts that if you asked most cops if there was a statute that exempted them from a ticket in a no parking zone while on duty in a marked vehicle, they couldn't tell you.

that's reality.

like i said, ASSUMING that what this cop did was in fact a violation in oregon, then it's good opportunity to fix the law.

and there is nothing preventing a judge from dismissing the infraction because he thinks it's not in the interest of justice, iow a decent justification. i've seen judges do this several times with citizen tickets.

there are two issues: 1) is it legal for the officer to do what he did 2) should it be
4.23.2008 11:04pm
NotStarbucks:
that officers shouldn't be eating in sit-down restaurants that separate them from their squad cars

RTFA. He was getting take-out.

That means "to go."
4.23.2008 11:05pm
Mike& (mail):
this is roughly equivalent to a man saying he avoids interaction with women at all costs. because if you do, especially spend time alone with one, she'll just find a way to pin a rape complaint against you.


There are positive reasons to interact with women; so while there's a risk, it's worth it. But, yes, one needs to mitigate the risk. You can't just have sex with anybody these days. You need to be VERY careful, and you really shouldn't be having one night stands at all for that reason.

In any event, I am absolutely sincere when I say I won't interact with the police. And I don't think I'm being paranoid.

Once the good cops (do away with the blue wall of silence and acting start self-policing, my view will change. Until then, I realize that when it comes to cops, they will do everything possible to side with one another.

But, again, that does not change my view that you all should be able to get to your police cars in a hurry - even if you're grabbing lunch!
4.23.2008 11:07pm
with all due respect ...:
Besides, ignorance of the law is no excuse.

As a factual matter, is this cliche even correct?
4.23.2008 11:11pm
Owen (mail):
NotStarBucks,

Read the article -- it says he was waiting for his food, but does not specifically say that he was getting take-out. However, I'll grant that the article strongly implied he wasn't planning on eating there, which minimizes the problem to some degree.

Still, if he was blocking a driveway or parked up against an intersection, I'd still say it was inappropriate for him to park there, even for a short time. Ordinary citizens are ticketed for this all the time.
4.23.2008 11:16pm
Owen (mail):
with all due respect...,

For the most part, yes. There are some highly technical laws that require specific intent, but most laws (including pretty much all traffic laws) do not require specific intent.
4.23.2008 11:17pm
whit:
"Enlighten me then."

your wish. my command. and all that.

" And if you do show me that police have to be on call at all times and within 10 feet of their squad cars, all that will prove is either a) that officers shouldn't be eating in sit-down restaurants that separate them from their squad cars,"

rubbish. that's called excluding the middle. you should know that.

let me give you an analogy. i sometimes work out on my lunch period. there is nothing specifically prohibiting that, but being that i'm an above board guy, i spoke about this to my supervisor. i explained to him that i could get from the squat rack to my police car (after putting my gear back on) within a couple of minutes. and he said NO PROBLEM. because while on lunch we are still on duty cops, and we still frequently have to rush off to do law enforcement. i'm a competitive strength athlete, so i am very diligent about my fitness and the dept. appreciates that. but it would not be appropriate to go to a commercial gym, completely strip out into gym gear, etc. when i was in narcotics, i COULD do this (and did) because i was not responsible to respond to details.

do you grok the difference?

that is the real world. one does not have to be sitting in the driver's seat, ignition on, foot on the accelerator, ready to go at all times.

otoh, you can't place yourself in a situation where you can't respond to a case in a reasonable period of time.

officers are ENCOURAGED to get out of their cars - make citizen contact, business contacts, etc. but 'radio cars" that are responsible for responding to radio calls are not supposed to walk 20 minutes from their car.

do you understand the distinction?

" or b) that the public should take the hit on response times and either allow officers to go off-duty for a brief period during lunchtime or allow for parking delays."

that's a cost issue. federal labor laws REQUIRE agencies to give us 15 minutes "downtime" every 2 hours. in many agencies this works out to 1/2 hr lunch, and two 15 minute breaks, or 45 minute lunch and 1 15 minute break, etc.

*if* we get rerouted during lunch, the dept. has to pay overtime, even though we are not working more than 8 hours.

you cannot offer uniformed patrol officers an UNPAID lunch, and even if you could it would be a HUGE labor/management issue. this is my understanding of the law surroundign this issue, per my union rep.

if they wanted to give us a lunch where we were not responsible for response in case of emergency, then they would be paying us 1 hr overtime mandatory per shift for this privilege, and that would add up to about $250 per week per officer.

the system works well. "paper details" - iow stuff not in progress can (and does) wait while we eat. in progress stuff doesn't. the system works.

"The notion that illegal parking,"

assuming there is no exemption law which means by definition it wouldnt BE illegal parking, which is how it should be.

" which causes traffic accidents"

there is a difference between unsafe parking and illegal parking. the latter implies the former, but it does not EQUAL the former. there are plenty of illegal parking spaces that pose no hazard.

" and delays for other emergency responders,"

assuming they are responding to where I am, then there isn't a delay because I AM ALREADY THERE.

" should be tolerated and/or legitimized, simply doesn't enter the equation for me."

you need to recalibrate your calculator then.
4.23.2008 11:18pm
meh:
Mike&: You ducked the question: what is "blind and hateful" about the comments here? Which ones, and why? Yeah, one can assume that you disagree with certain comments, but why are they "blind and hateful"???
4.23.2008 11:19pm
Gaius Marius:
otoh, cops and strippers are a BAD combination. just ask baxter slate!

Not as bad as sheriff deputies and their escort wives. Just do a google search with the following names: Candy dancer, Christy Newlin.
4.23.2008 11:21pm
whit:
"Still, if he was blocking a driveway or parked up against an intersection, I'd still say it was inappropriate for him to park there, even for a short time"

now THIS i agree with.

the law should be written with the understandign that you can park illegally, but not in a manner that is dangerous.

that is commonsensical. and similar to the laws about when we can violate traffic laws. we can violate various rules, but never in a manner that is reckless or negligent.

for example, i can speed in certain instances. but not drive recklessly.
4.23.2008 11:24pm
with all due respect ...:
officers shouldn't be eating in sit-down restaurants that separate them from their squad cars,

That is not what was alleged here.

The notion that illegal parking, which causes traffic accidents and delays for other emergency responders,

Really? How? Was he parked in the middle of an intersection?
4.23.2008 11:26pm
jccamp:
Worst.

If I followed the logic of a few of the posters here, I would then go on and complain about the lawyers who dressed like priests to gain access to patients in the hospital after the Bhopal disaster, and then draw some all-encompassing parallel to every man or woman with a law degree.

But that would be pretty stupid.
4.23.2008 11:26pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
I hate to break it to you, but in most major cities the police aren't the ones writing parking tickets -- there's a separate parking division just for that.
True, but they are writing traffic tickets, which is primarily about revenue generation.
The police are the ones out there sorting out the domestic disputes, taking care of the wounded, and looking out for your safety.
And let's not forget seizing the assets of "drug dealers," which is also about revenue generation.
4.23.2008 11:27pm
SenatorX (mail):
I'm a bit torn becuase while it seems clear to me that the officer shouldnt be making up decisions on his own when to obey laws the specific battle is so trivial. I mean if he is going to go to war on rule of law violations he could find something more meaty.

I'm not disagreeing with either of these two positions, mind you, but the idea that libertarians are all for lassie fair policies is kind of bogus. Ever notice how many libertarians favor a strong military and are pro Iraq war? How does this square with being for a limited government? (It doesn't)...

The bold part is where you go wrong. It IS a bogus statement because all libertarians are NOT for laissez faire capitalism. Thats just one of the main strawmen arguments used against "free marketers". Libertarians often believe in stong court systems for example or market regulations. Less is better for sure but still that is different than basically saying libertarians are the same as anarchists.

Further a strong military is no contradiction as long as it is a voluntary force. Libertarians are usually focused on the relationship between government and individual citizens. There is however a wide range of libertarian viewpoint about the relationship of the government with other nations.
4.23.2008 11:31pm
whit:
"And let's not forget seizing the assets of "drug dealers," which is also about revenue generation"

then change the frigging law and get rid of drug law, and civil forfeiture in general. gawd. so irrelevant.

we don't make the stupid laws. we enforce them. we have some discretion. i have cut people slack for tons of misdemeanors. but only SOME discretion.


it has no relevance to the fact that cops should be able to park in a no parking zone while on duty .
4.23.2008 11:34pm
Owen (mail):
whit,

there is a difference between unsafe parking and illegal parking. the latter implies the former, but it does not EQUAL the former. there are plenty of illegal parking spaces that pose no hazard.

Then why are they there? What's left?

You shouldn't park in handicapped spaces -- forcing a handicapped person to park "10-15 minutes away" places them at greater risk due to their reduced mobility. I'm also certainly not convinced that it is justified by increasing police response times.

Blocking a driveway may not be dangerous per se, but it is too much of an inconvenience and a violation of a person's right of access to be justified.

Most other parking violations are simply risky. Parking too close to an intersection is dangerous. Parking illegally on a narrow street is dangerous. Parking on a sidewalk (forcing pedestrians into the street) is dangerous.

I guess after that all you're really left with is loading zones, but even then you're forcing people to unload in the middle of the street, which increases accident risks somewhat. Besides, most no parking zones aren't loading zones.

Pretty much all illegal parking causing some kind of major inconvenience to others or a significant safety risk. What type of non-hazardous illegal parking were you contemplating?
4.23.2008 11:37pm
meh:
In what jurisdiction do you reside, Whit? What State? What county?
4.23.2008 11:40pm
Fearless:
Well, I have to say that I started out against the cop.

But, after considering the issue of the necessity of returning to the car quickly in case a call comes in, I have changed my mind.

Cops should be exempt from parking laws when they are on duty, if there is any chance that they have to respond to an emergency.

I also think there is an argument that nurses or surgeons who have to respond quickly in the case of emergency surgeries should be exempt from parking laws.

The way I see it, I want police to be there if they are needed. Just as I want a surgeon or nurse to be available when needed.

As far as the lawyer's behavior goes, I think it is fine. If the law in Oregon does not accommodate police officers as I think it should, they should not behave otherwise. Police officers, first and foremost, have a duty to uphold the law, even when the law is wrong.
4.23.2008 11:41pm
ruralcounsel (mail):
whit wrote:

most of the people in this thread sound like petty children who after being sent to their room for some transgression now want to see THE MAN GET HIS OWN.


I'm afraid that's probably right, and I'm sure you know it comes with the job. It isn't natural to feel very sympathetic to someone with so much power over you. And you gotta admit it. Cops have a lot of power. Folks tend to feel the same way about lawyers in a litigation situation ... knowing the rules has a lot of power in complex situations.

Actually, I think the justification of needing to stay near the vehicle in case of an emergency is a pretty good one.

But as a complicating aside ... what if there were a bunch of places to eat, and it was only the one the officer chose to go to that required the handicapped parking spot? I guess what I'm getting at is that it is understandable when there is no other acceptable option. But what if there is an acceptable option? I mean, what if he could drive another block and go through some fast food drive-thru instead? At what point does the stay-close-to-the-vehicle rationale begin to evaporate?

Put another way, where are the boundaries?
4.23.2008 11:43pm
Owen (mail):
I'd really like to know. Where are these mystical "no parking" zones that don't either cause major inconvenience to certain persons (i.e. driveways, handicapped spots, etc.) or road hazards (i.e. parking to close to intersections, parking in front of fire hydrants, parking on sidewalks, etc.)?

I'm willing to be convinced, it's just that every no parking zone I see is either related to safety or major personal inconvenience (sometimes both).
4.23.2008 11:44pm
whit:
"Then why are they there? What's left? "

plenty of them

"You shouldn't park in handicapped spaces -- forcing a handicapped person to park "10-15 minutes away" places them at greater risk due to their reduced mobility. I'm also certainly not convinced that it is justified by increasing police response times. "

except for emergent situations, i agree.

i already made that clear. forgery in progress. fine. lunch? no

"Blocking a driveway may not be dangerous per se, but it is too much of an inconvenience and a violation of a person's right of access to be justified. "

i agree

"Most other parking violations are simply risky."

false. try going to any major city and looking at the places where there are no parking zones.

" Parking too close to an intersection is dangerous. Parking illegally on a narrow street is dangerous. Parking on a sidewalk (forcing pedestrians into the street) is dangerous.

I guess after that all you're really left with is loading zones, but even then you're forcing people to unload in the middle of the street, which increases accident risks somewhat. Besides, most no parking zones aren't loading zones."

see above.

"Pretty much all illegal parking causing some kind of major inconvenience to others or a significant safety risk. What type of non-hazardous illegal parking were you contemplating?"

again, what do you want? a map. i've been downtown portland. there are plenty of them.
4.23.2008 11:46pm
Fearless:
As an aside, I think the resentment that some people feel towards cops is because some cops do exercise their authority in a rude and unbecoming manner.

I think such cops should improve.

On the other hand, I have some sympathy. It is hard to just switch gears from being confrontational with people you need to be confrontational with, to being polite to those you should be polite with. But, I think police officers should make an extra effort to get this right. I think that good relations between police officers and the community means more support for the police and hopefully better morale and more law and order.
4.23.2008 11:47pm
Owen (mail):
whit,

false. try going to any major city and looking at the places where there are no parking zones.

See my above comment. Be specific. What types of "no parking zones" are basically designated for no good reason? I live in a dense urban area, and I don't see them.
4.23.2008 11:47pm
LM (mail):

As far as the lawyer's behavior goes, I think it is fine. If the law in Oregon does not accommodate police officers as I think it should, they should not behave otherwise.

When you say "fine," do you mean you think it reflects well on lawyers? Because I have to ask, how many non-cops has he done this to? If he has done it to civilians, fine. If not, why not, and what does that say about his motive here?
4.23.2008 11:49pm
meh:
So, Whit, are you a Portland cop, or what? Speak up, or explain to us why you can't.
4.23.2008 11:51pm
whit:
good post, btw...

"But as a complicating aside ... what if there were a bunch of places to eat, and it was only the one the officer chose to go to that required the handicapped parking spot?"

imo,a handicapped spot would not be justified for lunch, or any other non-emergent situation.

" I guess what I'm getting at is that it is understandable when there is no other acceptable option. But what if there is an acceptable option? I mean, what if he could drive another block and go through some fast food drive-thru instead? At what point does the stay-close-to-the-vehicle rationale begin to evaporate? "

i think it comes down to reasonableness. just like when we make what would be illegal u-turns, etc.

"Put another way, where are the boundaries?"

the same as they are in any other city where this has never been an issue. look at downtown seattle fer instance.

if it wasn't for no parking zones cops often would have to park in the middle of the street to respond to many calls. some are emergent - bar fight, DV in progress. other's arent.

a more emergent event would justify (for instance) blocking part of a lane, etc. a lunch or business contact, not.

again, it's a matter of reasonableness. that's how our internal affairs would handle a complaint of this nature.
4.23.2008 11:54pm
Fearless:

When you say "fine," do you mean you think it reflects well on lawyers? Because I have to ask, how many non-cops has he done this to? If he has done it to civilians, fine. If not, why not, and what does that say about his motive here?


The motive would probably be unequal enforcement. Do you think that police officers and other law enforcement don't think twice before citing their colleagues?

Do you think that pissing off other members of law enforcement is good for your career?

I personally think that this case highlights a need for a change in Oregon law. But, until the law is changed, I expect everyone to abide by it. Especially police officers.
4.23.2008 11:54pm
Fearless:

When you say "fine," do you mean you think it reflects well on lawyers? Because I have to ask, how many non-cops has he done this to? If he has done it to civilians, fine. If not, why not, and what does that say about his motive here?


Another reason to cite a police officer breaking the law even when you would not bother citing someone else is because, all else being equal, it is worse when police officers break the law they swear to uphold.

I don't know what the lawyers motives are. But, I think there are several reasonable motives.
4.23.2008 11:56pm
whit:
meh,

i have said more than one time in this thread that i thank god i do not work somewhere like oregon.
4.23.2008 11:58pm
ruralcounsel (mail):
Yeah whit, I think your right. Reasonableness is a standard I can live with. I have little doubt the lawyer in this case was just being vindictive. Not counsels finest hour.

Did you see the video clip of the cop arresting the fire captain for parking his engine in the RH travel lane of what looked to be multi-lane interstate to shield his crew while they were working on an emergency response? Looked like someone was exercising their ego to me. I'd be curious to hear your take on that one.

But hey, thanks for shouldering the LEO side of the discussion.
4.24.2008 12:01am
whit:
btw, this is a classic example of a job for a police union. they should be on the phone to the portland city council requesting a change in the law, assuming that it is in fact illegal for them to do what the officer did
4.24.2008 12:02am
ruralcounsel (mail):
Here's the clip ...



Obviously not a typical situation.
4.24.2008 12:11am
ruralcounsel (mail):
Oops ... where'd that URL go?
Doesn't like the length ...
video clip of arrest
4.24.2008 12:15am
meh:

Me: "Whit, are you a Portland cop, or what? Speak up, or explain to us why you can't."

Whit: "i have said more than one time in this thread that i thank god i do not work somewhere like oregon."


Okay, Whit, in which jurisdiction do you work? Is it a crime to state where you are a cop? If so, that doesn't speak well for our democracy, I'm thinking. If you feel you can't say, do you consider yourself some type of whistleblower? If you refuse to say, GIVE US A BLOODY EXPLANATION.
4.24.2008 12:22am
whit:
lol. ruralcounsel. i can't see how anybody could agree with (given what facts are presented in the video) what the cop did.

fwiw, i just want to make it clear i am taking the LEO's side in this case, not because i am an LEO, but because i don't think he did anything wrong. whether he did anything illegal is something i don't know, because i don't know oregon parking laws.

in the fire arrest case, that's just ridiculous. among other things, taking a firefighter away from a PATIENT unless you have really really really good reaosn is insane.

it's difficult to know all the facts based on the video, and the interview was only with the plaintiff's counsel, so it's obviously biased (after all the job of his counsel is to BE biased for him), but based on what i see - the cop was simply wrong.
4.24.2008 12:23am
Le Messsurier (mail):
"average citizen"? I hardly think so. He's a lawyer for Ch***t's sake. Well below average imo.

On the other hand, I have personally seen police cars parked in a handicapped parking space IN FRONT OF A COURT HOUSE!!! The cop was obviously there to testify and was to be there for some time. He was just too lazy to park a spot or two away. Can you spell abusive?
4.24.2008 12:26am
whit:
meh, who peed in your cheerios? i prefer not to state where i work, apart from saying it's in the great state of WA.
4.24.2008 12:27am
whit:
"On the other hand, I have personally seen police cars parked in a handicapped parking space IN FRONT OF A COURT HOUSE!!! The cop was obviously there to testify and was to be there for some time. He was just too lazy to park a spot or two away. Can you spell abusive?"

and that's an easy one. assuming he was just there to testify, it's blatantly wrong. simple. unlike the instant case.
4.24.2008 12:29am
Hoosier:
The cop's job involves the daily risk of getting killed in order to protect people. And lawyers.

It takes a special kind of pr**k to ticket a cop for parking in front of a restaurant.
4.24.2008 12:30am
meh:
Blah, great job dodging the question, Whit. You've said that you work in Washington and that you prefer not to specify where. Okay, why do you prefer not to state where? That's my question. Are you going to answer it? If not, at least have the balls to state why, rather than resort to childish expressions about peeing in cheerios.
4.24.2008 12:33am
whit:
"Blah, great job dodging the question, Whit. You've said that you work in Washington and that you prefer not to specify where. Okay, why do you prefer not to state where? That's my question. Are you going to answer it? If not, at least have the balls to state why, rather than resort to childish expressions about peeing in cheerios."

i didn't dodge it, meh. i stated outright i'm not going to answer it. that's not a dodge.

fwiw, i am currently on double-secret probation for parking in a disabledveteransprisonerofwar only parking space on easter sunday in front of a church. so, i need to keep my identity super-secret.

hth
4.24.2008 12:36am
galeH (mail):
Interesting comments.

It has been fifteen years since I had to concern myself with such matters but, I'll offer the following as substance for your amusement and ridicule:

I don't remember parking restrictions being a matter of state legislative action--as in as some have stated "traffic laws"--except perhaps, as they relate to handicapped parking violations. It seems to me parking/no parking zones are established by local ordinance as a revenue measure, to promote retail store access, to provide parking for local government services, such as police, fire and public transportation, to improve traffic flow during peak hours where appropriate, and yes, to allow public service departments and/or their contractors to perform maintenance tasks. If this recollection is wrong, I'm sure to be corrected by those who follow.

If the officer had parked in a no parking zone to rent a tuxedo for the upcoming wedding of his daughter, then he would be doing personal business on public time and possibly abusing the authority of his office to obtain personal benefit. But, as long as he is allowed to eat while on duty, it seems to me this is not only an instance of no harm, no foul, but an effective use of public resources and quite likely one of the intended uses of the parking ordinance writers.

(Off topic) The owner of a store, which was closest to my home by several miles, once insisted on giving me a "police discount" on a pack of cigarettes I asked for one night. I was off duty. In civilian clothes. I have no idea how he knew I was an LEO. But, I was young in the business then and didn't want to embarrass him for his offered courtesy. I accepted the offer and never returned. Problem solved? No. He lost a customer. I lost a convenience. It was the way I was trained: Avoid all appearances of special treatment. This also meant I could not eat while on duty in uniform at a well known nationally franchised chain of restaurants whose corporate policy was half-price meals for uniformed officers. It was a violation department policy--and conscious--to accept gratuities or special consideration from anyone, including other LEO's, for behavior prohibited by law.

(On topic) Bottom line? In my opinion, the public spirited citizen/attorney initiating this violation is a foolish, stubborn member of Equus asinus--or, in biblical terms--another name for a common beast of burden; a sanctimonious time waster; a crusader without any redeeming cause or utility. One who would, if the fee were enough, eagerly defend the most outrageously corrupt public officer, pedophile or serial murderer. One who disgraces the honor of all officers of the court.

Other than that, a nice guy; and, I could be wrong, but his mother probably loves him.
4.24.2008 12:37am
meh:
Whit: "i prefer not to state where i work, apart from saying it's in the great state of WA."

Whit: "i stated outright i'm not going to answer it. that's not a dodge."

Bullshit. Let's hope that you're more truthful when you're on the stand testifying as a police officer. You stated nothing outright, liar.
4.24.2008 12:41am
whit:
meh, do you have a problem with reading comprehension?

"i prefer not to state where i work, apart from saying it's in the great state of WA"

that's a polite way of saying i'm not going to tell you what agency.

and it's not a dodge.

look it up. it's slang, but much like a mama celeste pizza- it's in there!
4.24.2008 12:46am
meh:
It became fairly obvious that you didn't want to answer the question, but you could've simply said so (as I invited you to do with the comment that you should "at least have the balls to state why.") Don't bullshit, though, people see through that.
4.24.2008 12:47am
meh:
You don't know what "stating outright" means, do you? I think you should look it up. As Inigo Montoya said, "I do not think it means what you think it means."
4.24.2008 12:53am
meh:
So, one more time, Whit, why don't you want to state where you work? I'm not asking you to state where you work. I'm asking you to state why you don't want to state where you work. Do you understand me? How's your reading comprehension?
4.24.2008 12:57am
jccamp:
Whit &I need a Federal BLOG poster Shield Law, so we can be candid here and won't get hammered at work.
4.24.2008 1:06am
some dude:
Whenever I'm driving behind a cop car, I don't bother watching my speed. They wouldn't exceed posted limits, would they?
4.24.2008 1:18am
TyWebb:
I wish I hadn't missed this conversation before it got threadjacked, but FWIW:

Best. If the community wants police to be exempt from parking laws so that they may take a break without being too far away from their cruiser, then pass the law or ordinance through the legislature or council. Actually, it seems like a quite prudent legislative action, when viewed in the context of these facts. But it might be unreasonable when viewed in a different context, such as a policeman parking in front of a fire hydrant while enjoying Angels in America or the 22-inning Rockies-Pads game, while the orphanage burns down. Exempting police from ordinances and laws is dangerous business for a bunch of reasons, not the least of which is that it might make a case of negligence per se harder to prove (complicating issues of sovereign immunity, etc.)

But all of that is secondary to the point that there simply is no blanket exemption for police officer's unlawful action absent authorization from the legislative body. From my experience, this is a distinction of which police officers require constant reminding. With that in mind, the lawyer did exactly the right thing.
4.24.2008 1:48am
LM (mail):
meh,

You're not convincing the jury with that attitude.
4.24.2008 1:57am
meh:
LM,

Sorry you don't approve.
4.24.2008 2:08am
LM (mail):
meh,

I don't disapprove. I'm offering some advice you're obviously free to take or ignore.
4.24.2008 2:10am
meh:
Out of curiousity, LM, do you have an argument to make?
4.24.2008 2:11am
meh:
Um, whether you're willing to say so or not, I think that "you're not convincing the jury" means that you "disapprove." That's not so important, but it's kinda disingenuous to say that you "don't disapprove." Fine if you do, but don't pretend that you don't.
4.24.2008 2:14am
meh:
Eh, whatever, good night, Mr. LM. I need my beauty sleep.
4.24.2008 2:17am
LM (mail):
meh,

I hope you have the receipt for that magic 8-ball.

Sleep well.
4.24.2008 2:47am
meh:
Got sidetracked playing that highly addictive online poker, it's great!

LM, you really have no argument to make, do you? You may think it's cool to make comments about "convincing the jury" and the magic 8 ball, but if you really want to convince people you're right and I'm wrong, I suggest that you make an argument.
4.24.2008 3:03am
LM (mail):
meh,

I was trying to do you a favor. My mistake.
4.24.2008 3:38am
meh:
Anything substantive to say? Anything at all? Arguments, you see, are things that convince people you know what you're talking about. If you have anything, now would be the time to mention it. If you can't offer any arguments, you're wasting my time, and that of anyone unfortunate enough to be reading this.
4.24.2008 3:51am
Vinnie (mail):
Hoosier:
The cop's job involves the daily risk of getting killed in order to protect people. And lawyers.






My heart bleeds


1 Logging workers
92.4
85
2 Aircraft pilots
92.4
109
3 Fishers and fishing workers
86.4
38
4 Structural iron and steel workers
47.0
31
5 Refuse and recyclable material collectors
43.2
35
6 Farmers and ranchers
37.5
307
7 Roofers
34.9
94
8 Electrical power line installers/repairers
30.0
36
9 Driver/sales workers and truck drivers
27.6
905
10 Taxi drivers and chauffeurs
24.2
67

having been #s 4,5,6,and 10 I expect carte blanche in my next police investigation.
4.24.2008 3:56am
D K Warren (mail):
Law enforcement officers are quick to pull the "parade of horribles" out of their pockets whenever their conduct is questioned by the public. It's yet another variation on the argument that some officials are above the law because of the job they do (e.g. – indefinite detention &torture as an interrogation technique to protect people from terrorism).

Many of them would prefer to eliminate the Fourth Amendment, Miranda, and all the other annoying procedural requirements that get in their way.

It's amazing that officers who are sworn to uphold the law would invoke hypothetical examples of criminal chaos or social anarchy if they aren't permitted to do as they please whenever they want.

I fail to see how obeying a parking ordinance would somehow undermine the safety of citizens. Surely he's not the only officer in the area that could respond to a 911 call.

In any event -

To begin with, sovereign immunity doesn't apply in this situation because the officer wasn’t performing a discretionary duty. Instead, he was performing a ministerial act of exercising traffic judgment while engaged in unofficial non-emergency business (i.e. – parking his vehicle while on break getting food).

Courts have recognized this distinction in cases involving an officer's violation of the traffic laws, including parking infractions.

City of Wichita Falls v. Norman, 963 S.W.2d 211 (Tex. App. 1998) (motorcycle police officers, like ordinary citizens, must obey traffic laws in operating their vehicles and they do not have discretion in determining whether duty exists to follow such regulations, such that they would be protected by official immunity); Duellman v. Erwin, 522 N.W.2d 377 (Minn. App. 1994) (officer's decision to park police cruiser with headlights on facing on-coming traffic did not rise to level of discretion needed to justify according police officer official immunity; there was no urgency in returning to site which would have required officer to weigh multitude of factors or exercise judgment under trying circumstances in deciding where to park, there was no need to protect area from traffic, and accident scene did not present potentially dangerous situation).

In Oregon, emergency vehicles are not cloaked with absolute immunity from traffic laws. The police, like ambulances and fire-rescue, must obey the rules of the road. Anderson v. Finzel, 282 P.2d 358 (Or. 1955). In addition, drivers of emergency vehicles aren't protected if they operate them in an arbitrary manner. O.R.S. § 811.145(3).

Section 820.300 of the Oregon Statutes does exempt emergency vehicles from certain traffic laws, including parking or standing in disregard of a statute, regulation or ordinance otherwise prohibiting it. Id. at (1)(a).

However, Section 820.320 limits these exemptions to situations when the driver is responding to an emergency or engaged in the hot pursuit of a suspect.

Officer Stensgaard wasn't responding to an emergency, nor was he in hot pursuit of a suspect. As such, the exemptions that would have allowed him to violate local parking ordinances don't apply to his situation. Moreover, he wasn't engaged in any discretionary duty protected by sovereign immunity. He was on a break, conducting personal business ordering food and was required to park where everyone else did in obedience to the law.

Accordingly, he is subject to the penalties imposed by the law for his violations including:

O.R.S. §§ 820.320 and 820.300(1)(a) (illegal operation of an emergency vehicle);
Portland City Ordinance § 16.20.210 (parking in a no parking zone);
O.R.S. § 811.550(22) (parking where prohibited by traffic control device)(exemptions under O.R.S. 811.560(3) and (7) don't apply to his situation – he wasn’t loading or unloading passengers, nor is the officer disabled)

As for lawyers at their best or worst, the right to petition the government for a redress of grievances is part of the First Amendment and fundamental to the very idea of a republican government. Wilkinson v. U.S., 365 U.S. 399, 427 (1961).

Oregon & Portland's traffic laws are available at this link.
4.24.2008 4:43am
Cecil Franklin (mail):
Worst, no question.

This didn't spring from a sense of justice. Rather, it comes from a recent law school graduate (see his web site), who attended a hippy-dippy law school (Lewis &CLark, second only to the U of O), who wanted to stick it to The Man and get some publicity for his firm. In short: Jackass.
4.24.2008 7:00am
Owen (mail):
Again, for those of you who think that officers should be able to park illegally to grab lunch:

WHAT KINDS OF 'NO PARKING' SPACES, IF VIOLATED, DO NOT EITHER CAUSE A SAFETY RISK OR MAJOR INCONVENIENCE TO OTHERS?

I think these spots are mythical, but have been told otherwise. Can anyone inform me where these illegal spots that weren't made for any good reason are? Absent an emergency, I think all no parking spaces are there for a good reason and shouldn't be violated.
4.24.2008 9:41am
afromerpoliceman:
Vince: my bad, thanks for clarifying.

" which causes traffic accidents"

You know what causes accidents? Emergency lights and siren. Also, sometimes the police are rushing somewhere without lights and siren for a reason (like to a robbery call where you don't want to announce that you're coming).

Let's face it, who would have the balls to cite a cop for illegal parking? An arrogant jerk who has a bone to pick with authority figures, that's who.

Now, as I said before, if this policeman was just too lazy to find a parking spot, well, bad for him. But let's keep some perspective.

And for all of those who have observed the police parking in handicap spots in front of court houses: yep that's bad, but the department I worked for didn't provide any parking downtown (or reimburse us for paid parking) for the police even though most of us were required to be there every day. That doesn't make it right, but it explains a lot.

"parade of horribles"

Yep, my partner was shot and killed one night. Doesn't get much more horrible than that.

As an aside, you ever notice that there are so many handicap spots these days? There are 18 at the gym I go to now and yet how many handicap people go to the gym (or Home Depot)?
4.24.2008 9:53am
DJR:
Whit,

I think your positions on when an officer should or shouldn't be able to park illegally are likely reasonable. You think this officer didn't do anything wrong and therefore defend him. But what do you think of the principle that police should be able to decide when, absent any emergency, they are justified in violating the law?

Assume that there is a situation where reasonable people can disagree about whether the cop "should" be able to violate the law. Do you believe that we should give the officer the benefit of the doubt in every such situation?

If so, how do we distinguish those situations from the ones in which you or a reasonable uninterested observer would conclude that the officer was not justified?

Since we don't have innumerable reasonable whits out there to decide in each case when a violation is justified and when it is not, why shouldn't the rule be that no violations are allowed unless strictly necessary in the course of the officer's duty?

Finally, I would be interested in your perspective on the following hypothetical: An officer is doing a personal errand during his lunch hour--picking up drycleaning, for instance. He expects this will take 7-15 minutes because sometimes there is a line. The dry cleaner is at the corner of two busy streets, and there are three parking places available:

1. 150 feet away from the corner, metered space.
2. 60 feet away from the corner, in front of a hydrant.
3. Immediately in front of the entrance (no parking zone because of the intersection)

Where should the officer park? Where should the officer be able to park without legal sanction? If the officer chooses the meter, must he put in a quarter? If not, why not?
4.24.2008 9:54am
DJR:
Owen:


I think these spots are mythical, but have been told otherwise. Can anyone inform me where these illegal spots that weren't made for any good reason are?

Here in D.C., we have innumerable no parking zones marked "entrance," which often simply means the space in front of the doors to a big building. Maybe this is justified so that cabs can drop people off, but cabs drop people off all over the city in front of buildings not privileged enough to have a special no-parking "entrance." Similarly, I find that if a building has a circular driveway, parking is always prohibited between the entrance and exit to that driveway, even though there might be space for two or three cars there and meter parking on either side. The only justification I have ever thought of is that it provides for a nicer view of the building from the street (the "entrance" zone has a similar benefit).

We also have entire streets where every place is reserved for "commercial" vehicles during business hours, whatever that means. Other places are designated as taxi stands, and I have also seen places reserved for waiting tour buses. The signs marking the end of legal parking due to a corner vary in their distance from the corner, with some less than a car length away and others two to three car lengths away.

Designating no parking zones, like any other public policy, involves a balancing of interests and incentives. I'm sure someone can come up with a reason for every no parking zone, but each one must be balanced against the need for parking in that area. What people are asserting is that they disagree that any reasonable observer would conclude that the reason for certain parking zones like those listed above outweighs the need for parking.
4.24.2008 10:09am
bearing (mail) (www):
If the commuity agrees that there should be different parking standards for police officers, then they can write and pass a law establishing different standards. If it's so common-sensical, it should be easy to pass the law. Everybody wins.

And if a police officer can't stop at a restaurant without either violating the law or endangering public safety, he can pack a brown bag lunch.

Everybody wins.
4.24.2008 11:23am
whit:
"You know what causes accidents? Emergency lights and siren"

not supported by evidence. check the stats. as i've said, even INCLUDING code runs (lights and sirens) and the fact that they have to multitask while driving (police radio, looking for suspects, etc. at scene, CAD computer), cops have significantly LOWER collision rates per hour driven than civilians.

don't you hate it when facts interrupt your preconceived prejudiced opinion?
4.24.2008 11:30am
eddiehaskel (mail):
Rule of law has no meaning for the professor. Where does this relativism end?
4.24.2008 11:40am
whit:
"I think your positions on when an officer should or shouldn't be able to park illegally are likely reasonable. You think this officer didn't do anything wrong and therefore defend him. But what do you think of the principle that police should be able to decide when, absent any emergency, they are justified in violating the law? "

generally thinking that's a bad principle. i use the metric of "reasonableness" when it comes to frigging parking spaces. i don't think anybody would argue cops should be able to drive recklessly, etc. (and i know some do, and i know they should be punished. and i have seen plenty who have been). but i am a firm believer in community policing, and in the concept that radio car cops should frequently get out of the frigging cars and not just be mr anonymous driving by. that often entails parking in no parking zones. i also take a very "union member" approach to lunch period (see my post about working out during lunch). it's practically a god given RIGHT :) seriously.

let me contrast this. if the cop has parked in the no parking zone to go to blockbuster and return a movie while on duty i would CLEARLY say NOT APPROPRIATE. or any personal business. lunch is not "personal business" under my dept's guidelines, or many others.

that may be where the argument lies. i do not think, marked cruiser or not, on duty or not, that cops should be able to park in no parking zones to conduct PERSONAL BUSINESS of any sort. lunch is NOT personal business, under most union contracts. it's a contractual PART of every shift, and an employee right.

the other day i went to the dr's office in regards to a personal illness during my shift. and yes, this was authorized. i certainly should not have done so by parking in a no parking zone.

as a counterexample, let's look at speeding. nobody denies that cops are pretty bad speeders... i am talking going to non-emergency calls when they are supposed to be driving the speed limit (and i am excepting circ's where cops are authorized to actively patrol above the speed limit of flow of traffic on 2+lane roads, such as the example given earlier).

THAT is a real problem. i don't see the parking issue as misconduct. i think there should be an exemption in the law, and cops under their codes of conduct are always required not to bring disrepute. i think parking in a handicap stall to get yer lunch WOULD be an example of that, regardless of whether it's legal. as a counterexample.

"Assume that there is a situation where reasonable people can disagree about whether the cop "should" be able to violate the law. Do you believe that we should give the officer the benefit of the doubt in every such situation? "

who is we? i think the internal affairs which is the first line should do their job, look at the situation through the eyes of REASONABLENESS. that's really what it comes down to. like i said, in many urban areas, if there weren't no parking zones cops would have to double park in the middle of the lane nearly every time they get out of their car. go downtown seattle and you see this constantly. cops HAVE to park in no parking zones. another exception would be to reserve several spaces PER CITY BLOCK for "police vehicles only". i think that's a ridiculous overreaction, but it is an alternative. in most rural and exurban areas, this parking thing aint a problem. but in a congested downtown you GOTTA do it.

"If so, how do we distinguish those situations from the ones in which you or a reasonable uninterested observer would conclude that the officer was not justified? "

i have said this before. i don't think most people would consider what the cop did in this case "unreasonable". i strongly believe that the anti-cop bias in this site is significantly skewed as compared to the population at large, and polling data proves this. most people respect and like cops. i've had people DOZENS OF TIMES ask me to step in front of them during my lunch because they realize our time is limited, and we often (OFTEN) have to reroute during lunch, etc. i would think the "reasonable" person would expect that cops are not supposed to drive around for 20 minutes looking for a space if they want to get out of their car ON DUTY. or park a 10 minute walk away.

"Since we don't have innumerable reasonable whits out there to decide in each case when a violation is justified and when it is not, why shouldn't the rule be that no violations are allowed unless strictly necessary in the course of the officer's duty? "

why? because i think that's unreasonable. i also think it would be an issue for union bargaining. reasonable is obviously a subjective standard. i've explained why i think it's unreasonable.

as said numeropus times, i think the policy/law should SPECIFICALLY address these exemptions. because that's preferable. otoh, in the line of jonah goldberg et al i am also a believer in the unwritten law. i'm not going to cite somebody for speeding 5 over the limit (i don't generally write speeding tickets AT ALL but i digress). just because the law says i can doesn't mean it's prudent.

i think it is prudent and reasonable to park in a no parking space in the case given.

"Finally, I would be interested in your perspective on the following hypothetical: An officer is doing a personal errand during his lunch hour--picking up drycleaning, for instance. He expects this will take 7-15 minutes because sometimes there is a line. The dry cleaner is at the corner of two busy streets, and there are three parking places available:

1. 150 feet away from the corner, metered space.
2. 60 feet away from the corner, in front of a hydrant.
3. Immediately in front of the entrance (no parking zone because of the intersection)

Where should the officer park?"

let's assume this is his personal drycleaning (not uniform) to make this easier.

answer is simple. metered space. period. personal business. note: as i said, lunch is NOT personal business, as explained earlier.

" Where should the officer be able to park without legal sanction? If the officer chooses the meter, must he put in a quarter? If not, why not?"

i think the city code should exempt emergency vehicles from having to put $$ in the meter. if the code DOESN'T, then he must put in a quarter. period. personal business.

that's an easy one for me. like i said, lunch is not, as a matter of union bargaining or dept policy (in any dept. i have worked for) PERSONAL BUSINESS.
4.24.2008 11:48am
whit:
quick point. under my agency's manual (and others i have worked) - lunch period is NOT personal business.

it is a specifically authorized block of our shift, subject to bargaining, required under federal labor laws, etc.

*if* the officer was conducting PERSONAL BUSINESS whether on or off duty, whether marked car or not, he should not (imo) be able to park in a no parking zone.

contrast with this case, where he was NOT on personal business.

i think many here may assume or view lunch period as personal business. generally speaking, under collective bargaining, labor law, etc. it is not- for police officers. because, as i have mentioned, they are required to respond in many circ's during lunch, and because a lunch period is MANDATED to be paid.
4.24.2008 11:51am
Owen (mail):
DJR,

Here in D.C., we have innumerable no parking zones marked "entrance," which often simply means the space in front of the doors to a big building.

The reasons for those zones is to prevent people from unloading or loading in traffic, which slows traffic and creates a hazard for persons being dropped off. As I said above, those represent a close call at best. It still inconveniences others and/or creates a hazard.

Similarly, I find that if a building has a circular driveway, parking is always prohibited between the entrance and exit to that driveway, even though there might be space for two or three cars there and meter parking on either side.

There, it's private property. Absent an emergency, the police cannot do whatever they want on private property.

We also have entire streets where every place is reserved for "commercial" vehicles during business hours, whatever that means. Other places are designated as taxi stands, and I have also seen places reserved for waiting tour buses.

Again, these zones are to prevent traffic from being blocked. It's related to safety and traffic flow. Commerical zones ensure that workers unloading trucks don't have to do so in a traffic lane. Taxi stands prevent pedestrians from having to run out into traffic to catch their cab.

The signs marking the end of legal parking due to a corner vary in their distance from the corner, with some less than a car length away and others two to three car lengths away.

It's probably based upon visibility. Some corners need more room for visibility than others. This is one area where the police definitely should not be allowed to park illegally -- decreased visibility from illegal parking on corners causes many accidents, some serious.

What people are asserting is that they disagree that any reasonable observer would conclude that the reason for certain parking zones like those listed above outweighs the need for parking.

Fair enough, but if that's the case, then we should simply eliminate the parking zones rather than making special allowances for police only.

Furthermore -- just speaking realistically -- police who are willing to park illegally usually don't care about the degree to which it creates a hazard. That's just my experience. If a person of authority thinks they deserve special treatment with respect to a loading zone, it's unlikely they'll draw the line at parking in front of that hydrant.
4.24.2008 12:04pm
whit:
"Fair enough, but if that's the case, then we should simply eliminate the parking zones rather than making special allowances for police only. "

ridiculous. what people don't seem to understand is that if EVERY place were a parking zone then there would rarely if ever be any space for the cops to park (for any reason) downtwon, which means anytime they needed to get out of the car (and im including hot calls and paper calls), they woul dhave to double park in the street. that is NOT a good option.

like i said, no parking zones ARE (and should be) police parking for duty related stuff. that's how it IS in many major cities. the only other reasonable option is to designate police parking only on each block, but that is an inferior solution imo

the system works fine right now. if some jurisdictions (people's republic of portland) need to specifically legislate an exemption for cops to get around horse's a** attorney's like in this case, then so be it.

"Furthermore -- just speaking realistically -- police who are willing to park illegally usually don't care about the degree to which it creates a hazard. That's just my experience. If a person of authority thinks they deserve special treatment with respect to a loading zone, it's unlikely they'll draw the line at parking in front of that hydrant."

cops are first responders at fires, too. if they are in front of a hydrant, (as i've said before) they get toned out on their radio for the fire so it's a PLUS that they are already there.

i am a former firefighter fwiw.
4.24.2008 12:07pm
Owen (mail):
whit,

i don't think most people would consider what the cop did in this case "unreasonable".

"Reasonable" has nothing to do with it. Most people might say it's not "unreasonable" for anybody to park in a 'no parking' zone for a few minutes to grab lunch. Heck, some of those people might have very good reasons for needing to be near their cars. However, most people would also simply pay the ticket.
4.24.2008 12:18pm
Owen (mail):
whit,

what people don't seem to understand is that if EVERY place were a parking zone then there would rarely if ever be any space for the cops to park (for any reason) downtwon, which means anytime they needed to get out of the car (and im including hot calls and paper calls), they woul dhave to double park in the street. that is NOT a good option.

It's not a good option to have an eighteen wheeler blocking the street because its commerical loading zone has been taken up by a squad car. It's not a good option to have cars continually stopping and letting people out in the middle of the street because the loading zone is taken up by a squad car. The problem with you is that you don't see to acknowledge these countervailing considerations.

'No parking' is not 'cop lunch parking.' It is designated as 'no parking' for reasons related to convenience and/or safety (usually both).

cops are first responders at fires, too. if they are in front of a hydrant, (as i've said before) they get toned out on their radio for the fire so it's a PLUS that they are already there.

Yeah, and their car is blocking the blasted hydrant. If they're busy or don't hear the call, the fire truck could arrive and lack access to the hydrant.
4.24.2008 12:28pm
whit:
"Reasonable" has nothing to do with it. Most people might say it's not "unreasonable" for anybody to park in a 'no parking' zone for a few minutes to grab lunch. Heck, some of those people might have very good reasons for needing to be near their cars. However, most people would also simply pay the ticket."

it has everything to do with what i was responding to if you'd read the entire post.

my point is that cops should be exempt from parking laws, and that a REASONABLE standard should apply. was the cop ON DUTY and on DEPT. business? then, generally it's reasonable. i would argue a handicapped spot would only be reasonable for an emergent call (in progress detail) and a standard no parking zone for standard business. and for personal business. it would not be reasonable (note: as explained extensively, lunch is not personal business for officers)
4.24.2008 12:30pm
whit:
"It's not a good option to have an eighteen wheeler blocking the street because its commerical loading zone has been taken up by a squad car. It's not a good option to have cars continually stopping and letting people out in the middle of the street because the loading zone is taken up by a squad car. The problem with you is that you don't see to acknowledge these countervailing considerations. "

because that's not what we are discussing here. we are discussing what this cop did. which is find entirely reasonable, and common practice in congested city areas, and what i think SHOULD be common practice.

"'No parking' is not 'cop lunch parking.' It is designated as 'no parking' for reasons related to convenience and/or safety (usually both).
"

as i repeatedly explain , lunch is not personal business, and on duty cops should be allowed to use no parking zones as long as it is reasonable. i would argue that this circumstance is reasonable for reasons explained.

this is how it WORKS in the big city, and it's how it SHOULD work. the fact that some nimrod in oregon is making a stink surprises me not. hopefully they will resolve it the right way.
4.24.2008 12:36pm
Aultimer:

aformerpoliceman:

let's be honest here, much of what being a "open" libertarian is about comes down to two things: (1) you want drugs legal so you can use them; (2) you have problems with authority figures.



You may be a former policeman, but you're a present troll.

I'm a libertarian and I'm open about it. The reason is that I believe the market usually does a better job than government of meeting peoples' needs, with the added bonus that libertarian solutions effectively empower people outside the majority views.

I also believe that many in goverment aren't worthy of the trust they're given, but that's not unique to goverment; just uniquely bad for the governed.
4.24.2008 12:45pm
DeezRightWingNutz:

Can anyone inform me where these illegal spots that weren't made for any good reason are? Absent an emergency, I think all no parking spaces are there for a good reason and shouldn't be violated.


The only ones I can think of are snow routes (seasonal and often odd-even no-parking zones) when it's not snowy at that time. Although I suppose you could still make a case for parking there being a safety hazard, since many times cars drive two abreast on city streets and people in the right hand lane don't expect to encounter parked vehicles in no-parking zones.
4.24.2008 12:45pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
Actually, I believe that most cops, like the rest of humanity, are pretty decent people who believe in following the rules and doing the right thing.
Maybe most cops don't personally do the wrong thing, but a much larger number are willing to look the other way when one of their colleagues does the wrong thing. If officers worried that their colleagues would turn them in and hold them accountable, then the minority who are personally dishonest wouldn't act as brazenly as they do.
4.24.2008 12:47pm
with all due respect ...:
Owen, the situation you describe accurately depicts a few places -- New York, Chicago, SF, LA, maybe parts of Boston. It bears no relation to the rest of the country. For the myriad of places I have lived, probably 1/3 of all "no parking" spaces did not involve a "safety risk" or a "major incovenience" to anyone. This includes several medium-sized cities that are close to Portland in population.

You may have difficulty understanding the idea, but some spots are left "no parking" arbitrarily. Others are intentionally made "no parking" to generate revenue for the city or (in at least one of my former abodes) for politically-connected towing companies. Most people reading this blog cringe at the idea of government outlawing otherwise safe behavior for the sole purpose of generating revenue through fines. Alas, the reaction on this blog is not the reaction of many city councilmen.

There are also non-cynical explanations for no parking signs that do not involve safety or inconvenience. In the city where I currently live, there are no parking signs in front of many restaurants downtown because on Friday and Saturday nights, the restaurants themselves need the space open for valet parking. They do not use the spaces at lunchtime during the week. The spaces sit vacant. You may not like it, but an officer parking his car there for 5 minutes while he gets some carry out is not harming anyone. Is this what happen? I don't know, but neither do you. There is nothing in the story Orin links to suggesting any sort of "safety risk" or "major inconvenience" to anyone.
4.24.2008 12:50pm
Noops (mail):
Whit,

Stats can work against you too, even though you've failed to cite any of your "stats."

But really, the reason I find the "response time" argument dubious is information from the Bureau of Justice Statistics. Police love to tout their response times, but in reality the dirty little secret of 911 and emergency reporting is that only about 50% of violent crimes are reported, and the average report time for any crime (according to the Bureau) is about 41 minutes. Even eliminating all theft related crimes the average is over 5 minutes. Fire related crimes are also reported slowly. So really, the response time thing IS bs. I submit that maybe your not very objective on this issue.

Noops
4.24.2008 12:57pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
"Now flip the script and imagine what people would say to this headline: "Fleeing Rapist Escapes Capture As Nearby Cop Sits At Donut Shop."

People would say, "Why was this lazy cop not at his car?!" Yet those same people want cops to be away from their cars. "
Wait a minute, why was this lazy cop not at his car? You can't have it both ways; if one's proximity to one's car is so critical, then perhaps one shouldn't be taking donut breaks while on duty. You act as if the only alternatives are parking far away to get a donut or parking nearby to get a donut. As opposed to, say, not getting a donut.

I mean, I can't tell the judge to stop in the middle of a trial because I feel like getting a snack. (Of course, in most situations during my work day I can go take a break and get a snack -- but then I'm not claiming that my job is so time sensitive in those situations that I ought to be exempt from generally-applicable laws.)

If cops aren't actually treated as off duty while at lunch, then perhaps that's the issue that needs to be examined, rather than the cops being given special privileges.
4.24.2008 12:59pm
alias:
Unless your full name is actually "meh", it's disingenuous for one anonymous commentor to criticize another for not giving out more identifying information.
4.24.2008 1:00pm
John M. Perkins (mail):
Summary:

The cop broke the law and should pay the hefty fine to show respect for the law.

The police department should petition their legislators to change the law to allow an exemption.

The legislators should give some on-duty exemption.
4.24.2008 1:08pm
whit:
"Stats can work against you too, even though you've failed to cite any of your "stats." "

you are the one that made the claim without providing stats. you are of course wrong and you made up your assertion

check the stats. get back to me.
4.24.2008 1:09pm
whit:
"The cop broke the law and should pay the hefty fine to show respect for the law."

he most definitely should not pay the fine. i am hoping that IF he is found responsible (judge could throw it out, etc. as i have seen them do countless time even if the violation technically occurred and assuming it DID technically occur here) the judge will not impose a fine.

if there is a fine imposed any GOOD police union would pay the fine themself and start their lobbyin'!

POWER TO THE PEOPLE!!!
4.24.2008 1:11pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
The cop's job involves the daily risk of getting killed in order to protect people. And lawyers.
The cop's job involves the daily risk of heart attacks from eating too much cholesterol. The cop's job involves the daily risk of paper cuts while filling out paperwork. Getting killed is pretty damn far down on the list of risks that cops face. It isn't a particularly dangerous job. Taxi drivers, for instance, face a much greater risk.

And of the relatively small number of officers killed, a tiny fraction get killed while "protecting people."
4.24.2008 1:13pm
whit:
officers get killed in (relatively) small #'s due in large part to ballistic vests. personally, i have 5 friends who have been shot. 3 were in my 20 man unit. 3 were shot on ONE call. all lived.

so, don't think the risks aren't great.

even in the LA bank robbery shootout, no cops died. but many were seriously wounded.
4.24.2008 1:21pm
KWC2000 (mail):
I am not sure if it requires a certain control-freakish, power-hungry personality to want to become a cop in the first place, or if that is something you develop on the job.

Cops routinely assert their authority unnecessarily, use excessive force, drive and park illegally (with no emergency even plainly in sight), and do all kinds of crazy things to demonstrate that they are "super-human."

As for comments about whether to assert your constitutional rights or not, that's a toughie. The law is the police officers' favor, so if you are innocent, sometimes it is better to comply.

For example, a police officer will ask for "consent" to search your trunk. If you don't give it, they can (and often will) search it anyway. ALl they have to do is come up with some probable cause, which is easy to do, because they fabricate things after the fact.

I mean, the Supreme Court has held that cops can pull you over for ANYTHING (including for the fact that you are black), as long as they can come up with SOME traffic infraction or other minor violation. Doing this is easy because, for one, no one drives the speed limit (you can't in most places and still be safe!) and there are tons of other minor violations that you don't even know you are committing but are.
4.24.2008 1:29pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
You may have difficulty understanding the idea, but some spots are left "no parking" arbitrarily. Others are intentionally made "no parking" to generate revenue for the city or (in at least one of my former abodes) for politically-connected towing companies. Most people reading this blog cringe at the idea of government outlawing otherwise safe behavior for the sole purpose of generating revenue through fines. Alas, the reaction on this blog is not the reaction of many city councilmen.
In either of those cases -- pure arbitrariness or revenue generation -- it's especially important to subject agents of the state to the laws in question.
4.24.2008 1:30pm
KWC2000 (mail):
Whit:

But you yourself conceded that if the officer's break was not his on-duty Code 7, that he was illegally parked, right? So, if it was off-duty, even you concede that he should be fined, right?
4.24.2008 1:34pm
smartazz:
That dude's lucky he didn't get TAZED!
4.24.2008 1:37pm
whit:
"But you yourself conceded that if the officer's break was not his on-duty Code 7,"

no. where do you get that?

i am assuming "code 7" is your term for lunch break.
4.24.2008 1:41pm
whit:
this below post is the PERFECT example of the anti-cop bigotry i was mentioning earlier. nobody can pretend to be least bit objective in asessing case dynamics if they bring such ridiculous prejudiced attitude to a discussion. it's pretty sad.

"I am not sure if it requires a certain control-freakish, power-hungry personality to want to become a cop in the first place, or if that is something you develop on the job.

Cops routinely assert their authority unnecessarily, use excessive force, drive and park illegally (with no emergency even plainly in sight), and do all kinds of crazy things to demonstrate that they are "super-human."

As for comments about whether to assert your constitutional rights or not, that's a toughie. The law is the police officers' favor, so if you are innocent, sometimes it is better to comply.

For example, a police officer will ask for "consent" to search your trunk. If you don't give it, they can (and often will) search it anyway. ALl they have to do is come up with some probable cause, which is easy to do, because they fabricate things after the fact.

I mean, the Supreme Court has held that cops can pull you over for ANYTHING (including for the fact that you are black), as long as they can come up with SOME traffic infraction or other minor violation. Doing this is easy because, for one, no one drives the speed limit (you can't in most places and still be safe!) and there are tons of other minor violations that you don't even know you are committing but are."
4.24.2008 1:43pm
whit:
"In either of those cases -- pure arbitrariness or revenue generation -- it's especially important to subject agents of the state to the laws in question"

no, it's not. cops aren't yer whipping boy. yet another example of how the bigots want to blame cops for every perceived ill that govt. (specifically legislators ) foists upon them.
4.24.2008 1:46pm
Owen (mail):
with all due respect,

For the myriad of places I have lived, probably 1/3 of all "no parking" spaces did not involve a "safety risk" or a "major incovenience" to anyone. This includes several medium-sized cities that are close to Portland in population.

You may have difficulty understanding the idea, but some spots are left "no parking" arbitrarily. Others are intentionally made "no parking" to generate revenue for the city or (in at least one of my former abodes) for politically-connected towing companies.


That hasn't been my experience in the places I've lived. Sure, if you don't look closely, you might not understand why a no parking zone exists, but usually if you take the time to consider all relevant factors (i.e., is the road too narrow for parking on one side?) the no parking zones are there for a reason.

If there are cities throughout the country where this isn't the case, I'd say we need to fix it. However, giving the police cart blanche to park in no parking zones isn't a solution to that problem. If anything, it just encourages disrespect for the police.
4.24.2008 1:58pm
John M. Perkins (mail):
Whit:

Semi-agree.

The cop should pay the fine.

The union should reimburse.

Power to the people.

Cops are people too.
4.24.2008 1:59pm
KWC2000 (mail):
OK, Whit. You said:

(1)

"fwiw, the officer's response is reasonable. when we are on our lunches we are expected/required to reroute for certain priority calls. it is always a consideration how far away we are from our police cars in situations like that.

if the cop was off duty and parked illegally, then no he would not be above the law. but when we go to lunch, we are still on duty. "

(2) The term "Code 7" is used everywhere I have ever known to mean "meal break" (California, New York, Chicago for sure). That you don't know that suggests to me that you are not a real cop. In any event, "lunch break" is inaccurate becuase cops work various different shifts, so the "meal" is not always only lunch.
4.24.2008 2:04pm
whit:
("2) The term "Code 7" is used everywhere I have ever known to mean "meal break" (California, New York, Chicago for sure). That you don't know that suggests to me that you are not a real cop. In any event, "lunch break" is inaccurate becuase cops work various different shifts, so the "meal" is not always only lunch"


you are showing your ignorance (again).

the term in our jurisdiction to go OUT OF SERVICE AT THE END OF SHIFT is 10-7.

code 7 is NOT a meal break

i told you i don't work in california.

jeeez
4.24.2008 2:08pm
whit:
oh, fwiw. i USED to work in hawaii. the code for lunch break there was 10-14. not code 7
4.24.2008 2:10pm
KWC2000 (mail):
Whit:

(1) I don't believe you are a cop.

(2) You still haven't explained the contradiction. As the quotes suggest, you admitted that if this were the end of his shift and he were off-duty (and this was not a meal break) his parking would not be legal.
4.24.2008 2:13pm
whit:
kcw, i don't care what u believe. because u are so ignorant, it would make me uncomfortable IF you believed it, because i clearly would not be presenting good evidence. iow, based on what you otherwise believe, believing the contrary to your assumptions seems to be a safe bet. i should use you as a contrarian stock indicator.

what do you think of NEM?

as to (2) you still miss the point


the on-duty vs. off-duty thang is not an issue of LEGALITY. it's an issue of ReASONABLENESS .

read the frigging post . again.

at least in my agency, until we get out of our police cars at end of shift, we are technically "on duty" since we are in uniform in a marked car, for the purposes of internal affairs (this is precedent).

my point... again.

lunch, whether you call it 10-14, code 7 or whatever is an ON DUTY ACTIVITY. it is also a union protected, federal labor law enforced, activity and is in no way PERSONAL BUSINESS.

cops who are on their lunch are thus (imo) reasonable to park in a no parking zone to pick up their vittles. imo

handicapped zone, i would say not. i would not use that unless it was an inprogress call.
4.24.2008 2:17pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
no, it's not. cops aren't yer whipping boy. yet another example of how the bigots want to blame cops for every perceived ill that govt. (specifically legislators ) foists upon them.
Cops are the government. You may not make policy (Although you do have a great deal of discretion, and in addition cops' unions have far more influence over legislators than average citizens do.), but you're still the enforcement arm of the state.

lunch, whether you call it 10-14, code 7 or whatever is an ON DUTY ACTIVITY. it is also a union protected, federal labor law enforced, activity and is in no way PERSONAL BUSINESS.
Whit, where are you getting this from? You keep citing this "federal labor law," but there is no federal labor law requiring meal breaks. Federal law does require that they pay you if you have duties while on meal break, but that's a different claim than the one you're making. (It does not require that you be paid just because of the mere possibility of recall, though.)

If it's "on duty," it's because that's how the union negotiated it, not because of the law. (But the fact that you're potentially on duty does not mean that it's "in no way personal business." Of course it is. Yes, it's different from an errand that you can conduct on your own time, but it's personal rather than for the benefit of the employer, which is the standard under the FLSA.)
4.24.2008 2:42pm
whit:
"Cops are the government. You may not make policy (Although you do have a great deal of discretion, and in addition cops' unions have far more influence over legislators than average citizens do.), but you're still the enforcement arm of the state. "

and lawyers don't have more influence than the 'average citizen?'

"Whit, where are you getting this from? You keep citing this "federal labor law," but there is no federal labor law requiring meal breaks. Federal law does require that they pay you if you have duties while on meal break, but that's a different claim than the one you're making. (It does not require that you be paid just because of the mere possibility of recall, though.) "

actually, you are correct. it's state law

"½ hour, if work period is more than 5 consecutive hours, to be given not less than 2 hours nor more than 5 hours from beginning of shift. Counted as worktime if employee is required to remain on duty on premises or at a prescribed worksite. Additional ½ hour, before or during overtime, for employees working 3 or more hours beyond regular workday. "

i TOTALLY disagree with you. since we are REQUIRED TO RESPOND, it is ON DUTY and NOT personal business.

we have had issues between union, labor, and internal affairs, etc. and that's an abundantly clear issue.

we are required to keep our police radios ON and be ready to respond (and we frequently do). it is also NOT considered PErsONAL BUSINESS. our dept. manual specifically addresses on duty PERSONAL BUSINESS, and meals are EXCEPTED. they are not considered personal business, because they are not.
4.24.2008 2:48pm
Earnest Iconoclast (mail) (www):
Last time I checked, in Texas, marked emergency vehicles could park "illegally" and were not required to obey a number of traffic laws, with or without lights. So in Texas, he would not have been violating the law by parking in the no parking zone.
4.24.2008 2:58pm
whit:
earnest, sounds reasonable. of course, that's texas, not people's republic of portland.
4.24.2008 3:03pm
hattio1:
Fearless says;

On the other hand, I have some sympathy. It is hard to just switch gears from being confrontational with people you need to be confrontational with, to being polite to those you should be polite with. But, I think police officers should make an extra effort to get this right. I think that good relations between police officers and the community means more support for the police and hopefully better morale and more law and order.


This drives me nuts. This idea here is what makes cops (not all, but waaaay too many) be rude arrogant and unprofessional with people. Fearless is saying that he wants the cops to be "confrontational" when they're dealing with criminals but be polite when they're dealing with citizens. The fact is, absent a weapon or other imminent violence, there's no reason to be confrontational with anyone. Who cares how much the officer "know" that this person is a criminal? They should be polite and respectful to them anyway. There are officers who are always polite to those they are arresting and officers who aren't. The funny thing is, in my experience, the ones who are always polite, don't really think about it as being polite, they're just treating them as people. The one's who aren't polite, make a point to throw in a few please's and thank you's after they were complete asses, and completely deny they were ever impolite.
4.24.2008 3:43pm
whit:
the officers who are polite tend to be MUCH better at their job. simply put, apart from the fact it;s the right thing to do, talking to people with respect tends to get much better results. there are times and place for "profane verbalization" and more extreme verbalization, but they are relatively rare
4.24.2008 4:36pm
hattio1:
Dammit,
I'm agreeing with Whit again.

:)
4.24.2008 9:20pm
plutosdad (mail):
Actually, whit don't police always need to be available whether on-duty or not? The cops I've known say they are always on duty. Sometimes they say that toungue in cheek but, like detectives that drove to the office tell me they are on-duty as soon as they get in their car.

In fact the state police in IL once tried to... not sure if I remember this right but make it so they got paid for the hours they spent driving to work, since often enough they'd end up having to stop to help at an accident before they even got to work.

I am just wondering how far reasonableness can be extended, given that most cops I know feel like they're always supposed to be available 24x7. (I do agree that parking in a handicapped spot is totally different than parking in a no park zone.)

More than anything I am jealous since here if I park illegally and get towed the towing companies bust in our windows and steal anything lying around.
4.25.2008 6:57pm