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Negative Police Interactions: Solved

Updated on February 6, 2017

The Reasons

A situation arises that needs intervention to keep it from escalating further. Someone calls 911 and they dispatch the police, who upon arriving quickly attempt to ascertain if a crime has been committed based on the laws they have been charged with enforcing. There are only innocent people at the scene and everyone has an opinion on the problem and the required resolution. In another scenario, an officer witnesses a traffic violation and attempts to pull the vehicle over. This can turn into a simple traffic stop or a drawn-out pursuit.

Ultimately the responding officer(s) have to decide if there was, or is, a crime and how to proceed. Force may be required to bring the situation under control and ultimately a ticket issued or an arrest. All of this can happen in the matter of seconds or take hours through which police officers have to make judgments and act based on current circumstances.

The Gripe

Those negatively affected by the decisions of the officers may, and most often will, maintain their innocence claiming ignorance or lack of ownership. If there was force required, those affected will claim compliance and excessive use of force. All of this leads to accusations of brutality, profiling, racism, and illegal search and seizure.

The Problem

The problem simply put is flawed humans on both sides of the equation. We learn at a young age that if mom or dad did not see us, then lying can get us out of trouble. As adults we learn to use someone's mistake against them to gain an advantage. With practice we learn that a small infraction can be overlooked if another one can be brought into focus.

Another part of our flawed nature is uncontrolled emotions with anger causing the most trouble. We are taught to control our anger, but that is easier said than done in some circumstances. I am sure that everyone as an example in their own life where frustration has led you to say or do something you regret.

The Reality

In the case of a police officer that pulls you over, they are most likely meeting you for the first time. When the officer asks you if you know why you are being stopped do you answer with the truth? Yes officer, I was making a conscious decision to speed and I would have slowed down if I had saw you. I doubt it. Our response is usually playing dumb or making an excuse to avoid a ticket.

The daily routine of a police officer involves interactions with people who want to escape punishment. Some of those individuals are willing to use violence to get away and the police officer has no idea which ones they are.

Officers are required to follow rules of engagement and are trained to approach situations so that those rules can be followed for the safety of everyone involved. If the person being asked to comply with reasonable requests does not comply in a civil manner tensions can rise and regrettable actions can ensue.

The Solution

The best way to prevent confrontations with police officers is refrain from activities that require them to engage with you. Obey traffic laws, and do not steal, hit, destroy property or disturb the peace. If you find yourself having committed one of these infractions, take ownership of the fact your actions required the police to respond and follow the officer’s instructions. I bet there will be no need for anyone to get physical.

If you have had a negative interaction with police, was it due to your actions? (Be honest with yourself.)

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