Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Florida Highway Patrol

I was returning from vacation and stopped on Daniels Parkway to refuel and grab some breakfast.When getting back on the road I realized I missed the Northbound exit for 75. I went a bit further and made a U-turn. Neither my passenger or I saw a "No U Turn" sign. Well apparently one was there because as soon as I made the turn an FHP officer pulled me over. He approached the passenger side of the car and asked if I was "Mary" My heart sank for a moment because I thought something had happened to a family member while on vacation and they were looking for me. Fortunately, I thought, the officer just wanted to know why I made a U turn there. I stated I was sorry but I didn't see the sign. Well that set him off on a unnecessary tirade. He immediately threatened to suspend my license and make me get recertified. I apologized again but explained I had missed my exit and all that. He again said "Tell me why I shouldn't suspend your license?" I didn't know what to say. Apparently whatever I say was wrong. He asked where I lived, where I was coming from and when my passenger answered one of the question he shot out "Just the driver." After handing him my documentation he went to his car. I continued to try to see the sign and at one point took a bite of my breakfast. I saw him motion for me to come back to his car. I got on on the busy street and walked back. He said He wanted to discuss this away from my passenger. He didn't know who he was. REALLY???? He again asked why I made the turn. The answer was the same. He also made the statement that if he was going on a call and I did that what do I think would happen. I thought to myself, but refrained from saying, if you were on a call your lights should have been on. Just an aside, when I spoke to his superior and told him this his reply was well you don't pay attention to signs why would you pay attention to lights?" SERIOUSLY??? Do you guys do chest bumps and drink Red Bull before your shift just so you can be as arrogant as possible? Well to continue I asked him to show me where the sign was and went to put my hand on his door which was separating us. I must have touched him because he jumped back, place his hand to his side and accused me of assault and said "Are you frieking kidding me?" He again said he would suspend my license, told me I was a horrible person for coming back to his car while eating. Then he threw the warning and my license at me and shouted "Get out of here." I did. Now I realize police have a tough job, sometimes. I think I know why though. Why do they act like pompous asses when someone is not provoking them? Is this perhaps why many people have no respect for law enforcement? Its a real problem that they amplify with jerk-like behavior. I realize I should have let it go but being an elementary school teacher I try to make everything a teachable moment. I learned not to even bother to answer the officer just hand them my information. I will no longer open myself up for the abuse I took from a man trying to prove he has power. He can find someone else to pick on and I hope for his sake they don't take a shot at him. The reality is, he was trying to either provoke me or make me cry. I'm too old and experienced to fall for that however. I just wanted to apologize and get home to my father, son and dog. I really believe he needs to have this incident on his record however. The needs to be documentation of his prior bad acts. If he reacts this way when someone is trying to be nice I am afraid some day he will shoot an innocent person or even a dog because he is either paranoid or just psychotic. I did go on Google Earth and see the sign although it was behind a tree, turned sideways and partially blocked by the one way sign. I can honestly state this officer had no desire to be courteous, protect or serve. I wish him luck in the future but feel he will end up causing harm to someone with no justification. I did report it to his superior but he thought I was "reading too much into it." No sir, I just wanted to let you know at least one of your officers behaved inappropriately during routine traffic stops and needs to learn to be polite.