Let me first say this.
For the most part, the people I deal with are pretty nice. Most of my calls involve normal people who crash into each other and they’re happy to see an officer. And almost everyone says thank you when I give him or her a card with the report number.
When it comes to having a vehicle impounded, they’re still pretty nice despite the circumstances. They may be upset, but they still hold it together.
They already know they’re in the wrong in the first place for being unlicensed or having a suspended license. It’s pretty cut and dry. Either you have a license or you don’t. There’s not much to debate there.
I wanted to share an unusual call from last Friday night. It was actually more than unusual. It was downright ridiculous. Let me start by giving the facts about the crash.
— A woman made a left turn in front of another vehicle and the two collided. The woman was clearly at fault, but she was upset at the other woman. The best quote up until that point was, “Can’t a person make a left turn without someone hitting them?”
— She didn’t have car insurance
— She recently purchased the car, but it wasn’t in her name yet.
— Her license was suspended for failure to appear.
— Her failure to appear was for an insurance ticket.
— She moved twice and never notified the DMV of her address change.
— The other driver was transported to the hospital by ambulance.
When it came to driving a car, she was pretty much wrong in every possible category. So, I really didn’t think there was going to be problem when I told her the vehicle was being impounded.
Boy, was I wrong.
The first thing the driver told me was I was being racist. That’s when she yelled out, “It’s Ferguson all over again,” as she waved her arms around. It went downhill from there. Her performance was more Golden Globe than Academy Award.
I couldn’t help but laugh inside at how dumb she sounded.
From there the drama was non-stop while we waited for the tow truck. She yelled and screamed for about 20 minutes. I was surprised she didn’t take a water break at some point.
Her behavior was so over the top it left me shaking my head in disbelief. I was really happy we had the body cameras rolling for this spectacle.
At one point, she actually bent over and yelled into the camera like a crazy woman.
Who does that?
Then her mom showed up and it started all over again. Nothing like having the mother of a 29-year-old woman show up at a collision scene and call you a racist, too.
The show was finally over when the tow truck left with her car.
It’s still hard to believe she compared her irresponsibility and the impounding of her car to the events that occurred last year in Ferguson, Mo.
I understand she only saw the badge. I wasn’t a person, a father, a husband or a minority to her. I was just a cop.
I didn’t get my feelings hurt or even take anything personally. It’s sometimes part of the job to deal with people like that, and there’s nothing I can do that will ever change her mind.
There’s one big difference between she and me.
The difference is I don’t see all citizens as jerks like she sees all cops.
I just see them as regular people that call the police for help. Every once in a while a jerk is thrown in there just to make things interesting, though.
She will forever live in her close-minded world. She will only see the badge and never see the person behind it. That’s OK, because there are plenty of nice people out there who still make this job worth doing.
I only tell this story to show how crazy, irrational and downright dumb some people can act when they’re mad at the police.
One closing thought.
Go pound sand, lady. I’m still proud to put that badge on and help people.
Editor’s Note: John Roman is a traffic officer for an Orange County police agency who writes a blog, Badge 415 (badge415.wordpress.com/). His posts focus on the human side of police work and safety tips. Roman, a cop for 20 years, has handled more than 5,000 accidents as a collision investigator. behindthebadgeoc.com will share some of his columns