Last night I got a phone call from my wife with the strangest news. Seems that on her way home after picking her brother up from work she was driving along, obeying the speed limit, (my wife is very paranoid about getting a ticket, so she is a very careful driver, which is good), when a Yellowstone County gumball machine flew up behind her and hit the jackpot. (She got pulled over by a deputy sheriff, for all the non-truckers out there)
The deputy walked up to the car and asked for the usual, (license, registration, proof of insurance, for all the brown nosers out there). He told her that the reason he pulled her over was because her rear license plate light was out. (this is an age old tactic, when a cop tells you that he pulled you over for a rear license plate light, what he's really saying is "I wanted an excuse to check you out for something else, and you weren't doing a damn thing wrong so I had to come up with something really lame so I could pull you over and hassle you") She told him that her driver's license was in her purse, which was in the trunk, but she would be happy to get it for him, he told her to just stay in the car. She was so nervous that she was unable to find her insurance card fast enough for the nice officer, he told her that was ok. ??? Do they have some way to verify that you have insurance now, is insurance no longer required, am I a dumbass for forking out all of that money for insurance if nobody cares whether you have it or not?
He then asked to see her brother's ID, he didn't have it on him, the nice officer said that was OK, but he needed his name. ??? Since when do cops check out passengers without probable cause? The deputy then went back to his car and run my wife's name and the registration on my car, then came back and asked who the person was who's name was on the registration, that would be me. She said it was her husband, duh. (She didn't say duh, but come on, woman driving car, man's name on registration, both have the same last name, woman is wearing a wedding ring, now we know why he hasn't made detective.)
After doing all the necessary bullshit that cops do, he gave her a WRITTEN warning, (for a license plate light? WTF!), and told her to go on home.
Now's where the story gets fishy. Now remember, when my wife suggested getting out and getting her purse the cop would have no part of it. When she got home the first thing she did was walk around back of the car and check the lights, the license plate lights were working, both of them. She called me and told me the story last night so when I got home from work I went straight to the car and turned on the lights, both license plate lights fully operational. To add insult to injury there was another interesting little detail that I noticed, the license plate lights on my car are nothing but two little clear windows on the inside edges of the taillights. In order for the license plate lights to be out, both taillights would have had to have been out as well. If you're wondering why the hell a cop wouldn't have been a little more concerned about a car with no taillights than a car with no rear license plate lights, then you're wondering the same thing as me. The reason is simple, they were working just fine.
Now I have no problem with cops stopping cars to check if the driver is drinking if they have probable cause, last night was a holiday, and I'm sure that there was a lot of partying going on. But just do me a favor OK? Don't make up bullshit stories and give my wife a written warning for something she didn't do. Now it'll be just my luck, since that warning goes on file I'm sure, that next week a light will go out on that car and won't get noticed right away and we'll wind up getting a ticket for it, even though I'm probably one of about 5 people in town that actually check their damn lights on a regular basis and fix any that don't work immediately.
As long as I've lived in this area I've had an excellent relationship with the Yellowstone County Sheriff's Department, I've talked with many of the Deputies and in my opinion they are an excellent organization, but this is making me question that.
I don't mean to act paranoid here but the funny thing is, neither I nor my wife have ever been pulled over before for no reason at all, and we've lived here for years. All of the Deputies that work this area have to know my vehicles, unless they're all on the "do not promote to detective" list like officer Sherlock. I will give him the benefit of the doubt in case he mistook her for someone else, there is another car around here that is almost identical to mine that is frequently seen traveling a little faster than the posted speed limit, but if he was a little more observant he would know that mine has a couple of distinct characteristics that the other one doesn't have.
So tell me, why the heck was this guy hassling my wife? Let's see if this becomes a trend, or if officer Dick Tracy was just hoping my wife was on her way home from Krispy Kreme and was feeling generous. I support the local law enforcement, I always have, my problems with the government are just that, problems with the government. I have always held the opinion that people that get mad at cops for writing them tickets are idiots. Cops don't make the laws, but it is their job to enforce them, whether they or you like the laws or not. I can be one of the best friends that a cop could have, or I can also go straight to the top and see to it that officer Storyteller's life becomes more difficult than it is right now. I don't want to do that, but I know my rights and I will if I have to.
Cops must be getting really lazy, didn't they used to smash a taillight first and then give you a ticket for having a taillight out? Seems like I saw that in a movie once. ;)