The Truth About Cops: A Retired Police Officer's Answers to All Your Burning Questions

Tim Dees

Politik & Gesellschaft

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I have a head full of information, not all of which is useful. It bothers me that the lyrics for Yummy, Yummy, Yummy, I've Got Love in My Tummy are taking up room that could be occupied by something more life-relevant. Still, I've often found myself the person people come to when they want to know something, but aren't sure where to find it, and I enjoy providing that service. Quora is a great outlet for people like me. I stumbled on the site a little more than a year ago, and almost 600 answered questions later, there's enough material for a book.

Law enforcement is a passion for me, not for the power trip or the adrenaline rush, but because it can be a truly noble vocation when done right. People depend on law enforcement officers to protect them from predators, see that the bad guys are held to account for their acts, and establish order out of chaos. The authority that cops have is a sacred public trust. Most officers carry out their duties proudly and honorably, but there will always be a few who abuse that trust. The short essays here are about both sides of that issue.

These answers are also about separating some of the myths of police work from the reality. There have been so many dramatic depictions of law enforcement, some of them very realistic and others that seem realistic, that people tend to believe they know how cops work and why they do what they do. Here, I've tried to give you the straight scoop, knowledge accumulated from my own experience and from knowing cops from all over the country and the world. Some of it isn't flattering, but otherwise it wouldn't be honest.

I hope you enjoy and benefit from these insights into police work.

Tim Dees


Is It TRUE That Parking Patrol Officers Can NOT Stop Writing A Ticket Once They Have Started?

Some agencies do in fact have a policy that an officer, police, parking or otherwise, can't discard a citation once they have started writing it. Virtually all of them have some process for voiding a citation issued in error once the citation has been issued, but this process is carefully monitored to prevent abuse.

Absent a monitored process, the system is easily manipulated. Someone makes a call to a person in the police department who has influence, and that person contacts the officer who issued the ticket. They persuade the officer to void the ticket. If the voided ticket appears to be correct in format, e.g. license plate matches the vehicle description, violation is appropriate for that location, etc. then whoever is in charge of reviewing the voided citations is supposed to follow up and find out if the citation was voided for a legitimate reason or as a favor to someone.

Most of the time, when the issuing officer has started the citation form (and many of them are generated via handheld computer these days) and the violator runs up and asks them to stop, the violation is legitimate, and the officer has already looked around for the driver of the vehicle. The typical complaint is "but I was just gone for a minute" (which may or may not be true). In any event, there is seldom a provision in the law for parking there for a minute-you aren't supposed to park there at all.

So, in short, it's usually true that the officer is not supposed to stop once they have begun issuing the citation.

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