The following has been posted on dozens of other websites with no attribution
other than that it's from an email forum on the "Californian" (with the exception of one
Canadian Website that attributed it to a forum on the "Toronto
Police Services board"). If this is copyrighted material I will give proper credit or
remove it at the request of the owner.
Subject: Police Harassment
Recently, Californian ran an e-mail forum (a question and answer exchange)
where the topic was "Policing the Community." One of the civilian email
participants posed the following question:
"I would like to know how it is possible for police
officers to continually harass people and get away with it?"
From the "other side" (the law enforcement
side), a cool cop with a sense of humor replied:
It is not easy. In California we average one cop for every
2,000 people. About 60% of those cops are on patrol, where we do most of the
harassing. One-fifth of that 60% are on duty at any given moment and are
available for harassing people.
So, one cop is responsible for harassing about 10,000
residents. When you toss in the commercial, business and tourist locations that
attract people from other areas, sometimes you have a situation where a
single cop is responsible for harassing 20,000 or more people each day.
A ten-hour shift runs 36,000 seconds. This gives a cop one
second to harass a person, and three-fourths of a second to eat a donut AND
then find a new person to harass.
This is not an easy task. Most cops are not up to it, day in
and day out. It is just too tiring. What we do is utilize some tools to
help us narrow down those people which we harass. They are as follows:
PHONE: People will call us up and point out things that cause
us to focus on a person for special harassment. "My neighbor is beating
his wife" is a code phrase we use. Then we come out and give special harassment.
Another popular one on a weeknight is, "The kids next door are having a
CARS: We have special cops assigned to harass people who
drive. They like to harass the drivers of fast cars, cars blasting music, cars
with expired registration stickers and the like. It is lots of fun when you
pick them out of traffic for nothing more obvious than running a red light.
Sometimes you get to really heap the harassment on when you find they have
drugs in the car, are driving drunk, or they have an outstanding warrant.
RUNNERS: Some people take off running just at the sight of a
police officer. Nothing is quite as satisfying as running after them like a
beagle on the scent of a bunny. When you catch them you can usually harass them
CODES: When you can think of nothing else to do, there are
books that give ideas for reasons to harass folks. They are called
"Codes" -- Penal, Vehicle, Health and Safety, Business and Professional
Codes, to name a few. They spell out all sorts of things for which you can really
mess with people.
After you read the code, you can just drive around for a while
until you find someone violating one of these listed offenses and harass
them. Just last week I saw a guy smash a car window. Well, the code says
that is not allowed. That meant I got permission to harass this guy. It is
a pretty cool system that we have set up, and it works pretty well.
We seem to have a never-ending supply of folks to harass. And
we get away with it. Why? Because the good citizens who pay the tab
actually like the fact that we keep the streets safe for them.
Next time you are in my town, give me a single finger wave.
That will be a signal that you wish for me to take a little closer look at
you, and then maybe I'll find a reason to harass YOU.
Looking forward to meeting you!
spent a lot of my money on booze, birds and fast cars. The rest I
The late George
the latest news on our most recent short film,
City of Dreams (formerly The
Lost City of New York) is a short film, written and directed by yours truly.
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