When I was a kid, my parents always taught me to respect police officers. We would wave at them when we saw them at the store or on the streets downtown, and my parents always liked to go up and talk to them, in hopes that I wouldn’t be scared of them. The goal was to make me more comfortable with the police — but that didn’t mean I didn’t cry the one time my parents got pulled over (and they weren’t even in trouble).
Cops have a difficult job. They don’t get to make people’s days — in fact, a lot of times, they end up ruining them. They have to be the bearer of bad news after accidents. They have to enforce laws that they sometimes don’t even agree with. Often, we forget that cops are people too. They are like school principals that deal with adults, and if you’ve ever seen a classmate talk back to an administrator, you know how challenging of a job this can be.
Interacting with the police is always a tricky situation. You’re battling emotions of anger and embarrassment, but trying to keep your cool. It’s stressful, but if you follow these tips, your experience will go a lot smoother.
If you get pulled over while driving, remember that almost all police cars have dashboard cameras and most officers have body cameras on them. It’s really difficult to argue that you didn’t run that red light when they have a video of you doing it. Furthermore, don’t forget that the officer doesn’t want to keep you there any longer than they have to. They’re in danger, standing on the side of the road next to your car: they’ll be more than happy to make it a quick talk.
Your best bet here is to just be respectful and accept the consequences of your actions. If you truly feel that you were wrongly cited, you have the chance to go to court and argue your case, so there’s no need to argue with the officer (and you don’t want him to tack on another ticket on top of the one you already have because he’s annoyed with you).
Perhaps, the situation is a little more severe than a speeding ticket. In these cases, respect remains vital. Try to stay calm when you explain the situation to the officer. If you relax and speak to them the same way you’d speak to your boss, depending on the circumstances, things may work out in your favor in the end.
You never want to make an officer (or any other person) feel as if they are in danger. If you pull a gun or other weapon on them, or otherwise become violent, this is when the officers are welcome to defend themselves. Oftentimes, there’s no reason to become hostile with the police: they’re usually just trying to help you out and keep their community safe.
So don’t be afraid to smile and greet cops you see on the street: they’re people, too! Overall, you want to respect the men and women that keep our communities safe. They may have annoyed you, or ruined your day, but you never know — one day, that officer could be the person that saves your life.