Police ordered to pull over people doing nothing wrong

AV says: Apparently cops in a town in California have been told find people who are doing absolutely nothing wrong, force them to pullover and 'reward' them with $5 gift certificates to Starbucks.
Motorists may be in for a surprise if they spot flashing red lights in their rearview mirrors in this Sacramento suburb during the holiday season.

Police are stopping law-abiding motorists and rewarding their good driving with $5 Starbucks gift cards.

A traffic officer came up with the idea to "promote the holiday spirit and enhance goodwill between the traffic unit and the motoring public," police Sgt. Tim Curran said.



  1. This will turn out to be one of the worst PR debacles, if someone reacts poorly to being pulled over for no reason. Especially if they hate Starbucks…

  2. can we sue them for making us shit our pants?
    Will they be able to search our cars to see if we’ve been naughty or nice?
    Will evidence be admissible?
    What if we’re Black?
    Or atheist?
    What if we are late for a very important meeting, say, a job interview or a birth?
    can we just tell them to fuck off without being harassed?

  3. So, you miss your flight or you’re late for work, but at least you can enjoy a festive holiday vente latte!

  4. Okay, suppose I don’t WANT the $5 gift certificate, and getting where I’m going without interruption is worth more than $5 to me? This is a poor idea for establishing goodwill, imo.

    It also stinks of bypassing the probable cause for an initial traffic stop. Will the “law-abiding citizens” be racially profiled?

  5. We wasted your tax dollars on overpriced coffee, a beverage you may not even drink, made you late for wherever you were going, all to celebrate a holiday you may not want anything to do with.

    Happy holidays!

  6. John at #2: “What if we’re black” is a very good question indeed. This “free gifts” idea is a tailor-made excuse for “randomly” pulling people over for no reason.

    “I don’t pull people over for driving while black! I just happen to find that black people really like coffee!”

    Starbucks will put a stop to this in a nanosecond once they find out. No company on this Earth, except perhaps weapons companies, wants their product associated with the cop that just pulled you over.

  7. This happened to a friend’s father. He was pulled over and given an order to appear at the police station. He was absolutely terrified, but then when he arrived at the station, they had a little ‘party’ for him and gave him a commendation for his driving. I don’t remember what all they gave him, though I recall it was a token sum of money and — I think — a miniature flag.

    This was in Saudi Arabia and my friend’s father was on a foreign work visa.

  8. This is NOT a legal practice. The 4th Amendment to the Constitution prevents the cops from seizing you or your property without probable cause or a warrant. For traffic stops, there is a lesser standard than required by the 4th, but you still need to be doing something wrong. So-called “Terry stops” allow a cop to stop you (in your car or on the street) as long as they have “reasonable suspicion” that you’re involved in a crime. Without suspicion of a crime, they can only stop you if you’ve committed some sort of traffic violation.


    (sorry for the legal lesson, i’m a 2nd yr law student who just finished studying for Criminal Procedure)

  9. heaven help the black atheist who just shit himself.
    How come we all respect the regular old boys in blue but the police chief or sheriff is always such a total moron? Is it written in the job description that you have to come up with really stupid ideas every year?
    They’re going to get sued and I hope it’s a black atheist….wait a minute….They’re not going to give coffee to a black person! Damn, I hate it when the system works!

  10. IANAL, but all the published stop-and-search documents from the EFF and ACLU that I’ve read seemed to me to delineate just how illegal this procedure is.

    #’s 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 9, & 11: RIGHT ON.

  11. Ye Gods people, They are TRYING to do something nice. and NOT with taxpayer money… Give them a break and accept it as just that…an attempt to be nice to people.

  12. Congratulations, Jack W.! You’re proof that there is an apologist for every police action, no matter how inappropriate.

  13. I agree with most of the other posters. I would consider being pulled over for anything other than a violation of the law harrassment and a gift card would not change that. This might be different if cops in my city were mandated to be keepers of the peace, interested in being as friendly and force averse as possible. Instead, cops in my city are infused with federal money and military equipment, and are on a mandate to be strict punishers of crime and not to be disobeyed for any reason.

    If they want to reward good driving, hire less cops and charge less in taxes.

    Vote Ron Paul!

  14. a childhood friend of mine became a state trooper in michigan. He was shot when he pulled someone over on a routine stop.

    boosting the numbers of routine stops for bullshit reasons is just going to put more officers in danger. Hope my sisters dept doesn’t get any ideas like this. Flint Michigan is not the place to pull over people who may have done something wrong that you don’t know about.

  15. If they want to send us gift cards for being good drivers, take a pic with the redlight cam and mail it to us, since we know they can do that.

  16. It’s blatantly obvious that the sole purpose of this is to be able to pull people over for no reason to check them out. Constitutional? I think it shouldn’t be, but I honestly don’t know. I’m sure it will get litigated soon enough.

    I didn’t take CrimPro; if an officer comes to your door and says, “Hi, I’m officer so-and-so. I’m just taking this opportunity to introduce myself; it’s a public relations thing. Nice to meet–hey, is that marijuana I smell? Step outside and put your hands on the wall,” what result? (assuming that he really did smell marijuana).

  17. thnk t’s grt t rwrd ppl fr gd drvng. f gt plld vr, wld gldly ccpt $5 vchr. nyn wh wld s th cty r wst tm tryng t nlyz th lglty f gvng smn fr cff nds t gt lf. hv sn ths typ f prmtn dn n th pst n thr cts nd t hs lwys bn wrmly rcvd. Kds t th plc fr tkng th tm t d smthng nc fr gd drvrs.

  18. When we lived in NY, my father was once pulled over for avoiding gridlock by not pulling into the intersection. The cop handed him a “Gridlock Buster” award signed by the major (Koch?). Attached was a single subway token.

    Luckily, he was not in a rush at the time.

    I would be pissed.

  19. What would the legal ramifications be if someone refused to pull over, resulting in a low-speed police chase? If a cop saw something illegal in the car of a “good” driver, would such a find be supported by the law or fall under unwarranted search and seizure? Doesn’t rewarding good drivers discriminate against citizens that don’t own cars?

    This may end up creating some interesting work for the ACLU, methinks.

  20. #14: Jack, I’m having a very difficult time buying that you believe what you’re saying.

    It’s incomprehensible to me that you could actually not understand why people would be pissed off by this.

  21. yeah, I hate starbucks. how about 5 bucks off your next DUI! Sheesh, America is definitely become a corporate controlled police state.

  22. On reflection, I can see where they might be coming from. Rewarding good driving makes sense. But the approach is so wrong-headed – pulling people over? Giving them an item of dubious utility? Shilling for a corporate sponsor? Clearly they started with a good idea and bashed it in the head until they came up with this.

  23. Know what would enhance goodwill between the traffic unit and me? Not pulling me the hell over.

    You’d think that would be bloody fucking obvious.

  24. I remember being funneled into one of those drunk driving checkpoints a few years ago. The cops gave me a bag full of MADD schwag. It was *so* worth it to be delayed on my way home from work.

  25. @NE2D
    Depends on where it is. If it’s the door to your house, then its ok because its just a “threshold inquiry.” He can knock on your door to ask for donations for the policeman’s ball, and if you open the door, he can conduct a threshold inquiry, which is basically looking/smelling through your doorway for anything that could create probable cause to search/arrest you.

    If your car is parked in public, then he can come up to you and ask what’s going on without any prerequisites. That’s because there’s a lowered expectation of privacy in cars. If he sees/smells something that creates reasonable suspicion, he can order you out of the car and frisk you for weapons as part of a Terry stop. He could also search the interior of the car, but he would be limited to the areas within your immediate reach (no trunk, probably not underneath the back seats).

    If you’re driving the car and he pulls you over to introduce himself, he would need a valid basis for the stop. His three options are reasonable suspicion, probable cause, or some traffic violation (including expired registration, tail light out, blinker left on too long). He can’t just stop you to say hi. If he does, the stop is invalid, and anything that he finds would be inadmissible under the exclusionary rule (even if it’s in plain view).

  26. Zman,
    So I guess this really is just an extremely ill-conceived attempt at public relations–I forgot to not attribute to malice that which can be explained by stupidity.

    Thanks and good luck on finals.

  27. What happens when the person they pick to pull over turns out to have an outstanding warrant and kicks off a high speed chase? This is a stupid idea on all fronts.

  28. I smell a decrease in apparent DWBs and an increase in pulling over black drivers to “reward” them. Since both sorts of stops should result in roughly the same conviction rates I can’t see how anyone could disapprove. {[(/sarcarm)]}

    Yes, I’ll grant for NE2D’s sake that this could be incompetance, I’m putting my $.05 down in favor of malice.

    I think it’s clearly an attempt to allow the officers to continue to pull people over on no-cause while providing just enough judicial “cause” that anything they discover is admissable. In other words, just a way to pull someone over for DWB without having to fill out a stop form where the driver’s race could be noted and patterns of racial harrassment validated.


  29. I’m with deejayqueue and maxximoo – mailing the cards would be SO much better. It’s freaking scary to be pulled over by the police, not to mention you hope that nobody sees you – having to explain away when your nosy neighbor saw you pulled over…

  30. I got a $5 ($10?) gift certificate to Ben & Jerry’s back in college for being a considerate driver. Campus Safety pulled into the parking lot behind me, walked over, thanked me, and gave me the card. Pretty nice, I thought, but then again I didn’t get pulled over en route to somewhere.

  31. I recall something like this in Toronto years ago, in another guise but actually working to the content of everyone. Around holiday, cops would post at major freeway entrances and stop everyone to check for impaired drivers, aka the RIDE program. Essentially they ask you roll down your window and say Hi and that you had no drinks, they sniff your breath, and you’re free to go. If you’re all clear, they also gift you a frozen turkey or ham from the trunk of their car. Needless to say, I spent a lot of time looking for RIDE stops on the way home around holiday season.

  32. You have to feel for the cops on this one. All they want to do is reward people for being good citizens.
    On the other hand, it’s quite apparent just how oblivious they are to the effect they have on said good citizens when they roll-up behind them with the lights flashing. In most people’s minds, getting pulled-over is never a sign of good things to come. Doubly-so if you honestly were doing nothing wrong.

    It’s sad when a nice idea is so wrongly enacted.

  33. It seems like it it would make more sense to simply note the license number and mail the darn thing to them, with a commendation certificate. I agree that physically pulling someone over to give them an award isn’t a very good idea.

  34. trmbl whn th plc pll m vr. gt scrd whn ppl try t gv m fr cpns; thnk my rghts r bng vltd whn tht hppns. Dn’t cll m sssy-pnts r ‘ll ht y wth my prs. Plcmn r scry nd thy dn’t d nythng gd. n fct, bt thy r nly pllng m vr bcs f my skn clr, nt bcs ‘m gd drvr. wsh my mmmy wld wrp m p n bbbl-wrp bfr sndng m t nt ths scry, scry wrld. vryn s t t gt m. *snffl, snffl, whmpr*

  35. Studies have shown one of the best ways to lower crime rates is for citizens to have a better relationship with local officers.

    This appears to just be a good will gesture.

    On the other hand, police terrify me and their mere presence behind has almost caused me to get into an accident since I am constantly (and illogically) casting fearful glances backward. So while I respect the intent of this measure… this is not the to increase good will towards the police department. Perhaps someone should suggest the mailing idea to them as an alternative and hope they get it?

    Note: My area hosts a large number of “Men in Blue” events, where locals get free stuff and the police help run the events, and talking with officers at these events is the only reason I really have any respect or liking for the police at all – so good will gestures are definitely a good thing, if they’re done well.

  36. @ELGUAPO138:

    I understand your reaction. My reaction might have been somewhat similar before I went to law school.

    The problem isn’t with the coffee. It’s that the cops are intruding upon your life, taking up your time, for no constitutionally valid reason.

    Suppose you’re heading to an important business meeting. If you’re late for this, you’re going to lose your job; no ifs and or buts. Would you still feel OK about a cop stopping you to “give you a free coffee”?

    Built into the First and Fourth Amendments is a right to privacy. The government is prohibited from screwing with you in any way without a valid reason. To establish a governmental violation of your right to privacy in court, you don’t have to prove that you were harmed by it; the unwarranted violation of your constitutional right IS the harm.

    Look at it this way: What if the police tried to do this “by the book” and get warrants to detain people in order to give them Starbucks cards? There is no freaking way any honest magistrate in the country would approve such a warrant.

  37. If I were the cop, I’d keep the giftcards for myself and skip the pulling people over for nothing part.

  38. “Hello Citizen. Here is a gift card. And a reminder that you are not in control. We are. This time we are being ‘kind’ to you. Be on your way. Happy Holidays, Citizen.”

  39. They considered that, Garbanzo… unfortunately, Starbucks doesn’t have the right kind of donuts.

  40. I appreciate this gesture by the police, but I don’t have time for such pleasantries.

    The next time an officer tries to pull me over, I will simply keep driving.

    How could refusing an unwanted gift be wrong?

  41. (Just a note about the cops at door of home sniffing MJ — in Canada, that sniff is a search and unconstitutional. Generally, you need a warrant to knock on a door to obtain evidence from the inhabitants. Good country, eh? [See R v. Evans, 1996, SCC])

  42. Instead of pulling people over, they should randomly select people stopped at a red light and mail them the gift certificates, like they mail tickets when you blow the light.

  43. Good intentions do pave the path to hell. I can see the cops thinking that this is a good thing, a way to reach out to the community, develop better relationships and such, but doing it by peeing all over the 4th Amendment is just nonsense.

    There’s something profoundly creepy about police rewarding people for simply obeying the law. You should be a considerate driver because it’s the right thing to do, not because you might win a cup of over-sugared coffee.

  44. Mental note: Avoid driving in Rancho Cordova whenever possible.

    Yes, I like to place my mental notes in conspicuous public forums. Thanks for your attention, now please continue about your business

  45. what if i was driving, perfectly, while all the same rolling a doobie (let’s pretend I am the Dude for a moment), and the police stopped me to give me a gift certificate, would I get busted?

  46. How about they just send the certificate with the car registration if we haven’t had a ticket all year?

    Much more polite.

  47. Crash. while i agree with the sentiment, i think you miss the point. What if we go back to the police knocking on your door to hand you the prize, and then smell the pot.

    you have to have boundries that police cannot cross or they will exploit them.

    its like when an actual criminal didn’t get read his miranda rights, or they obtained the evidence illegally and its dismissed. sucks because the guy was guilty and the truth is dismissed. but you can’t give cops a free pass on that stuff because it will be abused.

    If 56 can get the ticket for a dwi then offers can pull anyone over at any time with no reason, just to check, and if they’ve done nothing wrong… they get a gift card.

  48. The article says flashing RED lights. I wonder if the cops can flash only the reds, not the blues?

    I guess it doesn’t matter…you have to pull to the side of the road for any emergency vehicle with lights on, such as an ambulance or fire truck that don’t have blue lights.

    But if I saw a non-firetruck/non-ambulance vehicle with no blue lights, I might pull to the side and let them pass, but not come to a complete stop and wait for someone to come to my window. There are impostors out there looking for easy carjacking, you have to be careful.

  49. I say it all depends on the size of the gift :)
    Being red lighted for a Starbucks coupon is just, well…aggravating.
    A free pass to a local museum would be a much better option…
    Nevertheless, it remains to me a cheap manoeuvre to buy our affection for all the abuses we have to endure…

  50. @ #56/57

    Actually dude, no dice. The cop could arrest you and charge you with possession/DWI, but the charges wouldn’t stick. The exclusionary rule would prevent any evidence that resulted from an illegal stop from being admitted against you. Assuming that the stop was made purely on the basis of giving you a gift card, anything that results from it is the fruit of the poisonous tree, and must be kept out.

    I know it sucks that “bad guys” get off, but it’s our system, and it’s actually pretty damn sweet. I would much rather live in a country where the cops get punished for not following the rules, than one where every single “bad guy” gets punished and the cops have no rules.

  51. If my local police wanted my goodwill in this joyful holiday season, they’d station a patrol car at turnoffs like the FDR-to-Brooklyn Bridge exit, and ticket every driver who forcibly cuts into the exit line from the center lane in order to avoid waiting in the slow-moving right-hand exit lane.

    The New Jersey patrolmen could put a couple of unmarked cars and some traffic cones right where the Holland Tunnel spur of the NJ Turnpike meets its first traffic light, and nail all the jerks who drive in the breakdown lane so they don’t have to wait with all the other cars.

    Best of all, they could send out this festive message:

    Dear law-abiding citizens of Greater New York City:

    As a holiday gift to you, we promise that throughout the coming year,we will refrain from running red lights, making illegal right turns on red, double parking, and otherwise flouting the traffic laws in situations where our professional duty doesn’t oblige us to infract them.

    Sincerely, etc. —

  52. This makes crystal clear the opinion these cops hold of citizens; that they are in charge of us.
    You’ll never see anything like this is a state where the second amendment is still in effect: where the militia is still well regulated.

  53. Rewarding drivers for acting correctly is good behavioral science, but traumatizing them won’t reinforce. I agree with the other “Mail it” posts; look their addresses up in the DMV database and then send them the gift card and a nice thank you note.


  54. Wait, didn’t some other area run a similar program recently, within the past year? Also with starbucks? This sounds very familiar. I’d swear it was covered on BoingBoing before.

  55. Here in Victoria, Australia the police have tried a similar scheme on two occasions. The idea was that they wanted to reward good driving, not just punish the bad. There were some differences, though.

    First, the programme was opt-in. Anyone interested in the scheme could get a bumper sticker that publicly displayed that they were taking part. So that would fix the 4th Amendment issues (which are also taken care of by the fact we’re not yet part of the US!)

    Second, there were two ways of receiving rewards. If the police saw a driver (who’s car had the sticker) doing something praiseworthy they’d stop the person concerned and reward them, just like in California. If you weren’t caught being good you were still eligible. At the end of the programme any drivers in the scheme who hadn’t committed any traffic offences were entered into a draw for a, well, I can’t remember.

    I don’t know how successful the scheme was (they ran it twice) but I don’t remember hearing about anyone who ended up in jail over it.

  56. ‘v sn ths prgrms brght p bfr. Thy lwys sm t gt sht dwn n shrt rdr. ‘m mzd smn dcdd t try gn.

    gt whr thy’r cmng frm, bt pllng ppl vr s nvr pplr nd, frnkly, lt f ppl r jcksss, spclly twrds th plc. Sm ppl wll b pst t bng plld vr, sm nv plc (lk th gy wh cm p wth th d) wll b pst ftr bng ylld t fr tryng t gv smn cpn. dn’t frs lt f hldy sprt cmng t f t.

    t’s hrd t sy wht th plc CN d t fstr cmmnty spprt, thgh.

    Mlng crds t gd drvrs dsn’t d mch, bcs thr’s n fc t fc. Cmmnty vnts nd fnd rsrs dn’t ttrct mch ttntn n trms f prcnt-f-th-ppltn.

    ctlly, f thy wnt t fstr cmmnty spprt, vt thy ngg n fr cr wshs. N dntn, n chrty fnd rsr, n tps ccptd, jst cm gt yr cr wshd nd myb hng t wth th cps nd hv dnt whl y wt. Thy cld stp sm nfrmtn bths, gv t pmphlts lng th lns f “Knw Yr Rghts” nd prntd cps f th Cnstttn nd th Bll f Rghts.

    Tht, thnk, s prtty wsm d. ‘d g fr tht. Hy, fr cr wsh.

  57. You guys sound like a bunch of pissed-off wankers who used to get beat up after school.

    OMG! The horror! Free coffee!

    If you have nothing to hide, then don’t worry about it. If you do, then tough sh*t.

    I used to ride convoys in Iraq, and I thought that every roadside trash pile was an IED (some are). Now that I’m back in the states, I’m still a little paranoid, but that doesn’t change the fact that the rubbish on the street is just rubbish.

  58. I think the simple reason we don’t like this is the occasions where a citizen is detained for a reward, doesn’t act grateful and respectful enough, and the cop decides to take a closer look for equipment violations on the car.

  59. An upgrade on this idea would be to use the traffic cameras to reward the gift certificates. It could be like a lottery, the 10,000th person to drive the speed limit on this road gets $5!

    This would also keep people from getting heart attacks before they get their gift certificate.


    What if then, instead of mailing a gift card, you mailed an invitation to a “good driver’s reception,” or something? Depending how much money the city spent on the program, you could put together a decent coffee and desert program.

    It’s not much, but it solves the problem of invasiveness, it provides the face-to-face interaction between police and community, and it could provide a hell of a photo op for local media.

  61. Hands up, who grew up in a small town? Who’s ever been pulled over by the local constabulary just for fun? I grew up in a small New mountaintop town with a population under 2,000. We only had two police cruisers in town and not much happened except when the occasional out-of-towner sped down the main road in an attempt to make a shortcut, so I guess they figured they had to use the cars somehow.

    The shenanigans were mostly confined to the officers’ friends and really, all the officers did was to put on the red lights, pull their friend over, get out, knock on the window and say “Gotcha! Say hi to Bonnie for me.” (Or, if Bonnie happened to be in the car at the time, “Gotcha! Hi, Bonnie.”) It must’ve gotten real boring waiting in the single speed trap in town.

    When I first got my license, however, I was pulled over because I was in my dad’s car, and Officer Hersey knew my dad’s car, but hadn’t heard I’d started driving on my own. So for about 30 seconds I was considered a car thief, which would’ve been one of the bigger stories in town had it not turned out I was my father’s son and with a legitimate license to boot. Good for me but sad for Officer Hersey, as it meant that the town paper ran the story about the sixth grade’s whale watching trip on its front page that week instead of a thrilling real-life police drama story.

    After Dad heard about that, he made sure I was pulled over every few months or so “just to keep me on my toes.”

    I realize this kind of behavior doesn’t exactly scale well when you take it out of a small town and bring it into a city, and I admit that, after being in The Real World for long enough it shocked me a bit to look back and think yeah, we were pulled over all the time for no reason back then and didn’t think anything of it. Nobody thought to complain about the illegality of it all because everybody just knew everybody else.

    But that kinda stuff doesn’t play in the big city, or indeed, any larger town. You don’t know everybody else, you don’t know how each driver will react to being pulled over and so you shouldn’t expect the cops to do so arbitrarily. This shit is just wrong.

    I mean, it’s one thing for 16-year-old me to nod and smile at Officer Hersey and his walrus mustache as he tells me to give his best to my folks while the wig-wag lights are flashing behind me; it’s another thing entirely for thirty-coughcough me to wonder why J. Anonymous Officer has pulled me over when I know I hadn’t been doing anything wrong. Who wouldn’t immediately go on the defensive in this instance?

    And besides, I’d rather send Officer Hersey’s regards to my family than be handed a coupon for a free latte for bein’ so brave and safe-like on the roads.

  62. Teresa Nielsen Hayden / Moderator

    “Noen, you want to unpack that one?

    You really want me to? Doesn’t anyone read Freud any more? He really did have some powerful insights into how people tick. If you don’t watch out I might even bring in Jacques Lacan too.

    No one knows what an Oedipal Conflict is these days? That is when an adolescent / young adult male has conflicted feelings about his place vis a vis older males. It just screams at you in this thread. Hell, it’s what Rock ‘n Roll is all about. Well, that and sex.

    More generally it’s called castration anxiety and here you see a whole bunch of gamma males peeing all over themselves at the thought of being pulled over by a cop and given a reward for good behavior. Man, that is hilarious stuff. I’m laughing my ass off over here.

  63. If we think about this a bit more you can see that one reason people object to the police pulling people over to reward them is because it only serves to re-enforce the power dynamic. It’s bad PR because it only makes people resentful. People want to feel that there is some give and take in the relationship. Flashing your lights and pulling people over doesn’t do that.

    Realcatholicmen’s suggestion of a car wash is a very good idea because it places the police in a submissive role. Sort of the equivalent of the alpha male rolling on his back and exposing his throat. It helps pack unity.

    How one chooses to perceive reality affects your relationship with it. Change your attitude and you change your world.

  64. @Defiant1

    If you have nothing to hide, then don’t worry about it. If you do, then tough sh*t.

    Everybody has something to hide, including cops.


    pulling people over is never popular and, frankly, a lot of people are jackasses, especially … police.

    There, I fixed it for you.

  65. Noen, are you sure there’s no other reason for them to feel anxious? Well-behaved but mildly scruffy young men take a lot of unfair treatment because our society has that boys-will-be-boys expectation that males will misbehave. That assumption empowers men who really do misbehave, and strips the civil, law-abiding ones of a degree of protection they by rights should have.

    It’s not just that a 24-year-old man and I would probably get treated differently if we were caught pulling the exact same boneheaded maneuver in traffic. They can get nailed for doing nothing, because the chances that they were doing something wrong will always be granted that undeserved plausibility.

    And, if it should happen that you’re completely right about the cause of their anxiety, it seems unkind to laugh at it.

  66. Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1 (1968), was a decision by the United States Supreme Court which held that the Fourth Amendment prohibition on unreasonable searches and seizures was not violated when a police officer stopped a suspect on the street and searched him without probable cause to arrest.

    The Court held that police may briefly detain a person if they have a reasonable suspicion that the person has committed, is committing, or is about to commit a crime. Because of the important interest in protecting the safety of police officers, police may perform a quick surface search of the person’s outer clothing for weapons if they have reasonable suspicion that the person stopped is armed. This reasonable suspicion must be based on “specific and articulable facts” and not merely upon an officer’s hunch. This permitted police action has subsequently been referred to in short as a “stop and frisk”, or simply a “Terry stop”. The Terry standard was later extended to temporary detentions of persons in vehicles, known as traffic stops.

    The rationale behind the Supreme Court decision revolves around the understanding that, as the opinion notes, “the exclusionary rule has its limitations”. The meaning of the rule is to protect persons from unreasonable searches and seizures aimed at gathering evidence, not searches and seizures for other purposes (like prevention of crime or personal protection of police officers).

  67. the mounties pulled me over once to say, “I happened to notice you are a cyclist wearing a helmet, and just wanted to say thank you.” very odd experience but no objections, it was not systematic. no free coffee involved!

  68. If we think about this a bit more you can see that one reason people object to the police pulling people over to reward them is because it only serves to re-enforce the power dynamic. It’s bad PR because it only makes people resentful. People want to feel that there is some give and take in the relationship. Flashing your lights and pulling people over doesn’t do that.

    The thing, Noen, is that you started out by talking about what big ol’ psychologically scarred ‘fraidycats everyone who has a problem with this is, and guffawed about it a bit.

    Then, when you ‘thought about this a bit more’ you got to where almost everyone else has been since the very beginning of the discussion: This reinforces the power dynamic. It’s a shitty PR move.

    Well . . . yeah.

    I don’t think that it’s the rest of us who are having issues here.

  69. Noen, this isn’t about the power dynamic. It’s not about fear of powerlessness. It’s not about resenting Daddy.

    It’s about the Constitutional right to not have the government screw with your life. If you are pulled over by a cop, you are “in custody.” Doesn’t matter if the cop just wants to give you a free cup of coffee; as soon as the cop puts on his flashing lights, you are not free to continue driving. For the next five minutes of your life, you are not free to make your own choices about where to go and what to do. And as an American citizen, you are guaranteed that right at all times under the Fourth, Sixth, and Fourteenth Amendments of the Constitution.

    That’s the entire point of the Bill of Rights: Unless the government has a damn good reason, it is not allowed to make you do anything. The Constitution is citizens’ shield against governmental intrusion into our lives. Human history has shown us over and over how easily those rights can be eroded, one grain of sand at a time.

    I don’t care if the cop wants to give me a Starbuck’s card, a Christmas present, or a handjob; if I’m pullled over and the cop says it’s NOT because I’ve done something wrong, I’m going to tell him to fuck himself and drive off.

  70. Big Brother said:
    “If you have nothing to hide, then don’t worry about it”
    Um, you mean pay no attention while the Constitution gets shat on (again)? Fuck that noise.

  71. …So…anyone remember….like back in the 50’s when there was a Police officer in the room, you felt safe and secure….
    and now…if there is a police officer in the room, everyone is anxious and wondering “what are they going to try to fine me for now?”

    bad idea.

  72. Good lord, what a terrible idea. Couldn’t the reward at least be something related to driving? Like a recommendation to remove any points accumulated on a license? Mail THAT to me.

  73. PHOTOMONKEY, no because some might react badly for being pulled over just to receive tips. If it’s a compliment to driving, why remind the driver if they seem to be doing fine?

    Also for other people, for gods sake take a compliment. It was Christmas.

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