EDITORIAL: A Young Man’s Guide for dealing with the Montesano Police
Yes, Montesano is a small town. We all know the officers and take for granted that everyone else does too. We would be wrong.
I had an opportunity to speak with a group of mid teens recently. I was shocked at just how ignorant they were. No, truly ignorant. Now, is this the fault of their parents? Their teachers? or society as a whole? Beats me, and frankly I don’t care to expend the brain cells trying to fathom the root cause of the ignorance.
I am addressing this guide to the young men of the community. The young women are much smarter.
First of all we, who are older, do envy you. Most of us grew up here and remember how wonderful this place is as a young man. Its exciting, and every day is a new discovery. We get it. Have fun, it doesn’t last forever. Eat it up.
You are probably just getting a taste of being an adult. Your first car. A two ton wrecking machine capable of killing our wives and children in an instant. The State of Washington has decided that you can even smoke pot, a felony by the way for a reason, but I won’t get into that here.
Alcohol is everywhere and easy to get. It is considered cool at your age to get drunk. Lets not pretend here. You think girls will think you are even cooler! Maybe if you drive fast and get high you will be worthy of their attention. Well, maybe right? That’s how it is in the movies after all.
Now this is where we as a community come in. We don’t care what you do as long as you don’t affect us. You know, the people that actually make your lifestyle possible. For this reason we pay a few people to make sure you don’t kill our families as you become all you can be.
Not that long ago, we could rely on your parents and schools to raise you properly, but we all know the state of that today.
We call these guardians of public safety the Police. We send them to Police school and give them guns. We give them guns so that all of us in town don’t have to walk around with guns all day to protect us from idiots.
Who is a Police Officer?
Police Officers, surprisingly, are not super people. They are much braver by nature than most of the rest of us, but that is about it. They aren’t smarter, taller, faster, or better looking. They are your neighbors and the guy pushing the cart through the aisles at Thriftway.
Police Officers also have good days and bad days……just like you. They are us.
So, with that in mind lets talk about what to do when you encounter one.
I should preface this with keeping your car in proper order, not rolling through stop signs, or speeding will probably mean you never run into one, but we all know you won’t follow this advise.
You are driving down the city street and see the light, hear the siren, and realize….you are about to be pulled over. Oh no, what will you do?
Despite what your teachers and what you see on TV tells you, a monster is not about to attack you. You are being perceived as a danger. Maybe just a little danger, maybe a big one. Who knows at that point. That is why you are being looked at. Also, this Police Officer has a family at home and would like to see them again. So until things are sorted out and he knows that you aren’t escaping from a bank robbery and going to shoot him to get away…..things are gong to be a tad formal.
He is going to approach your car, sort of look things over. Make sure there isn’t someone hunkered down in the back seat with a shotgun, smell the air for alcohol. Check things out.
Now, while he is doing this what are you doing? Are you sitting quietly with your hands in plain sight, or are you all jerky moving all over the car? What do you think would be the right thing to do? Hey….you’re getting it!
So you have sat quietly and the officer has determined you are not an immediate threat. Things relax a bit at this point. He will ask you a couple of questions, make sure you can speak in sentences and you will learn why you were pulled over. He will most likely ask you for your license and registration. Now you can take your hands off the steering wheel.
I should note that it is perfectly acceptable at this point to begin begging, crying, pleading, making excuses, and issuing promises. None of it will do any good, but again, perfectly acceptable.
The officer will then go sit in his car and run your name to make sure you haven’t escaped someplace and your car isn’t stolen. He will also be watching you. You will be nervous. Man up, fight it back. Sit quietly.
You have a 50/50 chance when he returns that you will get a ticket. If you don’t, thank him and leave. If you do get a ticket, thank him and leave. Arguing with the officer won’t make the ticket go away, but you will stick in his mind as an asshole. You don’t want that. You really really don’t want that.
If you want to argue the ticket, don’t pay it. Go to traffic court. End of encounter. See, that wasn’t so bad.
Its rare. Really really rare. You are placed under arrest. I’m not going to lie to you. It won’t be pleasant. You did something that requires immediate action to protect the public and sort things out. You won’t like it.
Being asked to step out of the car doesn’t mean you will be arrested, it might be that the officer simply suspects you have been drinking. You won’t want to step out of the car. But you will. As politely as you can.
If you think it is cool to fight with the police, you will lose. Don’t be an idiot. Idiots fight with the police. The dumbest of the dumb idiots. You are already an idiot for speeding in the first place, how far up the idiot scale you are will depend on your actions here.
Arguing at this point will make matters worse. What ever is going to happen is going to happen. Follow instructions. Keep your mouth shut. Do what you are told. Again, the officer needs to know that, frankly, you are not a danger to him.
After the Officer has done his business, you will either get back in the car with a learned lesson, or get to go to the police station. Even if you are arrested, life will go on. A bad day, yes, but you will get over it. If you are smart, it will never happen again.
The take away here is do what you are told, and keep your mouth shut.
In the event you think you were mistreated in any way during this process, go in and talk to Chief Vance the following day. Make a formal complaint if you want. He is always there and will sit with you in his office. You never do anything other than comply when dealing with a police officer under any circumstance. It is all about the safety of you, and the safety of the police officer. You may think that you are special, God knows you have been told that all your life, but trust me kid. You aint. Kids pull guns and kill police every day. Until you prove you are not a threat to the officer, you are.
That’s it. There is nothing else to it.
I wasn’t going to talk about this, but maybe it’s a good time. How did we get here.
For years now you have been being fed a steady diet of Communist doctrine by some of your teachers. They hate the police. They hate our country. The police stand in their way. So they use their authority in the classroom to give little digs against them. It makes them feel good to think they are turning young people against them. Its the truth and we all know it. You are the prize to them.
Police Officers are us, remember that. What if you find yourself an Officer someday. Are you perfect? Is anyone? It is a tough dangerous job. A job that thankfully some are willing to stand up and take.
Don’t be a chump, learn to think for yourself. Want to know more about the police. Just go there. Go talk to one of them. Ask them the dumbest questions you can think of. Be a pest.
Your relationship with the police here started as soon as you were born. You don’t know it but it did. They saw your first trip in a stroller down to Fleet Park, watched you go through childhood and knew the color of your bike. They know who your friends are, what sports you played in school…..what cars belong in your neighborhood. They know the last boyfriend your new girlfriend had and who he hung out with. They see everything. It is their job. As you get older and have a family, you will be thankful that your wife and kids can walk to the store without being assaulted. It isn’t the smug America and police hating teacher you have who will keep them safe. It is the man or woman in a Montesano Police uniform who will. Remember that. Remember that well.
Recently you have seen countless police being killed, injured, hit with bricks and worse on television. Remember, when the police are being attacked, you are being attacked. They are the ones that are protecting you and your family. The police are us. If any of that nonsense you see on television happened here, I have no doubt that the men of this community would be standing in front of our police station. You want our police? You go through us. It will be your turn to stand on that line someday.
Remember that the next time some smug Police basher goes into an anti America rant. More importantly, ask yourself why. I have faith in you……you will figure it out.