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Professional Courtesy : How To



  • @MyMaria16 . I'm an EMT and I was shown courtesy once for speeding. It was late at night, I was exhausted and being an idiot, not paying attention to my speed, just focused on my final destination for sleep. Well, I got pulled over, rightly deserved, and the Deputy who pulled me over had noticed my emt cert card in my wallet when fishing my DL out. He asked me where I worked, and I stated where I worked and he let me go with the warning to slow down. I was not even expecting that considering it's pretty rare occurance. But, I was pretty thankful. I think anyone involved in EMS/LE/Corr. deserve respect from each other. We all protect each other in one form or another.
  • I saw a video on YouTube recently where an Ohio State Trooper pulled over a deuce and he was the Sheriff of a neighboring county. That Sheriff begged and whined and threatened, but he still went to jail. He was more worried about his upcoming election than actually being contrite for driving impaired. In that situation, the Trooper did the right thing, in my opinion. The police do need to be setting an example and conducting themselves to a higher level. When one cop, no matter how high or low he is on the rank scale, gets even a little bit dirty, some of that dirt rubs off on everyone. DUI should never be a forgivable offense.
  • Always give courtesy to cops period. Exceptions: DWI's and Drug Offenses, Zero tolerance
  • edited 6 Dec 2012
    I worked a connecting highway between major interstate routes and got to see a lot of out of state vehicles returning from vacations. A high percentage of them were out of state LEO's. I gave PC to all of them on simple speeding infractions. I never encountered an LEO DUI, but if I did, I think I would get my brother officer off the street and take him somewhere to sober up, even if it meant my nearby home, and then report it to his commander so he could get help. The only guy I ever did not give PC to was a young and newly promoted big city detective who was real impressed with himself and his shiny gold badge. He was driving at speeds beyond reckless, and when pulled over pressed his shield against the window and would not even roll down the window until I told the kid he could either roll it down and we could talk, or I would break it and pull him through it. That sort of got his attention. This guy bought himself a citation AND a call to his captain, but he was one bad apple out of several hundred good guys I ran into. Not surprisingly, his captain told me he had a history of things like this. Like most of you, I have received PC the few times I have needed it,
  • I personally have never written a LEO a ticket but I myself have been given a ticket by state patrol (at the time i worked for a county pd) while i was on my way to work...and yes I was in full uniform....gun belt and all! I passed this trooper going approx 5mph faster than her in my pov and when she pulled me over i didnt have to tell her who i was because i was dressed for work but she told me that she pulled me over for passing her marked car! i couldnt believe what i was hearing. So i called some of my friends on her department and found out that she does not believe in officer courtesy and she would even give her mom a ticket if she pulled her over!! this is in Georgia.

    But on another note, i have seen officers that are off duty driving their patrol cars to training in another city get pulled over for speeding! that is so hilarious!!! no free passes in Georgia!!! lol
  • I am a SO Deputy in South Louisiana and I believe in Giving PC to LE and most instances their families. I also extend the courtesy to CO's, Dr's Nurses etc. I worked CO before and its a difficult Job. I have pulled over Officers from many different states and agencies and have always extended the courtesy. I have extended the courtesy even on DUI's for officers/deputies but made sure they were driven home by a sober driver. I have never written a Ticket to any PO and I don't plan on starting today! Our jobs are difficult enough out here not to extend a Courtesy to our brothers and sisters. I have been pulled over by other LEO's for minor traffic offenses and have been given the courtesy in return. Every LEO knows most people out there will do what they can to hurt u in any way they can. We have to take care of one another because no one else will. Be Safe out there Guys/Gals
  • What about Feds. Many were previous uniformed officers and often agencies such as ATF, USMS and DEA work closely with local counterparts on a daily basis or through task forces. Should they expect the same courtesies spoken about here?
  • If it's a traffic offense (and I'm probably guilty as sin anyway!) and the officer wants to extend some blue line "PC" to me I will always offer to accept a written warning from him/her. At the very least it's activity the officer can show in his daily work totals ... gotta keen the sergeant happy, y'know!
  • Minor traffic stuff, always a pass for LEO when I'm working. When I have been stopped (twice) neither for movers, I put my credentials on my lap as described, with dome light on and advised of my firearm in the car. Many ways to solve a problem, if it is not unethical, illegal, or immoral, I think discretion can be used.
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  • @bulldog113, I'm confused a bit. If it's not "unethical, illegal or immoral", so are you saying movers aren't illegal? Isn't that kina the point of stopping them?
  • My Letter as it appeared in AMERICAN POLICE BEAT
    Professional Courtesy
    Recently a member of our FOP lodge #80 and the LAWMEN Motorcycle Association was
    issued a frivolous summons while on vacation in another state.
    This has distressed and upset me greatly and prompted me to
    write this letter. I have also sent a copy to each of the members of
    this national organization. Would you please take it into
    consideration and pass it on to your readership.
    I would like to express my strong sentiments concerning the
    subject of extending professional courtesy in order to heighten the
    level of awareness to all Police officers to act accordingly. It is
    disturbing to receive reports of abuses. Though they relate mostly
    to isolated incidents, they nevertheless makes one wonder why
    such a simple message is not being universally received.
    If the true spirit of Police Brotherhood is to continue to serve as a
    cohesive force, then it is incumbent upon all Police Officers to live
    up to the basic principle of mutual respect that shapes the essence
    of our Police Brotherhood. I also wish to underscore the point that
    in any interaction between on duty and off duty officers, it is the
    uniformed Officer who deserves all the respect and courtesy due
    that official status. Simply put, you don't abuse any Brother Officer,
    particularly those who are on duty and in uniform.
    As to on duty performance, I shall be blunt: YOU DON'T
    SUMMONS ANOTHER COP! You have every right in
    summonsable situations to use discretion and extend professional
    courtesy to ALL Police Officers both active and retired from ANY
    jurisdiction, and let's not forget their families.
    Think of this possibly....late one night, you are on patrol alone. You
    make a car stop on a dark and isolated road. Something you have done
    thousands of times. But tonight you quickly become 'physically
    involved' with a few miscreants ..and you begin to realize you're
    about to lose the battle. Suddenly a car screeches to a stop, an off
    duty Cop, from some far away department, jumps into the fray and
    assists you in making the arrest. Do you think it can't happen to
    you? Well, it happened to one of our members. How do you say
    thanks for possibly saving your life?
    Now think about the last Police funeral you attended, and recall the pain and
    sorrow that griped your heart as you made that final salute. Well,
    the next time you extend professional courtesy to another Officer
    the emotion you'll feel, as he smiles and drives away, is that of
    satisfaction, brotherhood, and joy. What a great feeling! Remember
    no matter where we work we are all one FAMILY!
    Stay safe
    Its a jungle out there!
  • My old adage...If I am on the side of the road in a fight for life with a suspect, who is the most likely to stop and help me?

    That being said, it is the duty of the off duty officer that is stopped to be professional and handle the situation professionally.
  • I'm from Chicago, have been on the job for 19 years. I have NEVER written a fellow officer from any jurisdiction. We are all we have out here and should always help each other. I have seen others post that they would DUI another officer, to each his own I guess, but unless they are involved in an accident, I would not.

    As officers, we all know the stress we face on this job daily, and we also know that officers are hard pressed to get help with their problems, normally building a barrier around themselves, always showing the facade of being strong and in control, all the while their world could very well be falling apart. I've had the pleasure of helping many officers, a lot from my own department, but many from others, including out of state, that were "under the weather," when stopped; I saw to it they and their car made it home safely, and offered counselling services if necessary. One of the officers partner had been killed in the line of duty, and he had serious demons he was dealing with. I thought it was certainly more important to help him, rather than arrest him and compound his issues, thus possibly sending him over the edge. I am glad to report that he is currently doing well, after getting the professional help he needed.

    I also extend courtesy to fireman(they can be difficult) as well as emergency room personnel and family members, as long as they conduct themselves appropriately.

    I was stopped and disrespected on the interstate many years ago after showing my credentials. I was told, "that badge means nothing to me, and I was getting a citation, and that I was no different than anyone else." I responded politely but firmly that I was different from most others in that if I was driving past him on the interstate and saw he was in distress and needed help, i would hop out and help immediately, most others wouldn't, and that's what separated me from everyone else. He returned a few minutes later with a warning citation only, with a completely changed demeanor, but no apology. I took that as a small moral victory.. The vast majority of my encounters with LEOS from around the country have been great though!
  • What about Feds. Many were previous uniformed officers and often agencies such as ATF, USMS and DEA work closely with local counterparts on a daily basis or through task forces. Should they expect the same courtesies spoken about here?

    I say yes, they carry a badge and gun and are law enforcement.
  • >>I have seen others post that they would DUI another officer, to each his own I guess, but unless they are involved in an accident, I would not.<<

    I disagree with this. There is a point where you have to look at another cop and say, "Dude, you should know better. You're supposed to set the example". I mean, seriously, if you bust someone for DUI when you know you drove over the limit last night, that makes you a hypocrite. I don't need hypocrites on my team. That's just how I feel
  • During my thirty year career I never wrote a fellow LEO for speeding. That being said, I was pulled over in Oregon on my way back to California in 2011 and given a ticket for speeding by an Oregon State Trooper. I identified myself, told him I had a weapon on my person, apologized and was very humble. I was not mad at the trooper for writing me the ticket because he was doing his job and I was speeding. I do believe things have changed over the years though and I think some of the guys and gals coming out of the Police Academies now are taught that giving fellow LEO's a pass on traffic tickets is wrong and should not be done. I don't agree with this but in some states that seems to be the trend. Stay safe, wear your vests and shoot straight.
  • Are we really that special that we can demand a free pass simply because of who we are? I've always given LE, Fire, EMS and Feds a break as long as they weren't drunk or demanding. Only been stopped a time or two. Only written up one time. Met a very arrogant and unprofessional Virginia State Police officer that wrote me for speeding 14 over on the interstate. I was asked if I was LE and said yes. He then accused me of "flashing a badge" which never happened. When I took my licence out my badge and ID were visible but I never showed it much less "flashed" it. I closed it up and put my wallet in the console beside me. I never mentioned who I was til he asked. He took my ID and license and went to his car and wrote the ticket. When he returned he asked me if I had a gun in the car. I said no. He said, and I quote, "Well, that's pretty stupid isn't it you being a police officer". I had just traveled through New York, Massachusetts and Washington DC, very anti gun states. I'm sure that had I said yes, with this stormtroopers attitude, my family and I would have been on the road face down at gun point. So much for the LE brotherhood in Virginia. Had I been a horses backside I would expect such an unprofessional approach. But I wasn't. I have performed the same kind of stops hundreds of times and never had a complaint (other than the usual "I didn't do that") He went to far but I learned a valuable lesson that cost me 131 dollars. Some cops can be jerks like this guy was. It happens. But he is the only one I have ever had an issue with outside my department and I've met a lot of officers in my career. Oh yeah, I do the speed limit when I go through Virginia too.
  • >>I had just traveled through New York, Massachusetts and Washington DC, very anti gun states.<<

    Federal law is that law enforcement officers are permitted to carry a concealed weapon anywhere at anytime, regardless of the laws in that jurisdiction. Not sure if you know that or not, but you are allowed to carry your weapon even in a state that doesn't permit it
  • edited 13 Feb 2013
    18 USC 926B is the law. It doesn't, however, extend to private businesses that post no firearm signs or government buildings such as police stations or courthouses. You're still expected to respect those limitations. But as for walking or driving around Boston or DC, you're perfectly legal to carry concealed regardless of local laws
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  • I'm familiar with the law. What you may not know is that some states interpret that law to apply only to those on official business for their department, not while you are on vacation. In just the last 4 or 5 years I have read cases where officers were stopped and charged for weapons violations. Doesn't matter if they get dropped it's the embarrassment and inconvenience especially when out of state. I'm afraid I can't take that chance. You go right ahead.
  • H.R. 218, the “Law Enforcement Officers’ Safety Act”

    Will current state laws still restrict or continue to prohibit officers from carrying firearms legally within a particular state?

    The new Federal law exempts qualified off-duty police officers from the application of state law. For example, a qualified off-duty officer is allowed to carry a concealed weapon in a public area but must follow the regulations imposed at federal buildings, schools, airports, etc.

    Does this mean all states have to change their carry laws to reflect the new federal law?

    State laws are not required to change. This is a new Federal law that exempts qualified active and retired law enforcement officers from local and State prohibitions on the carrying of concealed firearms.

    Everyone should, by all means, do as they feel they should. I have checked with the Federal Att. Office and they say to carry a copy of this law with you for those who don't know their jobs.( His words, not mine ) PLEASE read the whole Law!
    Thank you, hope this helps..................... :D
  • It's the cops who harrass you who are wrong, it wouldn't be you. SwatCop50 posted some good stuff from an FAQ. As long as you're not under suspension, or under investigation that may lead to suspension, you're allowed to carry concealed in any state regardless of their laws. The only restrictions are posted gun-free zones. Also, if there's no sign, there's no policy. But, of course, do whatever you're comfortable with. I was just trying to help you out if you weren't familiar with the law
  • Unless I am on duty, I don't tell them I'm an LEO. I figure if I break the law (and I tend to have a lead foot), I deserve what's coming to me. I turn on my interior light at night, and keep my hands visible at all times. Plus, respect is always given to the LEO making the stop.
  • In PA as a College Officer and even as an armed security officer, I have been stopped in both uniforms before. I find that giving respect and admitting to my mistake has gotten me a warning instead of a traffic ticket and points! When I've been caught speeding, my mind has been on other things(not usually the good things), and I'm usually not paying attention to my speed! When I am asked why I was speeding, my reply is usually, I have no reason that is valid, because even though I wasn't paying attention to my speed, I should have been! And I also agree with PaulMPD, I pull over right away. . . you may beat that officer, but you can't beat Motorola. . . And then everyone (Co-workers) know you were acting stupid!
  • I work in WA State, a city cop. Professional courtesy is all over the map around here. Majority subscribe to the behavior mentioned in the blog. I have never and never will write another cop. I have stopped guys who are absolute dicks to me, one accusing me for stopping him because he was black. I did not write him or any one of the other dicks who I stopped and never will write another officer. An off duty officers treatment of me has no bearing on my response to him. Frankly he is doing a job (and has done one for those retired) that is hated and underappreciated. At times we are all we got and I will be damned if I ever write that officer. Shame the hell on him for treating me or other officers on the job badly but that is between him and him. We share the same challenges between the lines and I will always offer him my support and courtesy.
    Not everybody feels the same here. Probably the same all over the country in that regard.
  • I work as a NY cop and am very familiar with the way we handle a situation where we encounter another officer (regardless of dept) I was recently pulled over by a officer in S Alabama. I knew flashing a badge down in the S is a no go, so I gave him my dept ID and D/L. He sparked a convo with me about my dept and then told me why he pulled me over. Before he went back to his patrol car I said "I don't work down here but I hope you can extend PC" I haven't been a cop long and I'm not sure what I said was wrong but he was offended. In the end I was given the "this ain't the North we do things different in the south speech, the society expects more from you as a cop than the avg citizen speech, and the don't ever mention PC speech. Then he gave me a written warning. I was thankful for just a warning but confused why he got so bent out of shape.
  • edited 12 Mar 2013
    26 years and I have never given another LEO a ticket or gotten one. I have never done crazy stuff but I have been stopped a couple times. I give my license and reg and say "if it makes a difference, I am a police officer" that's it.

    I work in Maryland just outside of Virginia. VSP has written tickets and in one case asked to search the officers car of several LEO's I know of personally .My partner got stopped and told the trooper he was an off duty, Troopers says " you should not have told me that, I was going to give you a warning now your getting two tickets"

    10 years ago when I was in Canine, I was on duty in my marked car and went to VA for a training exercise with a city Dept in VA. A trooper followed me off the interstate and into a gas station. He blocked me in and asked why I was in Virginia and did I know I was not a cop once I crossed the state line. I politely told him I was on duty ( I was in uniform) and there for training. He then asked me what my departments policy was on carrying my firearm when I was out of my jurisdiction. Again I told him I was on duty and required to be armed. He asked for my info so I gave him a card. sure enough he called my agency and made a complaint that I was armed and out of my jurisdiction while I was inside getting coffee. My Lt. told him to f&$k off. I come back out and he relays to me he called and was told to f@@k off.. so I told him that sounded like good advise to me. Then he tells me that because I am not a Va police officer, he should write me a ticket for having lights on my car, (again in a marked city unit). I said just do whatever your going to do I was not going to get in a pissing match...he just left.

    Sad thing is, if I stopped one of them, I still would not write them because even if they don't believe in professional courtesy, I do...
  • In the 18 years I have been a Police Officer in Kansas City, Kansas. I have stopped several Officers and allowed them to go without a ticket and I have issued a Officer from my own department a ticket. I did not like it and I told that Officer that it was his behavior, attitude and conduct is what caused the outcome (He was a total A#% and I would guess he had been drinking). The same thing I tell everyone else I write a ticket to.
  • Good advice.
    The only time I was not given the courtesy was in Oregon about 15 years ago.

    Bob B Retired L.A.S.D.
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  • Won't write police, corrections, most security, most firemen, nurses, doctors, or clergy. The last won't stand in court. Seen it a few times at branch court, never sticks.
  • In 27 years of working spring breaks as a motor man " down South " and seeing a lot of
    out of state brothers on vacation trying to re-crapture their college days, 99 % of us had a reflective personality. If the offendee was able to maintain and not make a drunken scene for the benifit of the crowd, things went well with a word to the wise being sufficient. On the other hand booze tends to blur some folks judgement and pushing or shoving or accusations of incest with your mother transported things to another realm. Transported would be the operative word here, not booked. Once seperated from the crowd and placed into a more sobering enviorment, attitudes changed personal affronts were often forgiven and after firm warnings about future events our errant brothers were sent on their way.
    professional courtesy was driven home to me by an Oklahoma state trooper after I flipped a u-turn to get gas while on vacation, seeing the fop decal he kindly in formed to get my head head out of my ass and have a nice trip. Much appreciated brother and many a vacationing blue brother benifited .

    edited 23 Apr 2013
    The original post is spot on!

    I have stopped many officers and most have done exactly this. I stopped a few feds that did not immediately identify who they were so I educated them on having their creds in their lap next time.

    I issue warning tickets to motorists all the time. So when someone complains that cops get breaks... I offer up that citizens do too. It is a bigger deal for a cop to get a ticket with all that happens. Letter for the chief, IA interview, court, having to work with that jurisdiction..

    So many have stated that they have NEVER written a fellow officer, but I have. I once stopped an Neighboring Deputy Sheriff Supervisor. He was speeding and eyeballing me the entire time. When I did stop him, he accused me of being a liar and a racist. In court (in full uniform) he admitted to speeding and the judge found him guilty.

    I was going to just write him a warning ticket and send him on his way but it just did not feel right. I informed my supervisor on how he was acting and he told me "Write him a ticket!" The supervisor also responded to my stop and stood by while I did so.
  • I extend PC to all first responders. The smoke eaters and ems have our backs too.
  • Same for SC...No matter what badge you have or uniform...I got a no-seatbelt in uniform coming home from work and a ticket for 42 in a 35!!! South Carolina REALLY suck!!! I remember when I was in a County Sheriffs Department (Jail Division) in NY, Never got a ticket!!! just a slow down buddy doing saying 65-70 in (55mph zone) shows big difference in the SOUTH and NORTH respect!!!
  • Well in Virginia we prefer that you do the same here. Hold all of you Id’s, shield in your lap. Also if you have a duty weapon, that’s a good time to say, “Sir I have my duty weapon on my side,” That will tell us without it being pushed in our face. Just a thought. Be safe.
  • Great article!!! I am a retired Chesapeake , Va. police officer. During my time on the street I extended PC to LE, FF, Military in certain instances, even the medical profession because they are the ones who will be trying to save you if you get hurt.
  • I have to add something here. I started my career with Virginia State Police. I have spent time in two other departments and I am a duty sergeant for my current department.

    In defense of the Virginia State Police, I would argue that the ones that are extremely hard nosed are an exception. Most of the Troopers that I worked with and I also believe in giving other LEOs a break. In fact, I don't even call in drivers license if I find out that it is another LEO to save them the embarrassment of having their stuff read over the air. We all are human and therefore we can't be perfect. We all make mistakes and MOST traffic stuff is really minor. There are officers with most agencies, we all can identify one, who are too extreme.

    I have given a lot of breaks to other LEOs. I had a deputy at 88 in a 55 once and I sent him on his way. The guy was cool and there was no way that I would write him.

    I have given 1 ticket in my 15 year career to another officer. I was placed in a bad spot when I got "Why the F*ck did you stop me, didn't you see my f*cking FOP tags?" If he had been cool, I would have never have written him.

  • I am in a unique position in that I am a patrol corporal for the Department of Navy
    Police and have an exclusive federal jurisdiction that is now somewhat shared with the city of Annapolis, Maryland. I have extended Professional courtesy to all LEO's, firefighters, EMTs, and nurses except when it comes to DUI. I have not written a DUI to a fellow LEO but have to a couple of nurses and mainly due to attitude before they are even administered a FST. I am really glad I haven't had a fellow LEO on a DUI stop because I really don't know if I would give a PC to one for that.
  • As a C/O, I have experienced both the receipt and the denial of professional courtesy... It really does depend on where you are... I have always said that the level of professional courtesy you are shown depends on the level of professional courtesy you give. I have always done the following:
    1) Keep hands visible on steering wheel (this is mainly because I have a CHP and it lets the officer know that there is possibly a weapon and that I am NOT going for it)
    2) Be polite and respectful
    3) TELL THE TRUTH when asked about the circumstances surrounding the stop
    4) Whether a ticket or break is given, always end with "Thank you, be safe"

    I had an instance one time, before becoming a C/O where #4 paid off in court where the officer basically told the judge he wanted the ticket dismissed. Afterwards, the officer met up with me in the hall of the courthouse and explained that he did that because in all the years he had been a cop he never had someone thank him for a ticket.

    Remember, whether you are a Street Cop, C/O, Deputy, or even a Security Guard- If you get pulled over, its not the officers fault you chose to break the law!
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  • Oldschoolpolice: "So much for the LE brotherhood in Virginia."

    This is common in VA of State Troopers... For the most part, Troopers in VA do feel that they are better than everyone else. I don't know why that is, and I am pretty certain they don't go through a block instruction titled "Your better than everyone else" That extends to when they are out of uniform as well, having known a few personally.
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