I just got pulled over by Metro’s Finest. I was totally in the wrong, not paying enough attention on the way back from the bank driving down a bad part of Murfreesboro Road. I turned left onto a worse road during a green light without noticing that there was a red left turn arrow. Oh, and I had to gun it pretty good to avoid getting t-boned by an oncoming car that I hadn’t noticed. An oncoming police car. Crap.
I pulled into the parking lot of a pretty scary apartment complex with the blue lights flashing behind me. I turned off the radio, took off my sunglasses, rolled down my window, shut off my engine and had my license, registration and proof of insurance in my hands in the ten seconds it took the officer to walk up to me.
I apologized. I smiled. I joked that I was an idiot and that I was listening to somebody bad-mouth the Vols on sports talk and had rolled into the intersection. (A stab in the dark, I admit, but it worked.) I’m pretty sure he had already made up his mind not to give me a ticket when he saw me pull into that scary parking lot. “Just show me your insurance and I’ll let you off with a warning,” he said. “I’m sorry, but I had to pull you over because they were all watching.” They? The whole stop was less than 30 seconds and he was outta there before I could get my window rolled up.
So I am embarrassed yet happy to say that I am the beneficiary of reverse profiling. A white guy with a tie on in a bad neighborhood (because it’s where I work) who isn’t buying drugs and has his registration crap together is usually pretty likely to get out of a ticket.
To summarize CeeElCee’s advice when getting stopped by the fuzz:
1.) Be polite.
2.) Keep it light.
3.) Be white.
It’s sad but true.
Another good piece of advice is that if you get pulled over at night, turn on your dome light, have your license between your fingers and position your hands at 10 and 2 o’clock with the window down as the officer approaches your door. There’s nothing scarier to a policeman than walking up on a car at night. If the officer sees you in this position, odds are he’ll ask if you’re a cop too. The proper response is, “No officer, but a friend of mine who is says this makes you all feel more comfortable when you’re stopping somebody at night.” If you can manage to say that without slurring your words or throwing up on the floorboard, you’ll probably be free to drive another day.