70 in a 45? "It's OK; I was late to work"

Previously I have noted that cops use public safety concerns to shut down every part of a city…except the donut shops, and Ken has
has noted that cops block traffic to give themselves and their coworkers a commuting advantage over regular citizens.

Raise your hand if you're the least bit surprised that cops routinely exceed the speed limit for important reasons like "I wanted to" and "donuts".

What? No hands?

via @copblock, who y'all should be following on twitter.

Last 5 posts by Clark


  1. Mike says

    This is worse because it's abuse of a position of public trust, but I'm not sure which is a more amusing attempt at an excuse: this or the old: "I'm sorry officer, I didn't know I wasn't supposed to do that. Won't happen again."

  2. Jonathan says

    I love it. The look of annoyance on those officer's faces when the reporter dares, DARES!, to question them and challenge their authority is a gift that I shall treasure a long time.

  3. Craig says

    Obviously cops can speed whenever they want. Who's going to give them a ticket? It's not as if they're going to be hauled up before an Internal Affairs board of inquiry over it. Now, if they were, say, pulling over solitary female drivers on lonely roads and raping them, that might get them in trouble… if it got into the media.

    The unfortunate but unsurprising thing is that cops are pretty much like most people. They will protect their own before they protect anyone else, and like most Americans, they have no idea what "principles" are and therefore have none. As the enforcers of the law they are effectively above the law ("Who watches the watchers?"), and as a privileged elite they have nothing but contempt for the hoi polloi — that is to say, you and me.

  4. Trebuchet says

    We once watched a cop go by us very fast with lights and siren, take an exit, turn off lights and siren, and pull into Denny's.

  5. says

    @craig, only if a fellow officer complained about the rape, the complaining officer would be booted in no time flat.other than that, the good folks at the PBA and PoliceOne would find 100 ways to justify it and blame the rapee

  6. Chris F says

    My dad was driving a while ago in another state and came across a long, backed up line of cars. At the front was a cop driving exactly the speed limit and no one wanted to pass him. Eventually my dad decided that the amount of cars backed up wasn't safe (people were coming up fast then having to slow down quickly) and he was going to go for it. He got pulled over but since this was before radar detectors worked from inside moving vehicles the cop couldn't prove he was speeding and just chewed him out.

    So while I know there's a limit (and think that all the cops in the video are over that limit) my expectation isn't that cops stick to exactly the speed limit. Just like typically people going 5 over don't get pulled over.

  7. tmitsss says

    A couple of decades ago I was defending a civil suit for a driver who was hit by a law enforcement vehicle after pulling from a stop sign a crossing two lanes of traffic. She was driving a car full of 12 year old girls from a birthday party at a skating rink.The co defendant law enforcement officer left 287 feet of skid marks before hitting my client and traveled 110 feet after tearing my clients vehicle in two. My expert said the LE vehicle was going 87 mph when the brakes locked. The verdict was favorable to my client. The speed limit was 45. (The officers was going back to a NASCAR event where they were providing security)

    But what I remember is LE officers swapping tales during a break in the trial of being stopped out of state for speeding and being let go. They thought is was funny.

    After the trial the LE driver resigned and went to seminary.

  8. Sam says


    After the trial the LE driver resigned and went to seminary.

    This struck me as incredibly poignant. Probably a result of my cynical and twisted worldview.

  9. Andrew says

    I am reminded of an incident in California when I was going 5mph over the speed limit. I was then approached (uh oh) and then overtaken (phew) by a police car going 5mph above that. But then he was overtaken by a private car. I thought that he would certainly be pulled over, but no. Interesting.

    That in turn reminds me of the one time I have been caught speeding – on an open freeway heading up to Tahoe. The officer wrote me up for a lower speed so that the penalty was lower.

    I am against cops flaunting the law that they are hired to serve, but these two are examples of them erring in the right direction.

  10. Andrew S. says

    Remember the Florida Highway Patrol officer who pulled over the Miami Police officer for speeding recklessly (see http://reason.com/blog/2013/01/04/florida-state-trooper-who-pulled-over-sp)? Until that hit the public, she was the one in trouble, and she was the one getting constantly harrassed. Actually, the harrassment didn't stop, and she ended up suing.

    Of course they think they did nothing wrong, because their union and their supervisors are going to back them up no matter what they do.

  11. Craig says

    @Andrew: I think when the cops "let you off easy" by writing a ticket that says you were going slower than you actually were, they're just trying to ensure that you don't challenge the ticket and make them go to court to testify (they don't like doing that). The first time it happened to me (I got ticketed for 45 in a 35 zone when I was actually doing 55 — this was on a major boulevard near midnight with almost no other cars around, circa 1987), the cop specifically pointed out that if I challenged the ticket he'd testify in court that I was actually going 55 and then I'd end up paying more.

  12. mcinsand says

    When I was in college, a local station used to have a call-in game: ‘Dialing for Doughnuts.’ The show would have someone drive to a doughnut shop, and callers would have to call in to guess how many police cars were in the parking lot. The game had a good following, and it was quite popular with most listeners… except for the Raleigh police department. After some arm-twisting, the game sadly went away. I’m not sociologist, by any means, but police and doughnut shops do seem to make a natural pairing, especially for those taking the night duty. If it’s breaktime and I’m patrolling the town, most of my breaks will probably be at a 24-hour doughnut shop.

  13. says

    Here in CT, it's been against the law to use a handheld cellphone for some time. If you are pulled over it's a pretty hefty ticket.

    So it seems like every time I see a police car pass me, the officer is talking on a hand held cell phone. I really should start noting plate numbers and calling and complaining. I somehow doubt that their one-handed while talking driving skills are that much above mine. Especially since I've been driving since a lot of them were in kindergarten.

  14. Hoare says


    Every cop I see here is on his cellphone. When I inquired about it I was told they are Nextel phones that also work as 2-way radios and that the cops are talking to other cops.

    I don't believe them. Should I?

  15. says

    Once, I was heading back from visiting family on an Easter Sunday. I was on a small stretch of connector highway – I think it must be 12-15 miles long and no more – connecting two major interstate highways. I got off and suddenly found traffic – which hadn't been that bad – had ground to a near standstill. A 65 MPH road and we were going 15 miles per hour, if that. I watched the traffic pile up for over a mile behind me.

    The two cars in front of me exited, leaving me just behind the police car. What was it doing? The cop was constantly zigging back and forth between the two lanes. This was not drunkeness; the pattern was very deliberate. It wasn't possible to go around him as he methodically swerved twixt left and right. At 15 MPH. It took 4x as long to cross the stretch of highway than it normally would.

    I have no earthy idea why the cop was doing this. He had a partner riding shotgun and I convinced myself that he was waiting for me to whip out my cell phone to call someone about it or record it.

    As for the rest, I see cops abuse their sirens/lights all the time, getting through tighter traffic before shutting down and continuing.

  16. says

    I see cops abuse their sirens/lights all the time, getting through tighter traffic before shutting down continuing.

    'Superbad' was a documentary.

  17. M says

    They probably are talking to other cops. I doubt it is about anything important or even job related but it probably another cop at the other end driving his own car. At least talking on the cell phone is better than doing paperwork on the laptop.

  18. Craig says

    @Grandy: I've occasionally seen cops do that zig-zag maneuver too, though never anywhere near as slow as 15 mph. I think they do that when there's some traffic issue up ahead and they need to delay incoming cars. But I could be wrong; maybe they're just enjoying abusing their powers.

  19. bralex says

    @grandy – look up "rolling roadblock" – it might (emphasis on might) explain what was going on. I've seen rolling roadblocks used to create a gap in traffic for moving heavy equipment across roadways during construction, or to allow a crane to swing a girder onto a new bridge.

  20. Rick C says

    @Trebuchet, when I lived in Boston I would see cops hit their lights and sirens just to go through red lights. This happened on a daily basis.

  21. says

    I have absolutely no respect for any law that is blatantly ignored by those entrusted with enforcing it. And I have no regard for those who fail to abide by the laws they are tasked to enforce. Mostly because there is nothing in the world I hate more than tyrannical hypocrisy.

    Is it any wonder I hate government so much?

  22. GoSign says

    I love "launched an investigation". It's the near-universal police response by police departments, for any kind of misconduct. In the extreme circumstance that public is still pressuring them, after a month or two of "investigating", maybe a culprit will be punished with some paid leave.

  23. Luke G says

    On my way to drop off a parking ticket (oh the irony!) I was mid-left-turn when I was passed on the inside and cut off by a cop car, who I then ended up following to the courthouse to drop of said ticket. He saw me pulling in and gunned it into a garage, and I half expected him to come out with his weapon drawn- fortunately that didn't happen.

    I sent in a complaint and figured to hear nothing of it, but ended up being called by some PR flak who tried to explain to me that my turn looked too wide (?) and that I should be understanding that mistakes can happen. I did manage to get a limp admission that, had I made the same "mistake," I'd have had another ticket to pay. I at least got the emotional satisfaction of telling him that this is the reason that the police in this town are considered jokers and bullies (well that, and their crowd control techniques proven to encourage riots…)

  24. Grifter says

    I will say, though, that sometimes cops do the "light up on reds then shut back down" for legit reasons. In the EMS world, it's done at night on non-busy roads in residential areas to keep the bright lights/loud siren to a minimum, but I know in the LE world it's done so as not to necessarily alert everyone that you're responding to them…of course, I also think they do it whenever they feel like not waiting at a light, too, so I have no idea how it would look statistically.

  25. tmitsss says

    Sam • Oct 9, 2013 @8:00 am


    After the trial the LE driver resigned and went to seminary.

    This struck me as incredibly poignant. Probably a result of my cynical and twisted worldview.

    Sam, there is a little more to it than that. The LE officer stuck to the official story during trial, but I was obvious that his heart wasn't in his testimony and he was regretful. The jury probably eased up on the eventual verdict because of that perception. The injuries of the passengers were relatively minor ( and the verdict was generous for those injuries), but my expert told me it was a matter of about 18 inches from a blow that spun my car out of the way to a solid impact what would have killed multiple 12 year old girls.

  26. Rick C says


    I will say, though, that sometimes cops do the "light up on reds then shut back down" for legit reasons

    While that's true, it's hard to claim that when you see it being done on major high-traffic intersections in the middle of the day, day in, day out.

  27. Dragonmum says

    Yeah, The NC State Patrol launching an investigation into itself. That will end. (not well or badly – just end, and we'll never hear any more).

    On the other hand, except during certain very well announced weekends and special holidays, you have to be really cruising (15-20 over) on the interstates here to get pulled. I've lived right on I40 and I85 in this "Southern Part of Heaven" long enough to learn the local/state "cop tricks". Only 2 tickets in 30 years, and I have a lead foot that makes mr dragonmum cringe.

    It's a measure of their corruption and complacency that it's easy to beat them at their own game. Everyone who lives here knows that from Hillsborough west, 40/85 is wide open, but go the other ways (Durham or Chapel Hill) and you best not do more than 8 over until you hit the other side of either town… Then it's clear sailing until you hit Virginia or the Atlantic Ocean, whichever comes first.

    That's because all the State Patrol cars are trolling the back roads of the RTP counties just waiting for you to roll down that looong 45 mph hill at 60. That's where the money is…

  28. wgering says

    When I lived in the Midwest it was common to see cops turn on their lights + siren, run a red light, and then immediately switch them off.

    Haven't seen it as much since I moved out to the west coast, but I'm also not driving as much.

  29. Arclight says


    I lost a clutch cable on the freeway while in the left lane, puttering to work at 30 during rush hour. I drifted to a stop on the left shoulder and called for a tow truck. While sitting there waiting, a cop found me and decided it was a really crappy location for a tow truck to try to enter traffic due to being just over the crest of a hill. He called for a rolling block (again, during rush hour mind you) so as to allow him to push my car across the freeway onto the right shoulder and further down the hill. I'll guarantee that none of the folks stuck in the break ever had any idea why they were slowed down.

    I've seen cops do lots of stupid and illegal things, but in all the times I've seen traffic breaks (3 that I recall) they always have a purpose, if not an obvious one.

  30. says

    I feel kind of sorry for police officers whose assignment is driving around in patrol cars. How would you like to spend your whole working day driving around stuck behind idiots going exactly the speed limit?

  31. Aaron Spink says


    I would of totally fought that ticket.

    Go to court, say you weren't going 45. Officer chimes in that you were really going 55. Ask the court how it wants it handles people filing either a false police report or perjuring themselves in court. Watch as cop squirms.

    About the dumbest thing a cop can do is write you a ticket for a different speed than which he clocked you at and then show up when you contest it to say you were doing a higher speed. Its a classic catch 22. Either his reports (past, present, and future) cannot be trusted or his word in court cannot be trusted.

  32. says

    This topic interests me a lot.

    I've spent a fair amount of time in cop-cars (although only once as a 'naughty', and that was for 102 in a 70 on the M57 in Liverpool (and he wrote it as a 97 so it was a fixed ticket of £40, because we were the only cars on the entire road))

    I did do some accident investigation training too, which meant riding with UK police traffic cars, and doing a parallel investigation (which would be compared to the 'real' one to see how I did)

    The radio/cellphone things – that bugs me. The UK cops do it right. Every traffic car (there's two kinds of car, a pursuit/traffic car, and a 'general duties' car, the latter being something like a Focus or Astra, the former are Audi S3, Mitubishi evos, and Impretzas, along with the workhorse Volvo V70R's – basically it has to be able to do at least 155mph and seat 4-5) has 2 different ways to talk on the radio. in 2-man cars, the passenger operates the radio, and uses an old-fashioned telephone handset (you laugh, but it really works). On single-man cars, the radio is operated by a button on the gearshift (almost all police cars, and indeed cars in the UK in general, are manual transmission), might be a second on the wheel, but I don't remember seeing anyone use it.

    I've always been surprised by the US 'standard' of policing. I meet a lot of cops here in Ga (half my wife's family are either cops or retired cops) and it amazes me that despite all the money thrown at them, what they get is actually pretty crap. They all get cars! Hurrah! Oh, they're mostly pretty crap cars that can be outrun by a minivan, but have a big thirsty V8 anyway.

    Even the 'best' cars aren't that good, as shown by the Michigan State Police annual Vehicle evaluation report http://www.michigan.gov/documents/msp/VehicleTestBook2013-sm_406312_7.pdf
    And for that matter the driving standards are poor. I've ridden with a police pursuit instructor, and he wouldn't even pass the regular driving test in the UK, let alone the police patrol test, or the REALLY tough pursuit test (the final stage of that test is a simulated pursuit, of another police vehicle, got to give full running commentary, and call it off if it gets too dangerous, the examiner riding shotgun and in communication with the bandit car)

    Anyway, when it comes to cops and accountability, there is a LOT that needs to be done here. So, a few months back I went and sat down and thought through a process that would help police regain the public trust. Then I though t'this would also work for politicians' and so it became this http://falkvinge.net/2013/01/08/how-the-police-and-politicians-can-regain-the-public-trust/

  33. says

    @Andrew "K`Tetch" Norton

    They all get cars! Hurrah! Oh, they're mostly pretty crap cars that can be outrun by a minivan, but have a big thirsty V8 anyway.

    There is only one piece of equipment that American cops need upgraded, and that's always-on, offsite-stored, third-party verified bodycams.