Well, it certainly seems that the police are in the news every day . . . whether it be for protecting communities, doing good deeds and saving lives, or for being accused of unnecessary force and questionable shooting of suspects. The views and attitudes concerning policing today varies widely, from one end of the spectrum to the other, often depending on where you live, your race and your past dealings with police officers.
After having served as a police officer and Sheriff, I came to the conclusion many years ago that situations sometimes escalate simply because of what transpires in the first few minutes when a person is pulled over or detained. What a person first says to a police officer can make the situation go immediately downhill . . . so, I have come up with a list of certain things you should NOT say to the officer . . . for instance:
1. "Well, well, well, look who stopped me. How's Andy and Aunt Bee?"
2. "I thought a police officer had to be in good physical condition . . . It looks like you've had WAY too many doughnuts!"
3. "Do you know who I am? I make more money in one day than you do in a month, and my best friend is an attorney."
4. "Why don't you take that ticket book and stick it where the sun don't shine?"
5. "Wow! What engine do you have in your patrol car? I was going 135 MPH, and you still caught me!"
6. "If you just give me a warning, I'll let you frisk me ALL OVER . . . you big hunk!"
7. "That's a neat pistol you have . . . want to see my Smith & Wesson 44 magnum?"
8. "Go ahead and beat the crap out of me . . . my buddy here has a camera."
9. "Those are not my empty beer cans in the back seat. Those were in the car when I bought it."
10. "You can check under my seat . . . just please don't look in the trunk."
11. "So . . . what's a good bribe cost around here? I can pay cash."
12. "Nice uniform, but that hat is hilarious! Can I borrow those to go trick-or-treating?"
13. "Can you hold my bottle of vodka while I look for my driver's license?"
14. "When I was a little kid, I wanted to be a cop . . . but I decided to finish my education."
15. "Oops . . . sorry Occifer, I thought you wanted to drag race."
16. "I used to date your wife . . . Boy, was she hot in bed!"
17. "I don't have time for this. I have diarrhea REAL BAD. If you don't let me go, it's not going to be pretty!"
18. "I want my Mommy . . . I want my Mommy!"
There are other actions that might irritate the police officer. Examples? Do not pretend you are deaf when he is talking to you . . . or scream out loud and yell "la-la-la-la-la . . . I can't hear you."
Do not tear up your ticket and tell him to go to Hell.
Do not place your car in reverse, run over his foot, and slam into his patrol car.
If he tells you that you are under arrest, do not start crying and suck your thumb.
Do not offer to sell him your stash of weed for half-price.
Do not tell him how cute he (or she) is and ask what he is doing when he gets off duty.
Do not say, "I don't have time for your BS . . . I'm leaving and I bet you can't catch me!"
If you receive a ticket, do not get out of your car and moon him.
Now . . . keep this list handy. Perhaps you can glue these to the visor or have these tattooed to your forearm in case you forget. Following these guidelines may help you from becoming a victim of a very common occurrence nowadays . . . SYSTEMIC STUPIDITY.

John "Butch" Dale is a retired teacher and County Sheriff. He has also been the librarian at Darlington the past 30 years, and is a well-known artist and author of local history. He writes a general column that appears in The Paper on Fridays and a local sports column on Tuesdays.?