You say “harassment,” we say “police work”

I don’t come across very many law-abiding citizens who say the cops are harassing them.

Anyway, I just couldn’t resist after seeing this absolutely funny post titled “Why do cops get to harass people?” on Motorcop:

Recently, the Chula Vista Police Department ran an e-mail forum (a question and answer exchange) with the topic being, “Community Policing.”

One of the civilian email participants posed the following question: “I would like to know how it is possible for police officers to continually harass people and get away with it?”

From the “other side” (the law enforcement side) Sgt. Bennett, obviously a cop with a sense of humor replied:

“First of all, let me tell you this…it’s not easy. In Chula Vista , we average one cop for every 600 people. Only about 60% of those cops are on general duty (or what you might refer to as “patrol”) where we do most of our harassing.

The rest are in non-harassing departments that do not allow them contact with the day to day innocents. And at any given moment, only one-fifth of the 60% patrollers are on duty and available for harassing people while the rest are off duty. So roughly, one cop is responsible for harassing about 5,000 residents.

When you toss in the commercial business, and tourist locations that attract people from other areas, sometimes you have a situation where a single cop is responsible for harassing 10,000 or more people a day.

Now, your average ten-hour shift runs 36,000 seconds long. This gives a cop one second to harass a person, and then only three-fourths of a second to eat a donut AND then find a new person to harass. This is not an easy task. To be honest, most cops are not up to this challenge day in and day out. It is just too tiring. What we do is utilize some tools to help us narrow down those people which we can realistically harass.

The tools available to us are as follows:

PHONE: People will call us up and point out things that cause us to focus on a person for special harassment. “My neighbor is beating his wife” is a code phrase used often. This means we’ll come out and give somebody some special harassment.

Another popular one is, “There’s a guy breaking into a house.” The harassment team is then put into action.

CARS: We have special cops assigned to harass people who drive. They like to harass the drivers of fast cars, cars with no insurance or no driver’s licenses and the like. It’s lots of fun when you pick them out of traffic for nothing more obvious than running a red light. Sometimes you get to really heap the harassment on when you find they have drugs in the car, they are drunk, or have an outstanding warrant on file.

RUNNERS: Some people take off running just at the sight of a police officer. Nothing is quite as satisfying as running after them like a beagle on the scent of a bunny. When you catch them you can harass them for hours.

STATUTES: When we don’t have PHONES or CARS and have nothing better to do, there are actually books that give us ideas for reasons to harass folks. They are called “Statutes”; Criminal Codes, Motor Vehicle Codes, etc… They all spell out all sorts of things for which you can really mess with people.

After you read the statute, you can just drive around for awhile until you find someone violating one of these listed offenses and harass them. Just last week I saw a guy trying to steal a car. Well, there’s this book we have that says that’s not allowed. That meant I got permission to harass this guy. It is a really cool system that we have set up, and it works pretty well.

We seem to have a never-ending supply of folks to harass. And we get away with it. Why? Because for the good citizens who pay the tab, we try to keep the streets safe for them, and they pay us to “harass” some people.

Next time you are in my town, give me the old “single finger wave.” That’s another one of those codes. It means, “You can harass me.” It’s one of our favorites.

12 thoughts on “You say “harassment,” we say “police work””

  1. Haha I enjoy MC’s posts always good for a chuckle. Those sorts of folks are probably the same ones complaining about an ambulance offering to take them to the hospital…wait, didn’t they just call 911 for an ambulance?

  2. I have said this before, and I will say it again…

    “Normal people have very little interaction with police officers.”

    1. You’d be surprised. There are people who will use the police to harass. Anonymous tips, forged emails, out-of-context vague text messages – a sufficiently creative person can quite easily use the police to harass someone, all the while painting themselves as a victim in need of protection. I’ve had it happen – someone who lived in the same building as I did and went to school with me decided to repeatedly call the police claiming I was stalking him, trying to ruin his reputation, damaging his property, etc. I had to put up with repeated calls from the police telling me to “avoid this person” – which I couldn’t do without changing my residence and transferring colleges.

      1. You missed his key phrase “normal people”.

        Normal people know the difference between right and wrong. Either you’re leaving out key bits of information, or your accuser had bigger issues that would remove him from the “normal people” category in all likelihood.

  3. I have lived in Chula Vista since 1964 and had always felt great respect for the Chula Vista Police department.

    This respect exists no longer. The old police force was out to enforce the law but they at least spoke to people , they earned the respect they got. Today they act like Nazis and the word “discretion” in carrying out their duties is non-existent. They are utomaton Rambos! (Nazis). All they know how to say is “the law states” or “I have orders”…. much like the germans said when they commited their deeds!

    1. Example one. Early one morning stopped to dropp off videos at blockbuster stopped in front of the handicapped zone, opened the door with the engine running and my wife and daughter waiting in the car les than five seconds. Motorcycle cop waiting in hiding behind trash bin pops out and gives me a ticket fro parking in blue zone. Had done this to many Blockbuster customers acoding to the employees!

    2. Brandywine street going south to Main street, favorite hide out for cops to stop cars for speeding. This road is a steep hill going down and two seconds of inattention will easily increase speed at least 5 miles. These thugs are out rhere giving tickets left and right.

    3. Otal Lakes road down to Bonita road same as above steep hill going down and they wit in hiding for an inattentive driver.

    4. Off ramp from 805 direction North into Telegraph. Right turn prohibited with red light, but one sign across the street barely visible among many advertiements made this a goldmine for these thugs. Now there are more signs and people are aware, but first they filled the treasury.

    I don’t have any proof, but logic tells me that they are earning a great comission for this work! either directly or for the purpose of paying their brand new 21st Century building!

    I could go on and on… It is a shame that the city of Chula Vista is using the police department as a revenue source in these hard times, what is worse is that the police department allows itself to be prostituted this way!

    Sure I want their protection, but that does not excuse their assault on the population.

    1. So, let me get this straight….you know where they “hide” and are aware of the signage and the fact that you shouldn’t block the handicapped parking? Sounds like you should be more than capable to follow the laws then. How about less whining and more law abiding? Just a thought, sir.

      Oh…and “commission”? Please. If that were even remotely accurate, I’d have a lot more money in the bank based on my level of enforcement. Believe it or not, we are out there to keep the streets safe and make sure the rules of the road are followed. Careful how you paint us all with such a broad stroke.

      1. MOTORCOP YOU SOUNDED JUST LIKE A POLICE OFFICER WHO HAS NO CONCEPT OF THE WORD “DISCRETION” “IT’S THE LAW AND THAT’S ALL I KNOW” …..PERHAPS SWASTIKAS WOULD LOOK BETTER ON YOUR UNIFORMS
        “WHINING” I GUESS ENOUGH CITIZENS IN THIS CITY COMPLAINED ABOUT THAT MOTORCYCLE OFFICER TO GET HIM FIRED FOR WAITING TO TRAP PEOPLE COMMITTING “CRIMES”.
        I KNOW CHULA VISTA NEEDS THE CASH BUT DO YOU GUYS HAVE TO PROSTITUTE YOURSELVES TO MEET THE POLITICIANS NEED BY ASSAULTING THE POPULATION FOR INSIGNIFICANT THINGS.
        THERE USE TO BE A DEMONSTRATION OF “GOODWILL” BY THE CHULA VISTA POLICE DEPARTMENT AND PEOPLE RECEIVED “WARNINGS” FOR INSIGNIFICANT THINGS
        LET THE FIRST PERSON WHO HAS NOT ROLLED DOWN A STREET AND INADVERTENTLY GONE SLIGHTLY OVER THE SPEED LIMIT BECAUSE OF GRAVITY THROW THE FIRST STONE!
        WHY LIE IN WAIT LIKE CRIMINALS WAITING TO ASSAULT THE CITIZENS!
        I DON’T CARE WHAT YOU CALL IT, BUT IT IS NOT WHINING, ITS STATING A FACT.
        I GUESS YOUR “LEVEL OF ENFORCEMENT” MAKES YOU PROUD, BUT NOW CHULA VISTA IS KNOW THROUGHOUT SAN DIEGO COUNTY BECAUSE OF THE NAZIS THAT PATROL THE STREETS AND THAT TO A GREAT DEGREE DAMAGES US ALL.!

        1. You’re the guy that complained about the harassment, aren’t you?

          Dude, face it. You parked in front of a handicapped zone. You took a chance, parked illegally, and got busted. Pay your fine, have a nice day.

          There is no “five second rule” on illegal parking. Or anything else illegal for that matter.

          If you can’t do the time, don’t do the time. Or any other McGruff the Crime Dog cliches you want to add…

          1. NEVER COMPLAINED ABOUT HARASSMENT, DON’T STATE IS AS FACT. !
            AS TO YOUR 5 SECOND RULE, THE NEXT TIME YOU DROP A PIECE OF PAPER AND IT HITS THE GROUND YOU WILL BE GUILTY OF LITTERING, NO MATTER HOW QUICKLY YOU PICK IT UP!
            COP WILL SAY YOU PICKED IT UP CAUSE YOU SAW HIM NO MATTER WHAT YOUR INTENTIONS WERE…
            DON’T EVEN KNOW WHY I BOTHER TO ANSWER YOUR COMMENT!

        2. I can always tell an idiot who is blowing smoke by all the caps in his vehement post! Look, a coherent argument might move me, but ALL CAPS just make me laugh.

          1. Yes blowing smoke! Laugh all you want. When a chula vista police stops you and tells you to stand away with your mouth shut, unable to at least to explain a logical and REASONABLE motive for what is perceived as a violation, I want to see you laugh.

            The old blue and white Chula Vista cars and the police who drove them were human beings, not automatons! They were part of the community and at least spoke to the people. Explained the motive for having stopped them and had the courtesy of at least listening to the person stopped, even though the person might be mistaken.

            The mission of the Chula Vista Police Department is to enhance the quality of life in the city by:

            Treating all persons with respect, dignity and fairness.

            This should be erased from their web page because it is not what they do.

            Calling people idiots, well it just demostrates the calibre of person you are and level of education you have.

            Unfortunate.

  4. PERHAPS i MISS SPOKE, NAZIS AT LEAST BELIEVED IN SOMETHING HOWEVER WRONG THEIR BELIEFS WERE !
    BUT PRETENDING TO “SERVE” THE PEOPLE OF THE CITY OF CHULA VISTA WHEN IN FACT THEY ARE REVENUE COLLECTORS AT ANY COST, NO MATTER HOW UNFAIR, THIS IS REALLY PROOF OF NOT HAVING ANY VALUES OR NOTION OF FAIRNESS. AND HERE IS THE REASON.
    19 MILLION DOLLARS IN PAYMENTS DUE FOR THEIR NEW POLICE STATION EVERY FOUR YEARS UNTIL 2032 AND A CITY THAT IS TRYING TO AVOID BANKRUPTCY LIKE MANY OTHERS.

    READ SECOND PAGE AND THE FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE CITY.

    http://www.angelfire.com/ca5/best/Police.htm

    I CAN UNDERSTAND THAT THERE ARE GOOD POLICE OFFICERS IN CHULA VISTA. BUT THE MISGUIDED PRESSURE THEY ARE UNDER TO COLLECT COLLECT COLLECT, IS MAKING THEM PROSTITUTE THE GOOD VALUES AND FAIRNESS THAT MANY OF THEM I AM SURE HAVE.
    CAN THEY COMPLAIN, SURE, WILL THEY LOSE THEIR JOBS, PROBABLY. WHO GETS SCREWED? THE GOOD RESIDENTS OF CHULA VISTA!
    SO MY APOLOGIES TO THOSE POLICE OFFICERS WHO STILL WILL ABIDE BY THEIR MORAL STANDARDS NO MATTER WHAT.
    FOR THOSE OTHERS! “A PLAGUE ON ALL YOUR HOUSES”

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