In the rear view we could see three police officers huddled around my documents, handing them back and forth, one of them pointing at the truck; none of them watching the traffic violations occurring right in front of them; none of them attempting to direct traffic. Horns honking, illegal lane changes and probably lots of cars making illegal turns on yellow arrows, while they looked for anything that might be amiss on the documents in their possession. Since when does it take three uniformed police officers on dirt bikes to write a traffic citation to an older gentlemen, his wife and two older daughters who obviously pose no threat whatsoever to the public safety? I lit my cigarette back up and managed a few puffs before we saw him head back towards the window.
He handed me a clipboard with a citation attached and said that by signing it I wasn’t admitting guilt, only that I agree to appear in court on the date of August 30th. He made it clear that it was voluntary. That I did not have to appear. The ticket, of course, states the opposite, in red, that if I don’t show up, it will be constituted as a separate offense. I signed the damn ticket and was curtly given the pink copy. He asked me if I had any questions.
“Yeah, do you know where the parking garage is for Caesar’s Palace?” I asked.
His response, in his rude, abusive, blunt, course, impolite, insulting, impertinent tone, was “It’s farther down.”
The traffic citation clearly, (well not clearly, it took me a while to decipher the correct statute), states that the violation that occurred was relative to NRS484B.3o7. He, and, of course, it is impossible to make out the officer’s name, cited NRS484B.377. I checked the statutes. There is no 377. NRS484B goes to .367 dealing with school zones. Here is an excerpt from the correct statute: “(b) The vehicular traffic in question had already completely entered the intersection before the red signal was exhibited. For the purposes of this paragraph, a vehicle shall be considered to have “completely entered” an intersection when all portions of the vehicle have crossed the limit line or other point of demarcation behind which vehicular traffic must stop when a red signal is displayed.” This is precisely what happened. The officer’s response to my statement that the light was yellow when I entered the intersection, “That’s what the courts are for.”
There is no amount on the citation, so I have no idea how much more I’m going to have to donate to the Las Vegas economy. A quick check online says that the fine could be as high as $1,000. If that’s the case, they’re going to have to come and get it.
My daughter discussed the incident later with an Uber driver. His first response was that he couldn’t believe I’d been pulled over for that. Everyone does it, he said. Then he asked if the truck had out-of-state plates. When my daughter told him yes, he said that was why I was pulled over. They know you won’t be here to answer the complaint, they won’t have to go to court, and the whole issue will be handled by a default judgement sent to my address with the amount due on the citation.
Here’s my problem. A police officer’s job is to “Serve and Protect.” I appreciate that. But they are also, in the case of traffic and other minor offenses, a customer service representative of the community where they work. As with any business, a customer may have only one contact, ever, with the business, and it is through that representative. The customer’s whole impression of that company is going to be made through the interaction with that company’s representative, in this case, the police officer. Thus, through his mistreatment of the events, I now believe that the entire Las Vegas Metro Police Department SUCKS. It’s probably not true, but it’s the basis for the problems throughout the country. Why can’t a police officer be friendly, helpful, courteous when they are interacting with the public? Why isn’t it absolutely required? We are the ones paying them to serve and protect us after all.
I have been stopped for traffic violations five times in 47 years of driving. I have never been given a warning ticket. I am never rude, discourteous, disrespectful, or a smart-ass to the police officer. Yet not one has decided that maybe I should let this one go. In the Las Vegas case, it was questionable as to whether the entire vehicle had crossed the limit line when the light changed to red. And what exactly was I supposed to do? How could I back up out of the intersection? My only choice was to continue through the intersection. The police officer had a choice to consider a lot of variables and let the citation go. He chose not to.
So there you have it. The reason why the Las Vegas Metro Police suck. I’ll let you know how much running a red light in Las Vegas costs me.
I thought this was interesting. Look who owns most of the casinos on the Strip: