For your pleasure and enjoyment...
This was taken from a "Community Policing" question and answer via an e-mail forum in California.
The question was:
"I would like to know how it is possible for police officer to harass people and get away with it? And where can you go for help, other than a civil attorney?"
And the answer was:
"It is not easy. In California we average one cop for every 2000 people. About 60% of those cops are on patrol, where we do most of the harassing. One-fifth of that 60% are on duty at any moment and available for harassing people. So, one on duty cop is responsible to harass about 10,000 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 to try to harass 20,000+ people a day.
A ten hour shift runs 36,000 seconds. This gives a cop only one second to harass a person, and three-fourths of a second to eat a donut AND find a new person to harass. This is not an easy task. Most cops are not up to it day in and day out. It is just too tiring.
Since you now understand why we cannot harass everyone let me explain briefly what we do to utilize some special "tools" to help us narrow down who we harass, so we can focus our limited "harassing resources" to those most worthy individuals. They are as follows:
People will call us up and point out things that cause us to focus
on another person for special (concentrated) harassment. "My ex-husband just beat me and my boyfriend up and he is barricaded in the bedroom with our baby and a gun, or "My neighbor is beating up his wife and she is screaming for help" are a couple code phrases that are frequently employed. Then we come out and give special harassment to the wife beater. Another popular one on weekends is "My neighbors are out of town and their kids are having a loud party."
We have special cops assigned to harass people who drive; They usually ride motorcycles so they can get around fast or cut through traffic to harass as many people as possible in their given shift. They like to harass the drivers of fast cars, cars blasting music, cars with expired registration tabs, and the like. It is lots of fun when we pick them out of traffic for nothing more obvious then running a red light, going around railroad crossing arms, or driving 20+ MPH over the posted limit in a school zone. Sometimes we get to really heap the harassment on when we find they have drugs in their car, are driving drunk, are unlicensed or have an arrest warrant!
Some people take off running at the mere sight of a uniformed police officer. Nothing is quite as satisfying as running after them like a trained
beagle on the scent of a bunny. When we catch them, gosh darn it if there isn't always some good reason to harass them for hours!
When we can think of nothing else to do, there are books that give us
ideas for reasons to harass folks. They are called Codes, Penal, Vehicle, Health and Safety, Business and Professions... They each spell out all sorts of silly things for which we can really mess with people. After we study these code books, we can just drive around for a while until we find someone violating one of the listed offenses and heap on the harassment! Just last week I saw a guy smash several car windows right in front of me. Well, believe it or not, one of the code books says that is not allowed. That meant I automatically got to harass this guy...of course he didn't like it, because just when I got done harassing him, the jail deputies harassed him and that will likely continue until the judge harasses him, then he will probably be harassed by a probation officer for the next couple of years. It is a pretty cool system that we have set up, and it works very well most of the time. We seem to have a never ending supply of folks to harass, and we "get away with it" because the good citizens pay the tab for us to keep the streets safe for them...and your civil attorney.
Next time you are in my town, give me a "single finger wave". That is a secret signal that you wish for me to take a closer look at you, and maybe find a reason to harass you.