Tuesday, August 05, 2008

It was bound to happen...

I haven't been pulled over since I've been married. Even then, I've only been pulled over twice. As much as those two incidences were ridiculous (making a u-turn in front of a fire station anyone?) I'm sure I've deserved to be pulled over many more times than I have.

This morning was another one of those times where, I guess I deserved it, but I really didn't know I did. It is normally a 45 zone, but I guess because their is construction it goes down to 30. Apparently, even at 7am when there is no one working. But, truth be told, I've driven that stretch of roadway 4-5 times a week for the past year and didn't realize the speed limit slowed down through that area. Of course I told the police officer that and I got the look of "yeah, right...".

Unfortunately, police officers get so used to hearing excuses and hanging out with the people who do wrong in society and don't care that they get a little hardened to the real stories people have and can tend to be motivated to "stick it to them" whenever they start hearing someone come up with an "excuse". Trust me when I say I've experienced this, both as someone getting pulled over and someone close to a few officers. The inpatience for excuses is obvious. As it was today when I got pulled over.

Wouldn't you know it, I gave him my license but didn't give hm my insurance. He had to remind me. I'm sure it didn't look good that when I finally did go to get out my insurance the one I gave him was expired. And...he wanted to know if I have "another one". Oops.

Thankfully this was my out. See, I know that there is a slightly better chance of leniency if you know the officer, or, if you know an officer. It gives slightly better credibility to you when you say that you didn't know. Or, maybe it just makes the officer able to relate to you a little more. All I can tell you is that I've seen it happen, several times, where a police officer is "let go" because they are a police officer. Now, police officers in many cases have the choice whether or not to give anyone a ticket, so its not completely unethical. But it still doesn't sit completely well with me.

Anyway, back to my way out. I told the officer "Sir, I do have insurance. If I didn't my husband would kill me...he's a p.o. too". Then came the 3rd degree. Is his last name the same as yours? Where does he work? (followed up by...which station?). Whats the phone number to that station. (which...by the way...isn't something I've memorized...it doesn't make sense to try and call a beat officer at the station because he isn't there. nevertheless I thankfully had it in my cell phone under his work number). Is this your car or his? After I successfully made it through the gauntlet, he gave me back my license and expired insurance and let me go with a warning to find the insurance and slow down. Will do sir...much obliged! Very grateful!

I've wrestled with the question of what to do if I get pulled over for the past 4 years. With the exception of the expired insurance (I DO have valid insurance, I promise!), I think this instance went particularly well. (Except, maybe, for the officer whose glasses were fogged up the entire time and made the whole thing a bit comical). I've never wanted to be the one who says "I know so and so police officer can't you let me off with a warning?" or "But I'm married to a p.o., I know you don't have to write me a ticket". That would be pretty presumptious of me. And arrogant. And just wrong. That's not who I am. If I deserve a ticket then give it to me. But on the other hand, J tells me a lot that I should let the officer know. I did get a warning ticket for not having my train pass once (I have an annual pass, just forgot it at home or work or in the car or something). J asked me if I told him that I was a p.o. spouse. In that situation, I didn't. It didn't fit into the conversation and I certainly wasn't going to yell, over the person sitting next to me, in an otherwise quite train, "YOU KNOW...MY HUSBAND IS A POLICE OFFICER". I don't want to be that kind of person, and I don't want police in general to have a bad reputation.

I guess I was grateful I couldn't find my insurance...in this case, I guess it could be said, that not having my insurance helped me keep my insurance cost low. hehe. Thank you mr. police officer, for going easy on me even though I didn't deserve it.

I can't help but to mention the interesting correlation with grace. (I haven't thought through this completelyfrom a theological perpsective, so bear with me). I guess in a mini way this has taught me something about salvation. I am guilty. Sometimes I am guilty and know I'm guilty. Sometimes I'm guilty even though I wasn't aware I was doing something wrong. "For all have sinned...". I deserve the punishment. And yet, not of anything I did or could do, I was given grace because of who I knew and because of the mercy of the one in authority. I will be held accountable one day, but I will also be able to call out "I KNOW THE KING" and be covered in his purifying blood, washed clean, made whole, forgiven.

1 comment:

Wolfe Blog said...

Bummer! Sam is not a Police Officer, so I had no way out last Friday when I go stopped. I did have valid insurance, though. Funny thing is that the last time Sam got stopped, he just got a warning. No such luck for me. Defensive Driving here I come!

Friday was a horrible day for me! The ticket was just one of many problems. Next stop, the bank, where my new Debit card's PIN did not work---ugh! Thank God for a new day and a new week.