Bush-League or Legitimate, You Tell Me
I was recently on a family vacation in northern Wisconsin and I was speeding. I was traveling on a two-lane highway as I drove by a SUV parked on the side of the road.
It was 10:00 in the morning and I was concentrating on the vehicle directly in front of me, about to pass him. I passed this vehicle and as I looked into my rearview mirror to re-enter the proper lane, I observed the lights flashing and immediately pulled the side of the road.
A Wisconsin state trooper pulled behind my vehicle and sat there. I waited briefly and exited my vehicle as a gesture of respect. Over the PA, the trooper directed me to return to my vehicle, which I did.
Hands in plain view, after a short period of time, the trooper approached the passenger side of my vehicle. I rolled down the window and immediately told him I was a retired Chicago police officer and that I had a gun in the compartment between the front seats. He thanked me for that information and asked me if I knew the speed limit. I replied, I thought it was 60 MPH. He corrected me, it was 55. He stated, “I had you going 62 in a 55.”
He then stated “I had you at 82 as you passed that other car.” I apologized and told him that I was driving this vehicle for only the second time, as it was my wife’s Jeep. He told me to sit and he would be back.
The trooper returned and handed me a speeding citation for going 82 MPH in a 55 zone. He was very professional and polite. I was mutually respectful and explained that I had originally stated I was a retired CPD to let him know I was armed. He again thanked me and he then explained the court date and procedure.
I returned to the road not allowing me to be angry over the citation that would cost me $250, after all, I was wrong for speeding.
After my vacation, I returned to Chicago and began to relive the traffic stop. I began to wonder if that trooper would have stopped any other vehicle for doing 62 in a 55, or was it just an Illinois plate that attracted his attention. I further allowed myself to believe that writing a speeding citation for a vehicle legally passing a slower vehicle was something I would never allow my recruits to be taught by their field training officers during my six years as field training sergeant for my district.
I immediately told the trooper that I was a retired police officer in order to let him know I had a gun in my vehicle and subconsciously hope for professional courtesy; after all, I was only doing seven miles over the speed limit on a deserted road. I was very shocked and surprised when he wrote the citation for the maximum speed I obtained while I passed a slower moving vehicle.
I would love to contest the added on speed in front of a judge, but I am not travelling 300 miles to attend a 10:00 a.m. court call.
I believe that this trooper put a feather in his cap for not only ticketing an Illinoisan, but for writing a retired Chicago police officer. Please understand, I was wrong to speed, but I think this extra added on speed was uncalled for. I consider this bush-league police work. Any thoughts?
Larry Casey, sergeant (ret.), Chicago Police Department, Criminal Justice Professor, Wilbur Wright College. You can view his website StoriesofaChicagoPoliceOfficer for more information and review his book by the same name.