Patrol

Bush-League or Legitimate, You Tell Me

5,516

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.

vehicle pursuit
(Photo courtesy 911Garage)

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.

Want More Stories Like This?

Subscribe to our email list and get notified each time we release a breaking news story.






Thank you for subscribing. Please check your inbox to confirm your email subscription.

Author
Larry Casey

Having had a grandfather and father on the Chicago Police Department made the choice of becoming a police officer relatively simple. Between the excitement of having a real profession and the prospect of following in the Casey footprint, the Chicago Police Department seemed a natural choice. I donned my recruit uniform in November 1977, at the age of twenty-five. After seventeen years of patrolman status, I was promoted to sergeant. As a supervisor I continued my learning and teaching for thirteen years of overseeing young men and women until 2008. I retired at the age of fifty-six after thirty years of a very wide variety of police work and assignments, narcotics, burglary, robbery, community policing, school security, anti-terrorist, CAPS duty, etc. In 2002 I received my Bachelor of Arts degree from Lewis University, and in 2005, I earned my Masters of Science degree, also from Lewis University. After a few months of relaxation, I started my new career as an adjunct professor of Criminal Justice at Wilbur Wright College. I have been teaching there for the last nine years. Trading thoughts about my police experience led me to write a book of my memories. I did not want to bore people with the typical police stories of shoot-em ups. And seeing I was always a proponent of humor being a policeman’s best outlet for stress and pressure, I decided it was appropriate of me, to write a very different genre of police book. My compilation of short stories is based on the humorous side of police work. Mainly I detail accounts that rarely make their way to the public’s ear. Honesty is also a base for many memories, stories that were too raw or considered too embarrassing for the everyday reader. I’m very proud to say, I teamed up with the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation and I send them a donation for every book I sell through Pay-Pal or at book signings. I have done book signings for charitable events, for police vests, local libraries, GOP sponsored charitable events, local community events and many others. My main goal in writing this book was to entertain and educate the public: to show that police officers are fathers, mother, sisters and brothers, etc. We’re real people with hearts and souls. We laugh and cry like everybody else. We change tires and diapers, go to ball games and wash our cars. We’re simply human.

49 Comments

Larry, as you said you were speeding so I guess you deserve A ticket although I would not likely write a fellow officer. Now the whole 82 mph stuff is just petty and classless. In most states that speed will warrant a suspension so you may need to contest it. Good luck.

Don, I was speeding and I admitted I deserved a citation for 62 in a 55.

It’s bush league for you to whine on social media about getting pinched for 27 over. The old days of “professional courtesy are over. And the fact your retired puts you one step outside the box. Plus in my opinion, you should known better. Buts that’s just the two cents of a current sergeant. Hell, I’d write one of my troops for that.

Why even bother with posting this article?
You were exceeding the limit, both before, and as, you passed the other vehicle.
You have never worked for that Agency, nor in that area, and most likely unfamiliar with the collisions that have occurred in that area, nor with the complaints that his Agency, post, or he directly, has received from civilians living near / using that road.
I was never a big fan of speed-limit enforcement, even though Radar was the first in-service course I had after basic training (less than 1 month after grad).
My entire career was in uniformed duties, mostly in the equivalent of a USA State or Municipal Police Officer on General Patrol, although my partners and I would handle all but the most complicated calls from 1st phone call to escorting the convicted person to gaol.
My final 9+ years were spent on Highway Patrol / Region Traffic Services, and the first 6 of that was focused more on speed-enforcement. However, I had a personal “tolerance” or lee-way of 115% of the limit for large vehicles (semis, buses) and 120% for smaller vehicles.
Eventually, that became 130%, if at all, because my focus was Impaired (Alcohol), Intersection Control, Occupant Restraint, and Aggressive / Other High-Risk (Criminal and non-criminal driver licence, non-criminal vehicle registration, Lane Discipline, Electronic Communication Device Use), Driving Violations, plus Criminal Interdiction (Warrants, Release Conditions, Stolen Vehicles).
Bottom line, you said that the member was professional. I am of the opinion that you should have stated only that you had a firearm with you due to a carry-permit, and left it at that. Stating your retired status was not good form.
Stay healthy.
PS: I am Canadian, had 35+ years service, and been retired for almost 8 years.

Why would you need to do 82 to pass a 55mph vehicle. That’s excessive. I don’t know any police officers that would pull someone over for 62 in a 55.

Johnny, I was passing a vehicle going about 52 MPH and the safest way for me to do it was to pass it as quickly as possible and get back on my side of the road.

Thought you said the road was deserted,,,,, where was the ‘SAFETY’ issue causing you to have to do 80 something when ‘he’ was only doing 52, you could have easily gotten by him at 55, no trouble OR safety issues,,, truthful now, you were in a hurry and used your ‘I WAS AN OFFICER’ as a get out of jail free, and it didn’t work for ya,,,, pay up pal, just like the rest of us CITIZENS!!

Bud, reread the article. I never used my position to request any favoritism, Also, passing a vehicle doing 52 MPH at 55 MPH would be extremely dangerous. You would be in the on-coming lane for a very lengthy period of time.

Id like to weigh in on this… I am a Police Officer in Texas, and a Firefighter. I do exceed the speed limit from time to time, and I NEVER expect professional courtesy if I get stopped. I have the philosophy that I KNOW what Im doing, and if caught and written a ticket, then it was my OWN FAULT. I know how to accept responsibility for my actions. As for the speed in which he wrote you, I dont know about Illinois, but in Texas, passing a vehicle does not give you the “Right” to exceed the Speed Limit. If you cant pass a vehicle safely, without exceeding the speed limit, then you probably should not pass it, and it is probably a case of being impatient, and in a hurry. NO ONE…is above the law

Robert, You are right, I was in a hurry. But, if you are driving behind a vehicle doing about 50 to 52 MPH in a 55 zone, I think I have to right to pass him. I do not see how it is safer to pass a vehicle doing 55 while the other vehicle is going 52. That would put both vehicles and passengers in danger. And, I never asked for professional courtesy, I said I hoped for it. Hoping is not an ethics violation, it’s human nature.

You could have increased your speed to 55-60 MPH and passed that vehicle quickly and safely. If you notice, the signs say “55 MPH”, not “55 MPH (unless you are passing a car, then it’s balls to the wall)”.

So many jurisdictions and agencies in this country, each having there own way of doing things to argue about what would amount to a petty mis. In MN. Also in MN, it’s legal to go 10 miles over posted speed on MN interstates to pass. 82 in a 55 is a bit hard to ignore regardless of who/what is driving. Every cop is different in their discretions. I can guarantee you would have been pulled in MN as well.

I am retired from New Jersey.
In 28 years I have never wrote another policeman or any of his family members a speeding ticket. Speeding tickets are discretionary. If you can’t give a fellow brother or sister retired or still working a break then there’s something wrong with you. There’s plenty of other fish in the pond. Just remember it’s that retired or active guy that will help you if you’re getting your ass beat on the side of the road by a suspect.

John, I completely agree. If the person you stop is decent and respectful, he gets a pass.

I am an active N.J. law enforcement officer. I agree with you John, no cop, either active or retired gets a summons. We take enough shit from the public to be screwing our own people over. We are supposed to be watching after each other, not looking to screw them. How many vehicles are on the road? Use some discretion and let a fellow brother/sister go. Get the next one

I agree with comments I’ve seen earlier. The days of “professional courtesy” are over. In fact, many agencies today have work rules/ethic/moral policies that prohibit taking different enforcement action just because one may belong to another law enforcement agency or may have family that is an officer. This is just an estimate, but I would assume just about every agency in the nation has some form of camera system these days. How would it look to the public if we cut breaks to fellow officers, but cited Joe Citizen for the exact same offense? Not good…lastly, you should know better than going 27 over. Speed is a factor in just about every crash. Any officer that has investigated even just a few crashes could tell you that.

Well Larry, I would agree with you…but then we would both be wrong….

That Guy. I wrote this piece to vent my frustration in receiving my second citation in 50 years. Both in Wisconsin. I was interested in the responses that I would get.

Writing tickets for 7 miles over the speed limit is something that shouldnt be done to anyone, unless they fail the attitude test. People appreciate a warning and being let go more than the warning and then still getting the ticket.

In Ireland, where I work we operate with a high level of discretion that is allowed to us by supervisors and management. It’s for these reasons we have a general 80% public approval rating (national police force BTW, 1 agency). I can’t comment too much on American matters but I believe the police have a low to average approval rating from the public, and it’s not surprising as, without ever having visited the US I’m well aware not to ever go over the speed limit.

There are enough real criminals out
there and enough dangerously excessive speeders that this situation shouldn’t be a reality.

I’ve read your article, and I went through several stages after reading it. My first thought was to ignore it, but the more I thought about it, the more I needed to say something. I too, am a retired police officer/sergeant and I thank you for your dedicated service. But, I think there may be several things you’ve failed to consider. Whether these oversights were intentional or accidental, only you would know.

My first question would be: “Why did you feel it necessary to tell the trooper more than once that you were retired from the job, if you were ‘hoping’ for professional courtesy?” Sounds like it might have been just a tad more than hoping to me. Now let’s address the stop. You’ve admitted that you were speeding, but you said in your article it was “a deserted road”, yet you also mentioned an RV and a slower moving vehicle. Maybe, compared to Chicago traffic, this qualifies for ‘deserted’, but that just doesn’t pass the smell test. There was also a state trooper out there which, I’m guessing, you failed to notice until the lights came on in your rear view mirror.

Now let’s talk about the trooper himself, also a sergeant, which, in all of our cases, indicates the knowledge and expertise that comes with years (my 23) of experience. In Chicago, and I’ve never worked there, so I’m shooting from the hip, but I’d bet that your call log was significantly busier than rural Wisconsin. In fact, you likely didn’t have the TIME to stop cars for speed violations, unless you were doing emphasis patrol. But this trooper does this every day, 10 hours and more a day, and likely investigates dozens of crashes, involving unsafe passing and speed (sound familiar?), per year.

So, in conclusion, if you had only been speeding 7 over, he probably wouldn’t have even looked at you, but you weren’t. Besides, you were on vacation! Slow down and enjoy it! Oh, and though we joked when I was growing up in Wisconsin about those “crazy Illinois drivers”, you know as well as I do that had nothing to do with the stop. If he’s made it to sergeant, he has ethics. Finally, you said you thought this was bush league, but I think you’ve let your judgment get clouded by your perceived entitlement to professional courtesy. Pay the ticket and drive safe.

Joe, I only told the trooper one time that I was retired CPD, and that was to let him know I was carrying a gun. I have a FOP sticker on the vehicle and I didn’t want him to have to guess if I had a gun in the vehicle or not. After he already wrote the citation, I explained that the reason I originally mentioned my retired status was to allow him to be aware of the gun in the vehicle. At no time did I ask for any special privileges. In my thirty plus years on CPD, including 13 as a sergeant, I would always extend courtesy to another officer when I could. I never asked for any, but I would have certainly appreciated it. As far as the road being deserted, Ithe SUV I mentioned was the trooper alongside the road. He, myself and the vehicle I was passing. Three vehicles in miles of road. Also, in thirty plus years of driving a squad car, I have been involved in two accidents. The first I was struck from behind while waiting at a light. The second I was struck by a vehicle that was turning around another vehicle and hit the front of my squad. Finally, you mention my “entitlement”. This offends me. I believe I already said that I deserved a ticket for speeding. I just question to citation reading a peek speed reached while passing another vehicle. I hope this clarifies any confusion you had over my issue.

Sorry Larry, as a retired Sgt. as well i wrote many a speeding ticket for the maximum speed during passing. I don’t know about your state but you are not allowed to violate the maximum posted speed even to pass. At least he wrote you a speeding ticket and not the possible reckless driving ticket from here (25 mph or more over the posted speed).

Thanks Tom. This is something I never heard of before.

Greg, I didn’t allow myself to think of this until I was back home in my Lazyboy. Then I decided to vent a little and seek advice and information on it.

Wisconsin State Troopers will cite current WI cops. There is pretty much a zero professional courtesy rule with that agency. And for more than 20 MPH over the limit they’d cite their own spouses. Let it go.

I agree Jeff. I already let it go. I’m just curious in other people’s perspectives. What I find interesting is that Chicago Police are busy with serious crime and writing citations is secondary.

You don’t think the Troopers handle serious crime themselves? “Serious crime” is relative. Of course rural Wisconsin isn’t going to have the murder rates that Chicago has. This doesn’t necessarily mean the Trooper doesn’t enforce criminal violations himself.

I’m a detective in Wisconsin and get nervous passing WSP in my unmarked squad while on duty. Wouldn’t want to get a citation!

It never ceases to amaze me how many cops expect ‘professional courtesy’ when they are in a jam.

It’s kind of nice to read about a cop that got the same preferential treatment every other driver gets -none at all.

As for the out of town plates, of course you were “targeted”. Even by your own admission the reason out of towners are so popular for police quotas is because no one is going to drive hours to attend a court hearing over a ticket.

Maximus, I never requested special treatment. I said I was hoping for it. When I was a patrolman and was writing tickets. My partner and myself would write every 7th or 8th driver. We were always judging attitude. Those with good attitudes got breaks while those with poor attitudes got tickets.

You admitted the road was deserted, so why drive 82/55 to pass? I’m not sure why other officers expect professional courtesy. We of all people should know that it puts the other officer at risk. He has to speed to catch up, and now he has to sit on the side of the road with other traffic driving by. When I travel I’m always looking for a speed limit sign. I call BS that you thought the speed limit was 60mph. I’ve never seen a two lane road that was 60mph, but I guess there could be some. I’ve stopped numerous off duty/ retired officers, and there are some that immediately let you know they’re carrying and they are fellow officers. That tells me that you are stating it because you know you’re speeding and you expect a warning. I’ve walked up to a vehicle and the driver, who was an off duty Chicago PD, had his badge hanging out the window. I’m assuming since you stated it again as he was explaining the ticket you had the entitled attitude and deserved it.

Doug, re-read the article. Your making assumptions that are incorrect. The second time I explained to the trooper why I originally told him I was retired CPD was so he didn’t think I was pushing my star at him. The ticket was already written, why would I be pushing for a break? And it’s not BS for a city officer to know or not know the speed limits on county roads. I have never worked in the country. And, I mentioned that I deserved a speeding citation. I didn’t expect it to be gauged on the highest speed reached while passing another vehicle.

I heard a story a long time ago when I first came on the job as a Chicago policemen. A man going on vacation with his family was a little heavy on the gas pedal and was stopped by an out of state trooper. He gave his license and asked if the trooper would be willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. The trooper asked why and the man stated that he was a police officer. the trooper replied, “what makes you any better than any other citizen?’ and the man replied that he wasn’t any better than any other citizen but if he across a trooper in his travels that was on a traffic stop and getting his ass kicked he would surely to and assist the trooper or any other law enforcement officer. The trooper gave pause and sent the man on his way. A police officer in Iowa was fighting for his life on a bridge between Iowa and Illinois and no citizen assisted him except an off-duty officer from East Moline, Illinois. Check it outhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KcarsBpfeo0

Sorry, didn’t proof read before submitting. Fingers got ahead of my thoughts.

Jim, interestingly enough, when I was a young copper I came across a Chicago Police Officer in the middle of traffic in a standoff with a man armed with a knife. I left my vehicle and got lucky and kicked the knife out of his hand then help pin him on the car until the PO could handcuff him. All worked out. Maybe city police and troopers have differing views on this subject.

I have never knowingly written a cop, never will. 38 years on the job. I don’t have any problem justifying that as I have given many breaks to civilians as well. I guess I’m just old school.

Bill, I have never written any police officer from any jurisdiction and would not do so unless he was the most vile and belligerent person in the world. And even then, I think I would probable lock his keys in his trunk and drive away.

Why are you so controversial in the trooper? Face it. You screwed up. No matter how big or small. Retired or not like that is supposed to mean anything. Im former blue myself and if i screwed up then im going to suck it up. Hold myself accountable. The issue is you screwed up and you failed your own standard and is embarrased. Dont take your personal issues out on the system or the trooper. Yuh mention you dont write officers well that is your personal rule but not the system rules. Are we supposed to follow those same rules? Hey if an officer is doing something crazy then yes im going to hold the officer to the same standard as we hold other citizens. Do i write all officers no. In either case you made decsision and expect others to held to your own personal standards. When i was blue i hated lazy pretty officers who tried not to go to jail. In my career i went to jail almost every night. I made differences in my community. Dont tell me you are a supervisor who hates paperwork.

RGONZUSMC, reread the article. I was not controversial. In fact I was extremely polite and professional. I also stated that I was speeding and as such deserved a citation. My issue is the severity of the citation. 82 in a 55 says nothing about it being a top end speed as I was passing a slower vehicle. It makes it appear that I was reckless. I was going 62 before I passed. And, as far as being retired or still on the job, that does mean a great deal to me. It was a huge part of my life and certainly helped form who I am today. But, seriously, reread the article and I believe you will see my demeanor was beyond reproach.

Larry,
I feel your pain. I am a commercial driver (also a P.I.), and I have years of experience with the state of Ohio. Hundreds (if not thousands) of truck drivers were all very well aware that if you were driving a truck in OH, you may as well have a target on your back. I know drivers who were cited for 56 and 57mph in a 55 (at the time). I was cited for 60, and 63 in that state personally. Yes, I was speeding, but when you have four wheelers with Ohio plates flying by all day long, it’s obvious there is bias. A driver friend had a brother who was a NY cop who drove through doing 60 and was pulled over with his out of state tags (second favorite target), he also told him he was LE, they cited him anyway. He went back to NY, and made it his mission to pull over every driver he ever saw doing anything wrong with OH plates! If it was a rental, he let them go😉

Money is money. some states rely more heavily on citations for revenue than others. It’s a shame, but the troopers are doing what the are taught and believe to be right. Different points of view.

Polite and considerate? Yes, absolutely. The fact remains that you exceeded the speed limit, even for a brief period. It’s called a “limit” for a reason and you went past it. Expecting to get a pass because you’re a retired LEO from another state is using your former position to garner favoritism, very likely violating the oath you took many years ago. You might as well have said “I’m your chief’s brother’s gardener’s former college roommate from freshman year.” You got a ticket. Big deal. Take it like a man and move on. When I drive in another state, I drive the speed limit, period, because I don’t want to inconvenience another officer who has bigger fish to fry. Not every state/County/town cares if you’re “on the job” (a phrase I heard thousands of times working on the Jersey Shore) and expects us to know better.

Don’t lecture me Spike. You don’t know me well enough to do that. Also, read the article. I never asked for any favoritism. I stated I was a retired PO to allow the trooper to know I was armed. I didn’t wait for the questions of why I had a FOP sticker on the vehicle and didn’t tell him I was a retired PO with a gun in the car. I stated that I would have been happy to receive a pass, I never said I asked for one.

There was no reason to identify yourself as a retired cop, I’m from Canada and anyone that try’s to badge flash their authority gets special treatment and not in a good way. I had a cop driving 80km/hr over the speed limit. They didn’t get impounded or ticketed but their boss got a phone call and I think that was the worst of the three options.

If carrying a firearm in the vehicle is legal in the state you are visiting then just announce it, I still don’t see the reason to claim you’re retired other then hoping to get a pass without any consequences. Other people have already said it so I don’t want to beat a dead horse but 25mph over the speed limit in my province you are liable to have your vehicle impounded for 7 days. So count yourself lucky.

Drew, I understand your train of thought. But, it’s a different world in the city of Chicago. You would never announce that you have a gun without first explaining the justification for carrying one. If you did, the officers making the stop would immediately draw their weapons and you quickly go from traffic stop to firearms incident. I was always taught to immediately identify yourself. This allows the officer to be alert but not on edge. And please keep in mind, 27 MPH was top speed attained while passing another vehicle. Different viewpoints. Stay safe.

Leave a comment

THANK YOU!

Be Informed

Get notified when "One Step Ahead" presented by Jay Wiley is Live- the Official Law Enforcement Today Radio Show






Thank you for subscribing. Please check your inbox to confirm your email address.