Went for a ride along with a deputy from Jones County tonight.
The first order of business was to coordinate with other lawmen a checkpoint near Maysville. Then we were off to look for law breakers of the led foot variety on U.S. 70.
We didn’t find any evil-doers on the highway while I was in the car, although we did scare a lot of speed racers into slowing down when we pulled up next to them. It was good to be on the “other end” of this cat-and-mouse game for a change.
Not to mention witnessing firsthand the good law enforcement does by keeping aggressive drivers in check, at least temporarily.
The checkpoint was equally “unsuccessful.” I was hoping for something juicy – maybe a van full of illegal Mexicans or a gypsy attempting to smuggle miniature horses across county lines – but got nothing. Unfortunately, all the lawbreakers were tucked away in their hideouts when we rolled up.
The deputy I rode with issued no citations while I was with him, but led many people to not do wrong just by being visible. This is probably the best type of law enforcement there is outside of extracting murderers, rapist and drug dealers from normal people. I saw no one unjustly inconvenienced who did not deserve to be – and no one who is potentially struggling very badly in these harsh economic times was ordered to pay a costly citation.
I genuinely got the sense from this deputy that his goal was not to feed some county cash cow generated by revenue brought in by potentially-but-not-immediately-dangerous traffic infractions, but to keep people safe. His conduct on the highway was most notable – make no mistake about it, if a driver had been doing 1 million miles per hour in a 70 mph zone, he would have pulled them … but he wasn’t about to cause someone a problem who wasn’t a serious threat to those around them.
Just by making his presence known, people stayed at safe speeds. And that was all he wanted.
Just by giving a verbal warning to a driver who had failed to give enough clearance to a patrol car pulled over with another car on the side of the road, that driver will most likely be more careful the next time she approaches an officer on the shoulder of a roadway.
Anyway, the point I’m trying to make is – contrary to many people’s belief – police officers are more than a man with a gun and a badge. They are law enforcement and they keep people safe.