At 4:30am it's rare for me to see anyone else on the road, and so I almost always do a "California Roll" through the first Stop Sign as I head off to work. At the bottom of that street is a set of traffic lights where I make a right turn, and although the law requires me to come to a complete stop, I often slow down just enough to make sure the way is clear before doing a second "California Roll".
This morning was par for the course as I rolled through the Stop Sign, but after making the left turn and heading down towards the traffic lights I glanced in my rear view mirror and saw a car turn onto the road behind me. Not from my street but from the next one up. He sped up quickly and caught up with me just before I got to the lights, and just as I'd had that inkling many, many years ago, somehow this morning I thought it prudent to come to a complete stop at the red traffic light before making my right-hand turn.
As I made the turn the car followed me around the corner and just like that I found myself bathed in alternating red and blue lights. I pulled over and the cop car, because of course it was a cop car, pulled up behind me.
I glanced in my mirror and noticed a second car pulling up behind the first. Two cop cars? Must be a slow night/morning.
Okay. Turn off the engine. Turn the ignition back on to power down my window then turn it off again. Remove my beanie (to lower my perceived threat level), hands on the steering wheel, look in my mirrors and...the cop is coming up on my right, on the passenger side. That's fair enough, I guess. Unusual, and not SOP, but I guess it's safer than standing out in traffic.
Turn on the ignition again, power down the passenger-side window, turn off the ignition. Hands back on the steering wheel (again).
Cop leans over and peers in passenger-side window: Good morning, sir.
Me: Good morning, sir. How are you this morning?
Cop: Very well, thank you, sir. How are you?
Me: I'm good, thanks.
Cop (smiling, points to my left): The other side.
I turn and notice a second cop is standing next to my driver's side window.
Me: Sorry, sir. Good morning, how are you?
Cop #2: Is this your vehicle, sir?
Me: Yes, sir.
Cop #2: You live around here?
Me: Yes, sir.
Cop #2: Where abouts?
Me: Just back around the corner, sir. Where I was coming from.
Cop #2: What's the address?
Well, duh! Of course that's what he was asking. I give him my address.
Cop #2: Show me your license.
(This cop is obviously the bad cop.)
I tell the cop that my license is in my bag next to me (rather than in my wallet in my hip or back pocket) and that I'll need to get it out. (Don't Taze me, bro!)
The cop acknowledges this and I open my backpack, remove my wallet, and hand over my license. The two cops go back to the first car, return a minute or so later, hand me my license and bid me good day.
I start up my car, turn on my left turn signal (to signal that I'm pulling out from the curb, of course! Duh! There's a cop behind me! :P) and pull out. As I drive down the block I glance in my mirror. The two cop cars are gone. They can only have made an illegal u-turn and gone back the other way.
So was I not a random stop that morning? Were they looking for someone in my neighborhood and pulled me over in case I was their suspect? There was no breathalyzer, no search of the car, they didn't even ask for proof of insurance. They ran my license, then having verified that I was not "their guy" (or wanted for anything) they let me go. As far as traffic stops go, it was quite painless.
I wonder, if I had not come to a complete stop at the Red Light before making my turn, would they have written me a ticket?
Then again, given how many people do not stop at Red Lights before turning, did I draw attention to myself by obeying the law?
Was my Copdar a blessing this morning, or a curse? I guess we'll never know.