Every year during the holiday season you see stories like this. Police pulling people over to give gifts of some sort. Rewarding people for good behavior, good PR, and so on. Here’s just one recent example…
Quote from article:
“Miami Beach Police pulled over several drivers, Tuesday morning, who had done nothing wrong.
Police officers waved drivers to the side of the road, just off West Avenue, but instead of handing out tickets, they handed out gift cards.”
How do you feel about these “feel good” stops?
Then there is this aspect, where this guy says they are unconstitutional if the stop is for no legitimate reason. (Some places make sure they stop for something minor then choose to not write the ticket, but give the gift instead.)
Quote from article:
“I don’t doubt that these programs are well-intentioned, and I commend the police for their instincts to help. It’s especially great when the police are handing out gifts that the drivers really need.
But here’s the catch: A lot of these stops are unconstitutional. When the police pull over a car, that’s a Fourth Amendment “seizure” of the driver, any passengers, and everything inside. To justify that seizure, the police need at least some cause either that a driver committed a traffic violation or that a person in the car is involved in a crime or wanted in connection with a serious crime. If the police have that cause, they can stop the car regardless of whether they want to write a ticket, investigate a crime or give the driver an ice cream cone. But the police can’t pull over the car without any cause, even if they want to do something nice, such as give the driver a gift.”
My thoughts: Technically speaking, while it’s probably not legit to stop for someone for no real reason, that’s not what bothers me. If I were pulled over for something like this, granted I would be relieved to not be getting a ticket, but I’d also be ticked off. Maybe I’m a “humbug”, but I’m sorry, I’m going somewhere, so leave me alone!
Let me add that I would not complain or say anything negative to the cop, but I would still be ticked.
How about you? How would you react? What would you think?