Editor: Why is he behind me?
That’s what my daughter said as I walked up to her car window on the shoulder of Highway 280 about half of a mile west of the Pig where she had run out of gas. After a short pause she added, "With his blue lights on."
Yep, blue lights in the rear view mirror typically mean you’ve done something wrong. Now maybe you know why you’re getting pulled over. Maybe you know it’s because you didn’t quite come to a full stop at that stop sign.
Maybe you’ve rolled through that stop sign so many times you’re clueless about what this LEO wants.
LEO has thankfully replaced, cop, as a much more respectful acronym. LEO stands for law enforcement officer.
So now you’re on the side of the road and the LEO is behind you running your license plate to see if the vehicle is currently registered, insured, possible warrants for the registered owner or maybe the car is stolen.
While he’s doing all this, he’s keeping an eye on you. That LEO doesn’t know anything about you or your friend sitting beside you, but in just a minute he has to get out of his car and approach you to have a conversation. He’s about to find out if you’re upset about something, in a hurry, driving impaired or concealing a weapon.
Does it sound like I’m making a big deal out of something as simple as not stopping at the stop sign?
LEOs don’t make the law, but they have sworn to uphold and enforce the law. They have to stop you. They have to find out what’s going on. They have to tell you what you did wrong and issue a citation if they believe it’s warranted.
The average fine in Georgia is $167, but it could be as much as $400 if you recently received another citation. The worst part is that all this is a complete waste of law enforcement resources, not to mention the court system, just so you can be reminded that stop means stop.
Do you want to stop this scenario from ever happening? Do you want tell our LEOs that you respect and appreciate what they do and don’t want them to waste their time on avoidable traffic stops? Do you want your LEO"S to concentrate more on the protecting part instead of the law enforcement part? You can do all this without saying a word.
Just stop at the stop sign. Use your turn signal every time. Try following as many of those pesky traffic laws you might be thinking don’t always apply. Great, I can scratch that rant off my bucket list.
So now back to my own blue lights. Before I arrived to where my daughter had run out of gas, a Bryan County Sheriff’s deputy traveling in the opposite direction had stopped briefly on the highway to ask if she was OK. My daughter told the deputy that she had run out of gas and that her daddy was on the way.
That was all well and good, but it didn’t resolve the situation that the deputy now had to deal with. He continued traveling down the highway until he probably found a much safer place to turn around than I did.
I was in my truck and not as worried about going in the ditch. I pulled off the highway in front of my daughter’s car and the deputy, with his blue emergency lights already on, pulled off and parked about 50 feet or more behind my daughter’s car.
Of course the deputy was there because our vehicles, sitting only two feet off the highway with the ditch of no return on the other side, were a traffic hazard.
The deputy was fulfilling his duty to protect the public. He was protecting all the vehicles traveling on the highway to be aware of this hazard by using his emergency lights to attract the attention of all drivers. He was also protecting my daughter and me by placing his vehicle far enough behind that if he were hit in the rear, it would all hopefully come to a screeching halt before it hit us.
I put the gas in as quickly as possible; she started the car and headed to the Pig. I walked to the deputy’s passenger window and thanked him. We shook hands, he said his name, but the traffic was loud and I didn’t hear it. He couldn’t leave until I was gone, so I ran back to my truck and got back on the road.
Thank you again to this Bryan County Deputy and all of the other Deputies and Police Officers who serve with the Bryan County Sheriff, Pembroke Police and Richmond Hill Police Departments.
Give a LEO a break, drive safe and watch for those stop signs. They’re everywhere.