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Anyone ever write off-duty citations?


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  • Anyone ever write off-duty citations?

    Sunday morning I was driving home around 4:00 a.m. Normally there's not a lot of traffic on the road at this time, but Saturday night was our city's giant fireworks display and, due to the congestion of about 200,000 people all trying to leave a park at once, most people don't even get out til 1:00 or 2:00 in the morning. So there was still quite a bit of traffic on the road.

    As I was drving down a stretch of 4-lane one-way street, a vehicle merged in dangerously fast. The vehicle proceeded to weave in and out of traffic, cutting people off and generally driving in an unsafe manner.

    I was in my personal vehicle without a cell phone, but I was still in uniform. So I caught up to the car at a stoplight. I noticed the passenger window was open so I pulled up on the right. I shouted, "Hey!" to the passenger.

    The guy was laughing, looked at me and flipped me the finger. Then I turned on my dome light so he could see my uniform. The guy immediately stopped laughing and turned to the driver. I couldn't hear what he said, but I can read lips enough to decipher '****' and 'cop'.

    I then told the driver, "Just because I'm off-duty doesn't mean I can't cite you for driving like a jackass." The guy said something that I couldn't decipher, then took a quick left turn to get away from me.

    What I'm wondering is if anyone has ever written a citation after witnessing something off-duty?

  • #2
    I've on several occasions written cites to people who I knew for things I'd seen off duty. WIth that said, I've never taken personal action at the time, just mailed the cite throught the US Postal Service when I got back on duty.


    • #3
      When I'm in my POV, I don't have a ticket book. If someone does do something that really offends me on the road and I'm in my jurisdiction or close to it, I'll wait for another oppurtunity to have a crack at them.

      One day a guy really upset me. I found out he ran city warrants. It was a terribile shame the next time I saw him, he was kissing his girlfriend good night on her front porch.


      • #4

        I worked for a department had allowed us to drive our take-home cars off-duty. I was going somewhere in mine, shopping I think. I was behind a school bus that was unloading children. Some idiot passed the bus while I was sitting behind it. I didn't feel like I could ignore that, so I stopped the driver and wrote her a summons for passing a stopped school bus. I was wearing a t-shirt and shorts at the time. Only time I ever wrote a summons/citation off-duty.


        • #5
          In this area off duty officers, and the general public at times, call the PD, give the reg info, direction of travel, etc. and follow the violator until a marked unit arrives and makes the stop.
          A lot of times it's for DUI's , reckless oper., or evading.


          • #6
            IMO it would not be a good idea to attempt a traffic stop in your POV. I would not stop. I only stop for police cars. If you were persistent I would lead to to the cop shop unless marked vehicles showed up on the way.


            • #7
              There were too many traffic violatons for me to worry about when I was off duty. Never even tried to stop someone for traffic when I was off duty. My department does not support officers enforcing traffic laws while they are off duty.

              [ 07-01-2003, 06:28 PM: Message edited by: retired ]


              • #8
                My suggestion...run the plate, check the RO in the jail files (iirc, you guys have access to them) or call booking and ask them to get ya a pic of him *just to be extra sure* and confirm it was the guy you saw...and mail him the heaviest cite you could legally write him. Or you could just write him something under the owner's liability statutes.

                I know my dept. doesn't frown on it if you're someone who has a clue what you're doing.


                • #9
                  I was in my POV once, when a couple of teens in the car in front of me began throwing out all their 'fast food' trash. I wrote down the '28' info, noted time and direction of travel.....and MAILED them a cite for 'littering'. I figured if they could leave some 'paper' in MY town, I could send some to THEM.

                  I agree with the above cautions re: making 'traffic stops' in your POV...ESPECIALLY if you don't have the ability to COMMUNICATE with dispatch.


                  • #10
                    I wouldn't make the stop, or even a confrontation, with the occupants of the car. Mail them the cite.


                    • #11
                      File it away, there's always tomorrow, plus the clowns in the other car don't need to see what you drive.


                      • #12
                        traffic stops in POV's off-duty are not smart.
                        # 1 - no access to dispatch and immediate 28/29 info on the vehicle. cell phones dont cut it for me.

                        # 2 - no emergency lights to alert traffic. Even if your out of the lane of traffic, lights alert the public and violator to whats going on.

                        # 3 - A reasonable citizen might question whether you actually are an officer. The violator and/or a passer-by citizen may think your trying to rob someone.

                        # 4 - now this violator knows what vehicle you drive off-duty.

                        The smart thing to do would be to get the reg. info, excellent description of the violator, call for a unit, and follow if its safe to do so.
                        Mailing the summons is a a good option also, if possible.

                        just my 2 cents.


                        • #13
                          Once I observed a local who I knew was suspended. I saw him driving around town. I called dispatch to see if any units were available. None at the time so I kept a list of some places I witnessed him driving. The next time I was on duty I asked my supervisor what could be done. He advised I had all this info and could ID the driver so I should go and pick him up. Took him to jail and it stood up in court because of the positive ID I had of him and the list of places I wrote down he visited.


                          • #14
                            Thanks for the input. Perhaps in making contact with the vehicle I was being a little overzealous in my traffic enforcement. In my defense, I hoped to put enough of a scare into them to get them to stop driving dangerously.

                            I have to say I never thought about the 'identifying my personal vehicle' thing, and it's a point well-made.

                            Thanks for the input.


                            • #15
                              i have gotten behind people who i knew were suspended, dui, driving seriously reckless, or had dope in the car and followed at a safe distance while calling dispatch on the cel. i have actually gotten a few dui's and some dope for other guys that way. i have never approached anyone like that off duty. if i know someone is suspended i just call my dispatch and have them run me a hard copy of the 28 and driver's info and put on it time and location. i go get a warrant for them when i come back to work. gives you an excuse to go hook em up later



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