For those who think law enforcement officials are not subject to traffic tickets, Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones has a message: Think again.
On March 9, while Jones was driving an unmarked county vehicle on Interstate 80 about 3:30 p.m., a California Highway Patrol officer cited him for following too close.
Jones told The Bee on Saturday that the stop was uneventful, the officer was "perfect and professional" and that "he didn't offer to give me a break, and I didn't ask for one."
"The public has an unspoken perception that there's a secret society where cops don't get tickets, but that's untrue," Jones said.
The sheriff said he was on his way to pick up tickets for a department fundraiser in Old Sacramento when he was stopped. His wife was with him in the car. He was not in uniform but was wearing his badge and carrying his weapon.
Jones said the CHP officer saw his badge and his identification, and likely knew he was the Sacramento County sheriff, but that the subject was never discussed.
"I was cooperative like any one of the 3.7 million folks that get a ticket in California every year," he said.
It was his first ticket in 25 to 30 years, he said, and serves as a good reminder to be extra cautious. "We all get busy."
Jones said he was aware that rumors were circulating that he was going 96 mph when stopped. He emphasized that they were not true.
"I was not stopped for speeding," he said. The ticket indicated he was traveling 71 mph and the speed limit was 65 mph, he said.
Though he doesn't plan to fight the ticket, Jones did have a quibble. He said the statute on following too close that was used to pull him over is at the officer's "subjective judgment" and that he was not "tailgating in the traditional sense."
Call The Bee's Richard Chang, (916) 321-1018. Follow him on Twitter @RichardYChang.