Crime - Sacto 911

You’re in a public setting with police. Here’s what not to say

Dennis Hegwood, interim police chief in King City, talks to residents of King City during “Coffee with a Cop,” an event organized by Gerry Ramirez for community members to meet with the chief to ask him questions and concerns that they have about the community, on March 12, 2014 at El Huarache King in King City.
Dennis Hegwood, interim police chief in King City, talks to residents of King City during “Coffee with a Cop,” an event organized by Gerry Ramirez for community members to meet with the chief to ask him questions and concerns that they have about the community, on March 12, 2014 at El Huarache King in King City. Sacramento Bee file

The Bangor, Maine, Police Department has a simple message for citizens – “We are just like you.”

To emphasize that point, with a twinge of humor and sarcasm, the department offers, “Things you don’t need to tell the cops when you are in a public setting” in a Facbeook post (parents, take heed with No. 3):

1. You do not need to tell us – “I didn't do it.” We probably don't think that you did do it. We probably don’t know what “it” is. We assume most people we run into during the average day didn't do it, and neither did their friends.

2. Do not point at your friend and say – “He/She did it.” It was funny the first 389 times. Actually only about 4 times, but we are all about fairness.

You might not know that we have heard it before. Most of us will still smile.

3. Do not tell your children that we are going to arrest them if they don’t behave. Don’t. Do. That. We are not going to arrest them if they are not behaving. We are not going to scare them for you. We just don’t do that.

Kids have enough to worry about without thinking that each time they see a police officer they are going to be arrested. We don’t arrest kids. You are going to need to work on your parenting skills if this is one of your strategies. Stop it.

4. If you are drunk, you do not need to tell us you are drunk. We can usually tell. Just don’t drive a motor vehicle.

Otherwise, enjoy your altered state of mind. We don’t mind.

5. If you are not drunk, you don't need to tell us that either. We know that people consume alcoholic beverages in many settings.

Most people who are drinking for the pleasure of having a drink are not drunk.

6. Don’t feel you need to tell us that you did not speed today. You don't need to tell us the last time you got pulled over, or even if you never had a summons. We appreciate the way most folks drive. We are not thinking that you are a bad person when we show up in the fast food line with you. We think you are hungry. It's all good. We’re hungry too.

We do not hold poor motor vehicle records against you while you are buying a burger. We know you will do better right after lunch.

7. Things we do like to hear are listed below:

“Hello”

“How are you today?”

“Could you give me directions to_______?”

“Could you help me get to my car? It's slippery and I am not doing well today.”

“Are you going to eat all those fries?”

“You are not wearing too much Old Spice today.”

Just some pro-tips to let you know that we are not suspicious of everyone we run into. We are not. Sometimes we are walking through public settings because we were called there for a problem. Sometimes we are there for other reasons. We enjoy talking to all kinds of folks. Please don’t assume we assume that you are bad person, a criminal, a fugitive from justice, or that you are a bad driver. We are just like you. True story.

Keep your hands to yourself, leave other people's things alone, and be kind to one another.

We will be here. All we have is each other.

Anthony Sorci: 916-321-1051.

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