HEY YOU..........STAY IN THE CAR........by Bob Smith 
Sunday, August 29, 2010, 11:17 AM
Posted by Administrator
I remember when I was a young man attending College in Colorado, driving my Ford Econoline Van North to Estes Park (the gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park), I was stopped by the Colorado Highway Patrol. My sister was visiting me in Boulder and, at the moment flashing blue lights appeared in my rear view mirror, she was sitting the passenger seat of the Econoline smoking marijuana. I am not saying that she should have been smoking marijuana but I did prefer that she and I not get arrested.

I pulled over to the side of the road near the Drive-In movie theatre that sat on the dusty prarie a few miles outside of town. I got out of the van and stood by the rear bumper, waiting for the Trooper. This is what he said:

"You can't have a FOR SALE sign in the back window of the van...it limits your ability to see out of the rear." I said "Okay, I'll take it off."

It was in the early 1970's. I had hair down to my shoulders. Colorado was a conversvative state and I had just been stopped by the State Police. Still, this was the extent of our encounter.

I took the FOR SALE sign down and continued the drive.

These days, when the police stop you they want you to stay in the car. My family has three different theories of why this is:

1) It is safer for the police officer because this gives the officer time to run your license plate to see if it comes back stolen. There is more time to call for back up. There is more time to think about what to do. (Do I need to get my gun ready?)
2) No idea.
3) Because... if the driver remains in the car, the police officer gets to come up to the car; smell for odd-marijuana-smelling odors; look around to see what illegal things might be plainly visible; root around any area the driver could reach to "ensure that there are no weapons". In other words, keeping the driver in the car give the police officer more opportunity to come up wiht something illegal that would get the driver arrested.

Guess which idea is mine...my wife's...our 15 year old daughter's....

I am not saying that if the police officer has a good reason to tell you to stay in the car he/she shouldn't get on the PA system and tell you to stay put. For example-two or more scary looking people in the car...better to have them sit.

But, on the other hand, back-before-the-liberals got into power, even people who were stopped for traffic infractions had a right to get out of their car and stand by their bumper and limit the encounter with the police to getting a ticket...or not. The Colorado trooper who stopped me in the 70's...a man who I am willing to bet was a card-carrying-Christian-conservative-who-believed-even-Nixon-was-a-commie believed that it was his job to get me to take the FOR SALE sign out of the window and not to otherwise interfere with my trip.

Note: My sister stopped smoking marijuana in the 80's and has gone on to get several college degrees have a successful career...she appears..so far..not have not graduated to heroin addiction and she shows no more signs of brain damage than would be expected of anybody whose fate was to grow up as my sister.

Editor's Note: Bob Smith is a retired South Florida lawyer who now lives in Northern Wyoming...next to the Canadian Border. As he wrote the above, Bob was sitting on his back deck waiting for the year's first snow and throwing rocks at the deer rooting around in his garden.
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