NOTE: This post was written in 2016 during the time our nation was reeling over the police shootings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. I have re-posted it in on Facebook in June 2020 as our country reacts to the death of George Floyd.
A few weeks ago I was stuck behind a slow truck on my way to work. When the truck finally turned off, the road opened up and I accelerated to make up a little time. As I zoomed towards the railroad tracks, I glimpsed a police car out of the corner of my eye. It was too late to slow down. I knew I was busted.
The patrol car’s lights began flashing the moment I whizzed by, and I dutifully pulled over to the shoulder. While the cruiser crept up behind me, I reached for my purse, preparing to pull out my driver’s license. The officer approached my car and I rolled down my window.
The imposing man in blue bent over and said, “Oh, it’s you!”
“Hi,” I said sheepishly, recognizing him, too. I knew the officer from when I had worked for the City several years earlier.
I reached for my driver’s license. “Oh, put that away,” he said casually. We chatted for a while and in what seemed like almost an afterthought, he said “and slow down.”
I drove off without a ticket, realizing I had been shown favor (he had said more than once that if an officer who didn’t know me had made the stop, I probably would have gotten a ticket.)
A few days later I was driving home from work and saw someone else stopped by a police car, not far from where I was pulled over. It was a young black man, and two police officers were sitting in the patrol car behind him.
In light of recent national events, I couldn’t help but wonder—were both the driver and the officers on heightened alert and concerned for their safety?