Joined: 29 Jan 2010
Thank you for the post, TMinser,
It is always difficult to respond to these types of posts because I only have one account of the incident. Nonetheless, I do not want to bypass an opportunity to offer an explanation regarding your concerns.
It seems to me that your issue is about the embarssment of being stopped, being patted down and placed in the rear of a squad car for all to see, and for what you believe was nothing. Also you mentioned being afraid. I can understand that. Traffic stops can be an inconvenience for some, uncomfortable for others, and for some people they can be frightening. It appears that you were cooperative and that you complied with the officer's instructions; thank you.
It's likely that your unsafe lane movement (when you failed to signal your lane change) is what caught the attention of the officer. I am not certain what caused the officer to believe that your plate or vehicle was stolen, but something caused the officer to believe that it was. We do not necessarily need a registration to determine if a license plate or vehicle has been stolen so that may be why the officer elected not to view your registration. Often, the operators of stolen vehicles or those vehicles that have a false and fictitious plate do not have a genuine registration, and they will search through a glove box stalling for time. They use this time to calculate an escape and flee from the car. Or they use this as an opportunity to access other compartments in their vehicle where a weapon may be hidden. In this situation, the officer felt it was best to remove the driver than to allow them to rummage through any compartments in their vehicle.
You mentioned that the officer conducted a pat down. This was for his safety to ensure that you did not have any weapons on you. You also mentioned that the officer placed you in the rear of his squad car. Again for his safety, he placed you in a confined and secure area until he could complete his investigation.
You should not be disappointed with this department for making a traffic stop on a vehicle that we believed to be stolen or that we believed to be displaying a stolen plate. That is one of the many activities we engage in during our regular tour of duty. Further you should not be disappointed with being issued a citation for making an unsafe lane change as it is a violation of traffic law. If you do not agree with the citation then you may go to court and enter a not-guilty plea.
Thank you again for the post.