Let’s clear the air. TTAG has been critical of law enforcement from day one. Some have even called us anti-cop. While I don’t think that’s a true statement, I do think we hold Johnny Law to a very high standard. And, in an intellectually honest move, I think we hold armed citizens to the same standard. With that disclaimer out of the way, I’d like to spend a few minutes talking about two absolutely amazing interactions I’ve had with local law enforcement over the last few weeks . . .
The first happened while my wife’s car was in the shop. She drove my EDT (every day truck), so I took the motorcycle. I’ve been riding for over a decade and in that time have been stopped several times for various infractions. I’m largely a safe rider, but I can be heavy handed on the throttle.
On my way to work, I exited I-35 and kept pouring on the steam to find myself with an unmarked police car following closely, lights a-blazing. This would be largely unremarkable except that I was also carrying and it was my first time getting pulled over since receiving my CHL last March. I was close enough to work that I engaged my flashers, raised my hand to acknowledge the stop, and pulled into the parking lot at work. I don’t get pulled over often, but when I do, I’ll drive a bit further to get off a major highway for my own safety and the safety of the officer.
Unlike some of the fellows I’ve seen on YouTube, I don’t start my LEO interactions with “Am I being detained?!?” I highly recommend staying calm and being polite. More flies with honey and all that. As the officer walked up, my bike was turned off, keys on the instrument cluster, DL & CHL ready to hand over. The officer took both IDs, handed my CHL back and said, “You can keep this.” followed by, “Can I see your insurance?”
I explained that I keep it under the seat, and asked if he would like me to dismount and retrieve it. He said yes, I handed over my most recent card (expired), and apologized for not having a recent copy handy. He checked with dispatch that I was current (I am), and went back to his car to run my license and plates. He then returned with a warning.
While he was writing it out, I quizzed him about his carry piece. Austin PD carries the M&P 40. We talked Apex Triggers and he explained department policy on modifications (they are a no-no). I happen to work in the second worst zip code in Austin so we talked about the work APD is doing to clean up the neighborhood and I thanked him for his commitment to that. He advised me to slow down and I went on my way.
Professionalism offered is often professionalism returned.
The second interaction happened over the weekend on my way out to the family ranch. I had some downtime and my dad wanted to borrow my AR for some pig control. In Johnson City (home of LBJ), I was stopped by an officer for a burned out tail light. Again, I pulled well off the road, turned on my dome light and handed over my DL, CHL and insurance card. The officer asked if I was carrying and I replied, “Yes.” He asked me where. I pointed to my abdomen and said, “In the appendix position.” He asked if I would step out of the vehicle to which I replied, “Of course.”
On the side of the road, he explained that I had a light out and that I should pick up some bulbs in the next town over. He asked about the backseat filled with rifle cases, asked if I was headed out to do some hunting and we chatted about opening morning. He ran my license, wrote me a warning and I asked him what he was packing. Apparently Johnson City is a small enough town that the local LEOs get to pick the sidearm of their choice. In my officer’s case it was an XD 40. I started gushing about my EDC XD(m) and he said that he’s waiting for Springfield to make the XD(m) in .357 SIG.
[edit: JCPD Officer carries a XD .45 Caliber. JCPD does have a policy for on duty carry and they provide a city issued Glock 21 .45 caliber handgun . However, if the officer has their own handgun .40 caliber, .357, .45 or .38 super they can choose to carry it on duty as well.]
He asked if he could check out my Compact since he had not had a chance to put hands on one. I put my tailgate down and told him that I’d be removing my gun and holster from my body and setting them on the tailgate. He had a moment of pause and said, “Your gun has been on you the whole time?”
I replied, “Yes, I told you that I was carrying in the appendix position. Sorry for the miscommunication.” I set the gun and holster combo down on the tailgate, he removed it, popped the mag out, and ejected the bullet in the chamber. At no point did I feel unsafe and he complimented me on how nice a gun the XD(m) is. Once he was done, He handed me my mag, extra bullet, gun, holster, and told me to have a nice evening. With that, we were finished and I headed on to the ranch.
There are bad cops and there are good cops. That’s a universal truth. But I want to make sure TTAG steals a little of Fox’s mojo and presents a “fair & balanced” report on law enforcement. I’ve had two great interactions in two weeks with officers in a big city and a small town. Both went well and I was treated respectfully. Hopefully, our readers will have similar interactions in the future.