By on October 27, 2010

Hot on the heels of yesterday’s piece on police “training” and ability, the always-amusing Ray LaHood has chimed in on the subject.

His position: The use of cell phones and other mobile devices should be absolutely banned for American drivers, on the federal level if necessary, no ifs, ands, or buts.

Unless, of course, you’re a supercitizen, I mean, police officer.

The transcript is here, but here’s the money shot:

LUDDEN: Okay. Let’s take another phone call. Jesse(ph) is on the line in Hartford, Connecticut. Go right ahead, Jesse.

JESSE (Caller): How are you guys?

LUDDEN: Good.

Sec. LaHOOD: Good.

JESSE: Good. First, thanks for taking my call. I do live in Hartford, Connecticut, and I have received a ticket for talking on a cell phone while driving. I’m just wondering because I see officers in Hartford constantly on the phone while they drive. What would that have an effect on their actions and their behaviors if this law will become a national regulation?

Sec. LaHOOD: Well, in the states that have passed laws, law enforcement people are exempted because of the jobs that they have, and that the ability that they need to be able to talk on cell phones. I believe they are trained to be careful when they’re doing it. But the truth is, they’re exempted because of the safety because they’re public safety officers and they’re required to have that kind of communication.

LUDDEN: All right. Jesse, thanks does that answer your question?

JESSE: I guess I would just prefer that. I mean, obviously, the interest of the public safety is important. Ill tell you, if I’m an entrepreneur and I have 45 people who depend on my performance, and Im in the car five hours a day, would you support offering some type of class or training where I could have similar training and be able to use my cell phone while I drive, because I produce output from being on the road and being on my phone?

Sec. LaHOOD: Absolutely not. Driving and talking is dangerous. Using a cell phone or a BlackBerry is dangerous while you’re driving.

I really, really, really want some of this special training the cops are getting. Not only are they “trained” to murder innocent civilians while goofing around, they are capable of doing something that nobody else in the whole world can do: chatting safely on a cell phone while driving.

On the other hand, maybe I should be giving the training. I took a call on my Audi S5’s Bluetooth a year or so back during a lap of VIR and still managed to run laps in the 2:38 range…

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75 Comments on “LaHood: Cops Have Special Cell Phone Training...”


  • avatar

    That Ray LaH is such a card!
    According to a study I wrote about in TTAC a while ago, the ability to drive and talk safely seems to be inborn. And confined to a VERY small percentage of the population
    http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/super-taskers-can-phone-and-drive-the-rest-of-us-should-shut-up/

    • 0 avatar
      Crosley

      ZL71,
       
      I think it’s obvious (and it’s in my quote) that I have no issue with police breaking traffic laws if it’s an emergency situation and the sirens are on.  That’s why the cars have sirens, to let other drivers know.
       
      I have a lot of cops in my family, and they believe it’s their right to drive as fast as they want, both on and off duty, regardless of the situation.  they constantly get pulled over in their civilian car by other cops, show their badge, and get let off.  If speeding is not really a big deal, then don’t write tickets.  At the end of the day, it’s all about revenue, not public safety.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    On one hand, you have politicians who are very, and possibly too, polished.
     
    On the other hand, you have this, where Mr. Brain, Mr. Ears and Mr. Mouth aren’t on speaking terms.

    • 0 avatar
      Z71_Silvy

      In my state, it’s illegal to have dark tint, but ALL the cop cars have darker than legal tint.  it’s illegal to speed, but I routinely see cops exceeding the speed limit (and it’s not in pursuit)
       
      You had better yell at those ambulance and fire truck drivers next time you see them responding to a situation that requires an expedited response.

       
      I can hear it now:
      “Sorry sir…we would have saved your Grandmother by giving her a large does of sugar to raise her blood glucose level…but there are laws in place that we have to follow…and we were forced to stop at those six lights, 4 stop signs, etc”.
       
      There are times when laws need to be broken…police/fire/ems all have training that allows them to break those laws.  GET OVER IT.
       
       

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      There are times when laws need to be broken…police/fire/ems all have training that allows them to break those laws.  GET OVER IT

      There is no technical reason why a police officer can’t use a handsfree set or a eye-line text-based dispatch system.  If you require them to use a cellphone while driving, you (where “you” is the department and/or the governing body of the region) have made a systems design mistake.

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      If “police/fire/ems all have training that allows them to break those laws”, list the coursework and sign me up.
       
      Above speed limit, and running red lights, with blaring sirens are completely different than without the sirens. So is presumably talking on a phone with blaring sirens freezing the traffic picture. But while driving around like any other driver, even in unmarked cars, the mere presence of some state issued costume on ones body, hardly alters the risk profile of what one is doing.

    • 0 avatar
      Sugarbrie

      Are the cops allowed to eat donuts while driving ???

    • 0 avatar
      Z71_Silvy

      the mere presence of some state issued costume on ones body, hardly alters the risk profile of what one is doing.
       
      What is riskier to the public….driving code 3 or talking on the phone?
      ———————————————–
      There is no technical reason why a police officer can’t use a hands free set
       
      What would that accomplish?  Absolutely nothing.  Hands free sets and systems (like that overrated SYNC) do NOTHING to make having a phone conversation ANY safer than holding the phone to your ear.
       
      or a eye-line text-based dispatch system.
       
      HA!…right……………………………

    • 0 avatar
      thebeelzebubtrigger

      @Z71_Silvy:
      Actually, considering the huge number of cops who die (and kill others) in car accidents that training must be pretty worthless…
      http://social.jrank.org/pages/1331/Law-Enforcement-Deaths-Police-Officers.html
       

    • 0 avatar
      Z71_Silvy

      Huge numbers???
       
      Based on the link you provided, 2100 officers died in “automobile accidents” in 98 years.  That is roughly 21 a year…AND you don’t know who was at fault.
       
      And you are using that to question their training???
       
       

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      What would that accomplish?  Absolutely nothing.  Hands free sets and systems (like that overrated SYNC) do NOTHING to make having a phone conversation ANY safer than holding the phone to your ear.

      Not true.  The problem with using a phone is partially the distraction of maintaining a conversation, but also the direct look-away from the road. The point of systems like SYNC isn’t to address the former, but to mitigate it as well as do away with the latter.

      I have a box that reads me my texts and emails as I get them.  It actually works very well because I damn well know I’d try to read them otherwise, and because it’s part of my job to be in constant contact.  I’ve seen demonstrations of similar devices for dispatch and routing.  The idea is to keep people’s eyes on the road at all times, even if their concentration isn’t fully there.

      There are almost no instances where someone operating a fleet motor vehicle can or should need to pick up and operate a device.  This is why police and other fleets use open-band radio and HUD dispatch systems.   The technology is ubiquitous and, from a TCO perspective, quite cheap.

  • avatar
    Crosley

    I always resent these type of policies.
     
    In my state, it’s illegal to have dark tint, but ALL the cop cars have darker than legal tint.  it’s illegal to speed, but I routinely see cops exceeding the speed limit (and it’s not in pursuit)
     
    Now the cell phones.  I hate it when people drive while on their cell phone, but I’m definitely against giving cops the right to pull people over because of it.

    • 0 avatar
      ott

      Just tell the fuzz you have Glaucoma and the tint is medicinal. As for the phone ticket, take it to court and tell the judge you were trying to reach 911 to report a tailgater; namely the cop who was following you before he pulled you over…

    • 0 avatar
      benzaholic

      @ott
       
      … but you didn’t realize it was a cop behind you because of your glaucoma-related dark window tint (and the glaucoma-related medicinal marijuana, but you might want to leave off that part when you talk to the judge).

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    Justice would be if a cop talking on a cell phone runs down everyone Ray LaHood loves while he watches.

  • avatar
    tankinbeans

    I was listening to the interview, being quoted, yesterday and I thought LaHood was very rude. There was one man who called in and was driving (I believe he said he had a CDL – not that that necessarily matters), but LaHood wouldn’t even take a question until he had stopped moving. He spent 45 seconds telling this man to pull over until finally they ran out of time during the segment (he could have taken the question in that 45 seconds).

  • avatar
    Contrarian

    LaHood continues to remind us that Obama refuses to appoint anyone to Fed Agencies smarter than himself. Admittedly a low bar, so it probably took some serious searching. But he’s found his man in Ray!

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      No Obama appointed him becvause he was a Republican and he was reaching out. Also low bar might apply to Bush Jr but the Presidnet is by all account intelligent – you don`t get a Harvard law degree (without being from an alumni family) and lecture law at Chicago if you are a dummy.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      One of the funny things about people you don’t like: their both so devious that they’re part of a huge and yet perfectly obscured conspiracy, and yet they’re so stupid that everything they do is automatically idiotic.

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      mike, people get law degrees and teaching positions because they couldn’t hack it in math class. As should be pretty obvious by even the most cursory glance at America anno now.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      people get law degrees and teaching positions because they couldn’t hack it in math class

      I know several math and comp-sci PhDs.  Two of them frequently forget to put shoes on in the morning and another pretty much is required to carry a cellphone with him in case he gets lost.  Which he does.  Sometimes in his own neighborhood.

      Now, by extension, what does this make people who can’t hack it at math or law?

  • avatar
    werewolf34

    I don’t understand.
    How do you drive safely with a cell in one hand and a donut in the other?
    Steer with your knees?

  • avatar

    The cops don’t need cell phones when they have two-way radios and terminals in their cars.  If every cell phone in the world disappeared the sun would still come up in the morning, emergency vehicles would get dispatched to accidents,business transactions would take place etc.  I miss the old days of touring around talking on the CB and waiting until i got to the office to deal with the day’s phonecalls and BS.
      It’s no wonder the police and lawmaker’s have no respect anymore with their do as I say but don’t do as I do attitudes.

  • avatar
    rochskier

    If the police have a genuine need for the ability to use a cellphone in their cruiser why can’t hands-free systems be installed?

    The technology is readily available from OEMs and the aftermarket, and I can’t imagine it would add too much complexity to the existing electronics packages in most police cruisers. Yes, there would be some additional cost, but I can’t see it being much more than $50-$100 per cruiser.

    Oh wait, that solution would be far too simple.

  • avatar

    Like the cops, Ray LaHood can use his cell phone wherever he damn well pleases to. Like most high level politicians, LaHood never drives himself, he has a car and a driver available to him at all times, so if his cell phone rings while he’s on his way somewhere, like the entrepreneur who called in to the radio show to talk to him, he just answers it. He doesn’t have to pull over like he wants that entrepreneur and that truck driver to do.
    There are two groups of Americans now, regular folks on one side, and politicians and public employees (including cops) on the other side. Laws are for the regular folks to follow, while for the folks on the other side of the thin gray line the law is a perk to abuse at their discretion.
    At this site, we’re critical of car companies and advertising agencies and we know of cases where private sector companies have said that they made mistakes (cf. New Coke, Domino’s Pizza). Have you ever heard a cop agree that any criticism of any cop or cop policy had any validity at all? No, all we hear from cops is that we’re ignorant about what their job is really like. They’ll always resort to “well, you don’t really don’t know why that LEO was doing 30mph over the limit without his emergency lights on. Maybe the shift commander told him to get back to the station right away. Why do we park in fire lanes when we’re getting our lunch from Panera? You don’t understand that we might have to leave in a hurry and need quick access to our cruisers.”
    On the spectrum of cop crimes, this is petty, but not far from my house, a municipality has its cops park in the middle of a left turn lane on a 5 lane road, because that’s the only place they can surveil a no-right-turn-on-red intersection and stay in their jurisdiction. When they do snatch someone, to engage pursuit they have to make a U-turn which in a Panther means they have to veer right first before hanging a U left, due to the car’s wide turning circle. When I’ve tried explaining to those cops just how manifoldly dangerous what they’re doing is, all they do is verbally counterpunch. Cops will never admit to a non-cop that any cop or cop policy is faulty (unless it’s a policy that negatively affects their income or comfort).

    • 0 avatar
      jaybird124

      Amen Ronnie. Speaking the absolute truth!

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      Ronnie, I agree with you. But this situation would resolve itse;f if everyone used hands free. Whats the big deal with doing that – especially since most new cars come with bluetooth.

    • 0 avatar

      @Mike978
      the problem with driving and talking on a cell phone is NOT having to hold the phone with one hand. The problem is–and this has been shown in scientific studies by several different groups of investigators–diversion of attention. When you are talking on the cell phone, your attention is getting diverted from the road to the person you are talking to. It’s a lot worse than simply talking to a passenger because
      1. Passengers know if traffic gets hairy and they will shut up during such times
      2. passengers can point out obstacles that the driver may not see
      3. When you are talking with a passenger, you know the passenger is not going away. when you are talking on the phone, you feel more obliged to keep up your end of the conversation.
      I listen to the radio when I drive, and I can tell you that whenever the driving gets the difficult, my mind simply drops the radio. Automatically. You can’t do that with someone you are talking to on bluetooth.

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      mike, most people not on public union pay scales and pensions don’t drive new cars. And if they do, they drive the ones that don’t come with blue tooth. What about instead resolving the issue by putting bluetooth in cop cars, and stop pretending government issued costumes are any different than Halloween store issued ones at improving driving safety.
       

    • 0 avatar
      Z71_Silvy

      and stop pretending government issued costumes are any different than Halloween store issued ones at improving driving safety.
       
      I would say the countless hours of initial drivers training and ongoing training has more to do with it than the ‘costume’…but think whatever you like.

    • 0 avatar
      Z71_Silvy

      Amen Ronnie. Speaking the absolute LIBERAL truth!
       
      Fixed.
       
      I will say this though Ronnie…you really should work a day…or 4 years in the life of an emergency responder.  You would drive damn fast too if you had a 13 year old child in the back of your ambulance in cardiac arrest.
       
       

    • 0 avatar

      David,
      Passengers sometimes don’t shut up. Remember the phrase “back seat driver”?
      I was thinking about this thread when I took a call behind the wheel. If anything, I get hyper-focused on driving.
      But then I’ve never had a problem ignoring people when I need to focus.
       
      Z71Silvy,

      Nice Whaaaaambulance you’re driving. Don’t volunteer for a job and then whine about it.
      If you stopped sniffing holsters for a moment you’d hear folks chuckling. They’re not laughing with you, they’re laughing at you.
      Hey, psar, he called me a Liberal. Ain’t that a hoot? The first three web sites I hit every day, before any car stuff are the Corner at National Review, Instapundit and HotAir, but Silvy thinks I’m a liberal. I have Andrew Breitbart’s cell # in my phone, but Silvy thinks I’m a liberal. ROTFLMFYTO indeed.
       
      Liberal? Moi? Libertarian (with a small L, thank you) on many issues, for sure. Liberal? Not in 35 years.
       
      You proved my point about cops and badge bunnies (i.e. cop groupies) never tolerating criticism and always trying to tell folks they don’t know what the job is like.
       
      To begin with, site rules prevent me from fully expressing myself regarding your less than smart conflation (for cops and holster sniffers that means mixing up two different things) of emergency medical responders and cops. While it’s true that in some cities, cops have EMT and fire training, the general rule with cops is that they show up after the crime’s been committed or the ambulance is already on the way. Perhaps you conflate EMTs and cops because you’re an EMT who’s a wannabe cop. The EMTs around here are even fatter than the cops.
       
      Being a farmer is a more dangerous job than being a cop. Being a garbageman is a more dangerous job than being a cop. I’m pretty sure that we could survive longer without cops than without farmers and garbagemen.
       
       
       
       

    • 0 avatar
      Z71_Silvy

      Perhaps you conflate EMTs and cops because you’re an EMT who’s a wannabe cop.
       
      Maybe I’m all three (police/fire/ems)…
       
      You proved my point about cops and badge bunnies (i.e. cop groupies) never tolerating criticism and always trying to tell folks they don’t know what the job is like.
       
      Why tolerate criticism when it’s completely baseless and unwarranted?

    • 0 avatar
      Incendia

      @David Holzman
      The problem is–and this has been shown in scientific studies by several different groups of investigators–diversion of attention.
      Having seen this “fact” bandied about repeatedly without any link to said studies, I am curious regarding the process used to arrive at this conclusion.  Is the question simply asked when an accident occurs whether the at-fault driver was on the phone?  If that is the only measurement method, it proves nothing.  The person could have been a bad driver, could have been speeding, could have spilled hot McDonald’s coffee on his lap, swerved to miss an imaginery chipmunk, or been applying mascara while going 65 mph in a 55 zone.
      I find it difficult to believe there is any truly scientific method of proving that talking on a cell phone is more distracting than talking to someone present in the car.  How do you prove this in a double-blind (no pun intended) experiment?  When I talk to someone in the car with me, I am far more likely to take my eyes off the road to converse with them, whether it be turning my head to look at them in the passenger seat or using the rear view mirror to make “eye contact”.  I always use the phone hands-free in the car, and if traffic necessitates a lull in the conversation, I either tell the person to hold on or that I will call them back.  If people are too stupid to stop talking and drive safely, perhaps they are too stupid to be driving in the first place.

  • avatar
    Z71_Silvy

    Jeeze…I thought I was on MSNBC reading that article.

  • avatar
    mmdpg

    Who are the police talking to on their cell phones anyway?  Their dispatcher, their supervisors?  More likely their wives, buddies or girlfriends.  What possible job related info are they getting that they can’t get over the radio or mobile computer?  What did they do before cell phones?

  • avatar
    snsnsnsn

    mmdpg beat me to it – the police have radios and computers in their cars, what do they need cell phones for other than to conduct personal business?  are these cell phones issued by their employers for work-related use?  what about texting?

    • 0 avatar
      Z71_Silvy

      what do they need cell phones for other than to conduct personal business?
       
      Did you really just ask that?  Or are you being sarcastic?

    • 0 avatar
      snsnsnsn

      yes, I really asked.  Z71_Silvy seems to know a lot about it, perhaps they could share:  What goes on with the cell phone that can’t go on with the radio?

    • 0 avatar
      Z71_Silvy

      Z71_Silvy seems to know a lot about it, perhaps they could share:  What goes on with the cell phone that can’t go on with the radio?
       
      Talking with customers when a drive out to their house is not required.  All of the libs should be happy (rather than whining)…think of all the fuel saved.

    • 0 avatar
      Z71_Silvy

      are these cell phones issued by their employers for work-related use?  what about texting?
       
      Texting?  Squad cars have a computer that allows them to talk to any officer…in some cases…in the county.  And do you think all of those conversations are strictly work related???
       
      Whining and complaining about cell phone use is stupid…when you consider squad cars have:
      1.  A camera blocking visibility
      2.  A radar cone blocking visibility
      3.  A radio mounted on the top of the dash blocking visibility
      4.  A computer
      5.  A cage severely blocking visibility.
       
      In other words…squad cars ALONE break many state laws just so police can do their jobs.  And a cell phone is a very small distraction in the grand scheme of things.

  • avatar
    stuki

    Yet one more reason to replace the grifters in clowsuits charade that contemporary policing has become, with deputized civilians, the way America used to work back when it still retained elements of a civilized place.

  • avatar
    carve

    This is such BS.  If special training enables you to do it safely, then their aught to be training available, a test, etc.

    For that matter, I see cops speeding all the time- an not in emergency situations.  Just last weekend, I was passing through a little speedtrap town (Madrid, of “Wild Hogs” fame) in my 335i (flashiest car in town at that moment).  He tore out behind me when he saw me and tailed me for several miles, often tailgating me to encourage me to speed up, and blipping his radar every minute or so.  I set my cruis at 1 mph below the limit and just cruised.  After about 5 minutes, the guy hauls ass and passes me.  I tried to tail him at a distance, going 15 over, and he still pulled away.  A few minutes later I found him.  His emergency: setting up another speed trap for me.  Good job there buddy.  Way to protect & serve and increase the safety of the roads by tailgating, playing with your radar while driving, and speeding.  If cops have special training to allow them to speed safely (in non-emergency situations), then I should be able to get that training for MY non emergency situations.

    Another time, several years back, I saw a cop use his sirens and lights to cross a busy street. His destination on the other side: A donut shop. I kid you not.

    My point is, there should not be special exceptions for cops.  Who watches the watchers?  Them being able to get away with little things like this encourages them to think they’re above the law.

    • 0 avatar
      Z71_Silvy

      I see cops speeding all the time- an not in emergency situations.
       
      How do you know they’re not en-route to a call?  How do you know it’s not an emergency situation?
       
      My point is, there should not be special exceptions for cops.
       
      Be sure to say that to the dispatcher when you call 911 because someone just broke into your house.
       
       

    • 0 avatar
      carve

      Did you read my post?  I know it wasn’t an emergency because he was just going to set up another speed trap.  In another case he was crossing the street to get donuts (no emergency at the donut shop- he waited a long time before resorting to the lights).  The topic of this post is about cell-phone use, even though they already have radios, and can also just use blutooth headsets like everyone else.

      Emergencies are fine, obviously.  There’s just no reason cops shouldn’t play by the rules in non-emergencies. If they can get “special training” that lets them use the phone, speed, etc. for their own convenience, then everyone should be able to get that training and do the same things.

    • 0 avatar
      stryker1

      carve
      “His emergency: setting up another speed trap for me.”
      That’s awesome. BTW, what’s the crime rate in your area like? Is it non existent? I imagine it must be if this guy is bored enough to spend his time trying to nail drivers who seem like they ought to be speeding.
      Protect and Serve, baby!

    • 0 avatar
      carve

      Stryker: The Albuquerque area has very high crime rates, but this guy was kind of in the middle of nowhere, between Albuquerque & Santa Fe.

    • 0 avatar
      stryker1

      Well then it’s a good thing he was doing his best to get your $90 instead of, maybe, cracking one of those unsolved case files, or patrolling a high crime area or something stupid like that.

    • 0 avatar
      rpn453

      How do you know they’re not en-route to a call?  How do you know it’s not an emergency situation?
       
      No lights, no sirens = not a real emergency.

    • 0 avatar
      Z71_Silvy

      No lights, no sirens = not a real emergency.
       
      And you are the one who defines what an emergency is based on some lights and a siren being activated?
       
      The ignorance in this article and comments is astounding…a scary picture of the intelligence level out there.
       
      A person calls 911 because they are having massive chest pain…but requests no lights or siren…does that mean their condition is any less of an emergency?
       
      A woman calls 911 because her husband has a gun and is threatening her…do you think the officers are going to roll up and announce their presence with lights and a siren?  Hell no they’re not…but according to your fool proof test, that is no longer an emergency.

  • avatar
    cfclark

    If all distractions are problematic, then we should all be driving single-seat vehicles without radios.

    I tend to agree with those who feel that most cop cell phone calls while in squad cars are likely personal calls, given the amount of gear in the average modern cop car. With that many antennas, a hand-held flip phone can’t be the first, second or third option for communicating with cops in the field–unless you’re the cop’s wife, etc.

    I generally don’t like to take calls in the car, headset or no, but I disagree with the idea that mentally tuning out a phone call in one’s ear is difficult. Any married person knows how to tune someone out when necessary! :P

    In any case, LaHood is likely to be gone after the inevitable post-midterm shakeup, and the new Congress is less likely to be regulation-friendly, so it will be a while before we see the wave of accidents resulting from drivers diving for the shoulder to take a call, that will take the place of the wave of accidents resulting from distracted drivers.

    • 0 avatar
      Z71_Silvy

      With that many antennas, a hand-held flip phone can’t be the first, second or third option for communicating with cops in the field–unless you’re the cop’s wife, etc.
       
      How do you know who they’re communicating with?  Would you believe that the VAST majority of calls for service are handled by….wait for it….a TELEPHONE???
       
      I’ll give you examples:
      1.  “Yes…I’d like to know when the winter parking ban starts.”
      2.  Hi, I’d like to report a GPS stolen out of my car last night.”
      3.  “Can you tell me what the state law is for window tinting?”
       
      Or how about when an officer has to do follow-up to a previously handled call:
      1.  Hi Mrs. Jones, can you provide me with that phone number you needed to look up?”
      2.  Hello Mr. Davis, were you able to that serial number off of that safe for me?”
       
      There are endless possibilities as to why the cell phone is an extremely important tool in police work.  If officers want to talk with family (god forbid anyone do that…good thing we have a whole internet filled with people who never make personal calls from work), they use their personal cell phone.

    • 0 avatar
      carve

      Z71:  Are emergencies handeled on the cell phone, or on the radio?  When people make a call for service, does the call go to a disbatcher, or just to the nearest cops phone?

      As far as follow ups: those aren’t emergencies, and aren’t any more important or urgent than anyone elses business.  Cops aren’t the only ones who work out of their cars. Your rationalizations are falling flat.  Cops should have to follow the same rules as everyone else in non-emergencies.  If the laws are too inconvenient, then the laws should be changed.

    • 0 avatar
      cfclark

      None of the examples mentioned is a good illustration of why a police officer needs to use a hand-held phone in a moving vehicle to communicate. They may be good examples of why a cell phone per se is a good tool in police work, but that’s not really the point I wanted to make.
      (Officer out of the car and on foot, using a cell phone? Perfectly fine. Officer in a stopped vehicle, using a cell phone? Also fine. Officer driving and using a hand-held phone? Not safe, not efficient and surely not the best way of going about police business, when hands-free has been mandated for so many of the rest of us.)

    • 0 avatar
      Z71_Silvy

      None of the examples mentioned is a good illustration of why a police officer needs to use a hand-held phone in a moving vehicle to communicate.
       
      Your right…but the question was.,..why do cops need cell phones in their cars with the plethora of technology already installed (radio, MDC).  See the quote below:
       
      the police have radios and computers in their cars, what do they need cell phones for other than to conduct personal business?

    • 0 avatar
      carve

      What a tangent.  Nobody is saying cops shouldn’t be allowed to have phones, obviously; just that the same rules should apply to them as to us.  That means don’t use handheld phones while driving.  His point, is that with all the other emergency communication gear available, why would a cop even NEED to use a handheld phone while driving (i.e., in an emergency or something)

      Since you’re a cop, why don’t you back up LaHood and tell us about the special training you got on phone use.

    • 0 avatar
      Z71_Silvy

      Nobody is saying cops shouldn’t be allowed to have phones, obviously; just that the same rules should apply to them as to us.
       
      Umm…that is exactly what was implied above:
      Nobody is saying cops shouldn’t be allowed to have phones, obviously; just that the same rules should apply to them as to us.
       
      Again, I don’t agree with talking on the phone while driving…but when you have as much experience/miles behind the wheel as a typical officer…I’m ok with it.  And seeing as you don’t know why they are on the phone, you really can’t say anything about it.
       
      And EVERY SINGLE ONE OF US are guilty of talking on the phone while driving….anyone who says different is lying.  So maybe we should all worry about our OWN habits FIRST.

  • avatar

    Cops use cell phones to discuss a lot of things that they (and you) don’t want over the cop radio.  Today, they realize that every transmission pings a few dozen scanners, both mobile and base.  It is just not secure.  My local town added voice encryption because we have places the cell phones don’t work, but the cop radios do.
    Cops live in a different world than you do.  It goes with the job.  Cops only get a DWI if there is injury or damage to property.  They flash a badge if they are caught speeding by another agency.  If passing a radar trap, you’ll hear the words “company car” on the car to car channel.
    I can’t get that upset about any of it except the DWI exception.  I play with cops all day and the vast majority are rational folks you’d trust with a gun.
     

    • 0 avatar
      Z71_Silvy

      Common sense.
       
      Thank you speedlaw…I was losing hope there for a while…

    • 0 avatar
      ihatetrees

      I play with cops all day and the vast majority are rational folks you’d trust with a gun.

      I agree.
      But there are some departments in NY State where the culture is / was a big problem…
      http://rochester.ynn.com/content/top_stories/510089/former-greece-police-chief-sentenced-to-prison/

  • avatar

    I’ll give you examples:
    1.  “Yes…I’d like to know when the winter parking ban starts.”
    And that has to be responded to by an officer who is, at that moment, behind the wheel driving?
    2.  Hi, I’d like to report a GPS stolen out of my car last night.”
    And that has to be responded to by an officer who is, at that moment, behind the wheel driving?
    3.  “Can you tell me what the state law is for window tinting?”
    And that has to be responded to by an officer who is, at that moment, behind the wheel driving?

    Or how about when an officer has to do follow-up to a previously handled call:
    1.  Hi Mrs. Jones, can you provide me with that phone number you needed to look up?”
    And that has to be responded to by an officer who is, at that moment, behind the wheel driving?
    2.  Hello Mr. Davis, were you able to that serial number off of that safe for me?”
     
    And that has to be responded to by an officer who is, at that moment, behind the wheel driving?
     
    On this one I have to ask Silvy, I know you think that cops are superheros, but if he has the cell in one hand, and the steering wheel in the other, what’s he going to use to write down the number, his dick?
     
     
    Like I said, there is no cop behavior that cops won’t defend to the point of absurdity.

    • 0 avatar
      carve

      [i]I know you think that cops are superheros, but if he has the cell in one hand, and the steering wheel in the other, what’s he going to use to write down the number, his dick?[/i]

      LOL- They must get special training for that, too.  No civilians are to do that.

    • 0 avatar
      Z71_Silvy

      On this one I have to ask Silvy, I know you think that cops are superheros, but if he has the cell in one hand, and the steering wheel in the other, what’s he going to use to write down the number, his dick?
       
      What are you, a child?  Was that at all necessary?
       
      Like I said, there is no cop behavior that cops won’t defend to the point of absurdity.
       
      And everyone is a critic from the sidelines.

  • avatar

    If officers want to talk with family (god forbid anyone do that…good thing we have a whole internet filled with people who never make personal calls from work), they use their personal cell phone.

    Cops, badge bunnies and holster sniffers keep forgetting, cops are public employees. When I use a phone on company time, that’s between me and my employer, right? The same goes with Johnny Law, if he takes care of personal business while on the job, that’s between him and his employer, since we’re his employer, that makes it our business.

    Perks and professional courtesies, like other jobs have, don’t exist for cops, because it’s not like other jobs. You are entrusted by the public to enforce the laws fairly, not use them for your own advantages.

    If the price of not having cops speeding to the donut shop, or routinely rolling stop signs is a slightly slower response time when there really is an emergency (not that following traffic laws during non emergencies would affect emergency response time, but then cops and cop groupies just make stuff up to justify whatever they want to do), oh well, that’s the price of having honest cops.

    What you want, Z71Silvy, are dishonest cops. You want separate standards for police officers and for the public, two completely different standards. Like Jack put it, cops are supercitizens in your eyes, with special rights. Sorry, but your kind of totalitarianism really isn’t welcome in America.

    • 0 avatar
      Z71_Silvy

      What you want, Z71Silvy, are dishonest cops. You want separate standards for police officers and for the public, two completely different standards. Like Jack put it, cops are supercitizens in your eyes, with special rights. Sorry, but your kind of totalitarianism really isn’t welcome in America.
       
      Yes…thank you for completely misunderstanding my point and making a complete fool of yourself.
       
      I never said anything near what you asserted above.  I never, ever said I want dishonest cops……but I understand that, at times, public safety officials need to break laws to do their jobs.
       
      You would be the person complaining that there is a fire truck parked in the middle of the street as the house next door burns down….because parking in the middle of the street and impeding traffic is not legal.

    • 0 avatar

      You would be the person complaining that there is a fire truck parked in the middle of the street as the house next door burns down….because parking in the middle of the street and impeding traffic is not legal.
       
      Nope, I’m the guy complaining about the fat cop parking his cruiser in the fire lane, blocking a fire hydrant, while he waddles in and out of Panera to get his food (true story). You’re the guy who thinks it’s cool for you to park there in case your boss calls you and reminds you to hurry up because it’s your turn to do the donut run. If the store that you’re parked in front of happens to burn down, oh well, you still get your golden pension.
       
      Sorry if I’m jaded about cops. The last time I interacted with a cop she violated my first amendment rights by censoring my remarks at a city council meeting (a textbook example of prior restraint of free speech). The time before that a cop and his partner helped a customer rip me off. Then they tried to intimidate me about not having a business license, when the city ordinances specifically exempts me. The time before that, a cop was so busy trying to give out tickets (while parked in a left turn lane in the middle of a busy street) that he didn’t see me get hit by a car on my bike, though it was in direct line of sight to his car. He only responded when he heard me yelling about his lazy ass sitting there.
       
      Oh, and we’re not just your critics, we’re your bosses. Man, I know it annoys you to be reminded that you work for the public, but you do work for the public. When I see any evidence here that you understand that being a cop before anything else means to serve the public, then I’ll think that you can be trusted with a gun and a badge. So far, all you’ve demonstrated here is that you have a chip on your shoulder regarding non-cops. You’ve proven my point that cops think that non-cops should never be allowed to criticize cops.
      If cops are so noble, how many other jobs require Internal Affairs departments just to keep the employees honest? When it’s convenient, you want us to treat cops like all other jobs, professional courtesy, perks and the like. When it’s convenient you want us to treat cops as though they are special heroes.
      Oh well, like Aesop said, any excuse will serve a tyrant.

  • avatar
    loverofcars1969

    Welcome to the new United States of America where you have the right to purchase cheaply made crap and sdfu. This is just the result of the 80’s get tough crowd. The bulk of you on this site probably supported these laws when they were only harassing non whites but a funny thing happened on the way to continuing to pick on the little guy. The little guy will now  blast a hole in your ass and think nothing of it.

  • avatar
    mcs

    Actually, if cops realized that modern cell phones (especially smartphones) are like individual personal locator beacons, they wouldn’t carry one powered on. If WiFi and bluetooth is on, it’s not difficult to pickup various bits of information. Even when bluetooth is in non-discoverable mode – it’s still discoverable. Bluetooth range can be extended with the right antenna, so the limited range of bluetooth isn’t always an issue.

  • avatar
    itsgotvtakyo

    Hahahahaha, this Z71 guy is such a clown. Get off the computer and go sniff some more jocks. There’s absolutely no need for cops to use cell phones while they’re driving. I don’t dispute that having the phone is useful while on the job but they can and should use them while they’re not moving. There isn’t a single bit of critical information that can’t be relayed over traditional communication lines while responding or in pursuit. If there is more sensitive but less pressing matters that need to be discussed then by all means, pull over and discuss them. And yes, I’m a hypocrite. I regularly take and make phone calls as I need to while in the car, oftentimes actually picking the phone up in lieu of taking it through the bluetooth. My problem with the issue is twofold. Most cops that I’ve been involved with have been arrogant, reckless, self important d-bags that think they’re above the law they’re supposed to uphold. Second, If I can’t do it, neither can you, especially if there isn’t a legitimate need to.


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