Polishing the billy club?
October 7, 2006 11:49 PM   Subscribe

Are police officers (specifically California Highway Patrol) allowed to carry chicks in their cars?

I was rousted tonight while eating some food at a Vista Point after sunset. While signing the ticket on the officer's hood I noticed there was a girl standing behind the car by the trunk. A friend told me this is illegal, but I'm skeptical just because it seems like one of the stereotypical perks of the job. Is it really?
posted by rhizome to Law & Government (22 answers total)
 
Uh, I think it would be illegal to forbid them from carrying women in their cars.

They might be, and probably are, forbidden from using the car for personal purposes (which would include carting girlfriends/dates around, along with pets, golf clubs, etc.), but if the chick has a legitimate reason to be there (if, for example, she's also in the police force) then I can't imagine it'd be illegal.
posted by hattifattener at 12:04 AM on October 8, 2006


There's any number of legit explanations -- she's also in the force, she's in plainclothes, she's a journalist doing a ride-along, etc.

I'm voting for also "in the force, in plainclothes, possibly just off-duty." Reason: If she was a non-police officer, the uniformed cop a) would not have rousted someone alone for a minor offense and b) would've required her to stay safely in the car. Because she's standing outside of the car, she's likely another cop backing up the uniformed cop.

I'm skeptical just because it seems like one of the stereotypical perks of the job.

I'm constantly amazed at the number of people out there that apparently think huge numbers of cops are incorrigibly corrupt, rule-breaking, oppressive flatfoots. Perks? You mean like the perks of long hours, crappy pay and mountains of paperwork?
posted by frogan at 12:14 AM on October 8, 2006


Well, she was not participating in the stop like I've seen partners do in the past. And a journalist ride-along on a Saturday night? Forgive me if I consider alternate explanations.

There was another car arriving as I was signing, and she looked back at them while the officer told them the area was closed (yep, to everyone including eaters and other parkers), smiling and generally acting more like a random girl than anybody who had business being there. Completely uninvolved and unconcerned with the law-enforcement aspects of the moment. If she was undercover or something she sure was good at staying in character for a twentysomething.

I'm constantly amazed at the number of people out there that apparently think huge numbers of cops are incorrigibly corrupt, rule-breaking, oppressive flatfoots.

So you're saying that if she was a civilian in the car and not on official business that it would be the mark of a corrupt officer?
posted by rhizome at 12:20 AM on October 8, 2006


So you're saying that if she was a civilian in the car and not on official business that it would be the mark of a corrupt officer?

On minor stops, cops will often allow ride-alongs to get out of the car so that they can hear what's going on... as long as they stand safely back out of the range. She might also have been an academy cadet on a ride-along, as they're not allowed to wear uniforms during the ride-alongs. She might've been a journalist as above. I highly doubt she was a random chick he picked up because she thought he was hot... again, she wouldn't have been allowed out of the car.

I'll second the amazement that people think cops are horribly corrupt. Small towns, maybe. Big forces like SFO? Not a chance, because corrupt cops are ousted with incredible zeal... and they lose their ability to ever work for another force after being fired from a force for corrupt behaviour. You have NO idea what it actually takes to get on a police force -- a background check that includes going back to their childhood neighbourhood and asking their old neighbours about their character and demeanor, double-checking every single fact on the application, polygraph tests, months of military-style training at the police acadamy to get their license... all so they can get treated like shit by the very people who they're prepared to do so much for.

Including people alleging that they're carting around prostitues or random cute chicks, which if it's true would get them fired... and would get you laughed at if you reported it and the gal was a journalist, cadet, ride-along, etc. ;) There's tons of honest reasons she could've been there.

You may not like that they enforce the rules, but why don't you go after the people that make the rules instead of the cheap, easy targets?
posted by SpecialK at 2:41 AM on October 8, 2006


In Los Angeles, anyone can go on a ride along. A cop recently offered anyone who read the LAPD blog a ride along on his beat.

In some cities, you have to fill out a background check and have it approved by the chief of police.

In either of the two situations listed above, the person would probably not know the other officers and therefore stay out of their way and not bug them when they got out of the car.

I did ride alongs in civilian clothes when I was a 9-1-1 dispatcher, so I could see what happened on the other side of the mike.

You got caught. Put on your big boy pants and deal with it.
posted by legotech at 2:52 AM on October 8, 2006


Once a police officer came to our house for routine questioning, and had a "chick" along--she was in training for law enforcement and was riding along.

Honestly, "chicks"? Grow the fuck up.
posted by stray at 2:57 AM on October 8, 2006


In some cities I wouldn't be surprised if it was just some chick, but not for such a high-profile group like the CHiPs Patrol. I've participated in ride-alongs under far greater constraints (had to wear a vest in the South Bronx), and I was always allowed outside the car.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:49 AM on October 8, 2006


...I'll second the amazement that people think cops are horribly corrupt

is no one else amazed that people are so bizarrely sexist to think having a woman in a car is immediate evidence of corrupt behavior, 'stereotypical perks', and 'billy club polishing'...?

i live in nyc and normally use words like 'chick' and 'girl' to refer to my gender because i think of myself as living in a post-feminist world where they're just the correlaries to 'dude' and 'boy' which i also use, but posts like this make me question that. All the info you provide is that there was a person in plain clothes by the police car. who that person was, or why she was around, is anyone's guess, but i don't see what her being female has to do with anything.
posted by mdn at 7:22 AM on October 8, 2006 [1 favorite]


polygraph tests

Brilliant. I also hope they cast some entrails.

Not being familiar with sundry U.S. laws, I am having trouble understanding the context. A ticket? It is illegal to eat in your car? Is there a curfew? What exactly is a Vista Point? I've seen the signs, but they seem to be everywhere. Why are so many places called "Vista Point"?
posted by meehawl at 7:54 AM on October 8, 2006


Yeah, I cannot imagine you'd have asked this question if the genders were reversed.
posted by judith at 8:33 AM on October 8, 2006


meehawl - a Vista Point is just a place to pull off the freeway and admire the view. They're closed after sunset for various reasons related to drug dealing and perhaps even anonymous sex. The poster was fined for parking there.

Also, I Nth the ride-a-long suggestion. Although my snarky answer was going to be "Maybe he's raising it as his own, and just let it out so it wouldn't crap in his patrol car."
posted by muddgirl at 9:06 AM on October 8, 2006


What exactly is a Vista Point?

A scenic overlook. Sometimes they're closed at dusk, if they're not just a place to pull over, but an objective at the end of an auxilliary road.
posted by Rash at 9:15 AM on October 8, 2006


RE, CHIPs: Chicks, optional, cocks, probably. Now be like an egg and beat it!
posted by DenOfSizer at 9:35 AM on October 8, 2006


I'll second the amazement that people think cops are horribly corrupt. Small towns, maybe. Big forces like SFO? Not a chance,

Wow. Check out the corrupt history of the New Orleans PD. Or the LAPD.
posted by DieHipsterDie at 9:50 AM on October 8, 2006


(List of media reports concerning just the most recent, high-profile case of LAPD corruption here.)
posted by scody at 10:40 AM on October 8, 2006


Are police officers (specifically California Highway Patrol) allowed to carry chicks in their cars?

No.

Police officers are prohibited from transporting livestock; the means of conveyance do not match health code requirements.
posted by poweredbybeard at 1:25 PM on October 8, 2006 [1 favorite]


CHP officer Craig Peyer, who murdered a young woman during a traffic stop here in San Diego, had a long list of prior complaints from women who objected to being pulled over so he could chat them up for dates. The CHP knew this and did nothing about it, up until the point he killed one of his victims.

Police officers may be prohibited from certain behaviors. However, those behaviors are not actively discouraged until they become a political liability.
posted by SPrintF at 1:49 PM on October 8, 2006


I am scheduled to do a civilian ride-along this Saturday night as part of the local police department's public relations effort. There are a couple of young civilian women in the program that look pretty good to me.
posted by bukvich at 2:56 PM on October 8, 2006


If she was undercover or something she sure was good at staying in character for a twentysomething.

If she was undercover, obviously it's working out well, considering that you seem to believe that a twenty-something "chick" can't be anything other than a "random girl."
posted by anjamu at 3:52 PM on October 8, 2006


There are many (legitimate) reasons for someone in plain clothes to be in a police cruiser (most have already been mentioned here).

It should also be said that it's fine for cops to use their cruisers for personal reasons - however, in most jurisdictions, they are required to sign on as soon as they're in the car and are considered "on duty", even if they're only out on a quick run to get diapers. I think this keeps a lot of cops from using their crusiers for anything except for work.
posted by mewithoutyou at 12:20 PM on October 9, 2006


"And a journalist ride-along on a Saturday night?"

Uh, yeah, rhizome, because that's often the best time to do a ride-along.
posted by drstein at 1:44 PM on October 9, 2006


Thanks people for clearing up the "Vista Point" thing for me. Another US mystery solved.
posted by meehawl at 6:23 AM on October 10, 2006


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