So, I was pulled over on the way to work this morning. The officer, after going through the charade of looking at my license and insurance, assured me I wasn't speeding.
He stopped me because I had a "service dog on board" sign on my car, one I put there after the car accident at the recommendation of the EMTs so they'd know to look for him and treat him differently than a pet.
Signage can be helpful, but it also leads to lots of different kinds of hassles.
He wanted to know where my service dog was, and when I indicated Itzl, he refused to believe Itzl was a service dog - even Itzl was the one who told me a siren was sounding behind me. I hadn't pulled over to be stopped, I'd pulled over to let the police car go by. When he pulled up behind me, I was surprised because - yanno - I wasn't speeding or breaking any traffic laws. I thought maybe someone had reported a car similar to mine being stolen or used in a crime, and a simple running of my tag would eliminate that.
But, nope. This particular police officer thought he was some kind of authenticity maven and that it was his job to make sure every bumper sticker and sign posted on a car was 100% accurate. Granted, mine are, but what if I'd bought this car from someone for whom the signs were legit? Does he pull over everyone with handicapped signs or disability indications to confirm they have those disabilities and handicaps? Or just ones with service dogs?
So he begins this lengthy questioning. What does the dog do? What's my disability? Do I have proof of it?
I explain to him that what he's doing is illegal, and he disagrees with me.
I haul out the ADA card and show him it's illegal, and request that he call the number on the card to confirm.
He goes away and takes his sweet time returning, so I pour Itzl a bowl of water and open the bag of cookies I was taking to work for snacks.
When he comes back, because I'm eating a cookie, I offer him one.
He draws himself up with this gleeful look in his eyes and says, "Ma'am, are you bribing me?"
Ummmm, no. I was offering you a cookie because I was eating one. It's manners. I blinked at him a moment, then said, "A cookie is not a bribe. Money is a bribe. Favors are bribes. A cookie is just a cookie, and it's your loss if you don't want one, these Newton Fruit Thins are amazing." I was eating the fig and honey ones.
So he babbled on about how I shouldn't scam the public and take advantage of laws and blah blah blah - I didn't hear most of what he said.
Then he said he'd just write me a warning.
Before he could do that, one of my copious number of relatives (also law enforcement, but highway patrol) stopped. He got out to see what was going on, took the city police officer aside, and waved me on my way to work, where I wasn't late.
I'm not going to pursue this, thanks to my cousin, because I know he will start an internal affairs investigation and make sure this rookie and his cohorts are educated on ADA and service animal laws. Since I didn't get a ticket or a warning, and wasn't late for work, it's not worth my efforts to go further with this.
I don't know whether to laugh myself silly because this arrogant rookie police officer actually though a cookie constituted a bribe or be pissed because this arrogant rookie police officer was stupid enough to break the very laws he's supposed to uphold.
Anyway, I'm at work waiting for the clock to strike "work time" and munching those crunchy, tasty little bribes.