So I did a rolling stop through an intersection I’ve traversed countless times and the police pulled me over. Fair enough, I’ll grant it. Had I thought I endangered anyone else or myself, I’d come to a complete stop, but laws are important for societal cohesion and the rule of law isn’t a flippant and unnecessary thing, I understand. ‘Twas a legitimate infraction the police called me on at 3:30 a.m., I suppose.
All in all, it was a relatively decent affair from the Ohio University Police Department. The officer asked me if I knew why he stopped me (does anyone ever admit to breaking a law in that situation?) and asked me to step out of the car. Then he asked me to follow the tip of his pen with my eyes after asking about possible alcohol consumption. He also asked whether I smoked marijuana tonight.
His tone changed after my denials of alcohol consumption, marijuana use, and the permission to search my car. Slightly taken aback and annoyed that I wouldn’t let him search the car, he asked one more time. Again, I denied permission. Then, he asked one more time, in order to avoid wasting the K-9 unit’s time. Fair enough, but I can’t feel like a decent libertarian by granting an unwarranted search. Mainly though, I’m offended at the presumption that I have anything the police could find interesting.
The K-9 unit was nearby and within three minutes they had a positive. The search took a little under 10 minutes; naturally, nothing was found. I received a lecture about stopping at lights (drunk students wandering around, mind you), a reminder to update my license plate tags, and no ticket.
It’s understandable that the police pulled me over. They have a job to do for public safety and, overall, were quite courteous, which I appreciated. However, the original policeman to stop me changed his tone when I denied the search. “If you have nothing to hide, why does it matter?” isn’t the question; the question is “If I’ve done nothing wrong, what right do you have to invade my privacy?” Had I appeared drunk or high, that’d be a legitimate reason to call in a dog. My utter and complete lack at using either substance, however, and the appearance that I hadn’t imbibed or inhaled, should have ended the matter. Any search or hassle afterward seems closer to penalizing an individual who deigned to blankly acquiesce, not a routine to ensure public safety.
I won’t even approach the absurdity of prohibiting drugs; the abridgment of privacy for a supposed public safety proves enough of an issue for this post.