July 28, 2008
July 28, 2008 – DUI Stop
Every night at around 10:30 Cortez beefs up it’s police presence. Looking for drunk drivers mostly – something that I agree with. San Diego is ranked number one in the country for DUI convictions. I don’t know whether that is figured in terms of sheer number or per capita. It’s a fairly common site, but much more common in Cortez. Surely a number of these stops are involving people who are legitimately drunk, but from what I have seen that is often not the case. Many of the people who ride in the taxi have been harassed at some point or another by the local police. The other day I got to see it first hand. At 3:00 a.m…
Officer Bert: Do you know why I stopped you?
Officer Bert: You have a headlight out.
Officer Bert: License, Registration, and Insurance please.
Me: Here you go.
Officer Bert: Where you coming from?
Me: I park over by the Albertsons. I drive a taxi in Cortez.
Officer Bert: Oh.
So Officer Bert goes out to his car for a few minutes and does whatever paperwork needs to be done.
Officer Bert: How much have you had to drink tonight?
Me: I haven’t been drinking, I drive a cab.
Officer Bert: You could tell me, have you had a few beers?
Me: No, I haven’t
Officer Bert: Well it smells like beer in your car.
Me: No it doesn’t.
Officer Bert: Can you step out and do a few tests for me?
Me: Can we just skip that if I take a breathalyzer?
Officer Bert: No, we have to do a few tests.
Now we start a series of the generic DUI tests – Touching your nose with your head tilted back and closing your eyes, walking in a straight line with one foot right in front of the other, the pen test, and so on.
Officer Bert: Now I need you to follow this pen with your eyes, but don’t move your head, just follow it with your eyes.
Officer Bert: (After the test) Your eyes are really big and jerky. What have you been doing?
Me: I’ve been driving a cab all night, and I had a few energy drinks, and its late, and I’m tired.
Officer Bert: Energy drinks won’t make your eyes do that. Only alcohol and Narcotics will do that.
Me: Well, I don’t know what to say, I haven’t done any of that.
Officer Bert: It’s ok, you can tell me if you had a few beers.
At this point I have nothing else to say. It doesn’t appear that Officer Bert is believing my story. Now another police car shows up – containing Officer Ernie.
Officer Bert: Look at his eyes.
Officer Ernie: Wow. What have you been doing?
So I do the rest of the tests. I fail all of them – or so I’m led to believe… Eventually the breathalyzer comes out. It’s a pivotal moment. Bert and Ernie have big shit eating grins on their face, and probably a big hard on in their pants.
Officer Bert: Alright, I’m going to need you to blow into this.
A few moments pass…
Officer Bert: (With a bewildered look on his face) Ok, get out of here.
Get out of here? I most certainly think an apology is in order. This whole ordeal was totally uncalled for. What really made me mad was that they needlessly prolonged this whole thing. It was pretty obvious from the get go, and this should have taken 4 minutes not 40. I am not happy.
And what a bunch of A-holes anyways. Ford Mustangs? I'm sure all that extra horsepower really comes in handy on those densely packed 25mph streets...