In a Violation of Rights, Texas Cops Now Pull You Over for “Driving Safely” to “Reward” You

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Lakeview, TX — Police in Lakeview, Texas are routinely conducting traffic stops without probable cause that a violation has occurred – and have packaged these unlawful detentions in a way that has earned media approval.

The pretext offered by the department is its “Doing it Right Safe Driving Campaign,” through which officers who lurk in the shadows like rapists stop drivers who appear to be following all of the rules are stopped and then given Starbucks gift certificates – but only if a scan of the driver’s license and registration reveals no outstanding warrants or violations. The confused and anxious motorists are not told the purpose of the traffic stop until the officer returns with the surprise gift – which is actually a species of Trojan Horse that permits the officer to sneak a peek at the driver’s record without a legally valid reason.

“Recently, we’ve seen a lot of negative things about the police,” explained Lakeview Police Chief David Hotchkiss to the Baxter Bulletin newspaper. “I just wanted to do something that let the community see us doing something good and let us look for drivers doing good things.”

The idea earned the approval of Lakeview mayor Dennis Behling and the City Council, and attracted the interest of local citizens who donated the money to buy gift certificates ranging in price from $15 to $25 dollars apiece.

According to Chief Hotchkiss, the “Doing it Right” initiative offers “an opportunity to interact with people for a positive reason. For the community, it allowed them to interact with us when there was nothing wrong and we were giving them a gift. That allowed us to start relationships on a positive note and that’s great.” The Chief expressed satisfaction over “looking for someone doing something right.”

If this were the case, of course, police who stopped drivers for the supposed purpose of commending them for their careful and responsible conduct would not be reviewing their records in search of something “wrong.”

There is no such thing as an innocuous contact between a citizen and a police officer, especially when that contact involves a demand for identification and scrutiny of the citizen’s background. In every contact with a citizen, a police officer treats the latter as a potential suspect and a threat to “officer safety.” Police are taught to treat every encounter as a potentially life-threatening situation, and citizens would be wise to do the same. Citizens should also assume that the police officer is not looking for an excuse to commend you, but rather for a reason to arrest you, especially when they refuse to provide any explanation for the stop.

Texas residents, in particular, have reason to understand that reality. Because of the unwarranted actions of the officer who initiated it, Sandra Bland’s encounter with the police escalated from a routine stop to an altercation that led to an arrest, spurious charges of “assaulting an officer,” and the motorist’s still-unexplained death in a jail cell. The officer in that incident treated Bland’s assertion of her rights as a threat to his safety, and a form of “contempt of cop” that supposedly justified summary punishment.

The “Doing it Right” program was brought to the attention of The Free Thought Project by a Lakeview resident – a recent arrival who asked that her name not be used.

“If the police want to reward somebody for doing things right, give the driver the reward without treating them like a suspect first,” she suggested.

Reasonable as that recommendation may be, it would spoil the entire purpose of the exercise. Other residents of the town of roughly 6,600 – with a crime rate much higher than the national average — might find it curious that the police are spending time on a low-risk, high-profile PR campaign that allows them to rummage through the records of harmless drivers, rather than dealing with the city’s ever-growing number of robberies and burglaries.

Given the choice of trolling for revenue or protecting property, police in Lakeview – like their comrades elsewhere – will always opt for the first alternative.

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Contributed by William N. Grigg of The Free Thought Project.

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  • doucyet

    Next………full blown check points around the cities.

    Show me your papers!

    • AllodialTitle

      YAVOLT !!

      • csbubba

        jawohl is correct spelling, mein herr

        • AllodialTitle

          Danka herr mayor

    • varlog

      You must mean the DUI checkpoints that violates everyone’s rights as well. Already happening.

    • Mr Reynard

      Show me your papers!??
      Actually, “Ihre Papiere schweinehund” !

  • Nathan Togain

    Sounds like they’re profiling citizens that drive well, that means they should continue profiling mexicans and other illegal alien that are actually causing the real crime.

  • StevetheHun

    How come all the stupid stuff happens in either California, Florida or Texas?

    • RandyJ/ProudSurvivor

      California because, well…it’s California. Florida because of the higher number of illegals and elderly who aren’t likely to protest. Texas because they are always in need of a litmus test for how far they can push folks with a powerful sense of independence.

    • Reverend Draco

      Because we’re not afraid to fail. One never learns, never grows, without failing.

      A master of his craft has failed more times than a beginner has even tried.

  • varlog

    What a bunch of crap. First thing out of their mouth should be that they have not committed any crimes and they are free to leave whenever they see fit.

    But if the cops really wanted to improve relations, don’t pull them over, mail it to them. But give me cash because a starbucks gift certificate is going in the trash anyway. So in my case, you would pull be over, interrupt my day with your BS, and then give me something I don’t want. And I’m supposed to think more of you when its over.

  • WeeSee

  • Anonymous1

    If they pulled me over, I’d be getting my lawyer to file a lawsuit.

  • Right to the Point

    Wait until someone gets shot at one of these seemingly innocuous encounters.

  • Another Thought Criminal

    I’d lose more than $25 in lost productivity for such nonsense. I guess it’s a good thing I drive like a teenager.

  • jeff

    If they pulled you over, and did not ask for Drivers License and Registration..just to give you a gift card… it is still Wrong… but to run your information… not acceptable… Being pulled over, to be given a gift, not Acceptable…. Unless I am doing something wrong… Leave me alone… I don’t like you…

  • cmb

    why are these cops still alive?

  • zman

    Whoever wrote this article needs to check their sources/facts. This is NOT Lakeview, TX…this is in Lakeview,AR…I know, I live there. The Baxter Bulletin in located in Mountain Home, AR…8 miles away…Bull Shoals is in Marion County…next to Baxter County and 2 miles from Lakeview. BTW, if they want to check your record, all they have to do is run your plates, then the owners record. No, I am not a cop lover (quite the contrary), but the cops there have had no issues with the public. Bull Shoals, however, had to fire their chief after he beat a man nearly to death (while cuffed and subdued) and had to go to trial for it. He was also on SSRIs and 3 or 4 other mood altering drugs at the time, coerced an underling to falsify his report (after which he turned the chief in) and had to sign an agreement to never become an officer of the law ever again. He did not get any jail or fine (thanks to testimony from an FBI ‘expert’ that he was not violent enough,courtesy of the FOP)…but is being sued, using police evidence. To associate this with the Bland case is insane. Texas law enforcement make Arkansas lawmen look like saints. If the authors of this article wanted to look at corruption or malfeasance, they should have looked into Mtn. Home, Ar police and Baxter Co. sheriffs dept.

  • zman

    I almost forgot…The crime rate of Lakeview, Arkansas is nearly non-existent. The population can’t be more than 1,000 either and I think there are maybe 2/3 cops (city).