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Strange police behavior

  1. Oct 11, 2010 #1
    I hope you guys can give me some insight into this situation.

    So, I was driving home from my parents' house tonight (just past midnight on Monday night) and I'm nearly the only person on the highway. A two state troopers pass me one by one within a 2 minute (2 mile, traveling 60 mph) span. About one mile after the last one passes me, and a quarter mile ahead of me, they turn on their lights and block both travel lanes while a third blocks the shoulder (I don't recall a 3rd passing me, he might have already been on the shoulder). I slow down and drift towards the blockade at about 20 miles an hour. I don't know if they are closing the road, or if they're setting up a roadblock, or if they want me to pull over or what.

    As I get near the cars, expecting them to tell me to pull over (or take a detour,) the two blocking the travel lanes turn off their lights and drive away. The one on the shoulder keeps his lights on. The road was blocked for approximately 30 seconds from what I could tell.

    There is a new law in Maryland where if an emergency vehicle has its lights on on the shoulder, you have to move over at least one lane away, so I do that, pass the officer, and then get back into my lane. That officer stays on the side of the road with the lights on as I get off on my exit.

    Were the police just bored and wanted to mess with me? Did they get orders to block the road and change their mind? Were they just checking on the officer on the side of the road, and then decided to keep going?

    I'm just really confused by their behavior.
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 11, 2010 #2
    Yes, the police were ordered to mess with you so you would start this thread...
  4. Oct 11, 2010 #3
    Your sarcasm is noted. I was informed that police officers are human beings by my roommate. Humans sometimes get bored and do illogical things to amuse themselves. Perhaps she was mistaken, and they're not humans after all.

    Thank you for your contribution.
  5. Oct 12, 2010 #4
    What about they were ordered to test if people know the new law.
  6. Oct 12, 2010 #5
    That would only require the one on the shoulder. Closing the Baltimore Beltway for 30 seconds seems like overkill, even if I was the only other car on the road.

    It's interesting they did it about ~300 feet in front of an exit. I wonder if they were hoping I'd make an awkward move and take the exit, and use that as an excuse of me being suspicious.
  7. Oct 12, 2010 #6


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    This is pretty unlikely but I may have been apart of something similar but there was a cause. A CHP (California Highway Patrol) officer drove ahead of a group of cars we were in and put his lights on and slowed down to about 20mph on the freeway. Everyone kinda went up to him but no one passed him as he got slower and slower. We got off the freeway because we were like "this is odd....". We turn on the radio and found out a few minutes ahead there was a massive accident. Turns out the CHP was trying to bring traffic to a slowdown before it hit the accident scene.

    Maybe this is related?
  8. Oct 12, 2010 #7
    Unlikely, as there was no traffic. The only cars I saw in 3 miles were the troopers.

    As I'm puzzling through this, I've narrowed it down to 2 likely possibilities.

    1) The other two just wanted to check on the officer on the shoulder, so they lined up to talk through their windows. When they saw me approaching, they decided to stop blocking the roadway and continue on.

    2) Neither officer that passed me found a reason to pull me over, so they wanted to see if I'd panic into error by setting up a weird situation. Perhaps they were hoping to catch a drunk driver heading home after Monday Night Football.

    Beyond that, I can't think of anything.
  9. Oct 12, 2010 #8


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    Often times when an emergency vehicle turns on their lights and then turns them off abruptly its due to a call being cancelled. In case of the police they usually have no desire to mess with you unless you fit into one of the cateories of statistically probable individuals to commit crime (you can draw your own conclusions as to what that means). Cops in NYC would often stop both lines just to chat with each other. It happens in Far Rockaway on Beach 116th street like every single day, and on Brooklyn Bridge when an officer camping the bridge in the RMP from 84th pct meets another officer and they have a chat for a few, that service lane is blocked for a good 2-3 minutes. Sometimes they have their lights on and its somewhat an official business, but most of the time its just recipe swapping :biggrin:

    Funny story about recipes btw. They used to do that over the MDT/KDT system, but then someone got wind of that.
  10. Oct 12, 2010 #9
    I wonder if that could mean a driver just past midnight after Monday Night Football. One could argue it's statistically probable that I had been out drinking.
  11. Oct 12, 2010 #10


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    Oh definitely. If you didnt slow down, if you were swerving, or if you forgot about that new law that was in effect and passed too close - all those would be great just causes to pull you over. Not to mention if your face looked flushed or any number of good reasons
  12. Oct 12, 2010 #11
    They were checking to see if you were drunk.
  13. Oct 12, 2010 #12
    I've passed slow law enforcement several times on the freeway when everyone slows way down. I just make dang sure I'm not speeding.

    If they had had their lights on, though, I wouldnt' have passed them.
  14. Oct 12, 2010 #13


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    Perhaps there was something in the road ahead that was a hazard, and they needed to slow traffic to allow an officer to remove it?
  15. Oct 12, 2010 #14
    I saw none of them exit or re-enter their vehicle, but I suppose it could have happened without my noticing.
  16. Oct 12, 2010 #15
    I couldn't put up with that. I would make calls and write letters all day long if I had to if that was happening where I live.
  17. Oct 12, 2010 #16


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    Do you know that millions of dollars are not collected because cops/firemen/court officers/etc park illegally and the traffic enforcement ("brownies") don't write them tickets? Thats a $45 fine for parking on expired meter, $150 charge for parking on no standing anytime zone *not to mention $200+ for tow!), everyday, in every borough. http://nyc.uncivilservants.org/ [Broken] is a website dedicated to documents just those things. They use placards to park anywhere, not just around their precincts or firehouses. Thats nepotism and its not going away anytime.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 5, 2017
  18. Oct 14, 2010 #17


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    My first, and most logical, thought about the situation is that there was a roadblock in place to catch a fleeing suspect, and he was spotted elsewhere in time for them to pull out of your way.
  19. Oct 14, 2010 #18
    This reminds me of something funny. I was driving along in the right lane and the traffic was pretty thick. All of a sudden, a set of three cop cars one after the other in the lane next to me turned their sirens on. The leading car started to sort of nudge at the guy in front of me, signaling him to slow down and stop, which is what he did (causing me and the people behind me to stop). The cops then switched lanes in front of him and immediately swerved into a Dunkin Donuts.
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