This was a blessing strikes me as somewhat of a man-bites-dog story.
Yesterday morning my wife and I were headed to DFW airport. We were flying to Hawaii for a vacation and that's where I'm posting this from.
We didn't get on the road as early as we'd like and we were running late. Not gonna-miss-the-flight late but we didn't want to run up against the baggage acceptance cut-off either (somewhere around around 1 hour before departure).
As we drove she and I were discussing how this is the worst time of day to speed (it was around 11:00 am and the flight is at 1:00 pm) because it was after morning drive time and traffic enforcement seems to come out after that but before evening drive time. We also discussed "pushing it a little" and taking the chance of not getting caught vs. how long a ticket would delay us if we did.
Sure enough, in Cedar Hill on FM 1382 heading to I20 (a road posted 55 but seems to me it could easily support a 65 or 70 speed limit given 2 lanes in each direction, new bridges, wide shoulders in most places and relatively few entry points) I crest the ridge and on the decent see a motorcycle officer running radar. It is the perfect spot because you can't see him until you come down a bit and when you do it will be too late. I KNOW I'm busted. I immediately pull over and wait for him to arrive rather than make him catch up to me in traffic & signal me over.
After giving him my license I say something close the following:
"Officer, I apologize for the speed but I want you to know why. We are heading to the airport to board a plane for Hawaii. I know this is no excuse for violating the law and I have no quarrel with receiving a citation. I only ask that we conclude our business as quickly as possible."
I was wearing an "Aloha" flowery shirt and I'm sure this didn't escape his notice. He asked me what time our flight was and I answered. He reflected on it and said "you are cutting it kinda tight" or something similar. Rather than beginning to produce a citation he says "if I just give you a warning, will you continue to speed through Grand Prairie and Arlington all the way to DFW Airport because I know there are bike units operating there too OR will you slow down?" I wanted a moment to let his offer sink in and make sure I heard him properly and then said, "no sir, I'll slow down". With that he handed my license and insurance back and we were on our way.
That's right: a motorcycle traffic enforcement officer who had me dead to rights let me go! I can only guess at the reasons but maybe these were a few of them: he could see that while I was wrong for speeding, I really did have a reason, I was honest with him, I made it easy by pulling over immediately even when the terrain and velocity difference meant that he lost sight of me and I accepted responsibility for my actions.
He exercised what I hope would be recognized as good judgement, discretion, and a bit of compassion. He didn't want us to miss our flight due to the stop but he also didn't want us to get in a wreck due to excessive speed. Slowing me down via the warning accomplished his purpose and let us get on to our vacation. It really balanced the interests beautifully and delivered a win-win solution. If we had more of that type of common sense I think the police and the public would be well-served.
I debated whether or not to send a note of commendation to the department because I'm not sure that they would view what he did positively. After all, I was speeding and I freely admitted to it. Ultimately I did send a note via the city's web site. I want them to know that officer took a moment to analyze a situation and come up with a good solution instead of just robotically filling out a citation. I certainly hope that the blessing that he delivered to my wife and I is repaid whether by his department or otherwise.
He shattered a stereotype I thought was quite safe: motorcycle cops never
give warnings. Writing tickets is their purpose in life, end of story.