Rushville Republican

Letters to the Editor

July 9, 2013

Police behavior was wrong

Dear Editor:

On June 2, 2013, we set out to take our out-of-town guests on a tour of the covered bridges in Rush County. Wanting to show off the beautiful countryside and enjoy the beginnings of spring weather, we drove to Rushville to fuel up before beginning our tour.

After arriving in Rushville, I was pulled over by a police officer. The initial question was, “Do you know why I stopped you?” My answer was, “No.” The officer said he saw that I was not wearing my seat belt. Everyone in the car was, in fact, actually wearing our seat belts, but both of us in the front seat were not wearing the shoulder straps to the contraption. I was driving an older car that has after-market, optional shoulder straps.

The attending officer asked for my ID and for my front passenger’s ID. I gave the officer my driver’s license as requested and asked why the officer would want my passenger’s ID and he said, “Because I said so, it’s the law.”

I questioned him about the request and my passenger was hesitant because we questioned the legality of the request, so she did decline to give her driver’s license. The officer was insistent, so my passenger reluctantly handed me her driver’s license. I held the license while he wrote her information down.

The officer left my side of the vehicle with my license and my passenger’s information. He must have called for back-up as a second car arrived from the local police department. I’m not sure what was so intimidating about the four women in my vehicle and made me wonder the reason for the back-up vehicle. I don’t know if this is typical or not.

The first officer returned to the driver’s side and asked again for my front passengers’ ID. He then asked who the other two passengers were in my vehicle and asked for their IDs, as well. I informed the officer that in 49 years, this was the first time that an officer asked for an ID for all occupants in my vehicle. I asked him if he was sure he really wanted to do this and he answered yes.

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