Small Town Disadvantage

I love living in a small town but one of the problems here seems to be that the police may not have enough to keep them busy!  Twice now Chad has had an incident that I think borders on harassment.  I’m not one of those kinds of parents who always takes the kid’s side.  In fact, I probably too often take the side of the teacher, or policeman . . whomever it might be that is conflicting with Chad.

Several months ago Chad was coming home from a night class.  It was about 9:30 p.m.  The street leading to our house has some dips in it.  There was a car behind Chad that was so close and Chad thought he had his bright lights on.  Chad said the lights were blinding him and with the dips in the street, he couldn’t tell if the car behind him was flashing his lights.  Chad realized it was a police car and he pulled over.  The policeman pulled over and asked Chad why he stopped.  Chad said “I thought you were flashing your lights at me.”  No, he wasn’t and that was the end of that.  Didn’t think much about it.

Saturday night Chad was coming home from a friend’s house about 2 a.m.  They had been watching a pay per view fight and Chad had permission to stay out til that time.  He was coming down the main street and he met a police officer.  The policeman turned around and followed Chad down to where there’s a red light.  The policeman was caught by the red light and Chad had turned.  Then when he got onto our little street and a car is suddenly right on his tail.  Chad said he thought about not turning into our driveway in case it was a bad person following him.  Then he realized it was the same police car that had turned around on the main street to follow him.  Chad turned into our driveway and the policeman went on his way.

Does Chad complain?  That would probably cause more problems for him if the police  employ these kinds of tactics.  If he’s doing something wrong . . stop him, give him a ticket or whatever but this tailing him doesn’t seem very fair or very nice .. if you ask me!

Simple little incidents like this, which I’m sure go on lots of places, make me wish I lived in a larger place.


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    Believe me, it’s got nothing to do with being a “small town”. Here in the “big city” of Ft Lauderdale, the trend for teenagers was to “cruise the beach”. The police harrassed them by constantly pulling them over because they were going too slow, their bumpers were too low (I kid you not) or their music was too loud. The truth was, city officials were trying to make the beach “tourist freindly” and wanted the teens to go away. This practice stopped when my son’s friends father (the Fire Chief) tried to sue the city for constantly arresting his son.

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    We have the same happen in the Detroit area. We live in a suburb of Detroit, a NICE suburb and my son is continually harassed by the police. Because his car is red it draws attention and they pull him over for things they would not pull any of us over for. They also have been known to knock on ones door at 2am to accuse one of TP ing the neighbor’s house. Aren’t there *real* criminals to worry about??

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    Judy, not only is it not nice for the police to be doing this, it’s also very dangerous for both the police officer and the car he/she is “tailgating”. What if someone or something had run out in front of Chad’s car and he had to stop fast?? That officer would have rearended Chad and that would have caused a whole slew of other issues. I may be inclined to call the chief (or sherriff or whoever a higher ranking officer may be) and approach the incidents from more of a safety perspective and ask if this is normal protocol. If any other driver were to tailgate in that manner they would be pulled over for aggressive driving. POlicemen are not above the law, they are only supposed to enforce the laws.
    Good Luck!

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    I grew up in the town you are currently living in. Sorry to say, but that is pretty common for Nevada. I know of several instances just like you have noticed and they have been going on for more than 30 years. I’m positive some of the police have changed since then.

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    pdudgeon says

    well, if it’s a small town and someone is driving thru at 2 am on the weekend when everyone else is asleep, then yes, the police might be curious to see what was going on, and also to make sure they didn’t have a possible DUI on their hands. Getting caught at the red light probably just fueled their police protective instincts to make sure that nothing suspicious was happening.
    it could have been that they had an all-points bulletin to be on the watch that night, or perhaps some of the merchants downtown had complained of a burglary. we never know until it shows up in the papers days later that someone had a break in, or that there was an undercover drug operation going on at the time in the neighborhood where Chad was.

    yes, sometimes police harrassment happens. most of the time it’s just police doing their job to watch out for us.

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    It’s tough being a teen these days…small town or big city. Even when sitting at a shopping area drinking their coffee, my son and his friends are asked to “move on” while others are left alone. The vast majority of teens are doing the right thing, but many assume just the opposite. (The clothes, the hair, the color of their skin can make a real difference in their treatment) While I respect the difficult job of the police and the balancing act that they need to perform on a daily basis, many teens tell me they feel like they go through life under a cloud of negative assumptions. It takes a lot of character to ignore and move on. Sorry about the soapbox…touched a chord with me!

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    Having worked as a dispatcher for a police dept. (ages ago) I know that there is a lot that goes on in a community that the public never knows about – a lot.
    If Chad has not been drinking and is doing nothing wrong – then he has nothing to worry about. The police are out doing their job – we don’t know if he’s just cruising around looking for DUI’s, searching for a rapist, or looking for a reported burgler.
    I don’t think being followed by a police officer twice over several months comes close to harassment – as I said you don’t know what may be going on in your community or neighboring communities that they may be on the look out for.

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    brenda says

    I read the other comments. I’ve several good friends that are police. My grandfather walked a “beat” before he became a police detective. As the mother of 3 sons, boy do I understand what you are saying. Mac County has a “rep” for zealous officers. Without a doubt there is a “good ol’ boys” system. It’s who you know. He could be targeted because you are new transplants. When I first moved to the area 30 years ago…it was sort of funny. We made Barney Fife jokes & had some fun with it. I listened to my brothers tell stories, we laughed. 30 years later I’m concerned that locals hire young inexperienced personnel right out of training. These young men get the minimum supervised orientation. I’m concerned for their lives as they make snap decisions, but what about the ones they pull over? I’ve heard the stories from my husband, our music minister at church and even my sons. I was mortified to hear our music minister telling my son to keep his hands on the wheel, don’t move suddenly and then only when asked. Your first instinct is to keep them at home (like that is going to happen). For awhile when I had 2 teenage boys in the house the only conversation was where not to drive and during what hours. Both live out-of state with no problems in their large urban areas. To my knowledge, our daughter was never pulled over/followed. The last boy is a few years from driving. I’m enjoying the peace…..but, somewhere I can faintly hear the sound of an engine idling…….brenda

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    Judy, being in a small town, the cop may just be making sure he is going where he should be. In a large town, I don’t think that is always the case though. I would give them the benefit of the doubt, or better yet, stop by the police station and tell them thanks for making sure he got home safely. It never hurts to keep them on your side.

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    Jan says

    I’m a long time lurker, love your blog.
    I think you’re very lucky to have a son like Chad, I realize that there are issues in every family, but Chad respects you and your husbands wishes…he sounds like a gem. I truly hope that these are isolated incidents, and that they won’t be repeated (I mean the police). I live in the Northeast, and I love it here, but I’m not sure it’s the easiest place to be a teenager. But then again maybe there isn’t any easy place to be a teenager.
    Good Luck to you and your family. Like I said I love your blog, it’s nice to visit a part of the country where I’ll never have the opportunity to live.