Wilmington Police Department / Unprofessional Employees in need of psychological review
I'm not one to complain because I feel that everyone should be given the benfit of the doubt but I have recently suffered an injustice so great that I can not keep it to myself and cannot rely on the proper people to handle this matter.
A few months ago I was driving in my car with my number one gal pal, Nikki. She has recently moved to the nicer part of the city of Wilmington, DE. I, however, remain where I have always been in Mt. Laurel in good old NJ. (By the way, many people have misconceptions about New Jersyeans and think us rude, tough, and uneducated. The truth is we are and we aren't. There is a part of NJ that is all very country with small schools good neighbors and church on sundays. There is the "sopranos" type of jersey in the northern and southern parts which everyone thinks we are. Not to mention the cities of camden which had the highest homicide and drug rates in the country 5 years running and "coincidentally" has about a 5% population of non african american residents. And then there is where I live. I live in a peaceful town that has more old folks homes per mile than Tampa (Sorry Tampa but you know it's true) We are peaceful people and the most crime we have is underage drinking at parties for highschoolers and maybe some loitering and kids walking around all punked out and gothed-up but irionically they tend to be the pacifists.) I know that was very long but when people hear "New Jersey" they immediately get it into thier head that we are confrontational and uneducated (thanks HBO!). Truth is that we have one of the highest standards for schools and some of the highest tests scores in the country. If you recall some of the best colleges are in New Jersey : Princeton, Rowan(which I attend), Rutgers, and many others. Now that i've given you some information about me, you can imagine how peaceful of a person I am and how my run-in with the police was one of the most shocking things I have ever been apart of.
After driving 40 mins. to Wilmington to see my friend, we decided to go to the post office so she could pick up her passport before we did a little tax free shopping. On the way to the Post Office we encountered some traffic. We saw the crossing guards in thier bright orange reflector vests(how could you miss them in broad daylight) and realized that the traffic was from the local middle school getting out for the day. As we came closer to the school we noticed that the kids weren't really walking just across the streets in the crosswalks, but cutting through traffic. I was scared I might hit one of them so I looked all around to see where they were comming from. I drive a small elantra (2001 is the smallers model) and was stuck behind a big SUV and couldn't see in front of it. It had it's left turn signal on and about 2 mins. later was able to turn into the school and I was free to be on my way. I was scared I might hit a child and was looking to the left as I started to let my car speed up (and by speed I mean i was going less than 10 mph because it's 15 in a school zone there. As I was turning to look in front of me I stopped gradually on my brakes because slamming on them would've been stupid since I was only going about 7mph. I front of me I noticed a police officer and was shocked because I didn't see her (either did my passenger). I was so shocked because in NJ it's a law for all traffic officers to be in a vest over thier uniform and be clearly visible so kids can see where to cross and cars can see where to be directed.
I was in a state of shock and confusion because I'm a very good and cautious driver. The police officer yelled at me and proceeded to come towards my car (which was honestly about 150 ft away if not more so it wasn't a very close call especially since I was going very slowly) She then proceeded to STOP directing traffic which scared the daylights out of me cause kids were dodgeing cars and I could hardly pay attention to the officer. She came up to my window and started yelling and cursing at me saying "Look at me, not them" referring to the children. Really? Okay, so DON'T look at the children who are crossing in front of my car illegally? I'll remember to tell that to the family of the child I accidentally kill if I followed that statement.
She was yelling so loudly and shrewdly that i could hear her just fine with my window cracked the way it was. I couldn't really look at her because I don't stare at people who are yelling at me because it's a sign of confrontation and I didn't want her to think that I wasn't sorry about not seeing her. Yes, even though I didn't really do anything wrong, I was sorry because i'm sure that frightened her, but then this happened. While cursing at me she demanded that I put my window down so she could talk to me. I didn't want to do it because she was already right next to the crack of the window yelling at me and it would be dumb of me to willingly let this person damage my ears because she was angry. I asked her if she could please lower her voice and I would gladly lower the window but I do not wished to be yelled as if I were not a human being. She yelled louder and demanded that I do it or she would rip me out of the car and cuff me. So i did what she said and I think that because she knew I didn't like being yelled at, she came right next to my ear (in my car, mind you because I was leaning away) and proceeded to yell louder. My passenger was stunned and had no words but tried to tell the officer that we were sorry and that we were from out of state and did not notice her because she was not wearing a vest. She then said that she demanded an apology. When I gave her one she said "Well, sorry isn't good enough" and then i asked "well then what do you want me to do?" She said "I want to you think about how when i'm laying dead in the street how my family is going to sue your ###." I was conflicted at that moment because i wanted to laugh because she was being so crazy, I wanted to yell back and ask how she likes being cursed and yelled at, and I was angry and wanted to tell her that she should be ashamed of treating the people she's sworn to protect like this. But I stayed quiet for fear that I would say something that would provoke her. She then started to antagonize me. Being from New Jersey I am very able to tell when someone is trying to egg you on and get you angry for thier own personal gain. She was obviously trying to get me to lose control and give her an excuse to cuff me and throw me around. This went on for about 10 mins. of her telling me to apologize and then saying that words aren't enough and how i'd be sorry for what i've done (but i didn't do anything) and finally I just couldn't take it anymore and told her "Look i'm sorry, I can't stay here apologising anymore for this because i'm starting to be not so sorry and I don't like to lie. I apologized initally for the mistake and that should've been enough for you. Please go back to watching the children and keeping them from getting hit by someone and I'm going to be one my way because the people behind me have been sitting there for awhile honking at me making this an incredibly stressful situation." And I just left as she was still calling me names. I didn't know what else to do because it was very obvious that she wanted me to hit her and she got more angry the more I refused to react to her attempts.
When I got back to Nikki's house I told her mother what had happened. She is a bus driver and has been for many years and has been a crossing guard and works with the schools. She said that sometimes when a crossing guard cannot work one day they call the police to come in a subsitute because you need training to direct traffic safely and police have that training. She said that the police HATE to be the crossing guards because it is boring and they feel that their services are needed elsewhere. Perhaps this lady thought she was too important to be a crossing guard or that she would rather be in a situation where she could catch a criminal. Whichever the case it seemed quite plauseable that she was bored and wanted to get some action and tried to create some by fighting with me over something little. I have never been treated that way before and it makes me sick that people who are in a position of power, let it go to thier heads and start to act like overlords to the public. This abuse of power is common around the nation but I never thought that they provoked you. I know detectives do that to get confessions and lawyers too, but not simple officers of the law who work for the public to keep them safe. It's disgusting and when I called an complained to the police department they said that they had no evidence that she was trying to pick a fight and that "I" was lucky not to have been arrested for not following a police officers orders. Some police officers order you to do things that aren't right or in violation of your human rights because they figure you don't know any better, but I knew that this was a bunch of ###. He didn't want the woman to get in trouble or be investigated and threw out my complaint. I called back to see what had happened and why I haven't recieved any word on who she was and what happened to my complaint and the person on the phone told me that there was no such complaint and that I would have to make a new one but it wouldn't hold up because the incident was weeks ago and it might not mean anything to complain so long after the incident occured. I was mortified that these people were so unprofessional and so UGH (literally a loss for words) that I wanted to pull my hair out. I was violated, mistreated, and threatened by the very person sworn by oath to uphold the law and never deny me my rights.
Once I found this board, I knew I had to say something. This isn't right and in my area (the philadelphia area) police violence has elevated rapidly and police killings are on the rise. No one should ever kill another person but police should also deal with people (and criminals) with a little more respect. Yes they are criminals but they are for a reason and yelling at them as calling them names is only provoking violence. If a man has a gun you say "Calm down and drop your weapon" You want to keep the person from getting angry and going crazy killing innocent people and police officers. Instead these officers are calling them names and threatening them and backing them into a corner like dogs. Everyone has a right to be treated like a human no matter what and even if you think a person should be dead...in delicate situations like a man with a gun, you should probably try to think about how he IS human and all humans get angry when provoked. Perhaps police departments should change thier training habits a bit and we would have less dirty cops, violent and frustrated cops, and maybe we would have cops that can perform their civil duties and get tough when they need to be, but be sensitive to the world around them. This world is violent enough and trying to eradicate bad violence with "good" violence doesn't stop the fact that thier is violence no matter what the greater good is or the cause because the end result is more violence and less tolerance. There is no reason why a police officer has to be mean. You can still intimidate people without being mean and making them feel like a lowly pieace of crap. I have a friend who is that kind of cop( a new jersey cop) and he says that "I'm a nice guy and I still watch disney movies with my little brother but I am also a cop. I protect them and other little kids and when I catch a guy speeding I don't think 'hey you piece of crap your breaking the law' i think 'hey, you should slow down or you might hurt yourself or someone else in an accident' He told me that laws are there becase it's what the goverment thinks is best for you and that people nowadays fear cops whether or not they've broken the law, when they should respect cops for upholding it."
That's my piece and if you are the lady who abused me that day and are reading this, think to yourself about what i've said and try not to be so angry. I'm just a 20 something from jersey and live right next to a retirement community. What if it wasn't me? Would you have what you wanted when someone hit you or gave you the excitement your looking for? Do you really need to feel fullfilled by violence or aressting any bad guy? Do you think that you could try being fullfilled by teaching kids safety and helping out the elderly? Your job doesn't just have to be about getting the bad guy when he comes. Your job is also about preventing a bad guy from ever comming. If that isn't fullfilling to you, then maybe you shouldn't be a police officer and think about going into another field that might fit your needs. Thank you.