In light of the recent controversies over the behavior of some Champaign Police officers, it may be wise to review a few rules when confronted by a police officer. In the interest of citizen safety, these following guidelines were developed while living as a poor person and having had numerous police contacts.

Local Yocal's Steps to Handling a Police Encounter
1) Upon immediate sight of an approaching police officer either on foot or in a squad car,
put your hands up, palms facing the officer, in a similar gesture that you would use as if you were being robbed.
2) Keep your hands up like in Step 1 during your entire encounter with the officer and stay perfectly still. Remember the officer is armed with a deadly weapon in addition to a baton and pepper spray. You don't know if the officer is in the middle of a divorce, or is on steroids, just returned from Iraq, enjoys getting violent, or has a mental problem. Keeping your hands up where they can see them will reassure the officer you mean no harm.
3) When answering questions from the officer, talk slowly and clearly, like you would to a 5-year-old bully.  Maintaining eye contact and speaking slowly will help the officer understand what is going on before them: that you are an unarmed pedestrian who is expected to be seen shortly by other humans.
4) If the officer demands personal identification, do not move and keep your hands up, and don't reach for your wallet until:
    a) You've explained slowly where the wallet is on your person (i.e. "my wallet is in my back pocket")
    b) You've asked permission to retrieve your wallet from the pocket
    c) While keeping your hands up, turn to the side and explain to the officer what you are   about to do. (i.e. "Okay, I'm going to reach into my back pocket now and with only two fingers and I'm going to slowly pull my wallet out. May I do this, sir?")
    d) Wait until the officer gives you permission to begin retrieving your wallet. Remember to keep your other hand up. You will notice that most police officers have had their hand gently resting on their gun or on the pepper spray. That's why it is important to move slowly at all times and concentrate on keeping your hands where they can see them at all times. If two officers are stopping you, maintain eye contact with the officer who is speaking. Do not look at the other "quiet, menacing officer" who is just standing there with his hands on his weapons, for he may intimidate you and make you lose concentration. Think of the quiet officer as a very dangerous dog who may attack at any moment. As long as you move slowly and do what the speaking officer tells you to do, the quiet officer won't bite.
5) If one of the officers has been shining a blinding flashlight in your eyes, you are probably in the presence of a hostile rogue officer. It's important not to complain about the flashlight and looking down eases the pain on your eyes. If the light is preventing you from complying with the speaking officer's demands, explain slowly that you can't see to complete the order, punctuating your sentences with "sir" as often as possible.
6) Once your wallet is out, present it like you would a plate of food out in front of you with both hands. Tell the officer slowly, what you are about to do next, that you are about to open your wallet now, to find your identification. Ask for permission before doing so.
7) Realize your civil rights are about to be raped. Accept it. Your identification is going to be checked for warrants by the speaking officer in his squad car. This will take approximately 5-10 minutes, depending how complicated you are. The quiet, menacing officer will remain standing off to your side, guarding you like the dangerous dog he is. Put your hands back up in the "robbed" position and don't move. Do not attempt idle small talk with the quiet officer. They do not have a personality anyway, and are only there to kick your ass if needed. Just look down, stay still, and keep your hands up where he can see them. If the quiet officer becomes annoyed by your gesture and tells you to put your hands down, do so, but keep your palms out in front of your legs. Never put your hands in your pockets, behind you, or out of sight from the quiet officer.
8) The speaking officer will return with your I.D. and give it back to you. Hold the I.D. in the palm of your hand out in front of you and put your other hand back up. Listen to what the speaking officer says next. You may be asked a series of personal questions, like, a) what is your social security number? b) where do you work? c) what is your current address? d) what is your telephone number? e) who do you live with? f) where are you going now? g) Did you happen to see _____? h) Were you just at this address __________? i) Can I search you and your bag? ect. Welcome to the drug war and homeland security, post 9-11. You will notice that the officer is writing this information down in a little notebook and may have told you a white lie that he is required to ask you these questions as part of his job. The temptation is to go all "Johnny Cochrane" on them and protest that the officers have no right to ask you such things. You're right of course, but you are not in a court room television show; you are on the street, alone with some very dangerous people who will kick your ass and arrest you for resisting a non-existent arrest. It is quicker to answer the questions slowly for them and realize your information is being entered into what's called the ARMS database, a computer system that helps police departments track every person they ever talked to. If you insist on fighting for the American way of life to freedom from unwarranted searches and seizures, then you can politely offer to the officers that you are not comfortable answering the questions and you would rather submit to being arrested now and will invoke your right to remain silent. Make sure you offer this option politely.

Chances are you will simply be told to go home and not to let the officers catch you around here for the rest of the night. Most officers are lazy and do not want to haul you to jail for not answering questions they wouldn't answer either if they were in your shoes. If you are homeless, walk far away from the area, and find a place to hide for the rest of the evening. It is especially important to follow the 8 rules if you are in the presence of a female officer. Female officers are usually hyper-defensive and are the most unstable during an actual citizen contact. Any type of verbal resistance will cause a female officer to go straight for weapons, even pointing a gun at you. They will take all the sexual harassment they suffer from co-employees out on you, and/or are bull lesbians who are prejudiced against men and barbie girls anyway. Always be extra careful in the presence of female officers.

There is also the possibility that the officers stopping you are actually honest, hardworking people who are simply doing their job as best they can. You are being "checked out" because the officers are acting on some prior information, or because you look like you need some kind of help. As you follow the above rules, good officers will recognize you are harmless, and will quickly try to get you to relax for there is no danger and will explain why they are stopping you. Fairly shortly, you can talk about the evening, the last ball game, or what the crazy spouse did to you. These type of officers will give you several recommendations on where you can get help or a good beer. If they have time, they might give you a ride somewhere, or even buy you a sandwich. There are some officers who are like this, and you should genuinely thank them for their fine service. Every police force has some of these officers.

But until officers prove they are honestly there to serve and protect, including you, assume first that you are dealing with a dysfunctional bully who likes f-ing people up.
Following the above rules, while not at all protecting your civil rights, will help keep you safe from the police in the short run. If you don't like these practical rules for handling the police, you can risk retaliation by complaining later to your city council, human relations commission, police department, citizens review board, or the media about improper police behavior. Shortly after registering your complaint, expect to be followed in your car and given a traffic ticket, or frequent drive-bys at your house, or some informant offering you drugs. Civil rights aren't cheap and rogue officers don't appreciate you messing with their career.

This was profoundly

This was profoundly ridiculous. Glad to learn that local yocal is a sexist...


...I am a big fan of women in general and they deserve better protection than they get from law enforcement when it comes to incidents of domestic battery and sexual assault. My experience with female police officers, however, has never been pleasant, and any one else who has dealt with female police officers will find my observations to be predominantly true. There is always the exceptions, I just haven't met them yet...and would love to be proved wrong.

"I am a big fan of women in

"I am a big fan of women in general". I think thou protest too much! In "general"? Good rules, however, and I am sure the cops appreciate your advice, makes their job easier.


"Female officers are usually hyper-defensive and are the most unstable during an actual citizen contact. Any type of verbal resistance will cause a female officer to go straight for weapons, even pointing a gun at you. They will take all the sexual harassment they suffer from co-employees out on you, and/or are bull lesbians who are prejudiced against men and barbie girls anyway."

I'm sorry Yocal, but those generalizations are disgusting and make you sound like a bigot.


This isn't the first time you've made homophobic statements about gay people. It doesn't make you "sound like a bigot." It highlights the fact that you do, in fact, have bigoted feelings toward them.

It's good that none of these victims you're championing appear to be openly gay, or I doubt you'd give much of a damn about them, right?

It's a shame the IMC allows open displays of homophobia like yours. It's a shame that you're all over Smile Politely. But hey, at least straight people have you for their champion. Keep fighting the Good Heterosexual Fight!


My goodness, the political correcto's are out in force. If you have ever encountered a female police officer on the street, Local Yokel's observations are not far off and are only descriptions of overall trends. I don't see where Yokel has posited an anti-gay or anti-female idea here, but seems to be only giving a brief description of what female police officers are like. From my experience with police officers, I noticed the same trends. You white guys out there want to complain too about Yokel's characterization of a white-male-dominated profession? Oh that's right, it's okay to bash white males, as long you leave the ladies and gays out of it. Political correctness has its double standards too.

@ Tracy

"This isn't the first time you've made homophobic statements about gay people." Please educate me as to the other homophobic statements I've made about gay people.

Since this concern about homophobia seems to be the dominant reaction to this article, I will ask my gay friends if I have errored here. My personal experience with female police officers has been that I was approached by very stocky women, with unusually deep voices, with very short cropped hair, who had a complete attitude problem, (i.e. rude and paranoid) during the entire interaction. Was I wrong to assume they were prejudiced against men and preferred to sleep with women? (nothing wrong with that mind you, except the prejudiced against men part). That may be a possibility. My use of the term "bull lesbians" was a shorthand way to quickly describe female officers I have encountered. Is use of the phrase "bull lesbian" like when a white guy uses the phrase "nigger" to describe a black man who cheats, lies and steals, though maybe accurate, not allowed for the white guy to use because of all the historical baggage?

The assumption that female police officers experience sexual harrassment on the job is a commonly known occurance. Just ask the victims of Urbana Police officer Kurt Hjort. That doesn't mean they bring that to their job. I really don't know how to account for the overwhelming hostility I have received from female police officers. As I've said before, if there are female officers who can handle their job professionally, I just haven't met you yet.

I appreciate everyone rising to the defense of gays and women here. More power to you. I will look for educated guidance as to how I used language in this article from the offended groups so named.

There is no doubt I wrote this article in a very frustrated and angry state of mind toward my personal fed-uppness of living under the type of policing that exists in this town for the last twenty years. If there is any prejudice I do struggle with, it's toward the rogue police officers and their fellow good police officers who don't do anything about the rogue officers. I really do abide by the above rules because from my experience and from the eyewitnessing of other situations about town, I have become police-ophobic. To the good officers, I apologize and more power to you too.

Some recommendations for Tracy

"It's a shame that you're all over Smile Politely." I suggest you talk to the Smilepolitely editors and have the comments field closed or more specifically, you ask them to ban Local Yocal from being allowed to comment on the articles. I'm sure the editors share your assessment that Local Yocal's comments over there are "shameful." Unfortunately, over here at this website, site managers have become way too hasty with the edit button and often remove the bizarre, bombastic, rude, mean-spirited, and outright bigoted opinions of the cops, reps from the FOP, their spouses, reps from Guns Save Lives, KKK, CIA or whoever and whatever the nutjobs are that sometimes comment to Professor Brian Dolinar's articles. It's too bad because that sort of editing has stifled debate on this website, but does manage to keep the comments limited to a bunch of amens from the choir, in keeping with the preferences of people like Tracy. It has discouraged the honest representatives from law enforcement who are actually sincere about the quality of policing in this area, and the debates with them were once quite valuable.

"Keep fighting the Good Heterosexual Fight!" Well thanks for the encouragement but fighting with heterosexuals about their licentious addiction to internet porn, abusive practices of rape and pedophilia, and sexual adultery offends them greatly and they often want me banned from commenting on articles. I don't mind getting banned, but I have found that problem heterosexuals see no need to change their ways and other heterosexuals accuse me of stereotyping them, because, as it turns out, some heterosexuals have informed me they are not addicted to internet porn, would never harm women or children, and don't cheat on their relationships. It's amazing what you learn when you foist a 1st Amendment opinion.


If you think the police are bad around here....


Published: December 17, 2011
NY Times

WHEN I was 14, my mother told me not to panic if a police officer stopped me. And she cautioned me to carry ID and never run away from the police or I could be shot. In the nine years since my mother gave me this advice, I have had numerous occasions to consider her wisdom.

One evening in August of 2006, I was celebrating my 18th birthday with my cousin and a friend. We were staying at my sister’s house on 96th Street and Amsterdam Avenue in Manhattan and decided to walk to a nearby place and get some burgers. It was closed so we sat on benches in the median strip that runs down the middle of Broadway. We were talking, watching the night go by, enjoying the evening when suddenly, and out of nowhere, squad cars surrounded us. A policeman yelled from the window, “Get on the ground!”

I was stunned. And I was scared. Then I was on the ground — with a gun pointed at me. I couldn’t see what was happening but I could feel a policeman’s hand reach into my pocket and remove my wallet. Apparently he looked through and found the ID I kept there. “Happy Birthday,” he said sarcastically. The officers questioned my cousin and friend, asked what they were doing in town, and then said goodnight and left us on the sidewalk.

Less than two years later, in the spring of 2008, N.Y.P.D. officers stopped and frisked me, again. And for no apparent reason. This time I was leaving my grandmother’s home in Flatbush, Brooklyn; a squad car passed me as I walked down East 49th Street to the bus stop. The car backed up. Three officers jumped out. Not again. The officers ordered me to stand, hands against a garage door, fished my wallet out of my pocket and looked at my ID. Then they let me go.

I was stopped again in September of 2010. This time I was just walking home from the gym. It was the same routine: I was stopped, frisked, searched, ID’d and let go.

These experiences changed the way I felt about the police. After the third incident I worried when police cars drove by; I was afraid I would be stopped and searched or that something worse would happen. I dress better if I go downtown. I don’t hang out with friends outside my neighborhood in Harlem as much as I used to. Essentially, I incorporated into my daily life the sense that I might find myself up against a wall or on the ground with an officer’s gun at my head. For a black man in his 20s like me, it’s just a fact of life in New York.

Here are a few other facts: last year, the N.Y.P.D. recorded more than 600,000 stops; 84 percent of those stopped were blacks or Latinos. Police are far more likely to use force when stopping blacks or Latinos than whites. In half the stops police cite the vague “furtive movements” as the reason for the stop. Maybe black and brown people just look more furtive, whatever that means. These stops are part of a larger, more widespread problem — a racially discriminatory system of stop-and-frisk in the N.Y.P.D. The police use the excuse that they’re fighting crime to continue the practice, but no one has ever actually proved that it reduces crime or makes the city safer. Those of us who live in the neighborhoods where stop-and-frisks are a basic fact of daily life don’t feel safer as a result.

We need change. When I was young I thought cops were cool. They had a respectable and honorable job to keep people safe and fight crime. Now, I think their tactics are unfair and they abuse their authority. The police should consider the consequences of a generation of young people who want nothing to do with them — distrust, alienation and more crime.

Last May, I was outside my apartment building on my way to the store when two police officers jumped out of an unmarked car and told me to stop and put my hands up against the wall. I complied. Without my permission, they removed my cellphone from my hand, and one of the officers reached into my pockets, and removed my wallet and keys. He looked through my wallet, then handcuffed me. The officers wanted to know if I had just come out of a particular building. No, I told them, I lived next door. One of the officers asked which of the keys they had removed from my pocket opened my apartment door. Then he entered my building and tried to get into my apartment with my key. My 18-year-old sister was inside with two of our younger siblings; later she told me she had no idea why the police were trying to get into our apartment and was terrified. She tried to call me, but because they had confiscated my phone, I couldn’t answer.

Meanwhile, a white officer put me in the back of the police car. I was still handcuffed. The officer asked if I had any marijuana, and I said no. He removed and searched my shoes and patted down my socks. I asked why they were searching me, and he told me someone in my building complained that a person they believed fit my description had been ringing their bell. After the other officer returned from inside my apartment building, they opened the door to the police car, told me to get out, removed the handcuffs and simply drove off. I was deeply shaken.

For young people in my neighborhood, getting stopped and frisked is a rite of passage. We expect the police to jump us at any moment. We know the rules: don’t run and don’t try to explain, because speaking up for yourself might get you arrested or worse. And we all feel the same way — degraded, harassed, violated and criminalized because we’re black or Latino. Have I been stopped more than the average young black person? I don’t know, but I look like a zillion other people on the street. And we’re all just trying to live our lives.

As a teenager, I was quiet and kept to myself. I’m about to graduate from the Borough of Manhattan Community College, and I have a stronger sense of myself after getting involved with the Brotherhood/Sister Sol, a neighborhood organization in Harlem. We educate young people about their rights when they’re stopped by the police and how to stay safe in those interactions. I have talked to dozens of young people who have had experiences like mine. And I know firsthand how much it messes with you. Because of them, I’m doing what I can to help change things and am acting as a witness in a lawsuit brought by the Center for Constitutional Rights to stop the police from racially profiling and harassing black and brown people in New York.

It feels like an important thing to be part of a community of hundreds of thousands of people who are wrongfully stopped on their way to work, school, church or shopping, and are patted down or worse by the police though they carry no weapon; and searched for no reason other than the color of their skin. I hope police practices will change and that when I have children I won’t need to pass along my mother’s advice.

Nicholas K. Peart is a student at Borough of Manhattan Community College.

Details, Details

I think a lot of people would read this and say it seems a LOT like police around here. Change a few details, sure, but the basic approach in NYC looks a lot like CPD's.

changing details

From the article, it appears the NYPD is less likely to inflict pain on the citizens, whereas CPD prefers to hurt its subjects, not just humiliate them.

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