All personally identifying information on this site discovered utilizing resources readily available to the general public. All publicly-obtainable court documents, media reports, and any content of similar nature, provided herein or linked to were pre-published elsewhere by parties other than myself. General images along with my personal photographs are garnered via publicly accessible sources through legal means. The purpose for republishing or otherwise publicizing the information is simply to support the content contained herein.


Caution: Subject Armed With Camera and Sharp Wit

There was a bug on the passenger window in the back seat. I pulled into a grocery store parking lot so I could safely free it to the great outdoors. I wonder how many bugs are responsible for car crashes. A kitty-corner flash caught my attention, and when I about-faced I saw a Virginia State Police cruiser leaving the convenience store across the path. My task of insect liberation over, I slipped back in place at the wheel and fished a camera out.

The Trooper stopped for the traffic signal at the shopping center and I rolled in behind him. I took a couple of pictures.

His left turn light sprang to life. Ha! Cool; we’re headed the same way. Trying to time the shutter to his blinker for the heck of it, I clicked another shot or two. We got the green. The Trooper accelerated like molasses.

I, in case you couldn’t guess, don’t have any qualms about passing a police car -- unlike the rest of the population does. The way I figure it, I’m legal, my car is legal, my driving is legal, the mere presence of Law Enforcement is not a reason to uncharacteristically travel 15 miles below the speed limit. It ain’t the Indianapolis 500; I don’t need a pace car.

I overtook Trooper Turtle and checked him out as I cleared his driver’s side. Kinda plain looking… spectacles… common lawman haircut…

I got up to speed and set the cruise control. Know what would be funny? If he pulled me over. Then I’d find out his name.

Turtle pretty much stayed equidistant in the rear. I thought about taking more photos of him via my side mirror, but sporadic rain from earlier made the reflection spotty and I knew none would come out well. Feh. I’ll just wait ‘til he rockets on by.

We drove in tandem for miles upon miles. When have you ever seen a Trooper drive for miles upon miles doing the speed limit? Exactly! It. Never. Happens. Hmm… lessee if I can make him pass me. Using my cc instead of my foot pedal, I slowed down just barely -- not enough to be obvious, though enough that, if he didn’t do the same, he’d catch up to me eventually. Apparently he did the same. What the…? If he intended to pull me over, he would’ve done it, like, a half hour ago! Bizarre. I glanced down at my scanner. He hasn’t called in my tags or anything. I dunno, maybe it has nothing to do with me. I tapped the gas and reset the cruise.

Settled in for the rest of the haul, I sang along with my music and occasionally peeked at Turtle back there.

At last we were approaching Charlottesville-Albemarle. There were two ways I could go to get where I needed, and the first one was rapidly coming up. I was planning on taking it. Until I saw Turtle become the Hare. He’d certainly stepped it up and would be passing me momentarily. Well, hey! It seems I’m going to get his picture after all. I lifted the camera as he flanked me, then squeezed the button.

Man, he jammed on his brakes so fast you woulda thought a tornado had landed in front of him! Scarcely a gasp later he activated his emergency lights. Well, hey! It seems I’m going to get his name after all.

Now, this is all kind of amusing to me. On the surface. But if you really think about it, you know, go a little deeper, I’m about to be detained for photography. One more time, real slow: phhhhhotoooooggraaaaaphy. And since I knew good and darn well that alone was the reason…

I scooped my recording device out of the console.

My power window will be uncooperative on occasion. Due to potential showers, I wasn’t going to test its functionality then and there. So when Trooper Turtle walked up, I carefully, blatantly, displayed both my hands, placing one along the panel where the glass and the frame meet and using the second on the door hasp. It’s a casual move other officers have seen me make, and I’ve never had a problem -- especially since I immediately explain why I didn’t simply do standard window-down procedure. In this case, however, when the access gave way, Trooper Turtle jumped back. Seriously jumped back. Jumped! I was mystified. What’s wrong with him? “The window sticks sometimes” I quickly said. He readjusted himself. I zeroed in on his name pin.

Trooper Doss requested my license and registration. Do they even ask for proof of insurance anymore? Without delay or hesitation, he pursued with the point of the pullover. “Why were you taking pictures of me?” Well, sir, see, I run this website, about the Jefferson Area Drug Enforcement, JADE, Task Force, because one of its detectives… Instead I replied, while retrieving my papers from the glove box, “Because I can?” I took that opportunity to set the camera -- which had been visibly resting on my lap -- on the seat next to me.

I then relinquished the solicited items to the man in uniform. Oh. My. God. His hands were shaking. Shaking! He had a pen, and he was trying to scribble something on the palm of his hand -- yes, on his hand -- and his hands were trembling worse than a heroin addict missing a fix. It. Was. Hilarious. But I didn’t laugh at him. Out loud.

Trooper Doss refused to drop the picture-taking topic. I refused to not toy with him about it. I deliberately gave ambiguous or non-committal answers to his inquiries on the subject. I attempted to get him to claim that photographing him or his wheels was a crime. He went right up to the line but didn’t quite go over it. I tried to cajole him into letting me get more images of his car and person. He was having none of that either. “Not while I’m on official business” he barked finally. Perfect set up. I had him clarify what he meant by “official business” and he indicated the traffic stop itself. Gotcha! Wait ‘til we wrap this up, babe.

He opprobriously informed me he’d noticed my taking the pics of him four thousand miles ago. Ah, so that’s why you were hanging in my backyard the whole time. Abruptly, he threatened to, get this, cite me for “reckless driving”! I bristled. Intimidation and bullying? Oh, boy, you better not even go there.

Yeah I might’ve let him slide on the whole “reckless driving” thing as a determent had he mentioned it at the onset but him throwing it out there the way he did, after he’d flagrantly made the stop about pictures?

My eyes hardened, and he and I orally combated briefly about reckless driving. I think he gathered mondo-fastola he’d chosen the wrong tactic to exploit on me. He let me know to sit tight and off he trod to his vehicle.

No sooner did he enter his auto, my scanner leapt to life. I listened as he communicated with the female dispatcher. He supplied my license number to her and asked specifically about a “caution” that his terminal had, previously I inferred, kicked back to him. Caution? What caution? The woman confirmed the “caution” -- that made me laugh -- then an instant later asked him to call the radio room. They’ve got me flagged in their system! Suddenly Trooper Doss being immoderately jittery started to make a bit of sense. It went even beyond typical cop annoyance at a stranger capturing him on film. I’m not your run-of-the-mill stranger, no, I’m tagged as a dangerous stranger, y’see. Pfft. Oh, please.

Now, this is all kind of amusing to me. On the surface. But if you really think about it, you know, go a little deeper, Law Enforcement has helped -- as a matter of fact, I do accept my role in this -- create what is honestly a rotten situation for both me and them. What happens if one of the policemen I encounter on a traffic stop is trigger-happy or extra on edge because of this BS, and I reach just a wee bit too fast for my ID and his comfort? Good strategy JADE -- the twits who arranged the predicament. Maybe they don’t mind if my insides get splattered across the windshield but did they consider for a single second the impact such might have on the guy with the badge who does the deed? Never mind; I already know the answer.

Trooper Doss rejoined me. He generated a pat verbal “warning,” although he didn’t specify what precisely the caveat was for. Who cared? The “official business” was complete. I launched into another stab at acquiring more images, mainly to vex him. It tickled me that he ultimately gave permission for “later.” Since ya know he did it because he had zip freaking idea just how very capable I am of tracking him down.

The thing is, if the Trooper had merely let me do my harmless whatever, all I would’ve had is a few pictures of his blue and gray -- which a vast amount of people see on a daily basis anyway. But he had to make an issue of it. So I got a nifty story out of it. Plus all the information I could want on him. Initials in a regional news article led to a full name led to a phone call to verify it’s the correct Trooper led to an address… you know the drill. Still entirely harmless, only exceedingly more of it.

That’s it for now. But it’s probably safe to assume I’ll be getting back to Trooper Doss “later.”