My Granddaughter’s Experience . . . Frightening

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For over 30 years I responded to the needs of others as a member of the San Jose Police Department, in California.  I suppose after many years on the job, most cops get a feeling of invincibly, falsely believing we are immune to crime, having witnessed, seen and heard everything and anything.

The day my granddaughter called, all the myths associated with being a “Cop” flew out the window.  As my granddaughter spoke, my heart just sank.  I could not believe the fear in hers words as she described the following incident to me.  I will start my story from the beginning:

I have a 20 year old granddaughter living in South Sacramento with a roommate.  One night, my granddaughter received a telephone call from a friend who needed a ride home.  On her way to her friend’s location, she was pulled over, by a “Marked” police vehicle, as she turned onto a quiet residential street from a very well traveled street.

The male officer, riding solo,  approached my granddaughter, asking for her driver’s license and registration.  He did not ask if the information was correct or current before returning to his vehicle.   The officer spent a few minutes in his car before returning to my granddaughter.  All of this time she was wondering what she did wrong.

When the officer returned to my granddaughter’s vehicle, he asked her if there was any contraband in the car?  She said no.  The officer told her he was going to search the car anyway.  He opened the door and took her by the arm to assist her out then directed her to the front of her car.  She could not see what he was doing because of the bright white lights on his patrol vehicle and her own car’s headlights blinding her.

When he finished searching the vehicle, he approached my granddaughter and asked her if she had anything sharp on her person?  She said no.  The officer told her he was going to search her.  Remember, we are in Sacramento during the summer, not Alaska, my granddaughter was wearing a T-shirt and shorts.

The officer began “Searching,” feeling up her bare leg, beginning at her ankle.  As he got to her thigh she was thinking to herself that this is not right and started to suspect the real reason/motive behind the traffic stop.  She turned suddenly on him saying “You lie” as she attempted to get a look at his badge.  The officer released her, covered his badge and name plate with his arm and hand and retreated to his car.  He put it in reverse and backed away leaving suddenly.

She realized she didn’t see his badge or pay any attention to the uniform he was wearing.  She does not recall any patches on his sleeves or strips on his pants.  She believes he was wearing a gun, but does not remember if he was wearing a police baton.  She did not hear any radio traffic/chatter and does not remember seeing a radio mike or ear piece.

When he pulled her over she remembers flashing ambers lights to the rear of his vehicle, and a solid red light to the front.  When he took her out of the car the only lights she could see was the bright white headlights.  Today, many departments have uniformed officers riding unmarked vehicles as a deterrent, usually in high crime areas.

Normally when their emergency lights are activated the “Bright” headlights flash off and on, usually there are blue lights that are activated along side the red light(s), But I believe that a solid red light is all that is required by the State of California.

Currently, the Sacramento Sheriff’s office and California Highway Patrol (CHP) do not have any officers fitting this individual’s description.  Surprisingly, both agencies were reluctant to respond, and to take a report until my granddaughter called me and I got involved.  The CHP said it was probably an impostor and they could not do much about it.  I, as a retired cop, had to convinced them to take a report as to document the incident.  I frantically asked “What if he had tried to arrest and handcuff her?”  God only know what could have happened next.

With time, events in our lives seem to diminish.  Our memories, perhaps in a way to protect us, let both good and bad things fade away.  However, certain acts can be brought back to reality within a fraction of a second.  For this retired officer, his granddaughter, and their families, this incident will remain etched in their memories forever.

The next time one of them views an individual receiving a traffic citation, sees a police cruiser with it’s emergency equipment activated, or merely views a patrol vehicle parked, shivers will run up and down their spines.  So close to tragedy, yet able to have escaped unscathed.  Must have had an angel in her pocket . . .

A couple of tips from a very lucky young lady:

  • Don’t pull over in a dark area unless you know for sure it is the police . . . stop in a well lit place where there are people present
  • Pay attention to your surroundings and to what is occurring
  • Be suspicious until proven otherwise

Note:  Just two weeks prior to this occurrence, my granddaughter had taken a

self-defense seminar dealing with attacks on women by men.  When she started putting the situation together in her mind she was in the processing of deciding to fight or run when he unsuspectedly released her and left.

This was a true story, told to me by a very grateful grandfather.  His granddaughter was extremely lucky, perhaps fate will not shine as brightly on the next victim that falls prey to this reprehensible individual.

You Do Have a Choice: Victim or Survivor

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