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Thread: Skyline Drive: First Time a Victim of Anti-Motorcycle Bias

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  1. #1
    Steve
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    Skyline Drive: First Time a Victim of Anti-Motorcycle Bias

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    Last edited by rockbottom; 06-09-2014 at 06:49 PM.

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    Outlander Omega Man's Avatar
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    Not the first-
    40+ years ago while still on the M/C learner permit, I was pulled over by a registry officer and was harassed for a number of things including too many keys on my M/C keyring
    I'd let it go.
    OM
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    Registered User 36654's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rockbottom View Post
    I was on Skyline Drive yesterday and had been about 100 yards behind a park ranger for around a mile. Then he pulled over, flipped on his lights, and gave me a lecture about how "those things" can "easily speed." Keep in mind I hadn't broken any laws whatsoever. The he demanded to know how far I intended to ride on Skyline (which wasn't really any of his business) and felt compelled to correct my pronunciation of "Luray."

    At the time, I didn't want to get confrontation so I could just continue on, but now that I've stewed about it, I'm considering filing a complaint. I'm a HUGE supporter of law enforcement but the fact is that there is some tiny minority of them who become abusive as a power trip, and this seemed like one.
    Is that a state or federal park ranger on the Skyline?
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    Registered User selyab's Avatar
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    File a complaint

    I am in my second career now and working for the U.S. government. I can tell you that complaints are one of the things that get a lot of attention by management. Basically everyone in the "food chain" gets a lot visibility on addressing any complaints received by an office. Just be factual and professional. My office is required to document the complaint, investigate and respond to the complainant. So have at it. At the end, you might not get a response that makes you feel like they did much but they will have done more than might think.

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    Club President gsjay's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rockbottom View Post
    Federal. And my problem with letting it go is that he's likely to just keep on with it until stopped.
    I'd file a complaint............

    jason
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    Registered User cehlbeck's Avatar
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    Like Selyab said, if you felt you were done wrong or mistreated, file the complaint. Now that being said, my last assignment at the police department was in the office of professional standards which handled complaints just like that. Tickets, although NOT your complaint were not complaints and advised to argue that in court.

    What Selyab said is correct, you'll also quite likely also be informed of the result. But know this going in about the result you may get (at least from my or most agencies) is that your complaint was:
    • Unfounded: The incident meaning the encounter or the stop never occurred.
    • Exonerated: Which means it occurred and occurred the way you reported but the officer followed documented agency procedures or operating rules.
    • Sustained: Which means there was a violation of agency procedures or operating rules. You will quite likely NOT be told what disciplinary action was taken.
    • Not Sustained: The was not enough evidence present to show that a work operating procedure or rule was violated or not violated. This does not clear the employee.
    • Exceptionally closed: The employee terminated their own employment or was terminated before and investigation was complete and could not be disciplined, no longer working there.

    A word on not sustained. It means evidence, not statement. A companion's statement who may have been with you carries the same "weight" as an officer who may have been with the accused employee, no more and no less. Most often complaints are "not sustained" as it is basically one persons word against another's.
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    Registered User cehlbeck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rockbottom View Post
    Recognizing the situation LEO are in, I really don't want to get the guy in trouble, just find some way to make him think more carefully. I'm less irritated by him pulling me just to "remind" me not to speed than by the piling on--demanding to know where I was going, etc. With hindsight, I think I would have just said "that's none of your business and if you want to elevate this to the official level, let's do."

    I realize that we're all suffering from the publicity of the New York City motorcycle morons but I'm a middle aged, highly successful professional who was obeying the law and wearing full protective gear. I don't like being stereotyped.
    It's not always "in trouble". A complaint such as that is often handled at the command or supervisor level and not a full blown internal affairs investigation. Most agencies us a system of "progressive discipline" which often means talking to him or officially known as "oral counseling". Most often it works. They don't know what he's doing good or bad unless people tell them.
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    na1g
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    Good for you, rockbottom! It would have been easier to just let it go but making the effort may be making a difference.

    I suspect somebody in the National Park Service will be interested enough to read your note carefully and take appropriate steps, if any. Park rangers have a carefully crafted image (Smokey the Bear) and one bad apple will harm that image.

    pete
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    Registered User greenwald's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rockbottom View Post
    OK, I faxed this:

    I am writing to express my concern about an incident that occurred on Skyline Drive the morning of November 2. I was riding a motorcycle on the northern segment of Skyline. For about a mile, I'd been a hundred to hundred and fifty yards behind a park ranger. We were averaging 30-35 MPH. A car pulled out of one of the overlooks in front of me and was going well below the speed limit. I was in a legal passing zone so I passed the car and continued at my previous pace.

    About a quarter mile further along the ranger turned on his lights and pulled me. In his words he wanted to "remind me" that "those things can go fast." He did not write a citation.

    Three things bother me about this. One was being pulled when I had broken no laws. But more than that, I was irritated that the ranger demanded to know where I intended to exit Skyline (which wasn't really any of his concern) and then felt compelled to correct me when I mispronounced "Luray." I did not make an issue of this at the time because I wanted to continue on but was deeply bothered by it.

    To me this seems like an issue where I was painted with a broad brush because of the misdeeds of some motorcyclists. I am not one of the New York City motorcycle hooligans--I am a middle aged professional, a Department of Defense official (my bike had a DoD sticker on it), was wearing full protective gear, and, most importantly, had broken no laws.

    I am a great supporter of law enforcement and do not wish to take any formal action. I realize what a tough and vitally important job the ranger has and am thankful for his service. But I would encourage him to think more carefully about stereotyping.
    I too am a HUGE supporter of law enforcement. I often find the bias and paranoia on this site excessive and subjective.

    That being said, you have composed a well-written letter detailing your 'issues' with this official. I think you are more than justified lodging your complaint, as his attitude is in serious need of redirection.

    You did the right thing.
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    Proud Veteran SteveAikens's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rockbottom View Post
    OK, I faxed this:

    I am writing to express my concern about an incident that occurred on Skyline Drive the morning of November 2. .... For about a mile, I'd been a hundred to hundred and fifty yards behind a park ranger.
    Unfortunately, this fell on deaf ears. "A" park ranger certainly isn't specific enough to even have a clue *who* that park ranger was.

    If it were me - and it actually was some time back going through Yellowstone, not exactly the same but very close - I would [and did] ask the ranger his name, write it down, then ask to speak to his supervisor. As is the case with law enforcement, they are REQUIRED to contact their supervisor for you to voice your complaint.

    Someone already said when things like this happen, the WILL happen again if you allow it without filing a complaint.
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    Certifiable Old Fart beemerdons's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gsjay View Post
    I'd file a complaint............
    jason
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    Registered User 36654's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rockbottom View Post
    Federal. And my problem with letting it go is that he's likely to just keep on with it until stopped.
    The guy works for you (I assume you aren't in the witness protection program). As such, his management needs to know that he acted like a twit.
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    Registered User mpmarty's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 36654 View Post
    The guy works for you (I assume you aren't in the witness protection program). As such, his management needs to know that he acted like a twit.
    Please conjugate that.
    Marty - in the western Oregon mountains.'06RT, (gone '04RT, '86 Venture Royal, '81 Yamaha Virago920, '82Suzuki GS1100GK, '76 Suzuki GT750, Triumph 750 Bonneville, BSA Road Rocket 650, 61" Harley knucklehead)

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    Registered User dieselyoda's Avatar
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    The more of this thread I read, the more I think too much is expected.

    My math is horrible, I need a calculator to substantiate my statement. I have driven on average 80K a year for over thirty years. Everything, from pickups to tractor-trailers. I don't even count the time on a motorcycle because that's my time.

    Today, I was covering for a friend that was sick and he hauls snow. I guess this load was 40k+ as the truck was a dog and spiking jerked me around pretty good. 3rd low from intersections and I could hear a good bark so I knew I was heavy.

    Coming over an overpass, my lane, right hand side, somebody decided it was a good time to pull in front. Binders on, horn full tilt and hung on. Been there, done that, never ended well.

    RCMP on my left saw it all.

    I did the road rage thing with the horn and the lights. Seconds later, blue and red behind me. I pulled over. I was mad. I went to get out of the truck and the officer pointed at me and said, "stay in your truck".

    He went back to his car, a few minutes later, "Driver's License, Registration, Log Book". Nothing pleasant in his tone.

    My paperwork is good and he asks me if I knew why he pulled me over. I said, "No". He said if I hadn't pulled my "high school" stunt with the road rage, he would taken the other driver instead for "failure to yield oncoming". Then he said, "I will take an angry driver and make them sit on the side road over stupid. Stupid are easy to catch, you aren't and you are more dangerous."

    Wow. The boys with the badge have a tough job and I have to say, after my experience today, I'm going to let them give me s--t and just take it.

    Back to my first paragraph, I still have a lot to learn.
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    Registered User 36654's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dieselyoda View Post
    Wow. The boys with the badge have a tough job and I have to say, after my experience today, I'm going to let them give me s--t and just take it.

    Back to my first paragraph, I still have a lot to learn.
    The officer was pretty smart........an angry guy with a heavy load can do a lot more damage than a twit in car or pick-up.

    Since you understand that, the world is a good place. Of course, you could have called your lawyer and made the officer waste a few days to prove his wisdom to a judge. That may have provided some sense of moral victory to you and allowed your lawyer to buy nicer Christmas gifts for his wife and girlfriend.
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