Please don’t tell police officers these things

Posted at 5:17 AM, Nov 29, 2017

The Bangor, Maine police would rather you don’t threaten your kids with arrest if they misbehave.

Sometimes it’s easy to forget that without the uniform and badge, cops are regular people. So when they stand in line for a burger, they – like most of us – don’t want to hear tired jokes.

At least, that’s what the Bangor, Maine, Police Department says. On Sunday, the department posted a list on Facebook detailing six things people “don’t need to tell cops” in a public setting.

The first point addresses the tendency to tell a cop “I didn’t do it” (sometimes with a half chuckle) when an officer walks into a restaurant or other gathering place.

“We probably don’t think that you did do it,” says the post. “We probably don’t know what “it” is. We assume most people we run into during the average day didn’t do it, and neither did their friends.”

The pretend serious tone, written by the page’s part-time administrator Lt. Tim Cotton, is not unusual for the department, which has gained social media fans — and more than 230,000 likes — for its surprisingly chill recapsand blog The Duck Daily Sun.

If you’re drunk, they don’t need to know. If you’re not drunk, they also don’t want to know.

And please don’t tell your misbehaving 2-year-old to cut it out or the cops will arrest him.

Instead, the officers of Bangor, Maine, prefer a simple hello, chatting about the Sox or Patriots or giving out directions.

“We enjoy talking to all kinds of folks,” the post says. “Please don’t assume we assume that you are [a] bad person, a criminal, a fugitive from justice, or that you are a bad driver. We are just like you.”

Here’s the full list:

  • You do not need to tell us — “I didn’t do it.” We probably don’t think that you did do it. We probably don’t know what “it” is. We assume most people we run into during the average day didn’t do it, and neither did their friends.
  • Do not point at your friend and say — “He/She did it.” It was funny the first 389 times. Actually only about 4 times, but we are all about fairness. You might not know that we have heard it before. Most of us will still smile.
  • Do not tell your children that we are going to arrest them if they don’t behave. Don’t. Do. That. We are not going to arrest them if they are not behaving. We are not going to scare them for you. We just don’t do that. Kids have enough to worry about without thinking that each time they see a police officer they are going to be arrested. We don’t arrest kids. You are going to need to work on your parenting skills if this is one of your strategies. Stop it.
  • If you are drunk, you do not need to tell us you are drunk. We can usually tell. Just don’t drive a motor vehicle. Otherwise, enjoy your altered state of mind. We don’t mind.
  • If you are not drunk, you don’t need to tell us that either. We know that people consume alcoholic beverages in many settings. Most people who are drinking for the pleasure of having a drink are not drunk.
  • Don’t feel you need to tell us that you did not speed today. You don’t need to tell us the last time you got pulled over, or even if you never had a summons. We appreciate the way most folks drive. We are not thinking that you are a bad person when we show up in the fast food line with you. We think you are hungry. It’s all good. We’re hungry too. We do not hold poor motor vehicle records against you while you are buying a burger. We know you will do better right after lunch.
  • Things we do like to hear … “Hello” “How are you today?” “Could you give me directions to_______?” “How ’bout those Sox, Patriots, Celtics, actors in this year’s Penobscot Theatre production of Beauty and the Beast?” “Could you help me get to my car? It’s slippery and I am not doing well today.” “Are you going to eat all those fries?” “You are not wearing too much Old Spice today.”