Monday, March 29, 2010

But He Wasn't in Uniform

Really, I suppose it could have happened pretty much anywhere.

David Word drives a Black Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor. You know, the sort of car nobody but cops drive and that cops use for undercover work because that's the kind of car police departments buy. Anyway, Word has one. With rotating lights and a siren and a safety barrier and a cage and a mounted laptop on the inside. And he drives around pulling over bad drivers.

Except, of course, David Word is not a cop. His goal, it appears, is to keep the streets and highways of his community safe. But when he pulled over an off-duty cop for speeding . . . .

The good news is that he wasn't tased or beaten. The bad news is that he was found guilty of impersonating a police officer.

Like I say, it could have happened pretty much anywhere. In Toledo a guy dressed as Batman would sometimes walk along downtown streets and leave homemade parking tickets on cars that had overstayed their welcome at meters. There's probably someone like that in your community, too.

But it seems especially appropriate that Word was operating in a place where law enforcement itself shows no regard for the law, where who you associate with and who you criticize is key to whether you might be investigated or prosecuted. David Word was the antidote, patroling the mean streets without fear or favoritism. Or any lawful right to do so.

Still, what do you expect on the mean streets of Maricopa County.

h/t Arizona Republic & Legal Blog Watch


  1. I represented a guy like that a couple of years ago. He had always wanted to be in uniform but, after being bounced out of the military, he couldn't get a job in the police department. So he went around doing stuff like David Word. I can't remember what finally happened with his case, only that it never went to trial. But I do remember he insisted on testifying and when I tried to prepare him, he kept talking about all the people he knew in the police department, how he was trained like a cop, how he should have been a cop, etc. In other words, he would have been the prosecution's best witness. Thanks for an interesting entry.

  2. There's actually no shortage of these guys. My favorite story is the 14-year old who walked into a Chicago police station wearing a uniform, said he was from another district but was detailed for the day, and went out on patrol with another officer - for the whole day - before anyone noticed.