I got stopped by a police officer last Monday while driving.  He signaled me and crossed over from where he was to the right side where I was driving.

He confused me for a minute because I was driving as careful as possible.  Why me because two other vehicles ahead of me were not stopped.  Even a taxi driver who rudely joined in at a “give-way” went scot-free.  Why was his radial on me?

I remembered that the police administration had put out information some weeks back alerting citizens about heavy police presence in selected communities and especially on some major roads in the city henceforth.  This was necessitated by a series of daylight robbery attacks by miscreants on individuals and at Mobile money outlets. 

The public needed to be calmed down and feel safe while out there.  That is the confidence promised by the new Inspector General of Police (IGP) and his team.  Great idea, hoping that police presence would be sustained especially as we head for the holiday season. 

As I got stopped, I also remembered the video that went viral a few weeks ago where the police captured on camera some careless driving in town.  Such misdemeanor included crossing red lights at traffic intersections for which the drivers were going to be prosecuted.  Another great idea which hopefully may bring order and sanity on our roads.

Police random stops

So, in the scheme of things and the strategy the police administration had made public, why was I stopped by this officer?  Are police random stops in traffic part of the game? 

In my active working life, I learnt from some awareness tips given by our legal team during one of our routine safety talks that if the police stopped you while driving, scan your environment to see if it is safe to stop and then stop.  Last Monday, I did scan my environment; it was early afternoon with lots of people around so I proceeded to stop. 

As the officer walked towards my car, I quickly got my face mask on, rolled the passenger glass window down and responded even more cordially to his friendly greeting.  He looked pleasant and met me with a smile.  At that point and to borrow the words of Shakespeare’s Macbeth, there was no act to find the mind’s construction on the face.  I could not guess what was on his heart to know why he had stopped me.  Without fear or panic, we started to talk.

I asked him calmly why he had stopped me because as far as I was concerned, I had not committed any traffic offence.  He agreed that in his purview, I had not committed any offence.  Then it started like information relay.  Indeed, information overload, as I saw it.  He did not mention his name and I did not inspect his identity either seeing him in full regalia, dressed some scales up above those officers who were with him on the other side of the road.

He told me he was the commanding officer in charge of the patrol team commanding that community which stands out as one of the biggest communities in the country.  He went on to tell me that due to the series of daylight  armed robbery cases witnessed, the police command has adopted a strategy of police presence in busy areas of the city and to ensure safety on our roads.

He said to me: “So Madam, your boys are out on the road to help keep you safe.  We are determined to stamp out miscreants so we can all have our peace.”

I commended the police force in general and the IGP for the confidence they are instilling in citizens to go about their daily duties without fear.  He looked satisfied with his job and sounded so too.  But the question still rang in my mind.  Why was I stopped?

Was I being tricked to see if the words: “your boys are out to help keep you safe” was going to trigger a kind of “sympathy vote” and give him a dash?  If that was so, then my new found officer friend had stopped the wrong woman.  I have never found it prudent to tip a police officer on duty, more so those on the road.

The clouds were gathering ahead of me and needed to get home on time so I had to cut any conversation short.  However, as I drove off, the thought came back to mind again.  Was he expecting something from me and is that why he crossed the road from the other side to stop me?

I want to think that the police are out there for a just cause and one would want to applaud them loudest.  But can we know, are they to stop citizens for no apparent reason and what do we do as citizens? 



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