When Officer Cameron Burke pulled over Jenna Rodgers, a student at Warwick High School in Lititz, Pennsylvania, and told her she had exceeded the speed limit by 15 miles an hour, she was confused because she knew she hadn’t. It turned out the traffic stop had been arranged by her boyfriend, Collin Kauffman, who approached her car holding a sign that said, “You’re under arrest if you don’t say yes. Prom?”
Is that not adorable? Imaginative? Charming? Oh, come on. It fills people’s hearts with joy, and only the most cynical haters would find something malevolent in such a cute ploy.
Whether Kauffman’s promposal strikes you as charming or alarming will depend on your attitude toward police and the restrictions imposed on them by the Constitution. Although everyone involved thought it was all in good fun, Burke violated the Fourth Amendment by stopping Rodgers for no legal reason, and there are similar problems with other feel-good stunts involving cops and motorists.
Well, sure. It’s “technically” unconstitutional, but what’s the harm?
- Driver is a bad dude, has no clue why he’s being pulled over, kills cop.
- Driver has a bad attitude, is in a rush, mouths off to cop and cop kills driver.
- Driver’s license is suspended, gets arrested, loses job, house and family.
- Driver was doing something wrong, takes off, crashes into minivan containing family of 6, killing everyone.
- Driver doesn’t want to go to the prom with this person.
- Driver just wants to be left alone.
Police see such shenanigans as an opportunity to show the community that they’re fun people. They’re not just those mean tough guys they see in videos, but want to be their friends, to be nice to people, to give them ice cream.
Fair enough. So stand on a street corner and hand out ice cream tickets to anybody you want, but don’t stop and seize people in violation of the Constitution because you want to be cute. Better yet, the next time you feel the urge to beat someone, give them an ice cream ticket instead.