Short Take: A Happy Ending

How much fun is it to have a cop pull you over and, after some cute little word games, hand you a ticket? For an ice cream!!!  Even better, an invitation to the prom!!!

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?

  1. Driver is a bad dude, has no clue why he’s being pulled over, kills cop.
  2. Driver has a bad attitude, is in a rush, mouths off to cop and cop kills driver.
  3. Driver’s license is suspended, gets arrested, loses job, house and family.
  4. Driver was doing something wrong, takes off, crashes into minivan containing family of 6, killing everyone.
  5. Driver doesn’t want to go to the prom with this person.
  6. 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.

26 thoughts on “Short Take: A Happy Ending

  1. Patrick Maupin

    Many LEOs who will explain with a straight face that there is no such thing as Stockholm Syndrome are nonetheless well-versed in this juxtaposition of displaying lethal force, demanding compliance, and showing small favors. This works even better on the street with normal citizens than in the interrogation room, especially when the media help to spread the news of our benevolent captors far and wide.

    1. SHG Post author

      I don’t think they put nearly this much thought into it. If they did, they either wouldn’t do it or would do it better.

  2. B. McLeod

    This is on the same plane as playing with guns like they were toys. Laws and law enforcement have a specific purpose, and need to be kept to that purpose. I can get my own ice cream.

    1. SHG Post author

      When you do, can you get me one too? Pistachio, please. Not the green stuff, either, but real pistachio.

      1. Shannon Severance

        There is pistachio ice cream better than the green stuff? I must seek this out. Thanks for the heads up?

  3. Agammamon

    Let’s remind them of this the next time the cop’s union says that a traffic stop is one of the most dangerous situations a police officer faces so they need extra latitude when it comes to deploying force.

  4. Mario Machado

    But all is fair in puppy love and war, including Fourth Amendment violations that may have lethal repercussions.

  5. losingtrader

    But what if they just really want to give me a happy ending?
    Quoting from the best film ever,”Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising:” “Sometimes you have to suck a dick to realize you don’t like sucking dicks.”

          1. Richard Kopf


            Perhaps, you are a cat lover and a bacon aficionado. Understand, please, that I not saying you are so. But, perhaps, you are. Since you aren’t a law professor, perhaps you are unable to appreciate my exquisite phrasing.

            All the best, perhaps.


  6. John Barleycorn

    Andy Griffith or Robocop, stop trying to have it both
    ways! Just stop.

    What I can’t figure out though is, who in their right mind would invite someone to the prom these days, if they were the type of person who didn’t realize that a flirtatious inquire about the officer’s tazer and the length of his retractable baton always works. As long as the suspect lets a handful of condoms fall out of their glovebox while searching for their license, and the condoms are not black magnums in which case you will get shot.

    Just what the hell are they teaching in health class theses days anyway?

    P.S. But let’s face it, the real reason you are pissed about this is because her boyfriend knew having an old man, driving an vintage Aston Martin flash his BAR card at her and offer up some sound legal advice about the prom wouldn’t work. And she would probably end up saying something like, “I thought only girls drove MG’s.

  7. norahc

    “Collin Kauffman, who approached her car holding a sign that said, “You’re under arrest if you don’t say yes. Prom?”

    Countdown to him being accused of sexual harassment begins in three…two…

      1. KP

        Yes, coercive really. There would be a lot of exra pressure to say “yes” with a third person involved, especially a cop.

        1. SHG Post author

          Ever wonder about those gals asked for their hand in marriage on the Jumbotron? Kinda reminds me of a Meatloaf song.

  8. Konrad

    Will you also raise a stink if he uses his police uniform and handcuffs to spice up their bedroom life? Come on.

    Unless the girlfriend says otherwise, this was a private joke between the couple, not a police-citizen interaction. I’m in no way trying to justify that behaviour in true police-citizen interactions like pulling people over for ice cream.

    Same as the handcuffs in the bedroom. It’s her call. If she considers it a fun game with her boyfriend, then that’s what it is. Not police business, my business or anyone else’s business.

    1. SHG Post author

      The cop wasn’t asking the gal to the prom. He was abetting her erstwhile boy toy. The cop’s involvement was collateral, which dosen’t preclude the possibility of a uniform and cuffs in the bedroom afterward, but it would likely be awkward.

  9. Clark Crimcops

    What a sad indictment on the state of law enforcement today, when cops can’t even figure out how to be nice without violating the United States Constitution.

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