Police presence causes weird psychological ripples in people.
They could be doing something totally legal and okay and the second they realize someone in uniform is observing them, they get very tense.
Sometimes they start being weird, robotic, or even suspicious--and they would have been fine otherwise?
Here were some of the answers.
My favorite story told to me by a coworker (call him Mike).
Mike was fishing on a lake when a game warden walked up. Mike knew this game warden, and knowing that the game warden is on the heavier side, Mike immediately drops his pole and takes off running. The game warden, who thought Mike was fishing without a license takes off to catch him. Mike leads him on a chase for a while till he stops looks at the game warden and says "wait, I have a fishing license." The game warden was pissed at Mike for making him run through the woods.
What Is "Driving"?
Driving. Anything driving related. People suddenly think the rules of the road don't apply anymore as soon as they see your police vehicle, like a police vehicle has some holy grail road pass... four way stops, for example, even if the other person has the right of way... they wait until you go... they will just sit there...
Not Guilty Of Your Assumptions
A cop pulled me over because I was drinking from a McDonald's soda cup. Apparently alcoholics use McDonald's cups to hide their drinking liquor or beer. Is this common for people to do? I'm asking cops. I wasn't drinking alcohol or liquor by any chance. I literally drove out of a McDonald's parking lot.
Maybe We're In A Police State?
I don't know if this is really common or not, but a friend of mine's dad used to be a cop and he noticed that whenever he would walk by people they would sort of stand up straight and smile nervously at him until he passed them. Don't know if this happens in other places or if just Americans are just really bad at looking as normal as possible.
I'm a Probation & Parole Officer (full law enforcement authority in my state). We regularly do home visits on our offenders to verify their address and make sure they're within the guidelines of their supervision. Almost without fail, every one is "Just about to start cleaning" whenever we arrive. I'm not there to judge the state of their house, I just want to make sure they're not doing anything blatantly illegal and that the address they gave is valid. But they always point out a completely dry mop with no soap or water around to somehow show that they're good people.
Whatever, there's worse things they could be doing.
More Harm Than Good
Doing the proper speed limit, noticing a cop at a speed trap, and still braking, causing a chain of traffic as people have to stop because you stopped, Mitchell.
Just Play It Cool, Boy
Not a cop but witnessed it.
Saw a middle-aged man hide his beer in a planter when he saw a cop. We were in a beer garden.
Cop wasn't even on duty yet. He was there to drop off a birthday card to a friend before he started his shift.
Side note: daffodils are bad for securing drinks. Beer fell.
Edit: so, because this is a commonly mentioned theory, his stunt would make a bit more sense if he was on parole or something else that placed an alcohol restriction on him. Having said that, the city is what you might call "busy" when it comes to crime. Even if, by some fluke, a cop happened to be aware you were on parole (and in a metro region of several million, that's a big "if"), the city cops generally have a reputation of somewhat ignoring that kind of stuff unless they already had a bone to pick with you.
Of course, it's not unbelievable that a drunk would fail to come up with a "play it cool" plan. I would like to think his friends (who found all of this rather funny) would have been more concerned if he were on parole though. Granted, crappy "friends" certainly exist.
I still advise against the use of daffodils in concealing a drink that you may or may not be allowed to have.
She Was Probably Terrified
I once pulled over a woman for speeding and as I'm getting out the car she leans out the driver window and screams "officer I have a gun" while frantically waving both hands out the window. She looked like a swan flapping it's wings and making noises. I'm trying to hide my laughter while telling her to step our the vehicle. I lost it when she wobbled out the car 8 month pregnant and was waddling like a duck. I told her to sit back in her vehicle and I had to recompose myself. We had a civil discussion on the appropriate way to inform a cop you have a firearm without looking like a suicidal lunatic. To this day I will randomly think of the pregnant swan woman and laugh.
Teenagers often run away when seen outside at night. They don't realise, that we wouldn't chase them if they just didn't run, it just makes them look like they have done something illegal or they have drugs/alcohol on them (which is often the case).
And I Wasn't Even A CopGiphy
Not a cop, but I drove a Chevy Caprice that used to be a cop car when I was in high school. It had the side spotlight still attached. It was fun having cars go for a pass on the highway and then immediately slow down when they got beside me. Happened more often if I wore aviators.