Friday, September 3, 2010

Alabama State Trooper Checkpoints

At about 8:30 last night, my wife and I were on our way home from church, driving on Butler Road, a two lane road in northeastern Madison County, when we came upon a wall of flashing blue lights. Traffic was at a standstill as a line of cars from three directions waited to present their papers: driver's license, registration, proof of insurance. If this were Arizona, that would now include birth certificate. I expect that will be the case here as well, soon.

At the point where I had to stop for the end of the line, there was a driveway belonging to the house that was there. I turned into the driveway and turned around, not wishing to interface with a trooper and present my papers in the absense of any RAS, reasonable articulable suspicion, on his part. After all, are we not free citizens?

No, we are not. RAS, by the way, means that a police officer or any other government representative may not force a citizen to interact with him unless he has what a reasonable person would consider to be valid suspicion that the citizen has or is about to commit a crime. "Articulable" means that the officer needs to be able to name the specific law he suspects the citizen of having committed, or about to commit. Not to worry, however; this is a quaint, outdated restriction that our glorious public servants no longer need to struggle under.

So anyway, wrongfully thinking that I did not need to approach these troopers with my papers in hand, I safely and lawfully turned around and proceeded towards New Market Road, planning to bypass all the congestion. At that point a state trooper jumped in his cruiser and caught me, lights flashing and siren wailing, in less time than it took me to travel the 100 yards back to New Market Road. I innocently asked the trooper, as I handed over my papers, if I had done something wrong. He said "yes", but never told me what it was, nor did he charge me with anything. Just questioned me, then went back to his car to run my papers. When he came back, he handed me my travel documents back, and told me that next time I should come on down and talk to them, as it might be fun. His words, not mine. Then he told me to drive safely, which confused me as I had been doing so before being detained and forced to interact with him.

I have three short comments about this encounter, which by the way is very common in Alabama these days.

First, if you don't live in Alabama, you might want to think about whether you really want to visit the state. I mean, seeing how Alabama uses tax money, you might not want to contribute any of your money, unless you just hate the citizens of Alabama and wish to punish us.

Second, if you drive Alabama roads and come across one of these road blocks, and you don't get a warm fuzzy feeling from it, you might want to turn around and refrain from driving through it, if you can do so safely and without breaking any laws, and if you don't have anything to hide. If you do have something to hide, of course, you are screwed either way. But if a substantial percentage of folks who have nothing to hide start turning around and driving away from these checkpoints, we could possibly cause the troopers to decide that these road blocks are not worth the trouble of chasing down all these innocent people.

Third, if you are an Alabama state trooper, what are your feelings, really? I don't mean justification. I mean, do you really think there should be no country in the world where a citizen should be able to go about his business without being harassed? I know you can; these guys in the state-supplied cars with the state-supplied uniforms and state-supplied guns are all your friends, so you probably don't feel threatened by them. And when you are off duty, you are still one of the insiders and will be recognized as a friend when you show your badge. Or at least I assume that is the case; correct me if I'm wrong. But does this state sanction make you better than us, and hence deserving of freedom and liberty? Or are those just meaningless words, useful only to lull people into complacency?
In short, what is the difference between you and the guy who used to man a roadblock in Soviet Russia? I'm asking a serious question here. Are you different from that guy because you are in America and that makes it OK, or perhaps because your intentions are better (how do you know?); are do you simply think that nobody should really have freedom to go about their business without showing government permission?
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Anonymous said...

People need to start growing the stones to engage in a little civil disobedience. You have every right to refuse to interact with the police until they present you with the reasons for such interaction. Of course, being police, they will either lie or scream at you and then tazer you, but at least you can then sue them for their steroidal stupidity. More people need to be willing to enter the fray or else the jack-booted thugs and their Nazi bosses win. Fight back or kneel down- those are your only choices.

Anonymous said...

I am sure that your comment about needing your birth certificate when travelling in Arizona was tongue in cheek. I live in Arizona and can assure you that is NOT the case. Regardless, I enjoyed your post and the comment above mine, his position might have both of you looking at Sipsey Street Irregulars blog.....always provocative ideas on it.

Anonymous said...

living in alabama what happened to you is a weekly thing in parts of rural alabama the alabama kgb {LOL} do this in sweeps of out lying areas because its to dangerouse to do it in the city or drug areas

Anonymous said...

Road blocks are to protect the citicians of Alabama on the roadway! Would you want one of your family members driving down the highway with an intoxicated driver driving a vehicle of such weight and speed? No if you saw one doing such you would be one of the first ones to call in and let them know you saw a drunk driver on the roadway. And when you turn around at a road block you have issues, or you would proceed on. You know all the comments about troopers are good to get off your chest if you dont like troopers, but when your family member is in a vehicle accident and they are lying in a ditch half dead because someone did a foolish thing on the highway that caused them to crash you bad mouth back stabbers will be the first ones to cry out for help to the state police, so think before opening you pie hole and get a reallity check. If you wonna continue the comments about the troopers then dont call them when you need them deal with it. And another thing troopers pay just as much taxes as you do if not more so dont whine about state issued this and that!!!

APN said...

Anon 9:56 you are nothing but a Statist supporter. You might as well go back to Nazi Germany. If we are to have road blocks in the name of "safety" then why not just force everyone to live in padded rooms so that no one gets hurt? What's happening with these road blocks is nothing short of a blatant act of tyranny, and any trooper who is involved in such a road block where they are stopping average citizens is equally guilty. The same can be said about Nazi Gestapo "I was only following orders"

A quote from Benjamin Franklin: "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."

A trooper should be there to serve and protect, not detain and harass. Police are supposed to be called when there is a crime that has been committed or you call them when someone is in imminent danger. Their purpose is not to impose themselves on peoples day to day lives. If you are so worried about drunk drivers that we have to surrender all of our freedoms then you shouldn't even be on the road to begin with.

Anonymous said...

Yeh I am a state supporter and If you wonna talk about this state and how its ran then get out you dont have to like it. Its like voting if you dont like who won then you should have voted.

Anonymous said...

I Agree with the (and and i am assuming he is a State Trooper by his comments) They keep the drunks off the road ways, they also get drugs and wanted criminals off the streets. you (people) yes i said you people, why dont you get a life, and next time you go through a road block just say Thank You Officer and have a nice day.

Anonymous said...

If that's the case about our freedom why cant we just keep cooking our meth in the woods and in our own houses? why not keep abusing prescription drugs we can make it and buy it???? Think about what you are saying that's why we have road blocks because most people have abused those rights as a free citizen. That's why troopers run people down at road blocks.

Anonymous said...

i just want to say thank you to all the state troopers, county and cities police officers, and so sorry with all you do to protect us, you have to listen to such remarks as some of these, please dont let them discourage you in your efforts, and keep up the great work, not all of us alabamians feel that way, we are in fact very grateful.

Anonymous said...

i forgot to add, i would also like to thank the east german police for the wonderful work you did in keeping your citizens safe, too bad the so called freedom activists caused you to lose your jobs, if you ever want to come to alabama im sure the department of public safety will gladly give you a job.

Anonymous said...

i agree with the writer, the first couple of commenters and also with apn's comment that anonymous is a statist supporter. i'll bet the other 5 comments are all by the same JBT. these same people are always using our safety to justify their abridging of our freedom. I like that quote apn posted by ben franklin. these people that would take away our rights in the name of safety deserve neither, and they better start thinking about who's side they really are on. With all their road blocks, illegal search and seizure's, total disregard for our constitutional liberties and natural rights, excessive use of force, police brutality, and the list goes on..., they better be careful who's toes they are stepping on today because when the SHTF they may be connected to the person who has a gun in their face...oh yes, JBT"s you are outnumbered by at least 200 to one by armed citizens who are getting angrier and angrier with your crap. wait till people grow the balls to stand up to you and shove back. this is an example of what happens when people fight back against police brutality. watch how one coward cop runs away from his buddy as the people take turns beating his jack booted friend.

this is justice.

sure this is in another country, but wait till people stand up here in the u.s. and fight back. and before you say that you are the "good cops" i call BS. i just wonder how many of you actually turn in a fellow officer for using excessive force, how many of you even cite a fellow officer for speeding or not wearing a seat belt. we all know you are corrupt and use your buddy system to get each other off. if you are a good cop you would realize the corrupt government that writes your paycheck and either refuse to follow unjust orders or you would quit your job and become a patriot. we are sick and tired of the states using you to generate revenue for them, each ticket you write is money off our tables. we are fed up with your brutality and excessive force. youtube is chock full of JBT's abusing their power, tazing little old ladies and slamming womens heads into the ground, not to mention their violations of our second amendment rights, waco, ruby ridge, hurricane katrina. Yes, hurricane katrina door to door search and seiezure of law abiding citizens weapons. weapons that innocent people use to defend themselves) But isn't that always the case, use our safety as an excuse take away our freedoms in the name of safety and then blame the bad guys for it when you harras the innocent, blame the votors who pass the laws. i'm sorry JBT but it is you who ultimately have the choice to enforce the law...but wait, what is the excuse we always hear? "I dont' make the law, I enforce the law" you guys have all overstepped your bounds and we are sick of it! if that is your idea of safety, then i'd much rather take my chances with drunks and meth addicts because what you offer is far worse. , wait till the 300 million people in this country that you royally pissed off push back.

-one pissed off patriot
rick in texas

APN said...

Wow, those were some harsh words Rick in Texas. I can understand your sentiments, YouTube does have a lot of police brutality videos but you are going to get bad apples in any line of work.

I do tend to agree about our loss in freedoms. Our politicians and socialist sheeple voters who know nothing of self-reliance are to blame for that. But you are right that it's ultimately up to the cop to decide if they are going to write a ticket or not. I've seen truck drivers in California get CARB anti-idling tickets for idling their trucks. Even though the reason they were idling was to take their Government Mandated 10 hour breaks to get rest in an air conditioned truck when the outside temps were around 90 degrees.

What is ironic is that the cops giving the tickets sit in air conditioned squad cars. So it's not about safety for many of them, it's about keeping their jobs. They are told to bring in the money so they do. If it were about safety, they would let the driver sleep in their truck and ignore the anti-idling laws so that we dont have tired drivers on the road.

The same can be said about issuing tickets to drivers who park on off ramps to get rest. There is no room to park in truck stops and rest areas anymore at 1:00am in the morning and much money to be made by citing tired drivers who have no place to park but on off ramps. I can list other instances where it obviously is not about safety but about bringing in the money.

But I do want to say that I tend to disagree that all cops are bad. I know quite a few good cops myself and they are members of Oathkeepers. If more cops would join Oathkeepers they would have positive peer pressure to refuse to comply with unconstitutional orders.

Yes, I have personally witnessed a persons life saved by a cop one time so like I said, they aren't all bad, there are just some bad apples like with any line of work. They offer a needed service but there has just been way too much pressure for them to do the wrong thing at times and I think groups like Oathkeepers can actually turn that around.

APN said...

You want an example of citizens standing up and fighting back Rick In Texas, here it is:

It includes a Roadblock registry along with what they are stopping for, when they normally stop and location. Here is the link to the registry listing by state:

If you truly are a patriot then you will do your part and get involved to try to stop this, share information with the registry as you come to road blocks, as well as disseminate as much of this information to others as you can.

Here is the position of

"We oppose the use of roadblocks, period. The only justification for stopping citizens under a roadblock scenario is to warn them of an unseen peril that could cause injury or death to an unsuspecting motorist. So-called "sobriety check points," or seat belt checks, or the myriad of other excuses the government concocts to harass and intimidate its citizens through the use of roadblocks are, in our opinion unconstitutional and in direct contradiction to any honest definition of freedom.

A free and open society that champions individual liberty and personal responsibility---the kind of society we try to tell the world the USA represents, cannot condone the arbitrary stopping, interrogating, intimidation and searching of citizens whose only crime is to be peacefully traveling a public highway. Roadblocks, as used in the US, are designed and intended to use fear, intimidation, and inconvenience to expedite a government edict or a political agenda. They have a net zero influence on public safety. But, even if there were a "safety benefit" related to roadblocks, it would not outweigh the negative totalitarian nature of this practice.

Currently, roadblocks are being used to circumvent the need for probable cause to stop, interrogate, and search the occupants of motor vehicles. The pretense might be a seatbelt check, registration or drivers license verification, proof of insurance, or a "safety" inspection. The short sighted court system has readily approved the practice of using a trumped up pretence to stop a vehicle to provide new opportunities to look for other violations of the law. Given that it is virtually impossible to do anything in America without violating one or more laws, especially while driving, roadblocks give the police the opportunity to abuse any individual or group they chose to target.

The reincarnated prohibitionist movement has seized upon the roadblock tactic as a means to employ fear in their holy war against "Demon Rum." Many of the current DWI laws have nothing to do with addressing drunk driving as a safety problem. This is a campaign to disparage the use of beverages containing alcohol and to undermine the hospitality industry that sells these beverages. (Time for a disclaimer, This site, nor the NMA have any affiliation with the beverage or hospitality industries.)

The proponents of DWI roadblocks readily and publicly admit that the purpose of roadblocks is not to catch drunk drivers (which they seldom do). The purpose is to intimidate and to make people fearful of drinking and driving---no matter how little or responsibly they may do so. This tactic is aimed directly at people who drink in a responsible manner and who are not over represented in traffic accidents. The advocates of DWI roadblocks also admit that roadblocks do offer the opportunity to arrest people for drunk driving who would not otherwise be arrested based on their ability to drive safely. The unreasonable and unscientific blood alcohol standards of .1% or worse yet .08% allow the arrest and conviction as a drunk driver, regardless of actual impairment. This absurdity is expanded by the use of roadblocks."

Anonymous said...

Mr. APN I have news for you you have some good points but you are so wrong about the public safety, safety aspect of it, and Im sorry but roadblocks are not intended to harass people you are very very wrong. You all have a few good points, but this issue will rock on and on and it will remain as is. Mr. Texas hero I got news for you, youve been watching to many shootem up hero movies you need to back down. Thats a good good way to get your ass shot and you and your people can rise up and when you do remember it only takes 1 cheap bullet to split your wig. Stay in your living room and keep renting your movies, lol!!!! Mr. Texas you can move to canada with the rest of them if you dont like it, I bet you dont even vote, your probably one of those people who sit around and whine about who should have won and who shouldnt!

APN said...

I wouldn't shrug off Mr Texas' sentiments so lightly. Harsh words yes. A little off, yes, I would say so.

But you cannot deny that anti-police sentiment has grown way beyond druggie thugs, gangbangers, and even extremist groups. I see day to day average citizens who are more upset at law enforcement as the times get worse and worse. States are passing laws and regulations that are way too excessive that have little or nothing to do with safety, and as I stated in my last comment, some even counter safety. To make matters worse it is not the politicians that push for those laws that the citizens see face to face, it is the person in uniform who writes the ticket. That is why you receive the blame.

You can pass the buck and blame the voters all you want, but just because something is approved by voters and written in a law book does not make it right. Would it be right if the majority of people voted that it was legal to rape women at will?

I'm not sure who the original quote was from but it goes something like this... "The tighter your grip, the more will slip through your fingers" This is true of any totalitarian society that has enough armed resistance to push back. This is why socialists are so adamant about taking away our gun rights. They know totalitarianism requires force to exist and thus begets resistance, and an armed populace is a threat to a totalitarian government.

It happened in the Revolutionary era and happened many times in many other nations where common people were able to regain power by meeting force with opposing force. Now don't misquote me and take me out of context, I'm not calling for revolution, I'm merely pointing out a fact of human nature. People do not like to be corralled into a box for any reason. This would explain Mr Texas' sentiments because I see the same thing daily in peoples blogs, forums, and just talking to common people on the street. What is not in human nature is those sort of anti-governemt, anti-police, anti-law, sentiments unless there was actually a reason for it.

No one talks about revolution unless they feel threatened by their own government. You would think that rather than tightening their grip that the government would stop and think about the fact that they just might be doing something wrong...but of course tighter control is what they ultimately want. Most all politicians are narcissistic control freaks, while most sane people would never take a job in politics.

APN certainly does not advocate violence, nor have we ever suggested it. We are not militia nor are we any sort of extremist group. We merely state the obvious about current trends in this country. As a matter of fact we actually try to prepare people to avoid violence, and besides, I do not think we are anywhere near that point yet. Our country is surprisingly resilient (but not invincible) despite everything we've been through in recent years. I think there is still plenty of time for people to change the hearts and minds of others to teach that we do not need our rights and our privacy violated in order to have safety. It just is not worth the price. A much better message is to teach self-reliance......(Continued)

APN said...

Self-reliance will bring prosperity, sense of worth and motivation to do more to better ourselves, and an understanding that we can defend ourselves and look out after our own safety. Mankind has looked out after his own survival for millennium and there is no reason we can't today.

It is undeniable that our nation certainly is on the path to totalitarianism. To think otherwise is to have your head in the sand. Oh how hitler would have loved to have our technology employed in the hands of the Gestapo. Road blocks of innocent civilians is just the starting point, then its arresting people for "hate speech" (as defined by whoever is in power), then it's thought crimes, then its having neighbors report anyone who does not fit in with the collective (such as in communist countries).

It is remarkable how much of George Orwells concepts of totalitarianism have already come true today....yes, there is no doubt at all that we are marching down that path and unfortunately the Statists are employing LEO's to do their dirty work.

This is why we so wholeheartedly support organizations like Oathkeepers (who are, by the way, mostly LEO's and active duty military) I have great respect for any officer who is a member of Oathkeepers and who will look back at their own state and city government employers and say "enough is enough. these are my neighbors and fellow citizens, not your chattel, I am here to serve and protect, not detain and harass". If there can be enough of that positive peer pressure to fellow officers that you do not have to obey unconstitutional orders and that hopefully they can turn the tide on even things such as roadblocks.

I do agree with what Rick in Texas says about natural rights, we post a lot about natural rights on our blogs. You can argue until you are blue in the face whether states have the right to detain and search people or not, but I tell you that it is a blatant violation of my natural born rights as a human being to detain me for anything...anything at all, unless I have actually committed a crime. I don't care what the law is or what some silly words on piece of paper say the law is. There is something known as natural rights. The law has no meaning to me. It was once against the law in South Carolina (and many other southern states I believe) to teach a slave to I suppose if you lived in the 1800's you would have blindly enforced that law as well? Today you might say you wouldn't but if you lived back in that day I bet you would, because that was the law. The difference between that law and the laws of today that violate peoples freedom is that people were enlightened that slavery is wrong. One day when people are enlightened that imposing yourself on personal freedoms is wrong then you may look back and realize that something as simple as a roadblock to stop innocent people is wrong. We are not property and to suggest that you have the right to just stop anyone who is innocent for any reason is to suggest that.

It is not innocent people who are committing the crimes yet it is we that have to pay the price of our lost liberties, and that is a crime itself. (continued...)

APN said...

Another thing to consider since you are employed to prevent crimes is to understand what the fundamental common denominator is between all crimes. That common denominator is force imposed unwillfully against an innocent person or group of innocent people. What makes a rape a rape? It is not the sexual act itself but the violation of another person when force is unwillfully applied to them. What makes a burglary a burglary? It is not someone taking something from your home. I could give my TV to a total stranger who comes to my house and that is not a crime. It is a crime when that person takes my TV against my will. What makes a kidnapping a kidnapping? I could get into any strangers car and that is not a crime, it is a crime when I am forced into that car against my will. The same can be said about forcing an innocent person to stop at a roadblock when their is no justification other than to look for people who may or may not be intoxicated, that is nothing short of false imprisonment.... "False imprisonment is a restraint of a person in a bounded area without justification or consent. False imprisonment is a common-law felony and a tort. It applies to private as well as governmental detention."

I would highly suggest that you watch this short animation on what true freedom is, because this is what you should be enforcing:

Then I would suggest you join Oathkeepers and get other LEO's to do the same. Then maybe one day you will get more of the average citizens wave to you and say "Have a good day officer" as that is the way that it should be, and if people weren't intimated by you and know you are on their side that is the way it would be.

Also, FYI, one of my best friends is a cop, and he also disagrees with roadblocks

Anonymous said...

Here is an interesting comment from a thread on

""In a routine traffic stop, unless the driver is under arrest, why would he even consent to get out of the car?"

Because by refusing to do what the officer tells you to do, whether a legal order or not, you have now become a person who doesn't respect their authority, and will be dealt with in any manner necessary to show you that you can't do that. I'm not saying all officers are like this, but the number is extremely high. Even otherwise decent police officers can go ballistic on someone questioning their authority. Partially, it's a matter of training, and partially a matter of personality and ego. They are taught to take charge and control the scene at all costs. Imagine how difficult this is when someone questions you and you don't really know the correct answer. Just like many officers here have admitted, most traffic stops are not really about the infraction, although the monetary fine is a bonus, it's really all about the contact. This is where the fishing trip begins. What started as a routine stop for a taillight has all the possibilities of a gold mine if you are intrusive enough in your dealing with the offender. When the offender objects to your intrusion into their personal lives, the officer sees this as not respecting their authority and the dog and pony shows begins.
A great many things that the police do, such as asking for identification from passengers, even though they may not be required to provide ID, is done so often and never questioned, that when it is questioned, it throws a monkey wrench in the whole works and goes back to that whole "questioning authority" thing.""

Given the above, it is no wonder anyone who understands the game never voluntarily has any contact whatsoever with the cops.

Cousin Mule said...

I've always had great respect for the folks in law enforcement. Especially our state troopers because I've perceived them as dedicated, serious, and honorable. I've never understood the distrust until now.
I'd just left my mom's hospital room and was driving home at 1:30 in the morning. I got pulled over by a state trooper. Gave him license, registration, insurance... he asked if I'd been drinking , so I explained where I'd been... I was surprised when he asked me to step out of the car... I did everything he told me to do and when I politely suggested he give me the alcohol breath test because it was after 2:00 and I was tired he arrested me!! I am a 56 year old woman and he handcuffed me and I spent the night in jail! My criminal legacy...
1978: running a stop sign

I have to tell you my story to get to the disheartening crucial point. State troopers are officers of the court and are ethically bound to tell the truth 'to promote justice'... this young trooper fabricated the details that led to my arrest... my case was dismissed. Driving a vehicle is serious. Our personal liberty is serious and it is disconcerting to have that liberty taken away because it is after midnight.

Anonymous said...

Wah wah cry and moan...corrupt freedom that...remember next time when someone slams into your loved one and kills them because the police forces of alabama weren't there to stop them, you'll be complaining that thery werent. Quit whining and deal with the 15 minute delay in your "oh so precious" drive home. Sorry people.

Tracy said...

Yeah, I can see how the police state tactics have put an end to crime, drunk driving and car crashes in Alabama, Tennessee and Georgia. Not.
Don't tell me what I'll be doing, because you don't have a clue. I have lost loved ones to car crashes, but I happen to be intelligent enough to know that hiring more cops so as to increase the East German-style roadblocks does nothing whatsoever to prevent car crashes. The fact is, these road blocks are not even about drunk driving: they happen in the middle of a workday as often as not, and are primarily about revenue. Meanwhile people ride your bumper, drive insanely aggressively, and the cops don't even bat an eye. I guess the fines for that kind of driving aren't high enough to make it worth their while.

Tracy said...

"Anyone who has been stopped by a traffic cop or questioned by an officer was in a Fourth Amendment situation, University of Georgia law professor Donald E. Wilkes Jr. said.

"The primary purpose of the Fourth Amendment is to preserve a healthy balance between the individual and the state, to prevent the government from engaging in activities which might catch more criminals but nonetheless are unacceptable in a free society," Wilkes said.

"At the most basic levels, the police are the most coercive force in America," Wilkes said. "They carry guns, they have the power to arrest and to conduct searches and seizures, and the purpose behind the Fourth Amendment is to prevent police from over-awing the citizenry.

"The Fourth Amendment is there so we don't end up with a police state."

Athens attorney Jeff Rothman, who specializes in DUI cases, looks for Fourth Amendment violations in every case he handles.

"With the ever-increasing use of roadblocks, it's very difficult to drive anywhere in Athens without the possibility of being stopped by police without some suspicion of wrongdoing," Rothman said.

"We battle the Fourth Amendment war every day, arguing whether it's reasonable to stop people without suspicion of criminal activity," he said.

State and local police conducted a massive DUI crackdown on St. Patrick's Day in 2009, arresting more than 140 people at checkpoints in Clarke and Oconee counties.

Rothman convinced a judge to drop charges against a couple of clients who were arrested that night because police had no legal basis for stopping their cars, he said.

"The reason they were stopped was because the officers told them they thought they were trying to avoid the roadblock, but they made legal, proper U-turns, and that does not count as sufficient reason to believe a crime was committed," he said.

"People don't realize how important their Fourth Amendment protections are until they are intruded upon.""