Update on Yucatan State Police Car Protocols – The Article

“Tonteria…” “Todo es una tonteria…”

Ever notice that the police often drive around with their lights flashing?

Should you stop or pull over?

Up to this morning, I thought the answer was: “No, keep driving, but use caution/care.”

Once again, just about the time we think we understand how things work, it turns out that sometimes, never imagined subtleties crop up. I was driving to drop off a car for some suspension/tire work today, so, I had my clunker bike (Exotic Bicycles from the 1890’s to 2011) sticking partly out of the trunk, to ride home. Some cruising State Police (SSP) noticed this from a block away on a side street, and then slowly tracked me down – lights flashing “as usual” – in a Yucatecan-rewind of the OJ Chase.

After following me for a block with their lights flashing, they started speaking over their sound system, asking me to pull over. I pulled into the suspension shop, and they blocked the entrance to the garage. They were not happy campers.

After asking me if I understood them, they asked why I didn’t pull over immediately when they turned on the lights:
SSP: “Why didn’t you pull over when we turned on our lights?
Dopey Gringo (DG): “I was waiting to listen for you on your loud speaker.”…
SSP: “Why didn’t you pull over when we used the loudspeaker on Calle 82?
DG: “… I don’t always hear well, and I had the windows rolled-up with the clima on muy fuerte.”
SSP: “So why didn’t you pull over when you heard us on Calle 47 and waved at us?
DG: “The parking lane was full of cars, and the driveways all had signs that say “Cochero en Servicio – Se Avisa Grua
SSP: “You must pull over immediately, even when blocking a private driveway.
SSP: “Why didn’t you pull over when we turned on our lights? Don’t you understand what that means?
DG: “Yes, I understaned (Sí, lo entiendo.) The police often drive around with their lights on to show that they are watching …”
SSP – shaking his head -: “You are required to pull over when we turn on THESE lights.” – motioning to his partner in the car – they flip on brighter flashing lights on the outside edges of the light bar on top of the car.
DG: “Huh ?”
SSP: ““And when we are cruising, we turn on THESE lights.” – motioning to his partner in the car – they flip on more dim flashing lights in the center of the light bar on top of the car.
DG: “Oh……”
SSP: “Next time and every time, pull over, right away, when you see “the lights”…
DG: “O ~ K, Disculpe me

SSP: “Now: What is going on with the bicycle?
DG: “I need it to ride home from this suspension shop, since they will have my car.”

SSP: “We don’t think that it is safe to haul a bicycle in a car, especially because we have a report of a bicycle stolen in en el Fraccionamiento Francisco de Montejo, 3 hours ago.
SSP: “How are we supposed to know that you are not stealing bicycles, when you have a bicycle sticking out of your trunk?
DG: “Oh, … see … my bike is terrible ~ no one would steal it ~ and it has a big red bow that shows that the wheel is sticking out. ”
SSP: “We don’t care. We don’t care that you have a red bow. There was a bicycle stolen this morning, (3 miles from here**), and we are looking for it. You caused us a problem by having a bicycle sticking out.
DG: “Ok, I promise not to do this again.”
SSP: “Don’t do that again. We will let you go this time, but don’t that again.
DG: “Ok, I promise not to do this again.”

SSP: “Next time, pull over right away, when you see “the lights”…
DG: “O ~ K”

Policeman adjusts his belt, hitches up his pants, thrusts out his chest, and strides boldly out of the suspension shop back to his car.

As the cop gets into his car, the suspension shop guys quietly say:
“Tonterias…” “Todo es una tonteria…”

as they shake their heads and walk away…
… laughing just quietly enough that the police can’t hear them.

Spanish Word(s) / Phrase of the Day: “Tonteria…” “Todo es una tonteria…”
**We live in Merida, a metropolis of roughly 1 million people with almost no crimes of personal violence, so bicycle thefts must be a big deal for our diligent police. (…or maybe it was the Mayor’s bicycle?)

* * * *
Feel free to copy while giving proper attribution: YucaLandia/Surviving Yucatan.
© Steven M. Fry

Read-on MacDuff . . .

8 Responses to Update on Yucatan State Police Car Protocols – The Article

  1. Pingback: Update on Yucatan State Police Car Protocols | Surviving Yucatan

  2. Theresa in Mérida says:

    I await the 2nd installment when DG rides the vintage bike to pick up the coche. Does he put the VB in the backseat hiding it with a blanket? or does he brave the streets with his wheel hanging out decorated with a blue bow like the Scotsman of the bawdy song?


    • yucalandia says:

      Great image!
      The much chagrined DG humbly waited for his wife to give him a ride to the shop ~ plus the late-afternoon heat has been beastly in Centro’s less-than-shady streets.

      I have been watching the police cars since yesterday, and OMG… The guys who are cruising actually do only use the dim center-of-the-bar flashing lights. So, when the suspension-shop boys talked about tonteria, they must have been talking about how it was ridiculous to expect a bike thief from far-off Francisco de Montejo (4 miles away??) to still be carrying a stolen bike around Centro 3 hours later, clearly hanging out the back of a car trunk.

      Tonteria… Todo es una tonteria. “Nonsense… It’s all foolishness…”

  3. Thanks for my morning laugh

  4. Pingback: 2012 Hurricane and Tropical Storm Report – The Article | Surviving Yucatan

  5. Angela says:

    How disturbing for you. I guess they had nothing better to do.

    • yucalandia says:

      Fortunately, our police are almost always friendly, so, it was not too stressful. When we expect no problems from police stops, (just oral warnings), it makes it easier. Also, I had pulled completely inside the building of the suspension shop. Being on private property also offers a measure of security. As a sidelight, in the same way the Mexican police legally cannot enter a suspect’s private home, the police also cannot enter a person’s car – so, if the driver stay’s put in the car, it means they’s have to call a wrecker to haul you and the car away. Still, our police are a gentle bunch here when dealing with routine traffic stops.

      As long you are not in an accident, if you reply politely and show respect, they treat both Yucatecans and expats very well. Accidents without representation by an insurance agent can become more complex.

  6. Pingback: Mexican Police Flashing Lights Protocol » Jaltemba Jalapeño

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