Civilian Interaction Training

Eric Peters Autos

It’s not surprising that kids in government schools are taught the government’s point of view about pretty much  . . . everything.

Including “behavioral expectations” when interacting with armed government workers (i.e., the police).  

There’s a new video not merely circulating in government schools but mandatory viewing for teenagers seeking the government’s permission to drive. It is titled Civilian Interaction Training, an interesting title given that armed government workers (assuming they are not actually in the military) are also civilians, their four-starred and campaign-hatted delusions to the contrary notwithstanding.

The video asserts a number of legally dubious and dangerous things – above and beyond the silly thing about cops not being “civilians,” despite all their buzzcut Hut! Hut! Hutting!

Perhaps the worst of these is the declaration that a person pulled over by an armed government worker should “do what the officer asks” and “just follow instructions.”

What about following the law?

The law is supposed to limit what the police can legally do – and protect the right of people to refuse to submit to illegal “instructions” which transcend the lawful limits of police authority.

The teenaged kids watching this flick aren’t told that they are under no legal obligation to “just do what the officer asks,” if it is an unlawful request. Much less what might constitute an unlawful “request”

They aren’t even told that they’re not legally obliged to answer questions posed by a cop.

Nor is the nature of police questioning explained to them.

They are told about their legal obligation to present a driver’s license upon demand, as well as vehicle registration and (in some states) proof of insurance.

But what about her right to remain silent?


They are not told that while it may sometimes be advisable to banter with a cop – in order to attempt to establish rapport and (perhaps) wriggle out of a trumped-up ticket with just a warning – as a matter of law, they do not have to banter.

More to the point, they should avoid admitting.

The audience is not told that cops’ questions aren’t “friendly.” That they are designed to elicit incriminating responses. The viewers aren’t informed that anything they say which is incriminating can and will be held against them.

If you have teenaged kids, tell them this.

When a cop who pulls a driver over for “speeding” or some other traffic offense, he will almost always ask a deliberately leading question, such as: “Do you know why I pulled you over?” Or: “Do you know how fast you were driving”?

The purpose of such questions is to elicit a confession.

If your kid answers, “Yeah, I guess I was going a little fast” or “I was in a hurry to get home” – he’s just admitted guilt and provided the evidence which will be presented by the cop in court to convict him.

It’s something new drivers probably ought to be made aware of. Those who watched this video won’t be made aware – unless they’re reading this.

No word of explanation, either, about the inherently adversarial nature of a traffic stop. That a cop’s “sworn word” is considered admissible evidence while anything a “civilian” (that’s us) says to the contrary is “hearsay” and legally without weight.

The video should have explained to the kids watching it  that if they do not believe they committed a traffic infraction – or intend to fight it – they should admit to nothing.

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