Deputy Elton Simmons

I don’t live in California so I wouldn’t normally post something specific to that area. But I had to in this case. I saw this accidentally on the LA Times website. The quick take is that one of traffic cops hasn’t had a single complaint in 20 years. Since 1992, Deputy Simmons has been doing his job, writing tickets, dealing with the public in a highly challenging situation, and has had no complaints from the people he’s stopped.

Why has he been so successful handing people stuff they REALLY don’t want? Consider the following:

The motor cop described recently pulling over a particularly frazzled young man for speeding. “He was shaking like a leaf,” Simmons recalled.

He gave the youth some time alone, meanwhile scanning his driver’s license looking for small talk fodder. When Simmons returned to the car window, he changed the subject: “Your license says you’re 280,” he told the driver, referring to his weight. “You’re not 280.”

Almost immediately, the man about to be hit with a ticket was proudly telling how he’d lost 100 pounds through a strict regimen of swimming and healthy eating.

“All of a sudden the shaking is gone,” Simmons said at the station the next day.

Taking time to consider how to put someone at ease rather than escalating the situation? That’s a rare trait and one much to be desired. Even if this is only just a PR release, it’s still impressive when a police officer has people in court answering that they didn’t want to challenge the citation because, “The cop had been so courteous, the man said, that he didn’t want to cause him any trouble.” That says it all. Fun article and worth the read. 🙂

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