I was appalled to see the mass of incorrect reactions to the bus stop by deputies of the Liberty County Sheriff ’s Department. It was by the book. The deputies are due apologies from the student body, the coaches, the school and the governor of Delaware that I’m sure they will never get.
Let’s break it down: a) The bus was in violation, traveling in the wrong lane. That’s probable cause for the stop. b) The detector dog was part of the team that stopped the bus. Thus, there was no improper delay waiting for a dog. No warrant of probable cause is needed for the dog to scan the exterior of the vehicle. c) The search was legal, as the dog alerted on one of the underbay baggage holds. That bay, and only that bay, was searched. There was authority to search further, but the deputies concluded that the alert was a residue from some previous transport. d) The driver was not cited. There was some contention that the fact he did not get a ticket has some bearing on the police motivation in the matter. The driver was receptive to the warning, and it appears that a warning was appropriate. Statistically, only about 50% of traffic stops result in a ticket. e) The bus was released to proceed without any unnecessary delay.
It is my opinion that this backlash is from the playbook of other instances where there has been loud criticality of the police in an attempt to gain publicity to disparage officers and make them hesitant to enforce the law with regards to certain esthetic groups.
Joe Gillam, Hinesville Police Department, retired