By Duke Cumbelich
This morning about 6:45 a.m. I received a call from my son, 17, telling me he had been in a car accident while on his way to school. He was not hurt. Someone had rear ended him while he was stopped in a left-turn lane. I went to the scene and arrived before the police got there. Since both drivers were not injured and the 911 dispatcher advised them to move the vehicles, I assisted them in doing that. Within a few minutes an officer with the Collegedale Police Department arrived.
Being the good Patriot that I am, I have a handgun carry permit and was wearing a pistol on my hip. I met the officer as he exited his patrol car. I explained that the silver car had rear ended the black car and that the driver of the black car was my son and also a minor. Over the next 20 minutes the officer conducted his investigation, took pictures and talked to both drivers. While he was talking to my son I simply stood by and listened. I did not try to answer questions for my son or coach him in any way. I was doing a little coaching and reassuring while the officer was with the other driver.
When the officer was done he gathered the four of us together and explained the next steps like when we could pick up the police report and how he could be contacted. Once the other driver left and my son headed off to school, I had the opportunity to talk with the officer. And it was a great conversation.
For some background, I have lived in the Ooltewah/Collegdale area for about four years. In that time I have heard numerous stories about how bad the Collegedale police department is. I have heard that they are overly aggressive with people, that they constantly run radar, and that they give tickets to people driving 3 mph over the speed limit. And I personally had a bad experience where I received tickets for running a red light, speeding, and not having valid insurance. All of that was in one stop.
Long story short, I went to court, showed I had valid insurance at the time, and all three tickets were dismissed. With all this in mind, I wanted to learn a little more about this officer and the department.
First, the officer respected my right to carry a weapon. He never mentioned it or asked for my permit. When I told him I was carrying he thanked me for letting him know, said that he noticed it right away but recognized my right as a citizen to be armed. He mentioned that he is a firm believer in the constitution and has studied the Fourth Amendment extensively.
Keeping his oath
I told him I thought that was great and asked him if he was an Oath Keeper. He readily said that he was. I shook his hand — as I am one, too. He said department had just completed a 32-hour course on citizens’ rights.
He was wearing a body camera which all of their officers have. He mentioned that often people will go to court over their speeding tickets and if somebody, for example, receives a ticket for going 15 miles per hour over the speed limit, the judge may reduce the ticket to just 3 mph over. They still have to pay the fine but the point reduction could help the person out on his insurance. And as for speeding in Collegedale; don’t do it. Just last week this officer clocked somebody going 84 mph in a 35 zone. Speeding is a problem for which you will probably get pulled over.
So thank you, officer. I appreciate the man that you are and the beliefs that you have which shape who you are as a police officer. You have changed my perception about the Collegedale Police Department.
— Duke Cumbelich owns P5, the preparedness shop, in Chattanooga. P5prepper@gmail.com. He also hosts a show about preparedness at AM 1240 Hot News Talk Radio.