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Reporting a CHP Officer
updated: May 21, 2014, 10:15 AM

By Edhat Subscriber

An employee of mine who is a college student was recently pulled over for speeding by the CHP. When the officer approached her car, the smell of marijuana smoke was very strong (on HIM - she does not use substances). She said he seemed "out of it." She also does not believe she was speeding.

My question is, should she report it? She's afraid that doing so will only cause more trouble for her, and she may be right. But personally I am very concerned about law enforcement officers driving under the influence. She gave me the officer's name, so I could make an anonymous report, but I'm not sure anything would come of that. Any suggestions? I feel uncomfortable knowing that there could be an officer getting high on the roads and not doing anything about it.

Comments in order of when they were received | (reverse order)

 COMMENT 520765 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-21 10:21 AM

She could do so anonymously online. All the CHP internal affairs division would have to do is a pee test to confirm it.


 COMMENT 520767P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-21 10:24 AM

report it!


 COMMENT 520768P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-21 10:24 AM

OP here - to clarify, this happened in SB county. Also, the online citizens' complaint form for CHP requires a name and contact information for the reporting party.


 COMMENT 520769 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-21 10:25 AM

I doubt it.


 SBSURFERLIFE agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-21 10:28 AM

770-- even if it's a hypothetical question, it should be reported. Try helpful comments next time!

OP- Absolutely report it. Could an anonymous call be made to the CHP supervisor. Can you call from a 3rd party online phone, like google.. or even use *67 when calling?


 COMMENT 520774 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-21 10:30 AM

Call and report, but it's doubtful anything will come of it. Is there an HR department?

Isn't it sad that concerned citizens are scared to report something that is obviously wrong? How horrible. It shouldn't be that way. The police and fire dept truly do "protect their own" when it comes to these types of things and we the people get screwed in the process.


 COMMENT 520775P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-21 10:31 AM

OP again - this is 100% true. I wish it wasn't, but I know this student well and I know she would not make something like this up. I'm not anti-pot or anti-CHP.


 COMMENT 520777 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-21 10:34 AM

This story doesn't smell right either.

A college student who "wasn't speeding" gets pulled over and thinks she's qualified to determine if the CHP officer is intoxicated.

And she's your employee. How many college age employees have honest conversations with their employers about what substances they use? My guess is zero.


 COMMENT 520778 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-21 10:35 AM

It's possible that the officer had been in close contact with a 'smoker', but it never hurts to check.


IF there's a problem, internal affairs will take care of it.


 COMMENT 520780 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-21 10:42 AM

Aren't CHP, Police and Firemen checked regularly for drugs, like at least once a year? I used to work for a car rental company and I had to get checked yearly.


 COMMENT 520781P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-21 10:43 AM

I'm not entirely convinced that driving under the influence of Marijuana is dangerous. There seems to be a lot of conflicting research out there about this topic. Also, don't they drug test CHP officers? Strange story...


 COMMENT 520784 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-21 10:47 AM

This should absolutely be reported. An officer needs to be completely alert and focused to perform his or her duties and make sound judgment calls.


 COMMENT 520788 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-21 10:49 AM

Really @777? You are grouping a HUGE number of people into a terrible stereotype. While yes, there are a lot that are party crazed and unreliable there are also PLENTY of honest college students who would have no reason whatsoever to make up something like this.

...If it were to get out of a speeding ticket wouldn't you think they would have just reported it vs. discussing whether or not to do so with her boss?


 COMMENT 520790P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-21 10:53 AM

781-- Really?!? Would you want an officer that's possibly high trying to protect you?


 COMMENT 520792 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-21 10:59 AM

That's kind of an overreaction to 781's comment, 790P. Take a deep breath, then read it again.


 HILLFOLK agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-21 10:59 AM

This whole story smells. First of all, CHP officers don't routinely stop people for speeding unless they can document that they were, and usually by a significant amount. Second, no uniformed officer with half a brain would smoke pot fully knowing that the smell is going to be in their clothing for quite awhile. These guys do a dangerous, largely unappreciated job. Her impressions that she "doesn't think she was speeding" and "thinks the officer smelled like pot" just seems too lame to believe. If she truly believes her story, then she should quietly report it. Otherwise, there is no good reason to besmirch dedicated CHP officers with these highly unlikely allegations.


 ROGER DODGER agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-21 11:01 AM

Maybe it's their medication..


 COMMENT 520796P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-21 11:02 AM

If for real, she could report it to the CHP, though "employee of mine," "stopped for speeding," and "college student" don't assuage deep skepticism in the absence of a corroborating witness. They write made-for-TV scripts around this scenario. As far as the OP goes, it's merely hearsay so that report should be meaningless. If CHP doesn't do drug tests I'd be truly astounded. A stoned Chippie doing traffic stops sounds high-ly unlikely; a self-serving recollection far less so.


 COMMENT 520798P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-21 11:05 AM

And here we go with the reefer madness, 790P. When's the last time you saw/heard the headline "Stoned Driver Causes Accident"? Don't you think by now, particularly considering the prevalence of marijuana use for the last 40 or so years, that there would have been several campaigns (a la MADD for drinking & driving) launched against it if there were actually any research proving it was any more dangerous than me driving in a car with 3 screaming kids? And, to answer your question, no, I don't think I'd mind a "high" officer:)


 COMMENT 520800 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-21 11:06 AM

he probably has his marijuana card and will say he has to smoke because of his stressful job


 COMMENT 520802 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-21 11:15 AM

Report it! Doesn't surprise me one bit.


 SBSURFERLIFE agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-21 11:22 AM

A lot of you commenters are ridiculous.

1. I'm pro-pot, that saying I wouldn't want an officer, a surgeon, a teacher, or any other public official high on the job. Would you? After work, sure do what you want.

2. Stoned drivers get in accidents ALL the time. The girl who killed Linda Wall in a vehicle accident was allegedly high after huffing.

3. The stereotyping of UCSB students is annoying. Not all students are partying, speed demons.

4. Most of us have been given a speeding ticket that wasn't actually speeding but it's hard to argue with a cop.

798P--- the officer has a GUN. Yes I'd mind if he's high, and lookie there I'm bravely posting with my handle. Anyone else?


 COMMENT 520806 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-21 11:24 AM

You DO realize, cops have to take regular drug tests, right? (including hair samples, which cannot be diluted with all the supposed stuff that masks THC). Good luck with that. Sounds fishy to me.


 COMMENT 520809 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-21 11:28 AM

YOU DO realize there are ways around drug tests, right? Especially when they take care of their own. It's probably an annual test that everyone is aware of and they plan accordingly.


 COMMENT 520810P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-21 11:28 AM

SBSURFER, she was huffing NITROUS OXIDE! Huge difference. Good on you for using your handle, you're braver than I am.


 COMMENT 520811 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-21 11:31 AM

I'm all for baked cops, maybe they'll be less likely to reach for the baton.


 COMMENT 520812P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-21 11:31 AM

Hillfolk! You're a breath of fresh air! I totally agree with your statement on speeding and LE just getting involved for blatant speeders...you know, the people that get stopped when they blow by people that are going 70+? I also agree that it's very unlikely that LE would smoke pot in uniform, especially to the extent that it would linger on clothes and be detectable on these windy days. There are times over the past few days where I wouldn't be able to smell a chocolate chip cookie shoved up my nostril!

In order to bring the truth forward and quell what I'm pretty sure is this legend, I would report the officer and let him have a chance to prove up his innocence as others would have the chance to do.

I worked for police and fire many years ago and police are human so mistakes are made, but they're definitely not the bullying losers that many make them out to be. When things are as bad as they are now with police as a check and balance, I shudder to think what it would be like without this oversight.

I had a bunch of expired/no longer used drugs and had read that one branch of LE would collect them. I couldn't remember which branch it was, so I went to the closest which is CHP. I walked up with my bag o' drugs and said "You guys are always so curious about us. 'Do you know why I stopped you?', 'Do you know how fast you were going?', and I have a question for you. Do you take drugs?", as I plopped my drugs on the counter. He laughed and told me where to take them. They're people, people! Don't hate just because they're holding you responsible for some infraction...


 COMMENT 520814 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-21 11:32 AM

I always suspect a person that "doesnt use substances" smelling pot smoke on a person. Im not saying it cant happen, or it isnt happening in this story. But people can misinterpret alot of smells to be pot smoke in my experience.

Anyways, you can submit a complaint. That is the right course of action if you think he was high. I dont see anything wrong with it, he will maybe get tested, and if he was..... Get in trouble/ removed..... If he wasnt, he will be fine.

The report/ complaint even if it goes no where is still paper trail. Which could be a good thing


 COMMENT 520815 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-21 11:33 AM

Having driving with an officer with cocktail in hand. They are people too. But it is more likely the odor had to do with a previous contact earlier in the day. Never know they might have had to kick a skunk out of the lane and have the scent on their shoe.

On the other hand a pair of officers pulled out in front of me from the cop shop with one holding his gun to the head of the passenger they put it away by the time they reached the stop sign. But freaked me out!


 COMMENT 520817 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-21 11:35 AM

If you think all officers are rational careful people, how do you explain the CHP officers that have gone to jail for rape and murder? There are at least a few bad apples in any barrel. They are subject to substance abuse just like the rest of us.

I don't know if they are tested routinely for drugs. They have a very strong union that would fight any attempt to test them on a regular basis. The prison guard union fought the rules to search guards on their way to work to decrease the number of illegal cell phones in prison and the union won.


 COMMENT 520823 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-21 11:51 AM

Nonsense. If this were true she would report it herself. Another case of sour grapes. Move on


 COMMENT 520826 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-21 11:54 AM

768 - She could enter made up information and explain why in the comment box, thus submitting it anonymously.


 COMMENT 520848 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-21 12:37 PM

Law enforcement (Federal) for 35 years and counting. A report will only establish or verify a trail for the officer, but this is a he said, she said event. An officer can take a joint from a person, smoke it in front of them, then dare the person to say something. Without visual proof, we are back to the he said, she said scenario. As a senior law enforcement official, I won't challenge the event unless there is some hard evidence, especially if the officer has a shining record. This will probably be the way CHP will handle this report. Although, you were going pretty fast for a cop to stop smoking dope just to stop you (just joking). Report it if you are sure of what you know.


 COMMENT 520850 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-21 12:48 PM

781-would you like to tell the parents of a young girl who had just turned 18 and graduated from high school and who died as the result of a speeder running a red light while high on marijuana that you are not convinced that driving while on marijuana had any affect? I bet if you knew this beautiful, smart, talented young lady, you might have a different opinion.


 COMMENT 520855 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-21 01:01 PM

This whole thing is disturbing.....


 COMMENT 520870 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-21 01:42 PM

I work for a company that works closely with CHP. There was an argument between one of our employees and an officer. The officer who investigated the situation was fair and impartial. I could tell that the CHP took it seriously. They concluded that the officer had misinterpreted a policy to our employee and went as far as to say the officer was incorrect in how he handled the matter. You can speak to the commanding officer or watch commander during regular business hours (M-F 8-5) - perhaps just making the call and at least starting the process will allay some of your concerns. Good luck.


 COMMENT 520890 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-21 02:42 PM

At least call the CHP and ask them what their drug testing policy is. If they tell you they test regularly, then you know that the guy will be caught eventually. If not, then maybe you can talk to the watch commander and tell him your concerns. If he does a good job, he will follow up. If he doesn't do a good job, your complaint will be buried anyway.


 COMMENT 520912 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-21 03:35 PM

820, I doubt you saw the undersheriff. Except for marked units, most Sheriff vehicles have regular plates, not exempt plates with County vehicle numbers in the windows. I believe that is especially true for the Sheriff's officers or whatever they call their upper echelon. It sounds like the SUV you saw was a regular county vehicle. If you got the number you should call County General Services and give them the license or vehicle number. They can then determine who was in the vehicle. I am sure they would want to know about it if one of their employees was talking on the phone in violation of the law.


 COMMENT 520913P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-21 03:37 PM

OP here - My employee did not tell this story for any reason other than the fact that she was upset by it. You all can believe what you want, but I know her and I believe her. I was hoping to get some suggestions on the best course of action and some of you provided some helpful feedback, so thank you.


 COMMENT 520914 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-21 03:46 PM

A report made second-hand like this will be summarily (and correctly) deposited into the circular file.

On duty CHP that are stoned?? Of course that would be a problem. Thus you should vehemently encourage YOUR EMPLOYEE to make the report.


 COMMENT 520968P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-21 11:11 PM

I believe the credibility of a CHP Officer and don't believe this college student, at all!! I deal with a lot of college students in my occupation and the large part of them LIE LIE LIE......


 ANIMALLISTNER agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-22 02:38 AM

SB Surfer life,

right on!


 ANIMALLISTNER agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-22 02:41 AM

Simple question: What would YOU do?


 ROGER DODGER agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-22 06:32 AM

I usually don't believe things unless I see them for myself, I've been lied to many times, I would not report it.


 COMMENT 520990 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-22 07:04 AM

Forty years ago, when I was a college student, I got pulled over by an obviously inebriated off-duty cop for allegedly going through a red light. I had noticed his suspicious driving even before I knew he was a cop and had hence slowed down. Still, I was positive the light had turned from green to yellow but not red. So I went to court, terrified, in a red, white & blue skirt. First I described the details of his behavior, then I mentioned that I had studied chromecology in college, and I concluded by saying that his actions and my chromatic expertise indicate that "my perception of the color of the light was more likely to be correct than his." The ticket was dismissed. I don't know if anything happened to him because it was right before I moved cross-county to transfer to UCSB.


 COMMENT 521037P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-22 10:46 AM

Studying chromecology in college doesn't make you an expert.... If your Master's Degree was in chromecology, and you have years of experience in the field... then perhaps you could be an expert.....


 COMMENT 521448 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-23 05:55 PM


You don't happen to know of any schools that give Master's Degrees in chromecology, do you?
By the way, I made up the word, and the field, back then.
Of course, as in most fields, there are other ways to obtain expertise than by schooling.
Apparently the judge was less skeptical than you are. :-)


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