Each time a police officer pulls over a driver, they put their life on the line. While the comparatively rare instances of tragedy make headlines, most traffic stops are routine.
During a traffic stop, it’s easy to forget that the police officer issuing us a ticket is just a human being doing their job. In the immediacy of the moment, the only thing that may be on our minds is the blow to our bank account the fine will make.
But moments of humanism between police officers and the drivers they pull over are far more common than people realize.
Ultimately, police want to keep everyone safe. Sometimes the best way to do that is to issue someone a ticket. Other times, the best way to make sure someone learns their lesson is to knot their necktie.
In November 2016 in Menomonie, Wisconsin, a police officer Martin Folczyk pulled over a college student for speeding.
Intending to pull the driver over earlier, Folczyk instead followed him into the school parking lot.
“The reason I stopped you is for speeding going down 8th street,” the officer said in the footage captured on his cruiser’s dash cam.
“I totally, yup, I know what you mean,” the student said. “I had to get a tie tied, and I have a presentation, and I thought my buddy was home but he’s not,” he continued nervously.
“He knows how to tie a tie and I honestly don’t,” the student said.
“Where’s your tie?” Folczyk asks.
The student who was pulled over in his school parking lot was late for a presentation and didn’t know how to tie his necktie.
The student rummaged through his bag, pulled out his tie, and handed it to Folczyk.
Folczyk proceeded to put the tie around his own neck and make a knot.
“While I do this, why don’t you grab your proof of insurance and your driver’s license real quick,” he said.
The student, hopeful that he’d have a tie to wear during his presentation, and possibly avoid being ticketed, got his identification out of the car with haste.
The officer put a knot in the tie while the student retrieved his identification from the car.
Folczyk radioed in the driver’s information, and when it came back clean, he let him off with a warning. But not before fixing his tie again.
“I have to tie it shorter,” Folczyk said as he took the tie off the boy.
“Looks good,” he said after the student put the tie back on. “Slow down.”
Folczyk fixed the tie, let the student off with a warning, and the two parted ways.
This video is evidence that not all policing is done with an iron fist. Rather than give the frazzled young adult a ticket, he helped him work through his problem.
The dash cam footage eventually made it all the way to the police chief at the station. After watching it, the boy was invited to the precinct for a training session on how to properly knot a tie.