KVOA- TUCSON – A man’s Facebook post is going viral after he publicly complimented Tucson police officers’ behavior during a traffic stop.
Steven Hildreth was driving on Kolb Road near 22nd Street around 3 a.m. Tuesday. Police stopped him for a bad headlight.
“I’m black. I was wearing a hoodie. And I had a gun,” Hildreth said. “And here I am.”
Hildreth cooperated as officers disarmed him.
“They said, ‘Hey, you were really cool with us. You didn’t give us any grief about your firearm or anything like that. So we’re just going to let you off with a warning,’” Hildreth said. “And I was really appreciative of that, and I felt that they had really professional conduct during that stop.”
He shared the experience in a Facebook post. It has been commented on, liked and shared by tens of thousands of people.
“It caught me off guard how much traction it caught,” he said. “And I think that sends a message that, yeah, people want to know about the bad in the world, but they also want to hear of the good in the world. I think that the post’s reaction is proof of that.”
He believes there is too much criticism of police online and in protests.
“There are those that abuse the power of the badge that shouldn’t be law enforcement officers,” Hildreth said. “We focus so much on them. We don’t focus on the vast majority who are just doing their jobs, and they’re regular good people.”
Here is the full text of Hildreth’s post:
So, I’m driving to my office to turn in my weekly paperwork. A headlight is out. I see a Tucson Police Department squad vehicle turn around and follow me. I’m already preparing for the stop.
The lights go on and I pull over. The officer asks me how I’m doing, and then asks if I have any weapons.
“Yes, sir. I’m a concealed carry permit holder and my weapon is located on my right hip. My wallet is in my back-right pocket.”
The officer explains for his safety and mine, he needs to disarm me for the stop. I understand, and I unlock the vehicle. I explain that I’m running a 7TS ALS holster but from the angle, the second officer can’t unholster it. Lead officer asks me to step out, and I do so slowly. Officer relieves me of my Glock and compliments the X300U I’m running on it. He also sees my military ID and I tell him I’m with the National Guard.
Lead officer points out my registration card is out of date but he knows my registration is up to date. He goes back to run my license. I know he’s got me on at least two infractions. I’m thinking of how to pay them.
Officers return with my Glock in an evidence back, locked and cleared. “Because you were cool with us and didn’t give us grief, I’m just going to leave it at a verbal warning. Get that headlight fixed as soon as possible.”
I smile. “Thank you, sir.”
I’m a black man wearing a hoodie and strapped. According to certain social movements, I shouldn’t be alive right now because the police are allegedly out to kill minorities.
Maybe…just maybe…that notion is bunk.
Maybe if you treat police officers with respect, they will do the same to you.
Police officers are people, too. By far and large, most are good people and they’re not out to get you.
I’d like to thank those two officers and TPD in general for another professional contact.
We talk so much about the bad apples who shouldn’t be wearing a badge. I’d like to spread the word about an example of men who earned their badges and exemplify what that badge stands for.