Traffic Officer Q&A
8:00 am
Fri January 18, 2013

Overheard In The Green Room: Officer Abraham

Meet Officer Abraham. He's made regular appearances on The Conversation with Ross Reynolds answering your traffic and driving questions. Today, we cornered Officer Abraham in the Green Room and asked him a few questions about his upcoming retirement, the weirdest excuse for a traffic violation he's ever heard, and what makes Seattle drivers so darn special.

You’re retiring in six months! What are going to do when you retire?

Well, I’ve received a couple job offers from companies that provide law enforcement equipment for police departments, and I've also put in a job application for possible positions in the immediate area -- to put feelers out, for lack of a better term.

So you’re going to keep working then? No sitting around the house collecting stamps? Or relaxing on the beach?

No. Do I look like a stamp collector to you [laughs]? Actually, I’ve heard police officers, after 30-40 years in law enforcement who just stop cold turkey, they haven’t done very well. So I want to ease into retirement instead of quitting cold turkey. And I’d like to relax on the beach too, but just for a short time.

You were a traffic cop for 22 years …

Actually I’m still working, so traffic cop for 24 years, and law enforcement for 31 years.

Is there anything else you would want to do for a living if you couldn’t be a traffic cop/law enforcement officer?

A lifeguard in Maui [laughs]? Or a golf pro in Arizona. Some place nice and warm and snuggly so that my joints don’t ache!

So in the whole time you’ve been a traffic cop what’s the weirdest excuse you’ve ever heard for a traffic or speeding violation?

The weirdest? I pulled a car over that was going northbound on I-5 in the carpool lane who was reading a book as they were driving! This was before cell phones were a big deal, but I could obviously see this person was distracted. So, I pulled him over and the person was definitely reading a book. And I said to him, “Sir, the reason I stopped you is that you’re violating a traffic code called ‘inattention to driving’ by reading this book. He said, “Sir, you can’t cite me for that!” And I said, “Why can’t I cite you for that?” He said, “Because I was reading the Bible!” I said “OK, press here, four copies.”

So, you cited him.

Oh yeah! You betcha. You’re reading the Bible and that’s great but that’s going to change when you run into somebody.

Fill in the blank: Seattle drivers are_____________.

That’s a loaded question! Seattle drivers normally are very polite. However, there is a percentage of them that aren’t [laughs].  But I feel sorry for the actual drivers of Seattle with the construction that’s going on. The Mercer mess, the viaduct going down, and driving into town and having nothing but lanes changes, and cones, and arrows, or construction traffic officers telling you what to do. So, you get frustrated. I think a lot of Seattle drivers are also frustrated, but they are handling it well!

One final question for now. Who would play you in the movie about your life?

Bozo the Clown [laughs]? I don’t know. Arnold Schwarzenegger. And he can say, “I’ll be back!”

Officer Abraham's portrait used with permission from Stacey Sanner, from her book, "Keeping a Blue Light On: A Citizen's Tribute to the Seattle Police Department."

Related program: