At 6:03 a.m. last Thursday, a driver heading into Atlanta on I-20 east used the emergency lane to get around slow traffic. Big mistake.
"You know, you have some people who are way more aggressive than others. Just like this guy who said, 'I'll lose my job if I'm late for work,' " Thompson says.
That's another thing he doesn't like: excuses. Especially the one about being late for work.
Don't be fooled. He's not one of those hard-ass officers whose only pleasure is to throw around their power. But he takes his job seriously.
"Presence is a great deterrent," he says. "When people see this car, a normal, wise prudent person will act right. If they aren't all that wise, then they are looking for attention, and I'll be happy to give it to them. It's crazy, some of the things people do."
Some people think highways are racetracks, he says. "Everybody is in a hurry. No one leaves for work on time."
Thompson flips on his radar. There's a beep and "82" instantly flashes on the display in digitized red.
Thompson switches on his blue lights and pulls behind a silver Mazda. It's 7:25. He radios in his position: near the East Ponce de Leon exit on 285. He puts on the recognizable stiff-rimmed hat, checks it in the mirror and straightens it a touch. As he exits the car, he says in a joking, falsetto voice, "I'm gonna be late for work."
When he gets back he says, "She was nice." He's rolling again by 7:36 a.m. Any guilt over handing out tickets?
"None, not at all," he says. "I don't use it as a thing of taking money from people. This motorist ... failed to produce an insurance card. I gave her a citation for that and a warning for the speeding. I think that's showing compassion."
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