Judge Ian Visser is going to tweak a roonie and get whunked out like a fuzzy hoot-house. Is that the lingo the kids use nowadays?
"Corvettes are just cop magnets, people!"
Facts of the Case
For almost ten years, police officer Barry Cooper was one of the best narcotics cops in the country. Responsible for more than 800 arrests, Cooper was so good at his job that he trained others (both man and canine) how to spot potential users and smugglers behind the wheel. However, Cooper became distraught at seeing marijuana users treated like hard-core criminals, and came to believe that his own government had lied to him about the dangers of the drug. Cooper ultimately turned in his badge and left law enforcement entirely.
Now a proponent of legalizing marijuana, Cooper has released Never Get Busted Again 1: Traffic Stops. This instructional video demonstrates how to conceal your stash from police while on the road, based on what Cooper learned on the job as a narcotics officer. Cooper presents his tips and hints on a two-disc set, the second disc consisting of bonus features.
Barry Cooper has become something of a celebrity over the past few years within the counterculture, and it's easy to see why. Here is a top drug cop, responsible for some of the biggest busts in Texas, who has jumped sides and now preaches the futility of the "War on Drugs" and the damage that enforcement does to casual marijuana users. He's given hundreds of interviews, appeared on news programs, and is a sought-after public speaker. He's also become a target for opponents of decriminalization, who say that he simplifies the issue of marijuana use and downplays its hazards for a profit.
Whatever others may say about Cooper, he clearly believes that he's doing the public a good turn with his efforts. Cooper's remorse over arresting and imprisoning marijuana users during his law enforcement career is convincing, and he has a passion for protecting what he sees as regular American citizens using a harmless substance for their own recreation. Cooper feels his mission is to protect the casual marijuana user from the force and punishment of the state, and he has no bones about it.
Cooper divides the content of the film into several sections, each focusing on a vehicle-related topic. Segments include:
K9 Units—Cooper teaches viewers how drug dogs are trained, how they detect scents and odors, and how best to deceive them when they come sniffing around your car (hint: carry a cat with you).
Conceal Your Stash—Cooper goes into a vehicle to demonstrate the best (and worst) hiding places for your stash, as well as the areas where dogs find it difficult to get access to.
Search and Seizure—This section covers legal concepts such as reasonable suspicion, probable cause, and consent to search. Cooper reveals how police will try to gain access to your vehicle (ethically or otherwise) and explodes several myths about what is and isn't permitted by police.
Busted—Well, it happens. When you do get busted, Cooper tells you what to say to police, how to arrange bail, how to choose a decent lawyer, and what to expect in jail.
Profiling—Cooper takes to the roads, demonstrating how police use profiling methods to identify potential smugglers and users. Viewers will learn what to avoid (putting D.A.R.E stickers on your car) and what to do to prevent being pulled over (drive in the rain).
Arrest Footage—Cooper narrates clips of his old arrest footage to illustrate what police look for and what they will attempt to discern when making a stop.
Cooper has a friendly, outgoing style that is very appealing: it would be hard to believe he was ever a cop if you didn't see the footage of his police work. His delivery is casual and laid-back, and he has a real charisma and enthusiasm for his work. On occasion Cooper does get off-track with a rant on the unfairness of marijuana laws, but he usually manages to get back to the focus of the segment soon enough.
I don't have anything to do with drugs, let along transporting them, but I will admit that I learned a lot from watching this DVD. Cooper dedicates a good deal of time to each segment, especially the profiling piece and the various techniques used by law enforcement to search a vehicle. In fact, this effort would probably make a solid training film for law enforcement, considering the wealth of information that is provided. All the segments contain a plenty of information, although I can't claim to know how much of this is already common knowledge or how much of it will be new to people.
On the technical side Never Get Busted Again 1: Traffic Stops is a mixed bag. Cooper's instructional segments are the bulk of the presentation and are shot on digital video. Intercut with this is older footage of Cooper's arrests and news stories, which is sourced from VHS or studio tapes of dubious quality. This is understandable given the age of the material, and since they are only used occasionally it is not overly distracting. The quality of the editing and graphics is quite good; for the most part this is a polished, professional-looking effort.
Supplemental content includes two features totaling 45 minutes, located on Disc 2. Barry's Hidden Compartment is an actual training video that was used by Cooper to train officers, demonstrating various methods of concealment used by drug smugglers. The quality is quite bad, but considering it is almost 15 years old, this is forgivable. The second feature is a speech recorded at the University of North Texas where Cooper was being profiled by ABC News's 20/20. Where Cooper appears largely relaxed during the feature on Disc 1, he's far more animated here, covering a variety of topics dealing with the legalization issue. Cooper's speech is intercut with music, footage, and clips from multiple sources, giving it a kind of homemade documentary feel. I'm not sure the additional editing helps the content of the speech (which is pretty lively to begin with) but it doesn't significantly impair it, either.
The Rebuttal Witnesses
As much as prohibitionists are critiqued for their narrow views, it's likely that decriminalization arguments are not as cut and dry as they would at first seem. Cooper tries to make the case that marijuana is a "harmless" product; I think that's wishful thinking. Rather, the victims of the industry are probably just more hidden from the typical end user than other narcotics. The majority of marijuana available in North America comes from Mexico where Americans don't witness dealers fighting each other to protect their crops or territories, don't have to deal with the corruption of government and police officials, and don't see those forced by poverty into become drug mules. I have no doubt I will get many "this review was not helpful" comments based on this assertion, but its naïve to believe that any product that is unregulated and in such high-demand doesn't precipitate some amount of harm to someone.
I can't endorse the message, but I can say that it is presented in a compelling and informative way. If you're the kind of person who is looking to hide your marijuana from the police, then this is the product for you.
As it is afforded protection under the First Amendment, the defendant is hereby released.
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