As far as I can remember I never even had to get in the back of the police car. They just let me follow them to the station. It wasn't protocol, but then they kind of knew me. I had gotten a ticket from the same officers, for rolling through the same stop sign, a couple months earlier. Both times I was eight houses from home and in too much of a hurry to look in my rear view mirror and see the police car right behind me.
We lived in a grand old house back then, on a north St. Louis city block that had once been a gated place, but had long since lost its gate, although it retained the name of Cabanne Place. It was a block of tall, stately homes that stood as an island of calm amid the surrounding blocks that had the highest crime rates in St. Louis. Which was one of the reasons police made regular patrols and were a common sight. The other reason was that a City Council member lived on our block too.
I was practicing law at the time, but across the river in Illinois. Because my husband practiced in St. Louis, he said he'd take care of the ticket when I made my first rolling stop. But apparently he forgot. By the time I rolled again, there was a warrant out for me for failing to appear. So off I went to the Pokey, following closely behind the police car and making full stops all the way.
They didn't fingerprint me or or take my picture or lock me in a cell. Rather, they let me sit in their lunch room and make calls to my husband from their phone.
A lot of officers stood around while I made those calls. Not, I think, because they thought I was any sort of security threat. They just wanted to hear the conversation I was about to have with my husband. In that, I think I didn't disappoint.
This was in the days before cell phones or ATM's, so getting in touch with my husband after work hours was not an easy task. When I finally reached him, he had an even harder task of coming up with enough cash to bail me out of the lunch room. With no ATM's, and with cash-back limits (with purchase only) at grocery stores, he had to buy Snickers at different Kroger's throughout St. Louis.
While I waited, the officers and I played Gin and chatted. One of them was starting law school the next year and wanted advice. I would have liked to have had some wisdom to impart, but all I could come up with at the time was, "Pay your own darn tickets."
My husband eventually showed up, with Snickers for all, paid my ticket and my bail, and I left the Seventh District station late that night with new best friends, promising not to stay in touch.
I arrived home to find a cake waiting for me on the kitchen table courtesy of the friend who was watching our daughter. There was a metal nail file sticking out of the side.
That time it ended up just being a good story.