I never claimed to be a perfect person…:) …
The police in your home country can be a terrifying experience. Now imagine you are in a country that you have had a recent war with and you get confronted by some BIG, MEAN looking Serbian cops!!! If any of you have recently watched the propaganda filled movie “Land of Blood and Honey” you would expect the Serbian cops to throw you down, break your fingers, kick you in the face and shoot you in the head… I have always been a good boy and have had very few run-ins with the police… with the exception of about 20 driving tickets! 🙂 I am not a good or a responsible driver and will never claim to be. Out of every country I have traveled to I have never had to deal with the police… UNTIL NOW……..
A few weeks ago… a friend called me and invited me to hit the Lion Pub here in Zrenjanin for a few beers.. It was a boring, snowy Sunday night and I quickly agreed… The Lion Pub is not far from my house and they serve an 8% red beer that is only 120 dinars…. We sat down and drank our fair share…. It hit me pretty hard because I usually drink 5% beers. We left the bar pretty late and there were police at the corner of the street.. They asked to see our I.D and I refused because I had done nothing wrong and was walking home. They didn’t speak English well and walked up to me asking me for “passport and police registration card” .. I again said “NO, I didn’t do anything wrong.” It pays to know the laws in a country before confronting the police. ahahahha.. They turned me around, handcuffed me and stuck me in the back of the cop car. They took me to the police station in downtown Zrenjanin. I was there for the night and early on Monday morning they came into my cell with an officer that spoke English and said “we must see your passport. we will take you to get it” I was very nervous because as an American you are allowed 90 days in Serbia before you must exit and return. I had forgotten about it and let my 90 day visa expire…. I told the officer that spoke English about my issue.. He said “you will have to go to court and see the judge” We drive to my apartment and get my passport and police registration card…. They look it over and take me to the courthouse… They ask me ” how much cash do you have on you?…. because the judge will fine you and you must stay in jail until you pay.” I only had 150E in my wallet and they said it will probably be enough… I nervously waited my turn… FINALLY! He sends his assist out to get us… We walk into the room . There are three cops, one judge, translator and clerk… The judge is VERY kind and respectful! He had heard of me and listened to my excuses for letting my visa expire and for not showing the cops my I.D.. Back in my state of Illinois… you are not required to show a cop your I.D unless you do something wrong… I told him my sister worked for the Illinois State Police and I do respect the police. I told him that my sister would slap me for my stupidity. He thought it was funny. We sat in the chambers for around 2 hours while they typed up my sentence, punishment and fine totals. He said it would be 310E and I must leave Serbia in 7 days and return with a fresh stamp and registration card to avoid deportation and a suspension from entering Serbia for 5 years… I quickly agree to fine and he gives me till the following Monday to pay the rest of the fine. WHEWWWWWWW!!!!!
The police in other countries have always been a HUGE fear of mine. Every travel guide, government website, personal blogs and many movies show nothing but corrupt cops and horrible treatment and disgusting jail conditions. I can say that the Zrenjanin police were nothing but extreme professionals! They treated a rude foreigner with nothing but respect and decency! The judge was also one of the most professional, fair and friendly judges I have have ever encountered!! I went back to the police station and court to apologize a few days later for my stupidity!!! I have learned a lesson and will never let my visa expire nor refuse to show my passport! 🙂
JA SAM GLUP!!!!!!!!!!