May 102009
Authors: Robert Lowery

A: Just remember my three simple rules: be smart, be nice, be quiet.

I usually give this advice relative to police contacts, as it is very important to set a positive tone when dealing with enforcement officers.

I think it applies equally to family, friends, bosses, traveling companions, landlords, etc.

These three simple rules will serve you well whether you are in the city, camping in the country, traveling abroad or just hanging out at home.

Be smart

Think before you do, say or sign anything. A little planning up front will save you many big headaches down the road. Designated drivers, sober people at the door, photos and check-in sheets when you move in to your new apartment, etc. Get everything in writing.

Be nice

Whatever you are doing, wherever you are, try to be as polite as possible. If an officer asks you to move away, it is best to just move away.

Get to know your neighbors and help them out once in a while. They’ll be far less likely to call in that noise complaint.

Be quiet

It is always the best policy to say as little as possible. Albert Einstein once said, “If A equals success, then the formula is A = X + Y + Z. X is work. Y is play. Z is keeping your mouth shut.” This is especially true with the police: you have the right to remain silent, please use it.

They truly will use against you anything you say. Remember that it is very difficult for someone to misquote you if you don’t say anything.

Now that summer is upon us, work hard, play hard, and try to keep a low profile.

If we all commit every day to being a little smarter, a little nicer and a little quieter this summer, the world will be a better place when you get back in the fall.

Stay safe, and we’ll see you in August.

Rob Lowrey is a staff attorney for Student Legal Services. Feedback can be sent to

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