Two years ago I had a little run-in with one on my way to my great aunt's funeral mass. Some taxi had been following me for a couple of miles insisting that I had side-swiped him, but I had not and I refused to waste my time haggling with a taxero. So, stopped at a red light, he waved a transit cop over and told him I hit him. I gave the cop my license, told him that the taxi was fabricating his story, and explained that I was not going to pull over and waste my time as I was not going to be late to my great aunt's funeral. The cop started to get all huffy, and we exchanged angry words before I simply took off, when the light turned green. I didn't care that he still had my license; I only cared that I wasn't going to be late for the funeral because some taxero wanted to make some money off of the gringo.
I had another run-in this morning on my way back from Mass, yet not so pitched. Every once in a while, the transit cops set up road blocks -- para joder, we say -- where they check licenses, etc. On my way to Mass, I went through two of them. At the first one, the cop saw a gringo and decided I wasn't worth the effort, so he waved me through. At the second one I had to show my (Massachusetts) license and was let through.
I only got stopped once on the way back, but this one didn't go so smoothly. I showed my license, and then the cop asked to see my passport. "No tengo pasaporte," I told him as I showed him my Panamanian cedula. Then he asked me where my Panamanian driver's license was. I explained that I don't have one, since I live in the U.S. So, he asked again for my passport, and again I explained that I don't carry one. He made me pull over. Shortly he came up to the car and we repeated the exact same lines. Then he asked how long I had been in the country. I told him. He asked how he was supposed to know my entry date without a passport. I didn't have an answer for that. Then he told me the license plate on the piece-of-shit car I was driving was expired. How was I supposed to know that! I've only been here a week and have only driven the car twice, once last Sunday to go to Shula's to watch the Chargers and once this morning to go to Mass.
Fortunately, I had no funeral or other pressing matter to get to, so I did not lose my patience as I sat there for over 10 minutes. Finally one of the cops (for at least 2 or 3 grilled me during that time) gave me back my license and cedula, told me I needed to get a Panamanian driving permit, and let me go. I asked where I could get such a permit, so as to give the impression that I would indeed waste my time on such an endeavor, and then took off.
<sigh> With all the legitimate problems with transit in Panamá, you'd think the cops would have something more constructive to do than set up roadblocks.
 Literally, this means "to fuck with you," but it sounds far less crass in Spanish.
 My opinion. If the cop agreed with me, he didn't say so, but the car probably wouldn't pass a safety inspection, something I realized as I drove to Mass this morning.
 I won't.