Traffic stops stressful for cops

Police officers pull drivers over thousands of times daily, primarily because we as drivers continually violate vehicle and traffic laws (VTL).

Don’t believe this? Watch your own driving for even part of one day, and even if you are trying hard to not violate any laws, it is nearly impossible. Still skeptical? Tomorrow, monitor your own driving and see if you can stay within the speed limit for even a mile! Or, see if you can come to a complete stop at a stop sign.

If a cop followed you for five minutes, I can almost guarantee he/she could stop you for at least one VTL violation.

When enforcement decides to pull you over, they don’t know if you are a responsible driver that just committed a traffic violation or if you just robbed a bank and were armed with an assault weapon. Thus, any traffic stop is stressful for a police officer. They go through much training to give them the necessary tools to complete a successful stop. Before they even try to stop your vehicle, here are some of the things that they should do, as taught by Major Scott Hughes of the Riverside, Ohio, Police Department:

1. Prepare for the stop. The stop begins the moment they see the violation, not when the vehicles come to a standstill. Before they even turn on the lights, there are a lot of tasks they need to complete, such as:

* Developing reasonable suspicion or probable cause

* Be alert for signs that the suspect is concealing, dumping or destroying evidence

* Calling in the stop, including a description of the suspect(s), vehicle and location

* Picking a tactically-sound location for the stop

* Monitoring the suspect for signs that they may be planning to flee or attack

* Preparing to exit your vehicle quickly if necessary

2. Take control. Establish control early by using sound tactics, officer presence, and effective communication. Don’t allow situations to spiral out of control when emotions are running high. Use good communication and interpersonal skills to de-escalate a potential conflict that could require use of force.

3. Use good approach tactics. It’s important that the officer selects tactics that minimize his/her exposure to known dangers, such as getting trapped between vehicles or getting hit by traffic. More and more, enforcement is taking advantage of the tactical benefits of the passenger side approach.

4. Beware the dangers of the second approach. Officers should never allow themselves to mentally relax because things have gone well so far. A large number of attacks occur during the second approach.

Now that you know how uncomfortable it is for cops when pulling you over, there are some things that you should do if stopped. First, pull over where it is a safe place to do so. A corner or along a guide rail is not a good place. You should give a wave or a signal to the officer to let him/her know you are aware of the stop. Secondly, open your window and remain in your vehicle with your hands on the steering wheel. If the officer approaches on the passenger side, you may open that window when the officer arrives at your vehicle. From that point on, obey the directives of the officer. Just remember the traffic stop is not a fun situation for either you or the officer. Do your part to make the best of an uncomfortable situation for all.

For more information on traffic law and traffic safety, visit the Traffic Safety Board website at “http://www.franklincony.org”>www.franklincony.org and go to Traffic Safety Board under “Departments.” Visit on Facebook as well. You may also contact me by email at dwerner151@verizon.net or call me at 518-483-1882.


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