February 17th, 2007 02:45 AM
Traffic Stops 101
Mods, I wasn’t sure where the correct place for this is, as it will only touch on CCW issues. The CCW subject has been well addressed in other threads. Please move if needed.
I decided to take the time and type all this out because I have seen a few "what to do if pulled over" threads, and thought it might be helpful to others here. Nothing I say here is law, legal advice or double secret insider information; it is just my thoughts after a long day of making traffic stops. Other LEO's please add on, I am tired now and I am sure I haven’t thought of everything.
What to do before the stop-
You know when you are going to get stopped, you probably even know why.
You look in your rear view and see that cruiser on your bumper.
1-Maintain your speed. If you are going mach 3, gradually slow to the limit and sit tight. Don't jam your brakes, it won’t help you now. It also won’t help if you go 15 mph under the limit after you have been noticed, it won’t reduce the severity of your violation.
2- Don’t just pull over because you know I'm going to stop you, wait for me to signal
OK, now we have traveled a few blocks, and the overhead lights come on. Heres how when and where to stop.
1- those lights on top of a police car are not Christmas lights. It means pull to the right... not the left... the right. Did I say not left? Yup, pull over to the right. You never know, I may not be after you, but need to get around you! Just pull over to the right!
2-you don’t need to jam on your brakes, just ease on over and stop
3- You don’t need to find a "safe" place to pull over. That is my job; I turned on my lights when I did for a reason. I am willing to bet I know the area and traffic patterns a little better than you do.
4- if you must pull off the road and into a driveway, remember that there is another car behind you that has to fit in that drive way too. Don’t make me block the entire outside lane with my car. Also remember that we are now going to inconvenience the homeowner who won’t be able to use his driveway for the duration of the stop. If it’s at night, we woke them up too.
5- if you pull into a parking lot, please don’t pull into a parking spot. This is very annoying to me. Just pull over. If you pull into a spot, I have to block an isle with my car, among other reasons I won’t go into here, and it’s just very annoying.
5.5- stay parallel with your orginal direction of travel.
6- now is not the time to put your seatbelt on
So now we are stopped, and your about to meet me.
1- if you don’t have your papers ready, don’t be digging around in your car for them. Wait, and tell me you don’t know where your insurance card is, we will deal with it in a better manner. This is also the time to tell me if you are armed.
2- don’t complain to me that my spotlight is blinding you... Duh! Why do you think I did that?
3- save your cutie pooh jokes... I've heard them a million times. They are not funny the 1st time around, and they are not funny 1000th time. A perfect example of this is; when an officer walks into the room, yell out "I didn’t do it" or "Officer, arrest my buddy here for xyz" I have heard that stupid crap so many times it makes me want to puke.
4-Don't ask me "is there a problem officer?" Of course there is, I didn’t stop you because I want to have tea and crumpets. 95% of the people I stop know why I am stopping them. I know, you know so drop the act. If you truly don’t know why, wait until the officer is done talking, if he did not say why, then ask. I am supposed to tell you why, but I am human too and I do forget from time to time.
5- when asked for your D/L, just give it to me. Don’t play games like "I am not going to until you do this or that" You are picking a fight you will not win.
6- If you are guilty, admit so. I don’t care if you are late getting the kids to the pool. I care that you were speeding. Acknowledge your mistake, and I am far more likely to consider my job done with out giving you a invitation to a party at the court house.
If you are not guilty, court is not held on the side of the road. Make your arguments in the courtroom.
7- If you do not have insurance, don’t lie to me. People lie to me all day long; I know when people are lying to me. You are fooling no one.
If you do have insurance, have the card that proves so in your car. I cannot look up some magic number to see if you have it or not. I need the current card from your company to prove so. No proof of insurance means a definite ticket from me.
8- remember that I am just a regular guy with a family, friends and few dogs. I am not a uniform, and I am not the cop that mistreated you 15 years ago in Boise.
9- if you are a passenger in the car, a great rule to follow is "do not speak unless spoken to"
10- hands on the upper part of the wheel, dome light on. It’s a nice touch if you shut the car off too.
11- turn down your radio, don’t be on the phone. That is an instant ticket from me too.
12-if you are a woman, crying does not help you. If you show me any body parts that I would not normally see, you will get at least one additional charge. Although you may be a great looking woman, you are not worth my career or my marriage. And no, I won’t go out with you. I guess all that would go for guys too.
13- do not get out of your car for any reason, or open your door unless you are told to do so. That is viewed as a hostile move, and it will not be pleasant.
14- no, you may not see my radar. No, I am not required to show it to you. I will not bring anyone into my car without being secured.
15- watching TV does not make you a lawyer, or even knowledgeable about what my job is.
16- I dont care who you know. If you played golf with the chief last summer, good for you. He's the one who sent me out here to write you a ticket. Also, I play golf with him often.
I go back to my car for awhile, this is what I am doing; I am running out your history, both traffic and criminal. I am writing out a citation/warning and notes on my log card. This sometimes takes longer than I like due to radio traffic, and waiting on responses from other agencies.
Now we meet for the second time-
1-If I give you a ticket, don’t argue. It’s done at that point, your wasting both of our times.
2- you will be asked to sign the ticket. It is not an admission to anything. It is simply that you acknowledge the fact that you were issued at citation. Yes, I can and will jail you if you do not want to sign for the ticket. I can also keep your D/L as a bond.
3- keep in mind that you rolling a stop sign may not seem all that big of a deal, but it would be a big deal if we were on your street.
4-If I give you a break, it not because I like you, and we are not friends now.
5- sorry, nothing personal, but don’t try to shake my hand. I am not going to reach inside your car, that is a great way to get killed.
6- When we are all done, don’t sit on the side of the road putting all you stuff away. Move on down the road. I don’t want to sit behind you while you call your momma to complain about me.
I am sure I will think of more but I am tired. Feel free to ask whatever questions you have, or if you’re an LEO please add on.
Last edited by SIXTO; March 11th, 2007 at 09:10 PM.
Reason: new additions
"Just blame Sixto"
February 17th, 2007 03:22 AM
Pretty good info there SIXTO. You have it pretty much covered.
Last edited by buckeye .45; February 17th, 2007 at 03:53 AM.
Fortes Fortuna Juvat
Former, USMC 0311, OIF/OEF vet
NRA Pistol/Rifle/Shotgun/Reloading Instructor, RSO, Ohio CHL Instructor
February 17th, 2007 04:20 AM
Good stuff! I'd like to see more of this from an officer's perspective.
I only see the happy drivers AFTER the stops, when it's too late to advise them to shut up, be polite, shut up, be nice, shut up, etc. And refusing to sign the citation/s is a no-win...you go to jail, no passing go, no defense afterward...hell, the line for your signature is BLANK.
It never ceases to amaze me how many folks insist on taking a simple moving violation--a civil traffic infraction--to the next level.
From a driver's perspective, if you're stopped, be polite. That's a great first-step. Irregardless, be polite. Don't get into an argument--you'll lose. I see it every day.
If you can't shut up/be polite/control yourself, give us a call after first appearance. We'll get you right in. And we take credit cards.
February 17th, 2007 07:42 AM
Great breakdown. One additional note; the time to tell me you know the mayor or whoever you think may help you, have a courtesy card, or whatever excuse you have is NOW. Not after I go to my car and write you. We have heard all of them and if you have a valid one by all means let us know. Motor vehicle enforcement is necessary but discretionary.
After I write a ticket I can't take it back or do anything with it. Were going to court.
And for the life of me I'll never understand this:
I pull you over for a violation;
after the stop is over and you pull away with me behind you; and,
commit the same or another violation! (this one usually recorded).
Regarding your attitude, if you choose to have one-two words MOBILE VISION. Yes, you are being recorded. Judges and everyone in the Court will appreciate your obnoxious, sarcastic and witty behavior while I maintain my professionalism.
February 17th, 2007 09:41 AM
Good advice for sure! I cannot imagine what it must be like to stop people day after day and hear the same tired lines over and over. I seem to have a new respect for LEOs since I started carrying. It helps to put things in perspective.
Walk steathly - and carry a big Springfield.
February 17th, 2007 10:07 AM
Pretty good reference for those not so sure what to do - and I think overall it fitted the way I view such things. Maybe us older folks too are on balance less adversarial in these situations compared with some testosterone kids
I also have always viewed the potential for trouble with traffic stops as a major reason to try and assist the LEO rather than to try and be clever. No cop can know 100% with any stop - that he is not going to come under attack - that alone is enough to make for plenty of stress.
Chris - P95
NRA Certified Instructor & NRA Life Member.
"To own a gun and assume that you are armed
is like owning a piano and assuming that you are a musician!."
- a portal for 2A links, articles and some videos.
February 17th, 2007 10:14 AM
Sixto, Great info and some common sense advice.
But why did you have to pick on Boise PD? Don't you know they are going to be on Cops tonight? (2/17)
21 years and 21 days, United States Marine Corps & NRA Life Member since 1972
"The trouble is with the increasingly widespread problem of idiots prancing around out there confusing their opinions with actual facts." peckman28
February 17th, 2007 10:37 AM
I did once. As soon as he passed me I knew he was going to light me up. I just pulled over as soon as he hit his brakes and moved over to the shoulder. I knew he had me and wasn't going to drag it out any longer.
2- Don’t just pull over because you know I'm going to stop you, wait for me to signal
When he pulled behind me I flicked on my dome light, rolled down the window and the one behind it (I have a Blazer with factory tint on the rear windows) turned off the radio, placed my hands on the steering wheel palm up. I was carrying and did my routine [I have a permit;right hip in a holster; it is loaded; hands will remain here until otherwise directed].
February 17th, 2007 12:05 PM
No, I just picked Boise at random, but if it really bothers you I meant Boise, New York.
Originally Posted by Chorizo
February 17th, 2007 12:50 PM
February 17th, 2007 01:12 PM
Good info. This is one of the reasons I like to read here.
February 17th, 2007 01:15 PM
We are a traffic hazard on the side of the road. What makes traffic stops so dangerous is the traffic. Thats the number one killer of LEO's.
Originally Posted by downrange
I want to minimize my time in a dangerous situation, and yours too.
I should not leave you on the side of the road without the benefit of all my flashing lights. I put you in that position, so if you get hit after I leave I could be responsible.
I also want to clear my stop asap so I can move on to the next call. Often times I have a call pending during the stop, and I need to get moving. Like I said, I wont leave someone on the side of the road, I want to make sure they are on their way before I leave.
It should take you only a few seconds to slip your d/l back into your wallet, wallet into your pocket. Thats no big deal, most people can do this before I am even back in my car. I am talking about the guy who wants to clean out his wallet, read the ticket, clean his glasses and call his mother.
February 17th, 2007 01:26 PM
The problem with this is it forces me to make the stop where I may not want to, and before I have the information I want. that throws up some red flags to me. The reasons an LEO will follow you some distance before stopping are;
Originally Posted by freakshow10mm
he wants to get all the information back possible, like if the is any wants attached to your vehicle etc.
The LEO is picking a comfortable place to make the stop
And waiting to see if there is a pattern of violations, in case of a DUI.
February 17th, 2007 01:32 PM
I'm sure it will be a sticky in an appropriate sub-forum soon.
And for many of us there really isn't any way of knowing all this without experiencing it. I have never been pulled over in 20+ years of driving and shows like COPS only show what not to do, not what you should do.
It is my opinion that driver education should include this information, for the safety of all involved.
February 17th, 2007 01:32 PM
On the subject of DUI take note that the certs , or other breathmint isn't doing you a lot of good when the half full beer you stuffed under your seat is still gurgleing onto the floorboard . LOL
Make sure you get full value out of today , Do something worthwhile, because what you do today will cost you one day off the rest of your life .
We only begin to understand folks after we stop and think .
Criminals are looking for victims, not opponents.
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