News 6 traffic safety expert Trooper Steve Montiero answers viewer questions about the rules of the road, helping Orlando-area residents become better drivers by being better educated.
Question: What are some of the things you may see law enforcement do during a traffic stop?
An officer could immediately approach your car or it could be a few moments. Either way they will get to you. Stay in the car. Believe me they don’t want to be there any longer than you do.
Just because a second officer pulls up or is there doesn’t mean anything bad, unless you know you have a warrant. If that’s the case you’re probably going to jail. Most of the time they are simply checking on the initial officer. Doesn’t mean you need to ask why or have that interfere with why you were stopped.
The elephant in the room:
If an officer leans or has their hand on their gun that is not the same as having a gun pulled out on you. It’s just not. This is very common. Almost inevitable in the job we perform. Until I’ve deemed the situation safe in my mind, it’s not. Just understand this is not a personal physical movement towards you, just the situation.
Tone of voice:
Initial interaction could be very formal, almost cold. Remember it is louder outside the car than inside. The officer might be louder than expected. There are about a thousand things running through the officer’s mind. Allow them to go through their steps. There are procedure they need to follow based on an officers employing agency. It’s there stop, not yours. Allow room for the human element. You don’t know what they have just seen. Some consideration should be given on both ends.
Ultimately with traffic stops I feel we are forgetting a huge key to the stop and that’s the human element.
When we allow emotions to overcome what is a tense situation or could be, it escalates everybody involved. I believe a driver being pulled over can easily steer where that traffic stop goes in the terms of a good experience or not.
There is a lot of unknown during the course of a stop. Not taking an officer attitude completely personal if you feel you had a negative experience is a choice you have to make.
These are potentially the most dangerous situations officers are placed in and yet the most common tool they use. Something to keep in mind.
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