Bill Stanton is a nationally recognized safety and security expert. Stanton, a former NYPD officer, is also the author of Badge of Evil.
Any street cop across the country will tell you what the Bureau of Justice Statistics survey confirmed “The most common reason for contact with the police is being a driver in a traffic stop. In 2008, an estimated 44% of face-to-face contacts that U.S. residents had with police occurred for this reason. About half of all traffic stops that year resulted in a traffic ticket. Approximately 5% of all stopped drivers were searched by police during a traffic stop.”
These findings are based on the Police-Public Contact Survey (PPCS), a survey that interviews U.S. residents about their contacts with police during the previous 12 months.
What the survey doesn’t tell you is how to react during the aforementioned traffic stop.
Let’s use Famous /Infamous former UFC Light Heavyweight Champ Jon Jones recent traffic infraction as an example. Jones, who has already had his fair share of run-ins with the po po, in my opinion, immediately comes off as indignant and verbally combative with the officer involved. Cursing, speaking over the officer and coming off in general as being rude and disrespectful. Given his past history — he is accused of running away from the scene of an accident after hitting a young pregnant woman in her vehicle– his behavior in this traffic stop (you can watch below), is far from advisable.
That said, how should you react when you see those flashing lights?
* No matter where you are, once you see those flashing lights, immediately decrease speed and pullover to a safe area.
* Once you pull over, activate your hazard lights and turn off your vehicle. Preferably placing your car keys on the dashboard
* Place your hands either on the steering wheel or both hands on the sill of your open drivers side window(if passengers are in the car, have them place hands on the dash and front seats for passengers in the rear.)
* As the officer approaches, keep in mind that for the officer traffic stops are among the most dangerous situations
* NEVER exit the vehicle unless SPECIFICALLY requested by the police.
* Remain in your car, keeping your hands in plain view and comply with the officer’s directions. That’s the best and safest way to go for all involved.
* Once the officer begins to question you, it’s advisable to be respectful and answer any questions with a ‘yes officer’ or ‘no officer.’ Don’t forget the fact that the officer has the discretion in most cases to either issue a summons or just give you a verbal warning.
Finally, if you truly believe that you were pulled over for any reason other than the actual infraction stated, manage your state. Yelling, cursing and being disrespectful will only exacerbate the situation. Best to take notes and fight it later in court.
[screengrab and video via TMZ sports]