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Old 06-15-2009, 06:06 PM   #121
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Originally Posted by RustyShackleford View Post
I've never quite understood this one. Of course, if traffic is nearby
the officer has a duty to help keep you (and himself) safe. Absent
this, it seems like you're a lot more likely to be able to harm the
officer with a weapon if you're hidden away inside your dark car,
perhaps with a firearm nearby, than if you're standing out in the open
in plain view.
No matter how you do it a traffic stop is dangerous if the violator has evil intentions. And not all of the danger is from a violator who wants to shoot it out, plenty of people want to duke it out the old fashioned way. Walking up to the driver's open window is dangerous, but you can do it safely and minimize the danger. Keeping them in the car gives you an overall tactical advantage during the stop and maximizes the things working against potential assailant in the car. I did most of my patrol work at night, and if you do a stop the right way at night, you're mostly invisible to the occupants of the car except when you're right there by the window. It's hard to hit what you can't see.

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Is it just my imagination, or is it the case that in virtually
all of these situations where officers may or may not have used
excessive force, that the suspect/victim is alone ?
Maybe nobody wants to ride around with crazy people?
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Old 06-15-2009, 06:12 PM   #122
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Maybe nobody wants to ride around with crazy people?
Which is the crazy one?

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Old 06-15-2009, 06:29 PM   #123
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No matter how you do it a traffic stop is dangerous if the violator has evil intentions. And not all of the danger is from a violator who wants to shoot it out, plenty of people want to duke it out the old fashioned way. Walking up to the driver's open window is dangerous, but you can do it safely and minimize the danger. Keeping them in the car gives you an overall tactical advantage during the stop and maximizes the things working against potential assailant in the car. I did most of my patrol work at night, and if you do a stop the right way at night, you're mostly invisible to the occupants of the car except when you're right there by the window. It's hard to hit what you can't see.
How things change. When I started driving 45 years ago, we were told that getting out of the car for a traffic stop was a good idea. The suggestion was that you put yourself at a more equal level phsychologically with the officer. If you remained in the car, you were the general on the horse and he was a foot soldier. He'd be more likely to let a fellow foot soldier off with a warning. What's the best strategy to get let of with the warning today (I'm trying to be serious here)?

Now, I realize police are thinking about their own safety, way back when (at least up here) they didn't have to, people were a bit less crazy. Good that they do. I once served on a jury that dealt with a guy who killed an RCMP officer after a traffic stop.
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Old 06-15-2009, 07:09 PM   #124
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[quote=RustyShackleford;826131]Is it just my imagination, or is it the case that in virtually
all of these situations where officers may or may not have used
excessive force, that the suspect/victim is alone ?
I wonder what's going on ?
[quote]
The vast majority of cars onthe road (driven by whackos or not) have a single occupant. So, we'd expect the vast majority of "oops!" incidents to involve cars with a single occupant.
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Old 06-15-2009, 07:27 PM   #125
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The vast majority of cars onthe road (driven by whackos or not) have a single occupant. So, we'd expect the vast majority of "oops!" incidents to involve cars with a single occupant.
I was going to point this out. The average vehicle occupancy rate is around 1.2 people per vehicle on average throughout the day. During peak periods (rush hour) that rate drops to around 1.08. So only something like 1 out of every 5 to 10 cars has more than one occupant depending on the time of day.
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Old 06-15-2009, 08:57 PM   #126
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I got the impression that one poster was trying to infer that police target single passenger cars in order to abuse the driver without having to worry about a witness.

Do any of the ex-officers posting on this site feel they did that?
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Old 06-15-2009, 09:12 PM   #127
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I got the impression that one poster was trying to infer that police target single passenger cars in order to abuse the driver without having to worry about a witness.

Do any of the ex-officers posting on this site feel they did that?
You mean the police officers don't know about the video camera!
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Old 06-15-2009, 09:46 PM   #128
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Well, if you observe the Utah copper saying, "he took a ride on the taser" and "painful". It is not clear that the answer to your question would be a resounding "Yes".

EDIT: BTW, those cameras were put in to protect the officers. And as you now know, they are more and more being used to "hang" the copper. You do know that the Utah trooper Gardner is still in hiding. He has several Utah, Idaho and Montana survivalist groups threatening him and his family. Pretty sad that that tape got into the Massey family's hands.

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You mean the police officers don't know about the video camera!
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Old 06-16-2009, 01:10 AM   #129
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How things change. When I started driving 45 years ago, we were told that getting out of the car for a traffic stop was a good idea. The suggestion was that you put yourself at a more equal level phsychologically with the officer. If you remained in the car, you were the general on the horse and he was a foot soldier. He'd be more likely to let a fellow foot soldier off with a warning.
Interesting analogy, I wonder how well it would work with a female officer who might be less likely to have that comradely martial spirit.

To clarify my previous post - I didn't leave all violators in the car all the time. Frequently, men would be asked to step to the curb. Ladies almost never. With females who were not ladies it just depended. If there was a reason I wanted to be able to focus on writing the ticket, running warrant checks, to get out of the humid weather, or to not be standing on a busy street, I would ask them to go back and have a seat while I took care of whatever. With them in the car I knew I had an extra margin of safety during that time.
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What's the best strategy to get let of with the warning today (I'm trying to be serious here)?
There are no hard and fast rules. Often, nothing you say or do is going to get you out of some kind of ticket. The violation deserves a citation no matter how great a person you are. I've had many pleasant conversation with nice and interesting people on the side of the road while writing them a citation. But I have a boss like everybody else, and if he sees me turn in a couple of tickets every shift, he can't accuse me of spending the whole eight hours flirting with sexy barmaids or reading magazines at the convenience store.

And cops are the folks who come along and have to look at the dead and injured when a well-intentioned usually law-abiding citizen, who is running a little late getting someplace, crashes into a car load of innocents. Motor vehicle collisions can do some horrible things to the human body. You don't forget the sight of raw meat and white bone that used to be a human being. Sometimes I might have felt bad about giving some hard working family man or woman a costly citation, but the cause is a good one and it has to be done.

If anything can sway an officer to not give you a citation, or to write you for a less serious violation, it's how you come across during the interview. Your attitude about obeying traffic laws, and the enforcement of those laws in your case, helps an officer decide if a warning is appropriate, if a citation is needed, or to write more than one violation. The objective of writing citations is to reinforce the fact that traffic laws have to be obeyed, and if I felt that a violator was receptive to that I usually didn't feel the need to be ambitious in writing citations. I've written many "defective lighting" citations with an included verbal warning about coming to a complete stop at stop signs. In cases in which people weren't receptive, I wrote the stop sign and the defective lighting as well.
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Old 06-16-2009, 02:28 AM   #130
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One of the cool things about this board is to get a professionals insight into stuff that is in the news. A whole host of you are ex military, we have several doctors, and even a bankruptcy lawyers. As person who is sometimes guilty of "hey I just spent 30 minutes reading about on Wikipedia so now I am almost an expert", it is good to be reminded that something aren't as is or obvious as they look on TV.

Thanks Leonidas for taking the time to explain what goes on during a something as routine as traffic violation. I learned a lot.
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Old 06-16-2009, 08:00 AM   #131
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My approach to traffic stops was the person always stayed in the vehicle while I wrote the citation. I felt it was safer for them and me. It rarely failed that someone I asked to stand someplace started walking around. This was a distraction for me and if for some reason they were run over I didn't want some civil lawyer claiming that I was the reason for the subjectís death. When it came time for the person to sign the citation I would have them step back to my car. At this point they were on camera. If the person decided to fight the ticket in court, they could not claim they did not receive the citation, because I have them on camera. Or if in fact someone did steal their ID the video could be used to exonerate the innocent and convict the guilty. This also worked to get the person out of the vehicle if the person decided not to sign the ticket. It was much easier and safer for everyone if the person was out of the vehicle and decided to resist then if they were still in the vehicle.
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Old 06-16-2009, 09:14 AM   #132
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Aren't we supposed to follow an officers directions? Within reason I mean? What law is it breaking if we don't follow an officers directions? Its not resisting arrest yet, right? Failure to comply or something?

I'd never put my hands in my pockets during something like that! Last time I was stopped I kept my hands on my steering wheel until the officer requested my license and registration.

On a side note, if I'm carrying a pistol, should I also hand over my concealed carry permit during a traffic stop?
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Old 06-16-2009, 10:10 AM   #133
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Well, if you observe the Utah copper saying, "he took a ride on the taser" and "painful". It is not clear that the answer to your question would be a resounding "Yes".

EDIT: BTW, those cameras were put in to protect the officers. And as you now know, they are more and more being used to "hang" the copper. You do know that the Utah trooper Gardner is still in hiding. He has several Utah, Idaho and Montana survivalist groups threatening him and his family. Pretty sad that that tape got into the Massey family's hands.
The comments by the officer do not imply he didn't know about video cameras - possibly insensitive. If you wanted to infer something; it might be that he didn't know about audio recordings or that the microphone could pick up his voice.
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Old 06-16-2009, 04:22 PM   #134
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Aren't we supposed to follow an officers directions? Within reason I mean? What law is it breaking if we don't follow an officers directions? Its not resisting arrest yet, right? Failure to comply or something?
Have to dip into legalese a bit to answer that. There are detentions and then there are arrests, in both events you are not free to go until the officer says you can.

Note: Standards like reasonable suspicion and probable cause are the the same everywhere in the country. The laws discussed here (evading detention/arrest, resisting arrest/search/transportation) are specific to Texas. There are probably similar laws in other states, but there could be some very different laws as well. I think, if you act reasonable and use these as a general guideline, you shouldn't have any trouble.

Detentions are holding a person for a reasonable period of time in order to further investigate suspicions that they have committed a crime. The standard that has to be attained is that the detaining officer can articulate a set of facts that he bases that suspicion on, and any other reasonable police officer would have his/her suspicions aroused in the same way by those same set of facts. The purpose of the detention is to investigate further and either dispel the suspicion and release the person, or to confirm the suspicion and gather enough additional facts that create what is called probable cause. It is the latter standard, probable cause, that gives the officer the right to make an arrest and seek prosecution.

A traffic stop usually meets the standard of probable cause for an arrest because the officer is a direct witness to you breaking the law. But since most traffic violators are released with a citation, the courts consider them, especially in regard to searches and seizures, as detentions.

Refusing to stop is the same offense as evading arrest and you go to jail for that offense. Trying to leave before the officer releases you is also evading detention.

A detention does not automatically give the officer the right to search your person or vehicle. However, if he develops a reasonable suspicion that you might be armed, he can search you and do a limited search of your vehicle. Resisting a search is a criminal offense.

There is nothing preventing an officer from asking you to voluntarily submit to a search of your person and/or vehicle. When the weather was cold I usually would let someone put their hands in their pockets if they voluntarily submitted to a brief pat down search of the pockets to make sure they were unarmed.

During a detention you are in custody and not free to go. The officer has the right, and responsibility, to control your movements for mutual safety and liability reasons. We're not going to let you wander all around between the cars, out in traffic, or get in and out of your car whenever you feel like it. You're not going to put your hands in your pockets unless you let me check them first. You're not going to go digging around in the glove box, trunk or under the seats unless I approve it.

It's not a separate offense to refuse to obey these instructions, with the exception of running away, but don't forget that the reason you were stopped was that the officer observed you commit a criminal offense. One for which you would normally just get a citation, but one for which you can go to jail.
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Old 06-16-2009, 06:37 PM   #135
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Interesting analogy, I wonder how well it would work with a female officer who might be less likely to have that comradely martial spirit.
Another example of how things change. At that time, there was no such thing as a female officer. The male ones had little to fear, at 5-10 I was considered too small to join any police force.
My 5-8 DD dropped out of RCMP training a few years ago because she didn't think she could spend her life working with people who had the attitudes of her fellow recruits (not the already serving officers). Times may change again.
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Old 06-16-2009, 08:26 PM   #136
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What's the best strategy to get let of with the warning today (I'm trying to be serious here)?
I would suggest becoming an attractive young woman.

Best bet is to not get pulled over. I make sure to not drive the car with the Dead stickers on it when I go a concert (best idea of all). Also, I use cruise control to limit my lead foot tendencies. If you do get pulled over, pull WAY over. Cops tend to be more aggressive when they are worried about getting clipped. Leave DW at home, since she argues with the cops. Accept (and sign) the ticket. You have a much better chance of beating it in court (cop doesn't show, plead down, etc) than talking them out of it on the street. Always remember, they have guns (and tasers).

Not that I have any experience with these things.
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Old 06-16-2009, 10:23 PM   #137
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I would suggest becoming an attractive young woman.



Not that I have any experience with these things.
Every cop I've talk to says that they don't cut good looking chicks any slack. One even told me he is more inclined to give them a ticket on theory that good looking girls already get away with too much stuff.

On the other hand, early in my career we had bombshell admin, that was quite possibly the world's worst driver. She once got pulled over twice on the way to work and didn't get a ticket either time. Luckily for her she married a cop (she met him at the station while going in for ticket) at which point she became well known at the local Police Dept. and got the customary citation not ticket that police officers and families seem to get.
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Old 06-17-2009, 12:40 AM   #138
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Every cop I've talk to says that they don't cut good looking chicks any slack. One even told me he is more inclined to give them a ticket on theory that good looking girls already get away with too much stuff.
It certainly worked for DD, especially while she had RCMP id.
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Old 06-17-2009, 05:22 AM   #139
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Sure she was belligerent, sure she deserved arrest. But you'd think a cop half her age and twice her size might have managed to get a pair of hand cuffs on her.
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Old 06-17-2009, 07:59 AM   #140
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She looked about 5' tall, so that would make him 10 feet tall. I Googled "world's largest cop", and sure enough you may be right.
Cop Who Tasered Granny


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Sure she was belligerent, sure she deserved arrest. But you'd think a cop half her age and twice her size might have managed to get a pair of hand cuffs on her.
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