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Was this proper police procedure?
Old 07-23-2011, 11:11 AM   #1
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Was this proper police procedure?

I was limping - or my car was - to a gas station to get a flat tire fixed when a police car's lights showed up in my rear view mirror, so I pulled over. The officer wouldn't tell me what was the matter until I showed him my license and registration, which I did. My crime turned out to be that the "month" sticker had fallen off my license plate, and a rear brake light was out.

Shouldn't the police have to inform you why they are stopping you, before requesting ID? It just seemed wrong.

P.S. He seemed not even to notice the very flat tire, which I thought was weird.

Amethyst
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Old 07-23-2011, 11:17 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amethyst View Post
I was limping - or my car was - to a gas station to get a flat tire fixed when a police car's lights showed up in my rear view mirror, so I pulled over. The officer wouldn't tell me what was the matter until I showed him my license and registration, which I did. My crime turned out to be that the "month" sticker had fallen off my license plate, and a rear brake light was out.

Shouldn't the police have to inform you why they are stopping you, before requesting ID? It just seemed wrong.

P.S. He seemed not even to notice the very flat tire, which I thought was weird.

Amethyst
I don't think I have ever had a cop tell me what was going on before demanding my papers, and going back to his car to run them.

He wants to know how many people you have killed and how many warrants you are running from before he starts chatting with you.

Ha
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Old 07-23-2011, 11:35 AM   #3
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Correct. A cop cant afford to stand there outside your car where he is at risk and have a conversation with you about your flat tire, or the sticker that fell off your car or your broken tail light until he knows who you are and has a better idea whether or not you are a threat. The conversation between the two of you will go very differently if you are a convicted murderer who is an escapee than it will if you are a regular citizen having a bad day.
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Old 07-23-2011, 11:41 AM   #4
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Maybe you look like a dangerous character. I don't know what is proper police procedure, but the few times I have been stopped the officers have been polite, helpful and friendly.

Except once, but he seemed like someone who was miserable, and nothing I did or said was going to help that.
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Old 07-23-2011, 11:55 AM   #5
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Yeah, that must've been it! I really must get rid of that beard.

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Maybe you look like a dangerous character. .
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Old 07-23-2011, 12:05 PM   #6
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Did the police officer give you a citation or just ask that you get those two things resolved? The officer's procedure probably was to do a background check on you first.
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Old 07-23-2011, 12:19 PM   #7
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Proper procedure? No.
Unusual procedure? Not at all.
I think you can safely assume it was nothing personal; the officer may have just been having a rough day.
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Old 07-23-2011, 12:21 PM   #8
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It could have been worse ...



Hope that brought you a smile...
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Old 07-23-2011, 12:38 PM   #9
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The last time I had to talk to a policeman on the highway was when they saw my tire blow-out when I was going 75 in a 55. Two patrol cars stopped. They changed my tire for me and sent me on my way.
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Old 07-23-2011, 12:43 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amethyst View Post
I was limping - or my car was - to a gas station to get a flat tire fixed when a police car's lights showed up in my rear view mirror, so I pulled over. The officer wouldn't tell me what was the matter until I showed him my license and registration, which I did. My crime turned out to be that the "month" sticker had fallen off my license plate, and a rear brake light was out.

Shouldn't the police have to inform you why they are stopping you, before requesting ID? It just seemed wrong.

P.S. He seemed not even to notice the very flat tire, which I thought was weird.

Amethyst
In that situation I would rather that a policeman run my information through the computer right away, so that he knows I am not an escaped prisoner or car thief or something (even though I don't look like one). It's safer for me (as well as for him) IMO, if he does that.

I think he was just doing his job.
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Old 07-23-2011, 01:43 PM   #11
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The conversation between the two of you will go very differently if you are a convicted murderer who is an escapee than it will if you are a regular citizen having a bad day.
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In that situation I would rather that a policeman run my information through the computer right away, so that he knows I am not an escaped prisoner or car thief or something (even though I don't look like one).
The conversation also goes a lot differently after the database check informs the officer that you're a registered firearms owner... with unpaid traffic tickets.
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Old 07-23-2011, 01:56 PM   #12
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So did he change the tire for you? or at least call out a tow truck?
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Old 07-23-2011, 03:15 PM   #13
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LBYMer in an old beater, creeping along barely moving, light out, stickers missing, probably in meth land -- surprising he didn't approach you with his hand on his pistol.
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Old 07-23-2011, 04:08 PM   #14
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The conversation also goes a lot differently after the database check informs the officer that you're a registered firearms owner... with unpaid traffic tickets.
I wouldn't know...
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Old 07-23-2011, 05:03 PM   #15
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The conversation also goes a lot differently after the database check informs the officer that you're a registered firearms owner... with unpaid traffic tickets.
A police officer stopped me not too long ago. While the officer was standing by my car with my driver's license in his hand and I was seated in the driver's seat, I overheard someone speaking on the officer's collar radio. "Mr. XXXXX has a FIREARMS PERMIT."
The officer handed my license back to me and said "Thank you, Mr. XXXXX. Have a nice day." And I was on my way.

I was really amazed I could hear the officer's collar radio since I have poor hearing brought on by a lifetime of shooting. In my younger days, I did not think I needed hearing protection.
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Old 07-23-2011, 09:19 PM   #16
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Seems like usual procedure. They need to call for backup to protect themselves should it turn out to be more than a routine stop.
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Old 07-24-2011, 01:23 AM   #17
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Depending on agency policy, there may or may not be a specified way of conducting a traffic stop that might include suggestions or mandates of what to say. Texas DPS troopers have very specific guidelines that control how they conduct their traffic stops down to some detail. Other agencies have no guidelines, or they don't get down to what to say when details.

Either way, there isn't a cop around who doesn't understand that in every contact with a citizen he/she has to take control and maintain control or else it can all go to hell. Done properly, a traffic stop is a complicated activity with multiple potential and real dangers that have to be addressed simultaneously. Done wrong, somebody can get hurt or killed.

While an officer is conducting a stop he/she is responsible for your safety (a traffic stop is a custodial event of a slightly limited legal nature and that means we have to not do something that will get you hurt during the stop, and try to prevent you from doing anything that will get you hurt). Your movements have to be controlled for your own safety (and ours also).

In any traffic stop I am worried about getting run over by some drunk or poor driver, or assaulted by somebody who interjects themselves into the scene (happens ever day). And of course I have to worry about you, because I have no idea if you're a bad guy or just a regular citizen.

Hanging my butt out in moving traffic is dangerous, and I really want to get control of the elements I can control (like the driver and passengers) as quickly as possible so I'm not distracted when senile granny grump veers off the road toward us in her Lincoln Town Car. Most line of duty deaths are the result of armed assaults, but running a close second are traffic related accidents.

Additionally, the police are not going to adjudicate your guilt or innocence out there on the street. They have courts and juries for such things. I want your DL in my hand before I give you the opening to start arguing, flirting, lying, or whatever you might do to talk your way out of a citation. If I give you the opening to start babbling before I get your DL, then I could find myself having to convince you of your guilt so I can get the DL and write the ticket. Or arrest you because you don't want to give me the DL because you know I'm wrong and are going to argue until you prove it.

So, it's all about exercising control to maintain safety, cut back on the roadside shouting/wrestling matches, and get the job done more efficiently.

Personally, once I got the DL and verified it was you, the next words out of my mouth were, "the reason I stopped you this evening is because I saw ...."

Here's an interesting video talking about maintaining control and how traffic stops go bad. There's a few points I don't agree wholeheartedly with, but it's a good discussion. Notice that on the good traffic stop the officer explains why he stopped the motorist before asking for her DL - a tactical error in my book, but obviously not everyone agrees with me.
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Old 07-24-2011, 07:28 AM   #18
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A police officer stopped me not too long ago. While the officer was standing by my car with my driver's license in his hand and I was seated in the driver's seat, I overheard someone speaking on the officer's collar radio. "Mr. XXXXX has a FIREARMS PERMIT."
The officer handed my license back to me and said "Thank you, Mr. XXXXX. Have a nice day." And I was on my way.

I was really amazed I could hear the officer's collar radio since I have poor hearing brought on by a lifetime of shooting. In my younger days, I did not think I needed hearing protection.
In some parts of the country, most people own guns. Those with permits are the good citizens.
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Old 07-24-2011, 08:15 AM   #19
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I told the officer the car was due for its 60K mile checkup anyway and we would have the brake light fixed at that time. I thanked him for letting me know about it (I had no idea). He seemed more concerned about the missing month sticker. My registration was up to date and the year sticker was on the plate, so why wasn't the month sticker there too? I promised to send away for a new one as soon as I got home (and I did). He did not offer to help with the tire, but then again, we were almost in the gas station parking lot, so why would he?

My husband said the guy probably just wanted to see my DL to find out if I was really as young as I looked I have my doubts - even from a distance you can see I am old enough to have a kid his age, even though I don't

Thanks for all responses. My questions may seem naive but I always learn something from y'all.

A.

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Did the police officer give you a citation or just ask that you get those two things resolved? The officer's procedure probably was to do a background check on you first.
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Old 07-24-2011, 08:38 AM   #20
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Leonidas pretty much covered it all, but also consider the officer sees what might be a "rollin' wreck" - a LBYM car, brake light out, no current registration, probably no insurance, driving on a flat tire, he just about expects to smell weed or be bowled over by the alcohol fumes when the window rolls down.

So before he gets into a long drawn out discussion/argument about why you're being harassed/picked on/singled out he wants to see a valid DL and registration (you'd be surprised to learn how many have neither) and make sure those tags belong on that car.

After the situation is stable then we'll get into the whys and wherefores.
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