brochure is designed to educate both citizens and law enforcement about expectations
during a traffic stop. Understanding what is expected from both parties improves
communication, helps to reduce anxieties, and improves the publics understanding
about the need for traffic law enforcement. Improved communication is also the
first step in eliminating community-based divisiveness and creating community-based
partnerships. Building bridges to the community should occur one traffic stop
at a time.
things to remember:
- An average of three in
every ten Americans will be involved in an alcohol-related crash at some point
in their lives.
- The driving behaviors
associated with aggressive driving -- speeding, red light running, following
too closely, and others -- cause hundreds of crash-related deaths and thousands
of injuries each year.
- Lap/shoulder safety belts,
when used correctly, significantly reduce the risk of crash-related fatalities
- Traffic stops often result
in the identification of criminals who are suspected in other crimes.
To effectively address these
public health and safety issues, law enforcement agencies across the country
enforce traffic laws. Traffic law enforcement is a time proven method of:
- increasing pedestrian
safety, seat belt, child safety seat, and helmet use
- reducing the incidence
of impaired and aggressive driving
- increasing the apprehension
of dangerous criminals
However, in recent years,
the public has been made aware of incidents that have occurred between citizens
and law enforcement during traffic stops. Most of these incidents were positive
and did much to advance the publics perception of law enforcement. Some
incidents were negative and disturbing, and created public mistrust.
you are a law enforcement officer, here are some ways to improve your traffic
- Invoke the Golden
Rule and treat the motorist the way you would like to be treated.
- State your name and identify
the law enforcement agency for which you work.
- Explain the reason for
the traffic stop, state the action you will take, and be prepared to answer
the motorists questions about the stop.
- If you are not in uniform,
or you are traveling in an unmarked vehicle, you must present identification
to the person you have stopped.
- Consider the traffic
stop environment. Some motorists may be uncomfortable stopping
in a deserted or badly lighted area, and may feel more comfortable if you
allow them to proceed to a more populated or better illuminated location.
However, always consider officer safety.
- Be courteous and firm
-- but flexible.
- Understand that a traffic
stop can be frightening experience for a motorist, and fear can bring out
a persons worst side.
- Try to find the positive
in the traffic stop. Use this opportunity to inform and educate.