Police Officer Stopping

Strengthening The Citizen and Law Enforcement Partnership at The Traffic Stop:
Professionalism is a Two-Way Street




Part I: Practices for Traffic Law Enforcement Officers

Blue BulletDuring Typical Stops
Blue BulletSpecial Conditions
Blue BulletConfrontational Drivers
Red BulletDuring Suspicious or Felonious Stops
Blue BulletConclusion

Part II: Practices for Drivers

Blue BulletWhy Officers Conduct
Blue BulletTraffic Stops Are Dangerous

Blue BulletWhat Can You Do?



During Suspicious or Felonious Stops

34. When asking for a consent search, use a tone of voice that suggests this is a request -- not a command. After suspicion begins to build, return the driverís license, registration, proof of insurance before asking for a consent search. Also, avoid putting undue stress on the driver and occupants prior to the request for a consent to search--such as having a number of officers standing close to the driver that may be intimidating and void the legality of the search. Remember, the driver may withdraw the consent for a search at any time.

35. Treat drivers under suspicion professionally. It is known that even drivers under suspicion will respond more openly and talk more freely if treated with courtesy. This will also be less stressful for the officer.

36. If a legal search yields nothing, thank the driver for his or her cooperation. If the search resulted in disruption to the vehicle, such as removal of cover plates, panels, or seats, put the items back the way you found them, unless the driver insists on doing it. It may be appropriate to explain why the search was conducted.

37. If the incident escalates to a felony stop, continue to treat the driver and passengers professionally.