The United States is possibly living through Her worst years in terms of divisiveness between police and citizens. There are countless pieces of published propaganda spreading hate rhetoric and inciting violence. Instead of adding to an already-large problem, why not share advice that can bring us all closer to peace?
It is time for us, as a society, to take responsibility for the future of this country and figure this out. Not as blacks, whites, cops, or protesters, but as human beings. Contrary to popular belief, unity is not out of reach. All it takes is some good old fashioned teamwork.
So many people spread the falsehood that if you’re black in America, the chances of getting killed by the police during a traffic stop skyrocket. While this isn’t even remotely true, this can still be used as a learning opportunity to alleviate some of the common stigmas against getting pulled over.
Here’s a few tips and tricks that you can implement to prevent negative interactions with law enforcement the next time you get pulled over. These tips do not discriminate and will always help in keeping you and the officer both safe:
1. Turn the vehicle off
Not only is this already a law in many states, but it is a courteous thing to do to help with officer safety concerns. Simply turning the vehicle off helps indicate that you have no intention of attempting to flee the scene.
2. Roll all windows down
This usually isn’t required by statute, but again, it is a huge bonus for officer safety (by the way, you will read about “officer safety” a TON in this post; get over it). Rolling all the windows down helps the officer to see inside the entire passenger area of the vehicle. This reduces the stress of the officer by allowing him to examine any potential threat or contraband that may be visible upon his immediate approach to your vehicle. It is worth mentioning that if an officer orders you to do this, you must comply. It is 100% lawful for the officer to request this for his safety.
3. Keep hands visible
This is a no-brainer. Simply put in police language, “hands kill”. Whether it’s a gun, knife, or hand grenade, the vast majority of threats officers face root from a person’s hands. By allowing them to see your hands at all times, you lessen their level of stress throughout the duration of the traffic stop.
4. Comply, comply, comply…
While it may be frustrating to get pulled over, especially when you feel you’ve done nothing wrong, make sure you comply with the orders given by the officer. Even if you feel the officer is in the wrong, comply. You can always fight the case later in court, but you will never win your case in the street. There are many options available to you for submitting a complaint on the officer, but don’t try to take the law into your own hands.
5. Exit the vehicle when instructed
This is a piggy-back to tip #4. Supreme Court case law (Pennsylvania V Mimms) dictates that an officer does have the authority to remove any person from the vehicle during a traffic stop if he believes it is necessary for his safety. This means that when a police officer tells you to get out of the car, you must comply. This law extends to all passengers inside the vehicle, as well.
6. (BONUS) Be respectful
I can hear the angry voices now, and I understand, this is not the law. Nothing says that you have to respect law enforcement, however, it does go a long way. The golden rule of “treating others like you want to be treated” holds tremendous weight during a traffic stop (and may even get you cut loose with a warning). Give it a try. After all, it never hurts to be nice.
Agree? Disagree? Let me know in the comments! Make sure and subscribe for this daily blog!