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Suggestions regarding police interactions


DizRotus
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Our son has been an officer  with Metropolitan Police Department in Washington, DC for five years.  The majority of officers in MPD are non-white.  Most are African-Americans with Hispanic and Asian officers also in the mix.  Our son was born white and raised in the suburbs of Southeast Michigan.  It is sometimes a challenge for him to empathize with those he has taken an oath to protect.

 

He seldom makes traffic stops, as the danger is not justified by the opportunity to generate revenue.  Someone needs to be driving in a manner that is a danger to himself/herself or others before he pulls them over.  Busted headlight, taillight out, no turn signal, 5 miles over the limit, roll though a stop sign , , ,  have a nice day.  He won't stop you.

 

You must realize that he is always armed.  When he is off duty in civies driving his Jetta, he is armed.  DC does not allow CCW, except police officers, who are required to carry a gun in all but a few circumstances.  If he were to be pulled over he would do the following:

 

1. Put the window down immediately;

2. Turn on the interior light;

3. Respond respectfully to questions or commands from the officer;

4. Keep his hands at 10 & 2 on the wheel until the officer directs otherwise; and

5. Reach for the glove box, or anywhere else, ONLY AFTER directed to do so by the officer.

 

He recognizes that it is unrealistic for police officers to expect 100% compliance with the foregoing recommendations.  Failure to do the foregoing does not justify an overreaction by an officer. Nonetheless, it is excellent advice for anyone, especially if you are a member of a minority, as, unfortunately, all police officers do not treat all citizens the same.

 

In addition to the basics above, our son would politely inform the officer that he is an off-duty police officer and that he has a gun in a holster on his hip.  Only after being directed to do so by the officer would he reach for his identification or the gun.  Please understand, that he would exercise extreme caution so that no one gets shot.  This is even though he knows that, ultimately, the officer will acknowledge his status and the chances that he will get a ticket are slim to none.

 

Now replace this sober white off-duty police officer with someone who is high and scared and the danger for everyone goes up.  Add race to the equation and the potential for for disaster is magnified.

 

FWIW, he feels the videos of the deaths in Louisiana and Minnesota show unacceptable actions taken by poorly trained police officers.  He is embarrassed and distressed by such police conduct.  More important, it makes it more dangerous for good police officers to protect good people.

 

Please try hard to avoid spewing opinions in a manner in violation of TOS.

 

Be safe.

Edited by DizRotus
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Please thank your son for his service, "Diz". Sounds like a tough world out there for him.

 

Good information.  I have always thought about what my actions would be if pulled over.  My OB station wagon windows are all blacked out and always thought it would be a VERY GOOD idea to roll down all the windows (at least drivers side front & back) in the event of a traffic stop.  And of course hands on the wheel.  Put the officer at ease and offer respect...

 

Matt ♪ ♫ ♪

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Thanks Diz

My son is also a LEO in a smalle suburb outside of KC so while always in danger when pulling over a vehicle his daily grind would be less stressful than your son. But regardless all law enforcement is working under this "dark umbrella" of violence from both side of the badge. My son says the job is getting more difficult day to day with no positives in the near term.

Your comments on procedure is that much more difficult here in Kansas where he not only deals with those having conceal/carry privilege but the state law allowing everyone over 21 and who qualifies to own a pistol to legally open carry. So every vehicle stopped has a high % of having a gun either on the person or in the car. When he sees a gun out in the open he asks the person if he will forfeit the gun to the officer during and only during the stop. If no he asks that please make no abrupt move to the gun so that I don't have to do likewise.

He now has a young son he loves dearly and although he's a grown man I worry about him daily. These are not jobs to be taken lightly with the burden Now Always on law enforcement.

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I live in a civilized area of the country. Perhaps some of you do too. To ensure civility there are persons that have the job of maintaining compliance with laws. So, a civil society depends on each of us complying with laws. When stopped by a LEO for non-compliance, or for any other reason, we simply should comply with instruction. To do otherwise is a challenge to authority and is dealt with as such. That challenge should be as offensive to each of us just as it is to a LEO.

(generally speaking of course. for those that like to argue or point out the exception to the above)

Keith

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Nice post Diz, well written.

 

My oldest son (not the one pictured in my avatar) is also in law enforcement in North Myrtle Beach.  He would agree with all the suggestions your son gave you.

 

I have to admit worrying about him more lately due to recent events.  I hope all our sons and daughters who serve will be safe.

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I agree with everything so far, you should have respect for someone doing a really tough life threatening job, it's only right.

 

Not that I don't believe there are some bad apples, there always is, but overall these are good brave people.

 

In a way I think of them as somewhat like military people, Thank you, where would we be without all of them.      

 

 

For anyone want to comment please keep it civil, within the TOS...................thank you

Edited by dtel
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It is possible for some to offer unreasonable comments in violation of TOS in support of police, in support of those arrested or demonstrating, or opposing all of the foregoing.  IMO, dtel's admonition is not directed only at those who might criticize the police.

Edited by DizRotus
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I live in a civilized area of the country. Perhaps some of you do too. To ensure civility there are persons that have the job of maintaining compliance with laws. So, a civil society depends on each of us complying with laws. When stopped by a LEO for non-compliance, or for any other reason, we simply should comply with instruction. To do otherwise is a challenge to authority and is dealt with as such. That challenge should be as offensive to each of us just as it is to a LEO.

(generally speaking of course. for those that like to argue or point out the exception to the above)

Keith

Compliance is nothing more than obeying the law.  While keeping your hands at 10 and 2 is good advice, it is not the law.   You might get an adverse reaction merely attempting to turn on an interior light, depending upon your vehicle.  Again, there is no law regarding this, and the advice may not be the best.  The same goes for the glove box, it is a good idea to wait until license and registration are requested, but most leos should know the glove box is where those are kept.  I agree with Keith about complying with instruction, in general, as long as the instructions themselves are within the law.

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as long as the instructions themselves are within the law.

 

Arguing with an investigating police officer about the law is ALWAYS a mistake.  I speak from experience. 

 

Years ago I was involved in a minor traffic accident.  The investigating officer asked me, "Did you stop behind the stop sign?"  As a former prosecuting attorney, I foolishly replied, "That's not the law."  Although correct, my response was ill-advised.  The time to disagree with a police officer is later, not on the street.  On the street, you cannot win an argument with someone wearing a badge and a gun.

Edited by DizRotus
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as long as the instructions themselves are within the law.

 

Arguing with a police officer about the law is ALWAYS a mistake.  I speak from experience. 

 

Years ago I was involved in a minor traffic accident.  The investigating officer asked me, "Did you stop behind the stop sign?"  As a former prosecuting attorney, I foolishly replied, "That's not the law."  Although correct, my response was ill-advised.  The time to disagree with a police officer is later, not on the street.  On the street, you cannot win an argument with someone wearing a badge and a gun.

 

Welcome to Amerika.  Yeah.  Your papers please?

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IDK, having been pulled over on more than a couple occasions, I generally park it, turn off the engine, turn on the inside light, have my license and registration in hand and both hands up to my elbows hanging out the window. I also know that when being cuffed, it is always best to put your right hand behind your back 1st, even tho I am left handed

 

Mark

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Any sign of disrespect to an officer, especially a poorly trained or otherwise bad officer, on the street is a foolish mistake. Be respectful and then report bad police work to the proper authorities.

 

A few years ago I got a call from my younger son that he needed a ride to work,  It was winter and his one-way street in a rough part of Pontiac, MI was snow covered and unplowed.  I arrived in jeans and driving a work van  My son got in the driver's seat and we waited while one police officer sat in his car in the middle of the snow rutted street while a man leaned into the driver's window to talk to the officer.  There was nothing preventing the police officer from pulling out of the way to continue the conversation.  That would have allowed the now backed up traffic to proceed through on the one-way street,

 

Another squad car was pulled off to the side.  It's driver was standing in the middle of the road.  Occasionally he would look our way to observe the line of stopped traffic and then he would look away.  After several minutes I pointed ahead and asked if we could proceed.  The officer standing outside the other car went berserk.  He came up to the open window on the passenger's side and yelled that he would arrest me.  He stood with his stomach pressed against the hood of the van.

 

When we failed to respond he grew even more agitated.  Eventually, the other squad car moved out of the way and we proceeded through.  I got the license plate numbers of the squad cars and immediately called the Oakland County Sheriff Department.  My son and I made arrangements to go to the station to make written statements.   The officer's bully with a badge attitude was intolerable.  Rather than defusing a situation he was trying to create and escalate confrontation.

 

There was nothing about the situation to warn the officer that he was making empty threats to an attorney and former prosecutor.  Had he known, he probably would have acted differently.  That is exactly the point.  ALL people should be treated with respect and within the law.  I felt compelled to report the bad behavior.  His conduct hampers efforts of good police officers.  I made it clear to the supervisor that I would follow up on my complaints.  The department's response seemed appropriate.  The supervisor told me the officer had a different version, but that his failure to follow department policy to record the interaction caused them to discredit his version. The supervisor said, "Perhaps he's not suited to dealing with the public.  Maybe he should go back to jail duty."

 

Even people in jail deserve civil treatment, if not respect.  It is important to report police misconduct.  Good police officers need all the support we can offer.  Bad police officers should be disciplined, if not discharged.

Edited by DizRotus
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