POLICE Magazine

JUL 2018

Magazine for police and law enforcement

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34 POLICE JULY 2018 means that if you are holding a flashlight you should use your weak hand. Walk for- ward and stay close to the squad car, and once in front of it, move into the safety lane. Be patient when approaching and con- sider three different obser- vation points: 1. e trunk, which you should observe to ensure that it is secure while you make an initial observation of the interior of the vehicle 2. e rear passenger door, making sure to check the rear seat and floor area (begin looking for secondary violations such as seat belt- related infractions, open alcohol, drugs, and weapons) 3. e driver's door. Stay far enough back that if the driver's door opens, you are clear Observation point three is the most critical. You should observe the driver and continue inspecting the vehicle. Again, remember the obvious: Make the driver turn and talk to you, take documents with your weak hand, avoid transferring the flashlight to your strong hand (tucking it under your arm is an option), and begin your verbiage for the vehicle stop. Returning to Your Car—Return to your squad car to complete all paperwork. When returning to the squad car, keep your eye on the violator and/or passen- gers, while being aware of other traffic. Once at the squad car, remain watchful of The Winning Edge the violator and/or passengers while com- pleting the paperwork. An easy way to do this is to hold the paperwork high on the steering wheel, so your eyes face forward. Returning to the Stopped Vehicle— When returning to the stopped vehicle, carry as little as possible. Review the three observation points and look for any changes. Once back at the stopped vehi- cle, go through your normal verbiage and issue the paperwork, while keeping your strong hand free. Make it clear to the driv- er when they are allowed to pull back into traffic. Remember, you are responsible for your safety as well. KNOWN RISK STOPS When making a known risk vehicle stop, there is likely to be information available to you at the time of the stop that creates a sense of immediate danger of death or great bodily harm or which simply raises the risk level above an unknown risk stop. Examples of these circumstances include stolen vehicles, vehicles or occupants in connection with forcible felonies, or ve- hicles containing subjects armed and dangerous. Depending on the level of known risk, you will decide whether to approach the vehicle or to have the occupants come to you. Circumstances always dictate tac- tics. For the purpose of this article, we will consider a known higher risk vehicle stop in which you and other officers will have the occupants come to you such as stop- ping a suspect believed to be armed and dangerous. Making the Stop—When possible, stops should be coordinated beforehand with backup officers so that all those involved are utilizing the principle of mass and are on scene when the stop is initiated. e officer initiat- ing the stop should position their vehicle further back than that of the unknown risk vehicle stop. For exam- ple, the officer may wish to position the squad car 20 to 25 feet behind the suspect vehicle and should ensure that it is parked in the most tactically advantageous po- sition available and uses all available lighting to their advantage. Officers' Coordination—Depending on the location, backup officers may choose to position their squad cars behind that of the officer who initiated the stop, ei- ther to the right or the left, and possibly blocking off the roadway completely for the safety of citizens. Once the vehicle has been stopped, the officers need to exit their vehicles and get behind cover. One logical location for cover is behind their own squad cars, where they have the en- gine block between them and the suspect vehicle. Once officers are in position, it is impor- tant to work together and know each offi- cer's individual responsibilities. For exam- ple, officers should ascertain which of them is responsible for managing the suspect or suspects as they are ordered from the vehi- Having backup is critical when making a known risk traffic stop. Officers should give loud, clear commands to the vehicle's occupants.

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