Stay Safe While Stopped
For All Drivers - Best Practices for Interacting with a Police Officer
The most dangerous thing a police officer does on a daily basis is to conduct a traffic stop. It is dangerous because of the unknown factors. Here are a list of things you should do if you are pulled over by the police:
- Do not make any sudden movements.
- Verbalize to the officer your intentions before you make any movements and get the OK.
- Do not exit the vehicle, unless directed to do so by the officer.
- Roll down the driver's side window all the way down.
- Turn down your radio.
- If at night, turn on the interior light in your vehicle.
- Put your hands in a position where they can be visible to the officer as he/she approaches you. Make sure your hands are empty, if possible.
- Have your Vehicle Registration and Proof of Insurance somewhere close by to retrieve at the request of the officer (preferred location on a pouch on your sun visor, so it is not in an area that items such as a firearm may be stored).
- Do not argue with the officer on the side of the road, that is not the time or place. That is what court is for
Concealed Weapon Holder and Females Traveling AloneIf you are lawfully carrying a concealed weapon (i.e. Current CWP holder that is armed), you should do the following when pulled over by the police:
- Give the CWP to the police officer along with your driver's license.
- Two times when you must present a CWP if you are armed with a firearm:
a. When the person identifies themselves as a law enforcement officer.
b. When the officer request identification or a driver's license
- Verbally make the officer aware of where your firearm is concealed without making any movements to reveal, brandish or touch the firearm.
- Following directions after you told the officer you are armed is crucial for your safety.
If you are a female traveling alone and you are being stopped during the evening hours in a rural and/or poorly lit area, please do the following:
- Turn on your emergency hazards to acknowledge the officer.
- Slow speeds down and proceed to a well-lit area.
- Turn on interior lights.
- Call 911 and tell the dispatcher you are a female traveling alone and you have an officer behind you attempting to pull you over. Let them know you are not trying to flee, but you do not feel safe and want to pull to a well-lit area. Ask the dispatcher if this is one of their officers behind you (give your location and vehicle description).
NOTE: This is not a state law, but merely a courtesy that some officers allow to make females feel more comfortable. Once the 911 dispatcher confirms that is a law enforcement officer behind you, it is recommended to pull over.
Compliments of Reverend Doctor Waymon Mumford, Vice President of Region Six and Retired Police Chief of the City of Florence, South Carolina.