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How to keep the police on your side

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posted on Dec, 22 2008 @ 01:59 PM
I have been pulled over for various infractions over the years but I have never received a ticket (not even when I was doing 67 in a 45.) I always get away with verbal warnings because I learned a long time ago how to deal with the police. I have provided this knowledge to many skeptical acquaintances over the years but I am unsure how many, if any, ever heeded my advice.

Since, the people here at ATS have provided me with countless enjoyable hours I thought I would try to return the favor in my own small way.

Most of my experience dealing with the police is in the form of night-time traffic stops and the occasional foot-patrol just asking a few questions. I am not a police officer nor are any of my family members officers.

So you see a cop car up ahead?

First things first, don't automatically (reflexively) brake when you see a cop car. This sends the wrong message to an officer. You are basically saying, "I was trying to get away with breaking the law but I am not the kind of person who takes any responsibility for my choices."

The key here is to remember that POLICE ARE PEOPLE. First impressions are even more important to police because their job requires that they form opinions on people quickly and accurately or they could be dead.

Also, don't think that just because the cop is in front of you that he can't see your brake lights! At night, you can make out the red glow even from in front of the vehicle.

Uhoh, flashing lights!

Second thing, when you are pulled over: Signal your intentions; Put the car into park; Turn on the Hazard Lights; Turn off the engine; Then place BOTH HANDS on the steering wheel. If you can, crisscross your arms so that your left hand is on the right side of the wheel and your right hand is resting on the left side of the steering wheel.

The key here is that POLICE ARE PEOPLE. The same old saying about wild animals applies to a police officer: Cops are more afraid of you than you are of them.

Why? Imagine you just pulled a car over, at night. You are alone - backup is 15 minutes away - with an unknown person inside a 1 ton weapon and with an unknown quantity of weapons at their disposal inside the car. Wouldn't you be extremely hyped up, nervous, and/or cautious?

Anything you can do to make the police officer feel safer helps YOU. Show him you are no threat and marvel as he treats you almost as you would treat your neighbor.

Greeting the officer.

Third, getting the first word in is important but care must be used in choosing your words. You want to use a friendly tone and make it sound as if the officer is doing YOU a favor. My favorite line is, "Good evening, Officer." Simple, obvious, and easy to say without sounding too nervous. By uttering these words first, and using respectful language you guarantee that you will be treated with respect in return.

The point is that POLICE ARE PEOPLE. Don't ever say, "I didn't do anything wrong." because it makes you sound guilty and avoid "What did you pull me over for?" because you really shouldn't be questioning an officer.

When you do this properly, you mentally disarm the police officer. He no longer sees you as a stereotypical trouble maker - just a person like him. At this point, you will notice that the officer has taken his hand away from his holster because he no longer sees you as a threat. He may even crack a grin and lighten up his tone of voice.


Fourth, answer his questions as honestly as possible. If a cop asks, "Do you know why I pulled you over?" be honest but stay respectful, "Yes, I was speeding officer." If he follows up with "Why were going so fast?" don't make lame excuses but instead follow with, "There was no one on the road and I just wanted to get home."

If the cop asks, "Do you know how fast you were going?" Tell him exactly how fast you were going. This proves to the officer that you were aware of your speed and in control of your vehicle. Saying "Um, I am not sure." is just another way of saying, "I was driving recklessly because I didn't even know my speed."

The point is, once again, that POLICE ARE PEOPLE and nobody likes being lied to.

You may not realize this but by being honest and direct you are giving the police officer a sense of empowerment. He now can decide if he should be lenient or strict. This is a great thing for you because the police officer has probably already ticketed 20 people tonight without any real choice in the matter. Now you have given him the opportunity to choose to let you go with a warning.

The one question I don't answer honestly is "Where were you headed?" because I don't feel it is any of their business. I have found telling the officer that I am either on my way to or returning home from a cousin in some nearby town always works. Know your local geography.


Finally, even if the officer does decide to give you a ticket. THANK HIM. He was doing you a favor whether you realize it or not. The next person he pulls over might have been the person who would have killed you.

You will be surprised how this can come back to help you. It might help in court if you choose to contest the ticket or it might help the next time that cop pulls you over. You can't predict how or when it will come back to you but trust me it will.


I hope this procedure helps others as often as it has helped me.



[edit on 12.22.2008 by Voxel]

posted on Dec, 22 2008 @ 02:07 PM
Great info for those who aren't in the loop. Remember, police officers are people to. The only thing I have to add is that most of the officers I know, already know if you are going to get a ticket or not. They've already made up their mind. My advice comes in two words..

Be nice.

Police officers have a difficult and unfun job. Be nice to them. They aren't used to it.

Great info VOXEL! Thank you!

posted on Dec, 22 2008 @ 02:14 PM
Funny you mention this , which I agree with BTW . I was pulled over about a week ago for running a amber / red light and as a result of being pulled over I learned from the Police officer , from our conversation that some one has been using my name as an allies . In the end I was let off without even a warning I was simply told , have a good night . So in the end I was glad that I was pulled over and had learned that some one was using my name , who is in jail incidentally enough .

posted on Dec, 22 2008 @ 02:26 PM
Well, I would say.... making the assumption that the police are ever on your side is a big mistake. They aren't. Some better advice... don't speed in the first place and you won't have to worry about such encounters.

Volunteering any kind of info to the police, unless its absolutely necessary by law, is a mistake. Don't take my word for it... call your lawyer and ask him/her.

posted on Dec, 22 2008 @ 02:32 PM
Excellent post. I have seen the posts about knowing your rights and doing only enough to react to a police officer within those rights.

I think the best approach is somewhere in the middle. Know your rights and learn what cops are looking for as they approach.

Like the OP said, they want to see first and foremost that you are not a threat. Body language and a respectful tone put them more at ease with you and that makes things go so much smoother.

I have friends in various levels of law enforcement, from local to federal. They are normal people doing an abnormal job for psychotic pay. If you are wrong and you are caught, the best thing you can do is smile and own it. I promise you from experience that no matter the outcome, it will go SO much easier on you than if you try to play stupid or try to lie.

posted on Dec, 22 2008 @ 02:37 PM
reply to post by Resinveins

lawyer are not real good for advise in less there is money in it for them. Do your self a favor and stop thinking of the police as the enemy.

They are just like the rest of us only getting much more abuse for doing a job most wont.

There are good there are bad just as in every other profession.

posted on Dec, 22 2008 @ 02:40 PM
Thank you for this great information voxel! great guidelines on how to conduct yourself when your being stopped or questioned by authority… for some reason, when I'm driving, whenever I see a cop my heart starts to race and I become very nerves even though I didn't do anything wrong
. I've never been stopped by a police officer before, am law abiding citizen not a conceited person, so if it should happen I don't know how I would react!

Thank you again

posted on Dec, 22 2008 @ 02:46 PM
reply to post by Voxel

I agree totally.I have been stopped and caught with drugs 4 different times in my life.I have never been charged with any drug offence yet.In one of these times I had an ounce I was caught with.
I am always nice and treat them like human beings just doing a job.
I was caught at a Metallica concert with pot.The cop asked my why I brought it thinking he was asking the standard question...I looked at him like he just farted and told him this was a metallica show.He looked like I caught him being stupid and let me go.It was innocent.

posted on Dec, 22 2008 @ 02:49 PM
no offense

my brother's a cop

acting like this will get you a ticket.


if he catches you driving fast

your getting ticketed

because it annoys him when people in SUVs especially

drive fast.

posted on Dec, 22 2008 @ 02:50 PM
Work for the police department is a good way to avoid a ticket lol

But the brake lights is huge never break right away. The reason I say it is I was doing 85 in a 55 (late for a plane flight military flight that is) I got tagged around a bend my radar detector went from 0 to max and I never bothered to brake and kept going he never pulled me over.

If your military even if you do get pulled over they almost never give a ticket. I had a friend pulled over in the early 1990's for going 120 in a 65 the cop was ticked but when he found out he was military didn't even give him a warning just told him to slow down. I'm guessing military ticket = a lot more paperwork maybe?

posted on Dec, 22 2008 @ 02:51 PM
You do know that the reason they right tickets is to make quotas, right? The reason they need to make quotas is to bring in revenue to the town,count, city, state, and etc for which they work. So you'll be getting a ticket if they want to give you one. You don't even have to do anything wrong because they'll make an excuse up for you.

Let me say that I was raised by a cop, so I know all the tips, tricks, and details of how to pursue a traffic stop. Well,,,, let me tell you... No matter how polite and respectful I was, the cop always had a prick of an attitude.

Cops are very judgemental and do so by appearences. You people can believe what you wish but that advice doesn't work for me.

The only good cop is a.......(you fill in the blank).....cop

posted on Dec, 22 2008 @ 02:56 PM
Great thread. All of this has been said before, but needs to be reiterated constantly for people to notice.

To the person who said "just don't speed", you don't have to be speeding to get pulled over. Could have a tail light out you don't know about. Or maybe not. Maybe your vehicle fits the description of a "suspicious" vehicle, or even one that has recently been stolen.

The bottom line is that you don't have to do anything wrong to end up on the shoulder with flashing red and blue behind you.

I give a 100% effort to avoid any type of contact with the police, period. However, when it does happen, I make a 100% effort to follow the advice given in the OP.

As a convicted felon, who has served more time in correctional facilities than I care to discuss, I'm quite familiar with how cops react to certain situations. A cop who's just pulled you over, acts toward the driver, the same way a prison guard reacts to an inmate. The officers behavior directly correlates to the level of threat he perceives you currently pose, how likely he believes it is that you will follow instruction, and weather or not he foresees you becoming combative.

posted on Dec, 22 2008 @ 02:58 PM
I do the things you mentioned, but recently added one more.

Once I get the car in park, I have already rolled down my window, and I actually hold both hands just outside the window, using the police car lights, to find my license.

He can see both hands before he ever exits the car.

I also found that when you include your Concealed Weapon Permit with your Driver's License, you can almost hear the sigh of relief.

He now knows he's not dealing with a convicted felon, and I have just warned him that there is likely a weapon in the vehicle or on me.

I never get a ticket either, and just before they walk away, they'll usually ask,

"By the way, where is it?"

I'll reply and we'll both smile and I tell him to be careful.

He's just doing his job.

And the odds are, he's been dealing with a**hole after a**hole all day or night long.

Give the man a break. From a**holes.

And he may give you one.

posted on Dec, 22 2008 @ 02:58 PM
reply to post by angryamerican

Why would that be doing myself a favor? How I think of them shouldn't affect how they do their thankless job yes? And yes my lawyer gets paid, by me, which is one of the main reasons she is more on my side than the police will ever be.

If you want to give up your rights by volunteering info, by all means go ahead.
You might want to review this first though :

posted on Dec, 22 2008 @ 03:00 PM
So basically when you are pulled over by the police the message is, assume the position and walk on eggshells. You don't want mess with that hair trigger personality.

posted on Dec, 22 2008 @ 03:16 PM
reply to post by Revealation

wow, could not be more wrong! there are no quotas. the revenue you speek of is based on FBI annual crime reports filed by the PD. traffic infractions get a zero value for funding, ticket books don't cost that much. bugets are based on violent, drug, and property crimes. cops get more bonuses when traffic violations go down, cause it means what their doing is working, duh.

but yes, i just finished a semester in criminal justice. and yes cops are trained to make up their mind if your getting a ticket or not before they get out of the car. but, if you are polite and cooperative cops are human and have the descrestion to change their mind and just give a warnng.

one trick i have used that works is: instead of putting your hands on the wheel, i put both hand out the window with fingers streched out. the officer instantly relaxes and takes his hand off his weapon and smiles. then he usually says "you must have been pulled over before?" and i say "not that, i just know a few cops and that it makes your job easier." his reply..."have a nice day, and slow down."

posted on Dec, 22 2008 @ 03:39 PM
reply to post by Revealation

Quotas are illegal now...

This is not a one liner. A one liner might be: "My girls so ugly at Christmas they hang her and kiss the mistletoe."

posted on Dec, 22 2008 @ 03:41 PM
reply to post by Jkd Up

WOW! There's a lot of misconception about the police dept!

posted on Dec, 22 2008 @ 04:51 PM
I have buddy who happens to be a sheriff. He told me that if they want to pull you over, they can usually find a reason. One of the things he looks for, believe it or not, is dirty windows. It's their belief (his, at least) that if you don't take the time to properly maintain and keep your vehicle clean, you're more likely to be slacking in other aspects of your life.

He said, from his own experience, that the odds increase dramatically that the driver has no insurance, unpaid tickets, or has been drinking. He also suspects anyone that has their windows open on cold days of drinking, seeing how alcohol acts like anti-freeze.

On that note, I haven't been pulled over in 15 years, yay!


posted on Dec, 22 2008 @ 05:07 PM
Op...good post. I would like to add one more though, if they pull you over at night turn your interior lights on as they approach the car. That automatically signals you are NOT dangerous, and not going for a weapon, and being sensitive to the officers natural safety concern over approaching an unknown car at night when he can't see what the occupants are doing.

Regarding "rights" i think there is a world of difference between trying to talk your way out of a speeding ticket, and trying to avoid being caught on posession. If you have something you shouldn't have then the game changes. There was a good video posted on another thread that talked about that, if the car reeks only role the window down a couple of inches, if you are asked to exit the vehicle LOCK the doors automatically. Do not volunteer to let them search the vehicle etc...

[edit on 22-12-2008 by Sonya610]

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