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.
VERY MINOR EDITS
[edit on 12.22.2008 by Voxel]