What Are Proper Police Procedures in Traffic Stops?

The procedures in a traffic stop are to radio dispatch with the information about the violator’s vehicle, instruct the driver to exit the vehicle, conduct business on the non-traffic side of the road to minimize risk and control passengers, says Amaury Murgado, Police Magazine. Officers should focus on risk mitigation.

Officers should radio dispatch with the location of the stop, the number of occupants in the vehicle and the vehicle’s tag number and color, explains Murgado. The officer should relay this information to dispatch before stopping the vehicle. This step works as a precautionary measure, alerting someone that the officer is involved with a violator should violence occur. The officer and dispatch should remain in contact throughout the stop to ensure the officer receives prompt assistance if needed. Officers should stop vehicles in tactically sound spots, such as well-lighted areas at night. Officers also need to be cognizant of passing traffic when choosing a stop location. It is also important for the officer to exit the vehicle as safely as possible. Murgado recommends that officers require drivers to exit their vehicles so that any weapons hidden in the vehicle cannot be used against the officer. Officers should also call for backup immediately if they notice anything suspicious.