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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 201965 Find in a Library
Title: Tactically Sound Vehicle Stops
Journal: Law and Order  Volume:51  Issue:7  Dated:July 2003  Pages:80-83
Author(s): Steve Papenfuhs
Date Published: July 2003
Page Count: 4
Type: Instructional Material; Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article argues for the principle of making motorists exit their vehicles while the officer remains in a position of cover when making a vehicle stop.
Abstract: In two separate decisions, the U.S. Supreme Court has determined that the stopping of vehicles by police officers is inherently dangerous for the officers involved; therefore, officers may direct all occupants out of their vehicles without any additional justification legally required. The traditional law enforcement practice of leaving one's vehicle to approach the driver's side of the stopped vehicle requires that the officer leave cover and concealment, place himself/herself in a kill zone, and minimize distance from a potential threat. The arguments that departing from such a tradition will hinder good public relations and prevent an officer from engaging in a visual search of the interior of the vehicle are not sufficient to warrant placing an officer in a dangerous position. Under the policy of having vehicle occupants exit the vehicle while the officer remains with his/her vehicle, the officer can assess occupants' willingness to comply with officer commands, determine whether occupants have weapons in their hands, and be in a better position for self-defense by firing his/her weapon from cover or by escaping the scene in his/her patrol car.
Main Term(s): Police policies and procedures
Index Term(s): Highway traffic management; Police safety; Police safety techniques; Traffic law enforcement; Traffic law enforcement training; Vehicle stops
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