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Things to Remember During High-Risk Traffic Stops

NCJ Number
Law Enforcement Technology Volume: 35 Issue: 9 Dated: September 2008 Pages: 92,94,97
Lindsey Bertomen
Date Published
September 2008
5 pages
Several effective strategies or patrol tactics that should be remembered and initiated during a high-risk traffic stop are presented.
First, during high-risk traffic stops local weather and road conditions should be considered, and a weather check is recommended during every briefing. Second, high-risk scenarios should be practiced until an entire team or department follows the written standard operating procedures (SOP) and has a template for each scenario. Deciding what to do in a given situation should be driven by SOP and practice. Third, during a high-risk stop or other operation that requires more handcuffs than the contact officer has on his/her belt, cover officers should pass theirs onto the contact officer. Fourth, the first thing an officer should do when a high-risk stop goes into a foot pursuit is clear the suspect vehicle of keys or weapons, as well as secure the patrol vehicle. Lastly, psychology should be used on the suspect or suspects, such as leading them to believe there is more than one officer in the vehicle or that a police canine is standing by to respond. The most effective psychology officers can use during high-risk traffic stops is to present a competent officer team. Suspects will recognize that the likelihood of effective resistance is trumped, thereby overwhelming the suspects with the threat of reasonable force to solicit compliance. These strategies and tactics presented should be remembered and applied by law enforcement officers during high-risk traffic stops.