Letter to the Editor

Take steps to keep routine traffic stop a safe one

Wednesday, July 10, 2024

When we encounter law enforcement for a traffic stop, we all hope it is a safe one. Okay, I admit the driver hopes she or he doesnít get a ticket. The main goal is for it to be a safe one for both the officer and the driver; everyone wants to go home.

There are things we can do to help make it a safe traffic stop. We all want to ensure we are calm, and the law enforcement officer is calm. There are things we can do for that.

When you see those lights come on, the first thing you need to do is turn on the right turn signal and pull over to the safest place possible. If a safe place is a way off, turn on your flashers. It shows the officer you have seen his lights and have every intention of pulling over.

Once you pull over, ensure you are as far to the right as possible to help officer safety when they approach your vehicle. Turn off your engine and any audible device you have playing. Place your hands on the steering wheel and wait for the officer to approach.

If there are any passengers in the vehicle, they should either put their hands on the dashboard. If they are in the rear seat, they should place them on the back of the front seats. This might seem silly, yet it helps the officer to not see a threat from anyone in the vehicle. It helps the officer to remain calm.

The next thing is do not move till the officer asks you for anything. When they ask you for your driverís license, registration and proof of Insurance, let the officer know what movements you are taking and take them slow. All passengers should remain still.

This also applies when the officer is not near the vehicle. If they see a lot of movement, they will wonder what you are doing, and if you are obtaining a weapon that could hurt them. It will put them on high alert. This is never good for the occupants of the vehicle or the officer.

Follow all the officerís commands. If you object to the officer, you should tell the officer for the record, and then follow the command. You can fight the objection out in the court of law if necessary. Per the Idaho Statute Idaho Code ß49-316, it is required that the driver hand over their driverís license if requested during a traffic stop. The law is vague on whether passengers must or not.

If you are a passenger and it is requested by the officer, you can object, then it is recommended to provide. You have the courts system to settle disagreements. It is impossible to win an argument with law enforcement on the side of the road.

Itís important we all have safe stops so everyone involved can make it home to their loved ones. It might not occur often for us; it does for the law enforcement officers.

Law enforcement makes many stops each day, and they put their lives on the line for us, so letís make their job easier and safer.

Ė Earl McCreary,

Mountain Home

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