Friday, April 28, 2006

Stopping Traffic

The Citizen's Police Academy was about traffic stops: routine and dangerous. They showed several videos of real situations. One was of a woman police officer (wish they would have shown a man!) making several errors on what should have been a routine traffic stop. The guy attacked her, broke her jaw in several places and knocked her out. She was alone but her squad had a video recording system so it was all caught on tape, horrifying. That was her last day as a police officer as she quit before she got out of the hospital. She wasn't from our area but they use that, and other scary video as police training tapes. We were asked to analyze, what did she do wrong?

She had missed several cues that the man might be violent, but her basic mistake was in getting too close to him and not keeping the 2 1/2 angle of advantage. In our state the officer will come up to your car window at a back angle so they can see into the car and so you'd have to turn around to attack them. Even with this precaution my new favorite cop (I'm fickle!) has twice been hit in the knee with a car door. There are two instances where the officer will make the driver come out of the car instead of going up to them:

The first is for a felony traffic stop. The person is known to have weapons, has used them, has a prior record of violence, or is suspected of just committing a crime like a bank robbery. Two or three squads will make the stop. They will park at an angle several car lengths behind the vehicle, instead of one car length, like a regular traffic stop. The officers will actually draw their weapons and (with a megaphone) order the driver to come out of the car and approach them, backwards. They will cuff and put the driver in a squad before dealing with the passengers, if there are any.

The other instance, in our state (states are all different) is when the patrol stops a semi or other large vehicle. They stand behind and ask the driver to come back to them. Stopping any sort of truck or even an SUV is more dangerous than stopping a regular car because the officer can't see as well into the vehicle. When we participated in traffic stops I found out how hard it was to see into a car! I came up to the driver window (a cop, not a real traffic stop) and was doing my thing when my new favorite cop said, "He's got a gun. See the gun?" And I couldn't see it until I came around to the passenger's side window.

The cops were good at play acting traffic stops, they would drop their driver's license out the window. We were not supposed to bend over to get it but ask them to retrieve their license. One of our simulated stops had all the makings of a meth lab in the back of the jeep, so it quickly turned into a felony traffic stop and not a regular one so we had to call for backup before going any further.

We had seen from actual videos before we had the demonstration traffic stops that many people who are stopped become abusive. I saw this even in my ride-along that people are hard to handle, they don't obey commands and often need to be physically moved, out the door in a bar, away from a fight in the street, to the squad car for an arrest. A cop's job is very hands-on!

But my new favorite cop is their "secret weapon" which is why they called him away from his traffic cop duties to demonstrate to our class. They call this guy "the voice" because his commands are hynotically suggestive. You just want to do whatever he says! The sergeant said that officers usually find one or two things that they're unusually good at, and giving commands (and getting people to comply) is his. I didn't mind the black leather jacket and boots either!

Well, we talked about drunk driving and other issues which were also very interesting. Maybe I'll write about it more another time. It's so sad that we have only three more sessions left.

Neither apartment came through for my Mom last night so tonight we're going to see another one. Today should be not as hectic at work, as many co-workers are gone at work-travel. Have a happy Friday!


Blogger Michelle said...

So PBS has a leather fetish ehh, who knew?!!
Have a super weekend :o)

7:35 AM  
Blogger deni said...

All those cops, how could you not be fickle?

I hope your mom finds something to her liking.

8:42 AM  
Blogger Grant said...

Maybe you can learn from The Voice and use it on BZ.

BZ: We need to discuss the recent hotel room fiasco.
PBS: You want to give me a raise.
BZ: Damn skippy! Now take the day off.

11:17 AM  
Blogger sumo said...

That was all interesting cop stuff!

8:31 PM  
Blogger Dale said...

I wanted to be a cop when I was a kid. I wouldn't do it now, PB. Too dangerous. Too thankless. Too stressful. I really enjoy reading about your police academy course.

10:52 PM  
Blogger Magpie said...

hypnotically suggestive you'll do anything he says, i like the sound of


2:39 AM  
Blogger Lisa said...

This course sure does sound you manage to pick up some tips? You know, like if you do have a gun or meth lab in the back of your car that you don't them to notice? lol

Hope an apartment comes through for your Mum really soon!

5:51 AM  
Blogger Aims said...

Sounds great PBS. Have a good weekend.

5:29 AM  

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