Some of the more common questions about police procedure have to do with traffic stops.
When a lot of the public's perceptions about police officers and police procedures are derived from television, citizens often have a difficult time knowing which procedure is real and which is fiction.
For some, the only interactions they have with a police officer is during a traffic stop.
The first question that a police officer hears from a motorist during a stop is usually, "Why did you stop me?"
Some of the more common reasons for a motor vehicle stop include:
Q: I was only stopped for a minor offense, why did two or three other Police Officers show up or drive by?
A: Officers in the vicinity of a traffic stop routinely stop and check on a brother or sister officer conducting a motor vehicle stop - it's for officer safety!
Q: Why did the officer "sneak up" along side of my car?
A: Police Officers are trained to minimize their exposure to traffic to keep from getting hit by passing vehicles. Also, Officers don't know who you are; you may be a wanted felon on the run. The Officer is just being cautious and trying to assess the stop. Once the Officer feels that there is little danger, he/she will show himself/herself.
Q: Why do officers stay in their car so long? What are they doing?
A: The Officer is "running" or verifying the information you provided him/her with. National and Statewide computer checks are being processed and that takes a couple of minutes. Just try to be patient!
Q: The Police Officer wrote me a ticket and I feel that I didn't deserve it. What should I do?
A: If you don't agree with a ticket that an Officer wrote you, the side of the road is NOT the place to contest it. Every person that is issued a ticket has a right to an appeal. Simply fill out the rear of the ticket and send it in for an appeal. In six to eight weeks you will receive a summons to appear at a Clerk Magistrate's hearing. There you will be given an opportunity to state your case. ONCE AN OFFICER ISSUES A TICKET, HE/SHE CANNOT TAKE IT BACK. THE ONLY PERSON THAT CAN DISMISS A TICKET IS A CLERK MAGISTRATE OR A JUDGE. REMEMBER
Police Officers are trained to ask for your ID first and provide an explanation for the stop second. Once you provide the officer with your proper paperwork, he/she will give you the reason for the stop. Most officers wear a nametag on their uniform, so you have the advantage of knowing whom you are dealing with. Extend to the officer the courtesy of providing him/her with your ID without argument - It's the law!