Have you ever been pulled over for speeding or a minor infraction only to be asked the harrowing question- “please step out of your car.” As the number of policemen are decreasing in many cities, and the quality of police training is compromised, reports of harassment have become more frequent. Take courage, there is a way of handling a potentially dangerous situation in a discreet and effective manner.
Please Get Out of Your Car
In most cases, the police will not ask you to get out of you car. However, they may still ask, for reasons good and bad. If you have been drinking at all or you have been speeding at an unseemly rate, then expect to evacuate your vehicle. These are both valid reasons for a cop to ask you to leave your car.
For Reasons Unknown
There are times when you are being asked to leave your car for no real reason. You may have been speeding or you might have one of your lights out. Then the cop asks you to step out of the car. You can take action, if you feel suspicious.
Inquire. You have every right to inquire as to the nature of the search. The cop does not have to answer. However, he does have to give you his name.
Ask for it. This is the second step. Ask for a card with the officer’s name on it or just get his and his partner’s name if possible. This way you will be able to identify them when you file a complaint, should you choose to do so. This will make the file processing go much more quickly and smoothly. The investigators will be able to put a name with a face. This is important.
Respect. No matter how ill you think you may have been treated or unfairly. Always treat the officers with respect. Follow directions and don’t talk back. This almost always guarantees further harassment. If you are dealing with a particularly difficult officer, insults and personal comments will only inflame the officer more. You can always file a complaint later and give the head officer an earful. No matter what happens, remember that you ultimately have no say as to what the officer says or does, as long as he stays within the law.
Use your cell phone. If you know the number to the local station, lock it in to your cell phone. If you feel you have been harassed unreasonably, call the station immediately and tell them what happened, by whom, and where.
Pulling over in the right location can make a difference. The law requires that you safely pull over into the safest area possible. Follow these rules by all means, but don’t forget to pull over into an area visible to motorists. The possibility of being observed or even taped is enough for any policeman to watch his conduct. Pulling over in an area which is dark and remote only gives the policeman more occasion for foul play.
With the high tech gadgetry available today, it makes it possible to be your surveillance service. Cell phones now have photographic and video capabilities, use them to your advantage. There is no law stating that you can’t a photo of the police officer and the vehicle in which he rides. This could be vital evidence in case you need to file a report or testify in the court of law.