Public MIsunderstanding of Officer Safety

Essay by Eryq HastingsUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, January 1996

download word file, 3 pages 3.8

Public Misunderstanding of 'Officer Safety'

How many times have you been pulled over by a police officer, and when the confrontation was complete you said to yourself, 'Boy, was he rude!' or 'There was no need for him to treat me like that.' Well, unfortunately, the public is prone to misinterpret an officer being safe for being rude. Unfortunately, the actions taken during a 'routine' traffic stop which are interpreted as being rude are necessary steps that insure the safety of both officer and civilian.

Imagine for a moment that you are a police officer on duty. You observe a vehicle traveling 36 miles per hour on a 30 mile per hour road. You decide to stop the vehicle and give the driver a verbal warning in hopes that he will slow down and avoid an accident further down the road. As you walk up to the driver's side window, you are shot 10 times in the face and chest and the driver leaves you for dead.

This situation actually occurred in San Diego, CA, 18 months ago. Many like it occur every day, and this is in the forefront of the mind of every officer.

Another thing that an officer must keep in mind during a traffic stop is the safety of the civilian driver. Same situation as above, but instead, as the vehicle stops, the driver gets out of his car and is struck by a passing motorist. Again, this happens more than you would like to believe.

The FBI conducts semi-annual research regarding the subject of officer safety and procedural changes which increase the chances of law enforcement officers surviving their high risk work day. These are the some of the procedures which they have published in regards to traffic stops, and which...