Special public service announcement for all citizens everywhere in America.
There has been a lot in the news and social media about individuals encountering with police that escalated to shootings and the use of force. This has brought about a lot of emotions and anger and so much so that truth has gotten lost. Even reporting about some of these in the media has been irresponsible.
That truth is a “simple” remedy that can help solve the problem and that has not been discussed in the media.
What is that remedy?
Well, there are simple steps that can be taken to prevent an escalation when encountering a police officer or being pulled over for a traffic violation.
There is an old saying that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” It’s about behavior… That’s where the prevention starts; educating proper behavior that can prevent an escalation. That proper behavior must be practiced by the police officers and just as importantly and more-so by citizens.
Proper Behavior: How to behave when encountering or pulled over by police.
The first thing to keep in mind is the authority of the police officer. You don’t want to do anything to challenge or disrespect the officer’s authority. You must also remember that more police officers in America are killed in traffic stops. Therefore, any police officer is concerned about his safety in performing his job.
Here are some simple rules:
Rule #1: Obey the rules of the road so that there is no probable cause for a police officer to pull you over. Make sure that your lights are working properly, your vehicle is safe and you are driving safely.
Rule #2: If you are being pulled over by a police officer, a good practice is to turn on your emergency flashers to send a message to the officer that you are acknowledging him.
Rule #3: Pullover to a safe area.
Rule #4: Turn off the engine, roll down your window, and turn on your dome interior lights if it is dark.
Rule #5: Stay in the car. This is very important! Stay in the car and only exit if the police officer instructs you to do so.
Rule #6: Stay calm and keep your hands on the steering wheel where they can be seen.
Rule #7: Follow the instructions of the officer. Do not argue, be disrespectful or resist. If you, as a citizen, start resisting, arguing or being disrespectful, you are provoking an unnecessary escalation that amounts to challenging the officer’s authority “AND YOU DON’T WANT TO DO THAT”. Be respectful even if you feel the officer’s behavior is out of order. You can always report an officer’s alleged bad behavior to his superiors at another time, but not on the scene at that time.
Rule #8: Never ever run from a police officer whether on foot or in a car.
Rule #9: If you have a weapon in the car it should be registered. Never carry a weapon in the car that is not registered. Let the officer know that there is a weapon in the car during a pullover and never move your hands or make any sudden move toward that weapon. Let the officer know it is registered.
Rule #10: Remember to always be respectful and follow the instructions and orders of the police officer.
These rules can go a long way in helping to prevent unnecessary escalations when encountering a police officer. The officer is about protecting you, the citizen, from criminals, thugs, and the unlawful. As a good citizen, you should want that.
Parents teach these rules to your children and of course, you too should follow them.
Pastors and churches should teach these as well.
Our children and all of us must learn to respect authority. That is the command of God in Romans chapter 13.