What to Do When You are Stopped by Police

Your Safety is Important to Us!

If you are stopped by a police officer, taking the actions suggested below will likely lead to a brief, positive, and safe encounter for both you and the officer.

What are some reasons police might stop me?

Generally, because you:

  • Are in the area where a crime just occurred
  • Witness a crime
  • Fit the description of a suspect
  • Have been pointed out as a suspect
  • Appear to need assistance
  • Violate a law

What should I consider if I am stopped?

  • Officers may not be stopping you for the same reason you think
  • Over-reaction and/or lack of cooperation will complicate the situation
  • Police are trained to remain in a position that will enhance officer safety
  • Actions and communications are not intended to offend you

What actions should I take if I’m approached by a police officer?

  • Follow the officer’s instructions
  • Keep your hands clearly visible
  • Make slow and deliberate movements
  • If a weapon is present:
    1. Verbally inform the officer of its exact location
    2. Do not make any gestures towards the weapon
    3. State whether you possess a concealed handgun permit
    4. Wait for specific instructions before making any movements
    5. Remain calm and do not become argumentative
  • Cooperation can greatly reduce the time you are detained

What actions should I take if I’m in a vehicle that is approached by a police officer?

  • Follow the officer’s instructions
  • Remain seated in the vehicle; do not get out unless instructed to do so
  • Keep your hands visible
  • Turn on the interior light when it’s dark outside
  • Produce your drivers license and vehicle registration upon request
  • Do not reach for anything unless directed to do so by the officer

When can I be searched by a police officer?

  • When arrested
  • When a warrant exists
  • When probable cause for an arrest exists
  • When consent is granted

Be aware that if you are suspected of being armed, the police officer is allowed to frisk you for weapons to ensure the safety of everyone present.

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