INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A lot of us have been there: You’re driving along and suddenly a police Officer pulls you over.
So how should you handle it? I went to IMPD’s Citizens’ Academy to find out. While at the academy, I was told Sgt. Nathan Barlow would be training me.
Turns out, the current class of police recruits are getting the same lesson.
“We train our recruits and our Officers that there’s only two types of stops; there are unknown-risk stops and high-risk stops.” Barlow said.
We decided to learn by setting up a mock traffic stop. Sitting behind the wheel of the SUV is Nikki Moore,
a board chair of Citizens’ Alliance.
“If you just look at the vehicle we stopped from the tinting alone, [it’s] very difficult to see,” Barlow said as he was walking toward the SUV. “[What are the] number of passengers? We don’t know if someone is laying in wait to launch an ambush [or] it could just be a mother and her children.”
Barlow said that we would be surprised how many people are just given a warning instead of a ticket. Courtesy, he said, goes a long way.
“Recognize the more you do to put them at ease during a traffic stop… simple things such as turning on the dome light in the car, making sure your hands are visible, not moving around in the car,” Barlow explained.
And there are a lot of things a driver can do that will ensure a ticket is written.
“The worst thing you can do is all over the Internet, which is to take a cell phone, put it up in the officer’s face and tell them that you are recording them and not complying with their orders,” he said. “There is a misconception that the police must tell you why they stopped you.”
That’s where classes like the Department of Public Safety’s Citizens’ Academy comes in.
It’s the DPS’ way of helping to educate. I’ve been a part of the class, and Nikki says more people are now signing up.
“We have a wait list; we’re getting emails everyday from people who want to take part in the class, that I don’t think otherwise would’ve known about it.” Moore explained.
The class has been an amazing experience. I graduate on Friday.