Traffic Stop Safety

by Christa Lollis

You hear the siren and see the lights flashing in your rearview mirror. It's too late to slow down, and you know a conversation with a police officer is in your near future. It's a tense situation for the person being pulled over but also for the officer. "Your heart is beating fast. You have adrenaline but you have to channel that correctly and not allow it to dictate your actions," Lufkin patrol officer Jim Porter explained. But even when the officer is calm they never know what the person in the car is thinking.

Just recently Porter dealt with his own dangerous situation. "I exited my car to assist the sheriff's department in arresting this individual and he tried to run over me. We got into a pursuit that individual rammed my patrol car twice during the pursuit."

Most of the time officers have no idea what they're walking up to. There's things drivers can do to let the officers know it's safe to approach the vehicle like roll your window down, turn the dome light on and put both hands on the steering wheel. Also pulling over to the right of the roadway and out of lane of traffic keeps officer out of danger. And porter says safety of officers and East Texans is their top priority.