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Safe Driver Call Backs

Richard B. Weinblatt

Everyone who’s been in the popo business for any amount of time knows that the two most dangerous activities law enforcement officers engage in are (I’ll give you a moment to guess)… domestic disturbances and traffic stops. With traffic stops, you just don’t know whom you are stopping. The person could be an emotionally disturbed person (the politically correct phrase for a crazy psycho type), a bank robber, or a little old lady on the way to church. You just don’t know.

Traditionally, police academies and employing law enforcement agencies have taught the driver’s side approach. Slowly, the passenger side approach has also been broached. Now there’s a new trend afoot in the traffic stop lexicon.

The driver call-back, or no approach, is gaining traction as officers come to grips with the dangers of roadside traffic stops. Many progressive law enforcers, such as the 1,500 sworn patrol deputy sheriffs of the Orange County Sheriff’s Office in Orlando, FL, now use this approach.

By the way this is not be confused with calling the driver back while you are firmly ensconced in the driver’s seat. This is a lazy and dangerous way of doing a driver call-back that I would never advocate.

The safer (notice it is “safer” as nothing in this business is safe or a guarantee) approach involves calling the driver back and changing positions to have a tactical advantage.

There are many advantages to using this tactic. Here are a few of them:

1) Divide and conquer. By calling the driver or occupants back to your marked vehicle, you have taken away any strength in numbers advantage that they might have had otherwise. If you had approached their vehicle, you would be confronting all of them together.

2) Sizing up. Bringing them back to your world allows you to assess them before walking into uncharted waters.

3) Distance from Weapons. When you call the driver back, you remove him or her from the proximity of any weapons that he or she may have stashed in the passenger compartment.

More on call back techniques >>>

  • H2510_max50


    over 6 years ago


    I gotta try this sometime. It would make for an interesting topic in my area.

  • Sany0043_max50


    over 6 years ago


    I think this is totally officer preference. I like the passenger side approach ecspeacially at night. I am not an expert by any means but the problem that i see with this is that it will be more dangerous to watch one person that is out of the car and by you and still watch the other passengers. I find it easier to watch everybody while they are in the car. Don't get me wrong there are times that call for pulling someone out of the car. The other problem with this is we are trained not to walk between our car and the violator's car incase our car gets rearended. So why would we put the driver in the space that we are trained not to go into. I am not saying this is a bad way of conducting traffic stops, I just don't see me using this method, again officer preference, but thanks for throwing new ideas out there.

  • Awww_max50


    over 6 years ago


    That is how my dept does it...I find it works well. When I was at a criminal patrol school, I saw a video where "bad guys" had shotguns built into there doors and they had a cable from the trigger to the area of the rear view mirror switch...When an officer approaches and gets into there business, they slightley crack open the door and pull the cable and wound and (or) kill the officer....from that point on..I call my peeps back to me.

  • 1979_max50


    over 6 years ago


    I was doing almost all of this 30 years ago for the simply reason that I like me and wanted to go home at night. The only problem I have with this and the video is that while this info and procedure is not secret, I don't like the idea of the general public knowing all that we do. The real BG's know most of it anyway so why let John Q. know it as he might have a real bad day and decide to take it out on a cop. This info helps him counteract what we do. Great training and great for use in the Academy and in-service training but, not on a public website. That's just my opinion anyway.

  • Robertmitchum_max50


    over 6 years ago


    i have used this numerous times

  • Mac_max50


    over 6 years ago


    Another thing that Trafficop84 mentioned- as you all know every state's laws differ- On a normal traffic stop in MD you can order passengers and the driver out, but only order the driver back in. If the passengers get out and say bye and start walking, you can't stop them. (unless you've seen them break a law, of course)

  • Jpso_max50


    over 6 years ago


    good info.

  • Newhk_max50


    over 6 years ago


    Good article.. I think the method has a time and place myself. Personally I would rarely use it. All I need is to get some drunk who falls getting out of his car and gets smacked by traffic... or he's too drunk to realize the car's not in park.... or the drivers sober and the drunk passing you is too busy watching and amazed by the colors of your lights, smack the driver you stopped, I'd wished they'd stayed in the car. I like them in the car! lol just me though

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 6 years ago

    That was great article and Video ..... Good info ....

  • Mac_max50


    over 6 years ago


    Is NOTMEOFFICER for real? Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do, but growling like a K-9 into the PA- this is straight out of a Police Academy movie! I'm all for being sneaky, but I don't think think PA Sounds are going into my "toolbelt", or handcuffing motorists to the pole...But hey, it worked for you.....

  • Tac_7_max50


    over 6 years ago


    I think this is yet another "tool" as mentioned in the article. I usually mix up my approaches depending on each stop. I.E. Single occupant/ Interstate-Passengerside, Single occupant/ city street-Driverside, Multiple occupants/ suspicious activity-Right rear passenger window...You get the idea. I also like to be one step ahead of the person I am contacting. If the violater rolls down their window and hangs his arm out, I will approach on the passenger side and catch him off guard. As most know this allows me to be on the offense during my contact. I like the above simply because it offers me yet another technique. I also like the fact that it does offer some solutions to FAQs. It wouldn't hurt to practice this and to explore some of the options...

  • Img_0323_max50


    over 6 years ago


    Good article. I don't think this way is for me, but it's a good tool to have. I prefer driver side approach in the day time, and passenger approach in the night time.

  • Donnga_max600_max50


    over 6 years ago


    This response may not sit well with many in the law enforcement career but here goes. As a senior executive and one who truly cares where law enforcement is going I'm going to say that the MOST serious issue facing all of us in law enfocement in relation to our career is the time and decisions we make behind the sterring wheel. More officers die in /or related to automobile accidents than any other form of ON-DUTY death related incidents than anything else. Should you doubt my words please go to the Officer Down web site and look for yourself. I am an advocate of true officer safety which means training with ALL available resouces including a table leg if necessary. Please think about this, we train at a minimum of 4 times a year (more for others) in lethal weapons, BUT, and I mean BUT, truthfully how many hours do we spend behind the sterring wheel in advanced driving techniques. For the vast majority I would say that "we" saw all of the driving training in the academy and very little or none since then. Folks, I have too many horror stories to tell but my hope is that evry last one of you goes home tonight! I would be very interested in your thoughts, whether or not you agree!
    Please stay safe.


  • Mac_max50


    over 6 years ago


    I agree with SCVANLEE. There are a few issues with this approach. Just because it is new doesn't mean it's improved. There are too many things that can go wrong here. Getting a driver out now puts him or her in danger of being struck or falling into traffic. It also allows the driver to be too close to you to react in a gunfight. Realistically, the driver would be pointing at you before you can unholster your weapon. We were taught driver and passenger approaches. You tell the driver what you want. You ask him where he keeps his documents, when to reach for them. If in the glove box, open it, sit back in your seat and do not reach in until I tell you too, Etc. Etc. Yes, there is a certain unknown in approaching a stopped vehicle, yet if done properly has more advantages to the officer. Also, the driver call back would likely cause the driver who is already nervous or on edge to react adversely to the officer. Who wants that? There may be a use for this somewhere, but in my opinion the passenger side approach is best.

  • New_image_max50


    over 6 years ago


    As with any approach to a violator vehicle this is one of many tools an officer can put in his tool belt. I have used the call back method in my duties as a patrol officer and an investigator. I also teach this approach at work with new recruits, but I also teach the driver side approach as well as my favorite the passenger side approach. The call back method should be used by the officer’s discretion as with any type of approach. An officer has to remember to keep that reactionary cap between them and the offender.

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