Safe Driver Call Backs
Richard B. Weinblatt
The call-back can be done from the driver’s side area, although most police trainers are advocating a quick walk around the back of the patrol vehicle and doing so from the passenger side front door area. By conducting the driver call back in this manner, you are guiding him away from the traffic that is buzzing by in the roadway and towards the front right corner of your cruiser.
Positioning the person during the stop’s interaction is crucial as the front corner of the car gives you a natural barrier that could protect you and buy you time. When the person comes towards the front of your car, you can move up slightly to be by the front right tire.
Advocates like this as they have the physical barrier. A slight fall back and officers are within reach (and cover) of the passenger compartment and its in-car computer and radio systems. They also have access to shotgun and other weaponry if that is needed.
Some critics of this method lament the distance from your patrol vehicle’s driver’s area. This could be crucial if the traffic stop target decides to drive off before you change position and conduct the driver call-back. Critics also criticize the apparent lack of ability to look into the subject’s car and see what the plain view doctrine could produce.
One way to deal with the need for plain view doctrine curiousness is to call the driver back and ask him to bring his driver’s license. Once you’ve had your meeting at the front of your car, you know with whom you are dealing, and you have the license in your possession, you can request that he go back to his car to retrieve registration and proof of insurance – mandatory financial responsibility documents.
When he heads back to his vehicle, you should be right behind him. This tactic gives you the opportunity to see everything he is doing. This approach also protects you from any attack from the vehicle while doing the walk up.
There are many advantages to conducting vehicle stops this third and relatively new method. As with all police tactics, no one size fits all. This new traffic stop trend should be yet another option on your tool belt of choices.