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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.

  • 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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