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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 >>>

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 7 years ago


    I don't really care for this technique. Because if you tell the driver of the car to step out and come back to your cruiser then he/she could hide a gun or a knife on them. Then when they get to your patrol car you have got a real bad, and possibly fatal problem. Now there's no real safe way to conduct a traffic stop. There are safety steps however, and bringing them to your car is NOT one of them.

  • Me_in_uniform_2_max50


    over 7 years ago


    Yes and No.... The Oklahoma Highway Patrol will put a driver in the patrol car they say its safer having them in your house then in there car I was never brave enough to put someone in my car that where not hand cuffed. im all about CQC but that is just a bit to close. what i did first time and everytime was put on a good hand and finger print om a suspects car and always used my dash cam at least that way i could be linked to that car. stay safe Brothers and Sisters

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 7 years ago


    I really don't like this idea because when you ask a driver to step out of his vehicle you are putting yourself in a bad situation. What if as soon as you ask him to step out, he steps out with a loaded handgun or rifle firing at you. Now you have to try and retreat to the back of your patrol car, and most rifle rounds penetrate car doors. I use passenger side approach every time, even if they pull into a parking lot. As I approach, I am looking for hands and if I can't see them I stop and ask the driver and passenger to put their hands up. I never go past the passenger door post, I lean forward before I get to the rear passenger door and check the backseat also before going any further. If the car has tinted windows I stop at the right rear of the car away from the door and yell to the driver to roll the windows down. If I stop any vehicle and it doesn't seem right, I will walk backwards back to my patrol car, and back it up a little and call for assistance. The calling them back to your car is not good in my opinion, leaves a grey area for officer/suspect confrontations.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 7 years ago


    New idea or not, like the article states,"...yet another option on our tool belt of choices." you men and women out there, making traffic stops on a daily basis like my wife and I do, please remember that you have choices and please take the time to review them before acting. We have 30 minutes, right?

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 7 years ago


    This isn't new. The Oklahoma Highway Patrol has been doing this for 5 or 6 years

  • Odtanimation1ot6fz8_max50


    over 7 years ago


    There are some concerns with this type of stop. It may have been around for a few years, but this is the first time I have heard of it. Think about a urban stop, where there is tight space, lots of traffic and people on the sidewalks. I feel it is safer to have the driver in their own vehicle with the option of shooting downwards if it went south. Also like some have said, oncoming traffic is a factor. Positioning the cruiser may be key in this. If you are on the side of a major highway, asking a driver to "walk back" could put them in harms way of traffic. Having them so close to the front of your cruiser is not good if the cruiser gets rear ended by up coming traffic. I guess their is not a safest type of stop, but it may work well in a parking lot or off the main road area. It depends on the circumstances, and the officer's comfort level.

  • 04-08-07_2245_max50


    over 7 years ago


    Making stops for the most part is safe, but when you add factors like multiple occupants, and night stops that can all change. Also like Richard said you do not know if they are wanted, just robed a bank armed or just an elderly lady on her way to church. You have to be careful; your life is on the line every day. There is another technique that can be used to prevent the occupant from driving off, and that is to put a stop stick in front of there tire. This will prevent them from turning the matter into a high speed pursuit. It maybe more likely that they cooperate with the office if they know they will not be able to flee. Just be sure to notify them that you are using a purist control device, and not to leave until you give them the ok. As long as you do this I think there is no liability to the department if they drive off before you give them the ok and it blows out the tire. This might have been one of the reasons that a lot of officers do not use this tactic, they do not want the added questioning when the department gets a bill for someone’s tire.

  • Attachment1_max50


    over 7 years ago


    These tactics are very effective.

  • Boblee_max50


    over 7 years ago


    We were doing this type "call back" when I became a trooper in 1968 and I did it for 15 years. So much for "new".

  • Policelinkbadge_max160_max160_max30_1__max50


    over 7 years ago


    This tactic does strike some intresting points. i guess the one big dissadvantage i see with this tactic is your field of fire. If i approach a vehicle ona traffic stop, i change up between the driver side approach and passenger side approach. If you have the driver step out of the vehicle and come back towards you, you have drastically changed your field of fire if the situation goes south. If you wind up ina shoot out, you are going to be shooting towards oncoming traffic which is a huge liability. I know that we are well trained in the use of our firearms, but look at all of the videos of officer shootings and you will find that numerous rounds are fired but only a few actually hit the intended target. If you approach the vehicle and the situation goes south, ending in a shooting incident, your field of fire is much better for the overall safety of the general public. One, you are shooting away from traffic and since you are elevated above them, you are shooting down twoards the ground. If you approach from the passenger side and end up in a shooting, you are facing oncoming traffic, but you are still shotting at a downward angle and you also have interior parts of the car to deflect stray rounds. Ultimately we are responsible for every round that leaves the barrel. I am a single man unit 100% of the time and i work the evening hours of darkness. my back up on a good day is atleast 5 to 10 minutes away, so i choose my stops carefully. I will pass on a car that is loaded down unless i know for a fact that my back up is very close by. i have no doubt that this could be a good tactic in some cases, but i personally would not use it.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 7 years ago


    I think the driver- call back is a good strategy but then again it also puts the driver in a bad position. Reason being is this, it makes the driver more acceptable to being hit by on coming traffic. Which in turn, would result in the agency having more suits of fault or neglect being filed against them. I think we should stick to passenger-side walk ups. From my point of view they seem to be the safest.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 7 years ago


    I think that the call back with their DL and follow up is a great idea!!!!

  • The_wall_max50


    over 7 years ago


    I think this could be another tool in your tool box, along with conventional stop procedures. I feel that if you have an option to use this and have gone through the proper training and the situation dictates this as an option, than do it. This can place you in a tactical advantage, especialy in a car occupied by one person.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 7 years ago


    As in no two traffic stops are alike, your procedure for doing these stops safely should not be repetitive or alike. In other words, don't get in a rut. If you have one passenger in the vehicle it should be safe to call him/her back to the vehicle. However, when you do call that suspect out you put him on an even playing ground with you it might not be a good idea if he/she out weighs you by 200 pounds or if he/she is a foot taller than you. Size up the situation and then make your own call. Hopefully, it will be the right one to your advantage. But, always make it to your advantage. That's the bottom line.

  • Tahoe_047_max50


    over 7 years ago


    There are pros and cons to all methods of traffic stops. I have been using the driver call- back for the past 8-9 years. If I don't use this method, I use passenger side approch. I feel both are tactically sound and effective methods. Location will usually dictate which method I use. The driver call back is probably not the best to use on a busy road (I-4). Just be sure when using the call back you position yourself properly on the passengers side front fender, and the driver is directly in front of the patrol car. This gives you good distance from the driver and a good visual of their actions.

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