High Risk Traffic Stop Procedure


1. Initial Tactics

Radio vehicle plate, description, occupant info

Communicate high-risk stop decision to other units

Pre-plan location for stop

Initiate stop & position units (Contact / Cover)

2. Initial Instructions (Contact Officer)

Assume position of cover


• “Turn off engine”

• “Don’t move”

• “Throw keys out window”

• “Driver / Passenger: put your hands against windshield”

• “Backseat: put hands on back of front seat”

Approach in a manner to reduce risk to officer(s)

3. Removal of Occupants (Contact Officer)

Announce (begin with driver)

• “Reach your hand out the window and open the door from the outside”

• “Step out of the car”

• “Put your hands up”

• “Put your hands behind your head”

• “Kick the door shut”

4. Control (Contact Officer)

Maintain cover & announce:

• “With your hands up, walk backwards toward the sound of my voice” (have subject move to left / right as necessary)

When positioned correctly instruct subject to kneel

• “Lie flat on your front w/arms out to sides”

• “Palms up”

• “Cross your feet at the ankles”

5. Custody From Prone Position (Cover Officer)

Instruct to turn head away from custody officer

6. Clear Vehicle (Contact & Cover)

“You in vehicle — we know you are there — sit up now”

Clear vehicle — maximize officer safety

Clarity of audio

Next: Alcohol / Drug Detection Guide

Previous: Speed Enforcement

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© 2008, Informed

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 4 years ago


    Thanks, I'm having to do a class for my section. This is helpful.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 5 years ago

    Commands are a little vague, but good. I would be more specific, because they are under a great deal of stress with guns pointing at them, and may be a bit flustered. I would order them by saying, "Driver: Slowly place your hands behind your head, and take small, slow steps backwards when I say move, MOVE" Sometimes you will get smart asses that when you tell them to move backwards towards the sound of your voice, they will go diagonal, or move really quick, so just be extremely specific. remember, we are dealing with idiots.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    almost 6 years ago

    Good info, thanks

  • Delicate_arch_max50


    over 6 years ago


    Good information!

  • Wscle001_max50


    over 6 years ago


    We have them lift shirt from the shoulders, not back of collar. That way hands are always in sight instead of dissapearing behind the head...

  • Bad3_max50


    over 6 years ago


    clear information.

  • Deer_hunting_at_kev_s_002_sq90_1__max50


    almost 7 years ago


    I train my rookies to have a suspect lift the shirt / jacket by the back of the collar over their heads and for the suspect to do a 180* turn. (Two reasons, look for hidden weapons and so the suspect can not see the positioning of the other officers) Have the suspect come back as far and away from the suspect vehicle.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    almost 7 years ago


    Excellent ideas, just one point to remember, asking them to reach down and lift their shirt may move their jand to close proximity to a hidden weapon, which they can access quickly if we are allowing them to get close to "it'. Juat a thought.

  • Pitman_photo_-_06_april__06_max50


    about 7 years ago


    We do the same CalTom on lifting the shirt. At least that is USAF policy as well. We also do not approach the vehicle until all occupants are out of the vehicle and we have issued a couple of "Ghost Challenges" to try and trick anyone hiding in the car to get out. The final ghost challenge prior to making our approach is to announce over the PA, "Dog Off Leash".

    We also have the subject leave the car door open and not shut it.

  • Cal_bears_max50


    over 7 years ago


    I got taught (Marines) to have the suspect (slowly!) grab (with one hand) back of their shirt / jacket (at the collar) and pull it up from behind to check the waistband for a weapon, then (again slowly) turn 180º, and do the same from the front. Also, to maneuver them away from the vehicle before taking them into custody (in case of VBIED or unseen suspect in the vehicle). Thoughts?

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