The Walpole Police Department works hard to increase the safety of the roadways in Walpole. Officers are posted daily at hot-spots around town. For example, intersections where high accident rates are identified by our supervisors, and officers are assigned to these areas to try and decrease violations, and increase safety. In addition, the Walpole Police are actively involved in State sponsored safety programs, such as the Click-It-Or-Ticket campaign, where we spread the word about the importance of seat belts. Our goal is to increase awareness of the rules of the road, and to increase the safety of the roadways for our citizens.
Below are 8 things to do (or not do) if you get pulled over by a police officer, and with every point is an explanation why. There are many myths about why police officers do what they do when they pull a vehicle over. Some of the things may seem silly or unnecessary to people who don't understand. Please read on, hopefully you will be able to gain a better understanding why police officers act the way they do when pulling a vehicle over. If we can create a greater understanding between the motoring public and police officers, then it will make for a more pleasant encounter for everyone.
1. -Pull Over- This may seem like an obvious request, but you would be surprised how many people try to continue on down the road hoping they are not the one getting pulled over. Once you see an emergency vehicle with it's lights on, immediately put your right directional on, and pull over to the far right side of the roadway.
-Why?- Using your directional lets the officer know you are aware of the situation, and pulling to the far right gives us plenty of room to either pass you, or room to walk safely during a stop.
-Never!!!- Never try to slip away. Taking a series of turns in an attempt to make yourself difficult to find is a very poor decision. Not only have you more than likely assured yourself a citation when you are found, but failing to stop for a police officer is an arrestable offense.
2.-Stay Seated- First, and most importantly, put your vehicle in park and stay seated.
-Why?- The most crucial thing to remember throughout the entire stop is that the officer does not know who you are, or what is in your vehicle. If you jump out of the car, and go running back to the officer, you are not only putting yourself in danger of getting run over, but you are going to make the officer very nervous. Stay seated, and wait for the officer to come to you.
3.-Don't Fidget- Put your interior light on, and keep your hands on the steering wheel.
-Why?- Many people like to get their license and registration ready and waiting for when the officer arrives. This is not recommended. Remember, the officer does not know who you are, or what is in your vehicle. Put yourself in the officer's shoes. The driver of the vehicle is leaning over the seat and digging through the glove compartment. You don't know who the driver is, or what they are looking for in the glove compartment. Could they be looking for the registration, most likely, but could they also be looking for a weapon, or trying to hide something?
4.-Don't Be Offended- A police officer may do things you feel are unnecessary for a simple speeding violation. It's nothing personal.
-Why?- Remember, police officers don't know who or what is in the vehicle they just stopped. Many "routine" traffic stops have ended in gunfire, and many officers have been killed in the line of duty stopping a "routine" speeder. Officers may saturate your vehicle in light. This is not meant to annoy you, but is for the officer's protection. Do not be offended if a police officer behaves cautiously.
5.-First Things First- Find your license and registration once you are asked by the officer.
-Why?- Seems simple enough, but it is not always the case. Many driver's want to get right to the court case, and start arguing their defense. We need your license first.
-Never!!!- Never tell the officer you are not going to get your license out until the officer gives you the reason for the stop. Once again, remember, we don't know who you are yet. To an officer, this demand may seem like the driver is trying to hide his/her identity. The operator of a motor vehicle is required by law to produce his/her license upon demand by an officer. Refusal to produce a license is an arrestable offense.
6.-Remember What Mom Told You- Treat the officer how you wish to be treated.
-Why?- There is not much of an explanation needed here. Police officers are like anyone else, they don't want to be yelled at, or cursed at while they work. A polite, pleasant, and cooperative attitude will be a welcomed change for a police officer.
7.-Patience Is A Virtue- Many people are in a hurry these days, however, do everything you can to be patient during a traffic stop.
-Why?- Officers have to run computer checks, and fill out paperwork, and are responsible for a variety of duties. This all takes time. We don't want to be out there any longer than you do.
8.-Accept The Outcome- The officer will soon be back with your documentation and the outcome of the stop. Police officers have the discretion to give a verbal warning, written warning, written "money" citation, and if the situation warrants, a criminal application or arrest. It is not recommended to begin arguing with the officer.
-Why?- This doesn't mean officer's don't make mistakes. The point is, on the side of the road is not the place for an argument. You have the right to appeal the outcome of a stop, and the proper way to do that is written on the back of the ticket.
Every year officer lose their lives as a result of being struck by motor vehicles. Directing traffic is a very dangerous business, and when you add construction equipment, and hazardous work areas, it makes the situation all the more difficult. Here are just a few reminders of what to do when you approach a construction area, especially one where a detail officer is directing traffic:
Stop everything you are doing and pay attention: Hang up the phone, put down the coffee, close the newspaper, and concentrate on driving. Construction areas, and detail officers often mean that the traffic flow is going to be changed.
Follow the detail officer's instructions: Remember that a detail officer not only has to control traffic, but accommodate construction equipment. If a detail officer has you stop somewhere that seems unreasonable, it is most likely because the construction has made it unsafe to continue. Just trust them, when it is clear, they will wave you on.
Detail officers will tell you when to proceed: If you are stopped by a detail officer, please remain stopped until told to proceed. Many drivers start going when they "think" it's safe, because they see the other side of traffic stopped. Don't anticipate. Detail officers have other concerns that you may not be aware of, like perhaps a dump truck is backing up.
Watch the detail officer: A detail officer supersedes any traffic control signal. If a traffic light is showing green, but a detail officer is ordering you to stop, you must stop.
Be patient: Trying to move two (2) lanes of traffic, through one lane is not easy. There is no secret, double the cars and half lanes is going to mean a slow down. Detail officers want the traffic to move a fast as possible, yet safely.
Keep it slow: In a construction area, conditions can change in an instant. Keep your speed down and you will be better prepared for the unexpected.
Please try to remember these simple suggestions when you are approaching a construction area, or detail officer. The Walpole Police Department has very experience and dedicated officers out on the street to try and make the roads as safe as possible. Everyone involved, drivers and officers alike, have the same goal, to get traffic moving quickly and safely. Following these reminders will make that possible.