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Zer Netmouse
May 18th, 2005
07:24 am

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police approach
As I write this, across the street someone is in his van having been pulled over by the police on his turn into the neighborhood. I can only assume he might be getting a ticket for speeding - I'm seeing a nearly silent theater from my office window. The one thing I could clearly hear was the police officer calling to him to get back in his car when he opened the door and stepped out. He sat back down and closed the door.

It was interesting watching the officer approach the car. She walked between the vehicles at an even, confident pace, reaching back with her left hand to check the presence of something she carries on her belt at her back. Maybe a holster, I couldn't tell. As she approached the driver's side door she slowed with caution, and she stepped in front of his window almost with the snappy motion you see in movies when a cop turns a corner of a building, half-expecting fire. It was subtle, but it was there.

I wouldn't have expected such caution on a wednesday morning in Ann Arbor. Maybe it's by the book. Maybe she had some reason to be suspicious. Maybe his getting out of the car before was reason enough. She went back to her car and wrote him a slip of paper and they're gone now. But it was interesting to see her move like that, so alert and ready to react, like a brief glimpse of a panther among housecats.

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From:kyril
Date:May 18th, 2005 06:05 am (UTC)
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Other than parking the car and turning off the engine, and leaving your hands in plain sight, wait for the officer to tell you what to do. If they want you out of the car, they'll ask; if they don't ask, they don't want you out of the car.
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From:backrubbear
Date:May 18th, 2005 06:22 am (UTC)
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I think the approach behavior has been standard operating procedure. I think it got introduced around the same time as the "park your car at an angle to the person you pulled over" procedure.

I'm often boggled that driver's education doesn't seem to have a section on "dealing with the police when pulled over". The police all but threaten to beat you if you step out of your car when pulled over. Unless you've been pulled over, how would you know that you're supposed to stay in your car? Is there any actual law that requires you to follow those instructions?
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