Quantcast Traffic Stops (Unknown Risks)

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LEARNING OBJECTIVES: Describe the procedures and techniques used to make traffic stops with unknown risks.

The safety of the Master-At-Arms/security force member and the people in the vehicle is the primary concern in any traffic stop.

Police officers make hundreds of vehicle traffic stops each day in the United States, many without incident, others at the risk of their lives. Overconfidence, carelessness, and lack of training are the main reasons officers lose their lives during vehicle traffic stops.

Before initiating the stop, select a safe location; If possible, choose a place large enough for the security vehicle and the violator to pull off the road and not interfere with other traffic. During hours of darkness, lighting should play a major role in your selection of an area to stop a vehicle. Also, avoid

1. intersections,

2. curves,

3. hills, and

4. areas of total darkness.

Before making the stop, write down the license number of the vehicle, make, model, color, and if known, the year.

Notify the dispatcher BEFORE the stop is initiated, with the following information:

1. Location of stop.

2. License number of the vehicle.

3. Number of individuals in the vehicle and of what sex.

4. Reason stop is being made.

Initiate the stop, using emergency lights, horn, siren, and/or public address system, in that order. Direct the vehicle to the right edge of the roadway. Park the security vehicle 10 to 12 feet from the stopped vehicle and offset 3 feet to the left.



Leave emergency lights and four way flashers on and exit the vehicle to start your approach. Remember to look for traffic and vehicles pulling up behind you. Exit your vehicle completely and begin walking slowly towards the stopped vehicle. While approaching the violator vehicle, be observant for any unusual movement in the vehicle and any objects being thrown from the vehicle.


If only the front seat of the vehicle is occupied, keep the occupants in sight, approach from the left side of the vehicle, stop at rear window and check the back seat and floor and at the same time, press down on the trunk, to make sure it's closed and locked.


Stop at the rear edge of the driver's door and stand with your weapon side away from the driver. Using one knee, press it lightly against the door; this will alert and enable you to react if the driver attempts to exit the vehicle.


When the vehicle is occupied both front and rear seats, follow the same steps for approaching a vehicle with only the front seat occupied. Using peripheral vision, watch people in both the front and back seats.

If two Master-At-Arms/security force members are riding in one vehicle, they should not approach the violator vehicle together. Allow the driver to approach first and then the second member should approach on the right side of the vehicle and stop at the right rear section of the vehicle. An alternate approach is for the second member to remain at the vehicle, behind the passenger side door.

When there is cause to have the violator get out of his/her vehicle (such as a DUI), check for oncoming traffic for safety of all involved. If there is more than one person in the vehicle for suspected DUI, wait until backup arrives before removing the violator.

Open the driver's door, moving backwards carefully as the door opens, to avoid being struck by the door. If traffic conditions make it unsafe to exit from the driver's side door, use the door on the passenger side.

Once the driver is out of the vehicle, tell and/or escort the individual to the rear of his vehicle. Stay behind the individual, always alert for sudden movements or actions, and follow this person to the curb or sidewalk.

When stopping a motorcycle, direct the driver to step over to the curb or sidewalk.

When dealing with traffic violators, maintain courtesy and proper military and professional bearing. Except for unusual circumstances, keep all persons in the vehicle for better control.

Use proper titles. The security member/MA should introduce himself/herself (such as "Good morning Sir" or "Ma' am", "My Name is MA1 Boate or Patrolman Boate of NAS Neversail Security Department.")

Ask for identification documents, vehicle documents and other documents required by installation regulations or SOP. Accept only the requested items and not entire wallets or purses.

MA/security force members should never reach into the violator's vehicle. If issuing a traffic citation, write the citation inside your patrol vehicle, or at the right rear of the patrol vehicle, looking periodically at the violator vehicle.

After writing the traffic citation, use caution approaching the violator vehicle. After the driver signs the citation, ensure you have returned all documentation received, back to the driver.

Upon returning to your patrol vehicle, never turn your back to the violator vehicle; walk backwards to your patrol vehicle, using caution and care. If traffic is heavy or congested, assist the violator back into the traffic pattern/flow.


Unknown risk traffic stops are just thatunknown. The MA/Security member has no way to determine who is being stopped or how they may react. Be alert, cautious, and remember your training-the best way to be prepared. Don't become careless or relaxed just because you patrol a Naval installation and nothing unusual ever happens; you could be signing your death warrant.


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