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View Full Version : Normal for police to walk backwards from a stopped vehicle to their patrol car?


ScottRiqui
February 6, 2012, 10:19 PM
Last week, I received a speeding ticket (73 in a 60) while driving a government van full of military officers and senior enlisted personnel. I was as polite and respectful as could be, the patrolman was pleasant and professional, and I thought the whole episode was pretty uneventful.

But when the patrolman returned to his car at the end of the stop, he was walking backward the whole time (facing the van), with his hand on his pistol. I thought it was strange, and the only thing I can think of was that he might have been spooked since my CCW permit would have come up when he ran my license. I didn't mention my permit or give it to him since I wasn't carrying at the time. (This is consistent with the laws in Virginia, where the stop took place.)

Any thoughts? Is this a normal practice among police officers?

kraigwy
February 6, 2012, 10:26 PM
It's called Officer Safety

Greybeard
February 6, 2012, 10:29 PM
Although not required by Tejas law to show CHL if not carrying, I suggest to my students to show it anyway. Such might have made that officer a little more trusting.

ScottRiqui
February 6, 2012, 10:31 PM
Thanks, kraigwy - Googling that phrase, along with "walk backward" did pull up a bunch of references to the practice. I guess not all officers do it, because I hadn't seen it before (on the highway, perhaps some are more concerned about the traffic coming up behind them?)

Brian Pfleuger
February 6, 2012, 10:40 PM
Officer Safety, I understand. A government van full of military personnel and at THE END of the stop? That I don't understand.

Nitesites
February 6, 2012, 10:53 PM
Why sweat it? Kudos to the LEO for falling back on his training/not getting lax on what could be considered a "safe" stop (false sense of security). Shows his level of mental conditioning?

Single Six
February 6, 2012, 11:25 PM
I wasn't taught to do what you've described in my academy days, but then again, I went to the academy over 2 decades back. I understand that it is being taught these days. Me, when I pull over a car, I try to be as cautious as possible, and always practice what's known as "if / then" thinking. In other words, if you've pulled over 1,000 drivers, and all of them reached into the glove box and came out with a registration card, it's easy to expect driver # 1001 to do likewise. However, when driver # 1001 pulls out not a registration card, but rather a Lorcin .380, because of you expecting compliance, you're caught flat-footed. There's that precious first second that you lose because you're caught by surprise. So "if / then" thinking goes like this: "IF he pulls out a gun, THEN I'm going to..." You get the idea. Expecting the worst goes a long way toward being mentally prepared. Lastly, I'll add this...In the small town PD that I serve with, it's been said many times: "The way we do certain things in the field might well get an officer hurt or killed...and for us to do certain things in the field the way they do it in big cities would get us complained on regularly, and probably fired."

TheGoldenState
February 6, 2012, 11:47 PM
Safe- Yes
Little odd- yes

solidgun
February 6, 2012, 11:51 PM
It is like many of us not using the slide release to chamber a round....just a firm rack and release.
If you do what you train all the time and consistently, you will always revert to it.

MTT TL
February 7, 2012, 12:07 AM
Might have wanted to keep you all in camera shot. Many cops are wearing cameras these days.

Dr. Strangelove
February 7, 2012, 12:08 AM
Officer Safety, I understand. A government van full of military personnel and at THE END of the stop? That I don't understand.

That's what my 1st thought was as well.

kraigwy
February 7, 2012, 12:51 AM
Could be his FTO was watching and would have kicked his butt if he didn't practice officer safety procedures.

Bandits come in all shapes and sizes and all professions.

frigate88
February 7, 2012, 01:06 AM
That's how we can keep an eye on y'all. o,O
Officer safety is the number one rule. Don't take it personal.

MarkDozier
February 7, 2012, 02:58 AM
The problem here is that the cop walking backwards has no ideal what is coming toward him. There is also the whole hand on the gun thing. If you have your hand on your weapon as you are walking away, especially when the stop is completed, I am going to be getting ready to draw mine because I have no ideal why you are preparing to draw your weapon. It is called personal safety. What if the cops has gone looney tunes
I also never pull on to the road until the cop is safely in their car.

ltc444
February 7, 2012, 03:31 AM
Two decades ago I was trained when stopping a "Van" to conduct a felony stop.

If he had followed standards, He should have had you exit the van and come to him.

mete
February 7, 2012, 06:57 PM
I'm old enough to remember that when a cop pulled you over he pulled in FRONT of your car.

bk688
February 7, 2012, 07:26 PM
Sure that was a bit odd. I bet he may have been spooked a bit when he ran your plates, but I would be happy to see this happen at every stop he preforms.

I got pulled over (the ex-wife was driving) late at night right outside of St. Louis. The officer walked up to the passenger side. I didn't see him (darn dog in the back didn't warn me either) until he was right on top of me. Scared the living heck out of me. But he was making sure that if some drunk passed by us and sideswiped our cars, he wouldn't get hit.

It always makes me happy to see cops with a bit of awareness and critical thinking skills. Have yet to see one walk back wards after seeing a FOID card on my record when he runs my plates. I bet I'd get a good laugh though.

ohen cepel
February 7, 2012, 07:52 PM
I would be more worried (and I think the odds bear it out) of being hit by a car while walking backwards on the side of the road vs. being shot by a van full of military personnel.

It's his life though so can't fault him for doing what he thinks keeps him safer. Still odd to me though.

9mmhpfan
February 7, 2012, 11:35 PM
There was one of him and a van full of you guys, I don't blame him for being cautious and trying to prevent himself from being taken by suprise.

B.N.Real
February 8, 2012, 12:32 AM
Would'nt have bothered me.

I'm more bothered by the total exposure alot of police put themselves in by not using their cars to shield themselves from traffic during a stop.

Cars simply don't slow down and the 'action' during a traffic stop draws their attention to the stop.

Which unintentionally draws their car closer to the side of the road -unslowed- and the officer standing right on the shoulder unprotected,nowhere to go next to the stopped car--sometimes in jet dark blue or black clothes.

Crazy dangerous.

The policeman not watching traffic but watching you the whole time would never see a flying car right on the white line before it was too late.

Police just don't get a brake in this case-death from the front or from behind.

Go figure.

Dr. Strangelove
February 8, 2012, 03:32 AM
There was one of him and a van full of you guys, I don't blame him for being cautious and trying to prevent himself from being taken by suprise.

By a govt. van full of military officers?

Glenn Dee
February 8, 2012, 05:09 AM
I dont know that walking backwards is a good idea... But I guess in this officers mind there must have been a reason. More often than not Officers make up tactics on the fly. In other words there may have been something unique about this stop that had the officer doing something he wouldnt normally do.

WyMark
February 8, 2012, 08:37 AM
Could have been a massive plot to steal nucular weapons and hold the world hostage for trillions of dollars by dressing up as military officers to infiltrate command centers.

Everybody knows it's the innocent cop who's always the first to get killed in these scenarios.

Or is that only in Schwarzenegger and Stallone movies?

Skadoosh
February 8, 2012, 08:55 AM
Were you all in uniform?

ScottRiqui
February 8, 2012, 09:02 AM
Not all of us were in uniform, since we were coming back from DC after working hours. I wasn't, but the Army Lieutenant Colonel in the front passenger seat was. There were two government contractors and a rep from the National Security Agency in civvies, then a Chief Petty Officer, a Chief Warrant Officer an a Lieutenant Commander in uniform.

Brian Pfleuger
February 8, 2012, 09:06 AM
You won't live that down for awhile, eh? :)

ScottRiqui
February 8, 2012, 09:10 AM
No, not likely to live it down anytime soon, since I already had a reputation for being a little bit of a leadfoot - this was just the first time I've been stopped. :rolleyes:

mo84
February 8, 2012, 09:10 AM
He probably wanted to make sure you guys wern't going to bust out of the van like the A team. He could have had a bad experience with a van before also I suppose.

jimbob86
February 8, 2012, 09:16 AM
The policeman not watching traffic but watching you the whole time would never see a flying car right on the white line before it was too late.



The odds of a van full of .mil doing something sinister to a local cop are infintesimally smaller than the odds of some rubbernecking motorist running him down.

Somewhat similar to the folks that agonize for endless hours over what caliber/ammo/gun to carryand what holster to carry it in, while never bothering to excercise, eat right, stop smoking ......

Nitesites
February 8, 2012, 09:40 AM
Maybe the practice is just ingrained.

Brian Pfleuger
February 8, 2012, 10:42 AM
Somewhat similar to the folks that agonize for endless hours over what caliber/ammo/gun to carry and what holster to carry it in, while never bothering to exercise, eat right, stop smoking ......

JimBob! Stop with the logic! You're going to make people uncomfortable!:D

Pbearperry
February 8, 2012, 11:13 AM
I am sure that the Officer in question will use other tactics once his crystal ball in his squad car is repaired.:D

AirForceShooter
February 8, 2012, 12:32 PM
Forget about him walking backward.

A marked Military vehicle filled with GI types and the cop WROTE THE TICKET????
Tell me somebody is kidding me.

Firsd thought is a US government car on official duty can't be ticketed by a cop.
Second thought is this cops supervisor will have him working nights and weekends for the rest of his career.

AFS

ScottRiqui
February 8, 2012, 01:43 PM
It's a government-owned van with government license plates, but it's just a blue 15-passenger Chevy van with no markings. As for government vehicles not being subject to traffic tickets, that's the first I've heard of it.

The area where I was stopped has a lot of speed traps. The officer handed me a price schedule along with the ticket, with all the fines/fees/court costs already filled out and totaled for me so I'd know exactly how much to pay. He also made it very clear that I could pay online or over the phone in order to avoid having to appear at the court.

kraigwy
February 8, 2012, 01:57 PM
Firsd thought is a US government car on official duty can't be ticketed by a cop.

Don't know where you got that, but its totally bogus, if they drive on the streets they are subject to the same rules (and tickets) as everyone else.

What I find interesting about this topic is non cops instructing cops on officer safety.

IrishBluEyes51
February 8, 2012, 02:31 PM
safety or paranoia..? geez louise. There are people who can't walk thru town without someone wanting to rob them and others who walk thru without even one person wanting to try it. its called being a mark...Pretty much how you carry yourself. Personally I think the same applies to police officers, some will never have a problem and some create enough tension where trouble seems inevitable.

to the fine officers on TFL Please don't take offense

KLRANGL
February 8, 2012, 02:45 PM
Norfolk is a military town, so yes, cops have no problem giving members of the military a ticket.

If I had a nickel for every time I saw a Norfolk cop do something strange, I'd have about... 50 cents, give or take.
Luckily, my personal interaction with them has been zero at this point.

Silent Bob
February 8, 2012, 03:56 PM
Maybe he thought you were all on your way to a Village People Convention, and might try pulling in a cop for the ensemble? Had to stay on guard, you know? Getting the indian might be a problem, not many reservations on the east coast.:D

Deaf Smith
February 9, 2012, 11:02 PM
Normal for police to walk backwards from a stopped vehicle to their patrol car?

Only if there are no rocks on the highway.

While it might be put down as Officer Safety, I sure hope he checked the ground very well cause that's a good way to fall if there is anything in the road.

Better it would have been for him to turn sideways with his gun side away from the van (so no one would see him clutching his handgun) and walk back crossing one foot in front of the other (it's quite easy to do.)

Deaf

DaleA
February 9, 2012, 11:29 PM
-walk back crossing one foot in front of the other

Ah yes, a CLASSIC move from the Fred Astaire school of self defense!

TheGoldenState
February 9, 2012, 11:34 PM
Don't know where you got that, but its totally bogus, if they drive on the streets they are subject to the same rules (and tickets) as everyone else.




Tell that to a diplomat.

kraigwy
February 10, 2012, 12:00 AM
Tell that to a diplomat

We aren't talking about diplomats, we're talking about military personal, and they do not have diplomatic immunity.

jmr40
February 10, 2012, 10:26 AM
I'm sure they have been trained to do that for their own safety. If you do it the same way every time then you won't develop bad habits. As soon as you trust someone and turn your back on them, that is the one that will shoot you in the back.

Hook686
February 10, 2012, 12:30 PM
A van full of 'Spooks' (NSA) --- and you wonder why he walked bacwards with his hand on his gun ?

Brian Pfleuger
February 10, 2012, 12:46 PM
I didn't see it mentioned... did he walk backwards the OTHER time(s) he went back to his car?

manta49
February 10, 2012, 01:01 PM
Wouldn't be a problem here the police never go on patrol unless there is at least two of them. One can give cover while the other deals with the driver.

zincwarrior
February 10, 2012, 01:43 PM
Maybe he was just practicing his moonwalk? :p

kraigwy
February 10, 2012, 01:53 PM
Wouldn't be a problem here the police never go on patrol unless there is at least two of them. One can give cover while the other deals with the driver.

That isn't possible in many locations, I spent my 20 years in LE (Anchorage Police Dept.) working all by my self. Sure, if something happened I could call for assistence, but you don't do that at every traffic stop or other calls.

Ever heard of the Boy Who Called Wolf story?

Folk, something you need to understand, its possible to walk backwards with out getting hit by a car, (you can always glance up the street), its also possible to walk backwards with out tripping over items, regardless how rough the terrain.

Any decent shooting school that teaches movement while firing teaches you how to move your feet over uneven ground with out tripping.

Not that big of a deal.

Nor is it unreasonable to expect an officer to keep his eyes on something just in case it could turn out to be a threat. You never no where a threat will come form. Whats wrong with developing a pattern and sticking with it for your safety?

Brian Pfleuger
February 10, 2012, 02:29 PM
Yeah, two man patrols are not at all reasonable in most places.

The county I live in is 715 square miles and we might have 3 county deputies and 2 state cars out there at any given time.

Alaska probably has areas 50 times that size with that many cars out.

Nitesites
February 10, 2012, 02:58 PM
Would some of you guys prefer he did a combat roll while going back to his car? I'm joking!!!

Young.Gun.612
February 10, 2012, 03:25 PM
From my understanding of the OP, the officer only walked backward when returning to his patrol car at the end of the stop after issuing the ticket. Prior to that he had nothing to worry about, but once the ticket was written he may have feared a negative reaction.

manta49
February 10, 2012, 03:31 PM
kraigwy. Quote.

That isn't possible in many locations, I spent my 20 years in LE (Anchorage Police Dept.) working all by my self. Sure, if something happened I could call for assistence, but you don't do that at every traffic stop or other calls.
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Its standard practice here because of the terrorist threat. At least two officers or more depending on the area. They will also decide on what firearms they carry other than their service pistol depending on what area they are patrolling.