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Old February 6, 2012, 10:19 PM   #1
ScottRiqui
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Normal for police to walk backwards from a stopped vehicle to their patrol car?

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?
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Old February 6, 2012, 10:26 PM   #2
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It's called Officer Safety
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Old February 6, 2012, 10:29 PM   #3
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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.
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Old February 6, 2012, 10:31 PM   #4
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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?)
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Old February 6, 2012, 10:40 PM   #5
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Officer Safety, I understand. A government van full of military personnel and at THE END of the stop? That I don't understand.
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Old February 6, 2012, 10:53 PM   #6
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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?
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Old February 6, 2012, 11:25 PM   #7
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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."
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Old February 6, 2012, 11:47 PM   #8
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Safe- Yes
Little odd- yes
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Old February 6, 2012, 11:51 PM   #9
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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.
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Old February 7, 2012, 12:07 AM   #10
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Might have wanted to keep you all in camera shot. Many cops are wearing cameras these days.
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Old February 7, 2012, 12:08 AM   #11
Dr. Strangelove
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PizzaKiller
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.
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Old February 7, 2012, 12:51 AM   #12
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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.
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Old February 7, 2012, 01:06 AM   #13
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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.
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Old February 7, 2012, 02:58 AM   #14
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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.

Last edited by MarkDozier; February 7, 2012 at 03:07 AM.
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Old February 7, 2012, 03:31 AM   #15
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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.
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Old February 7, 2012, 06:57 PM   #16
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I'm old enough to remember that when a cop pulled you over he pulled in FRONT of your car.
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Old February 7, 2012, 07:26 PM   #17
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Saftey First!

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.
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Old February 7, 2012, 07:52 PM   #18
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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.
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Old February 7, 2012, 11:35 PM   #19
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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.
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Old February 8, 2012, 12:32 AM   #20
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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.
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Old February 8, 2012, 03:32 AM   #21
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Quote:
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?
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Old February 8, 2012, 05:09 AM   #22
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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.
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Old February 8, 2012, 08:37 AM   #23
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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?
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Old February 8, 2012, 08:55 AM   #24
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Were you all in uniform?
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Old February 8, 2012, 09:02 AM   #25
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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.
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