Irmo Police Chief Joe Nates says that one of the most common asked questions of his department is how a person should act during traffic stops. With all the unfortunate incidents happening across the country and violence geared towards officers of the law even simple encounters can become tense.

“For the most part it’s common sense for both the officer and the citizen,” said Nates. “Our officers are approaching an unknown situation every time they make a vehicle stop.”

Page fifty three of the SC DMV Handbook (SC Driver’s Manual) 2016 provides the guidelines to proper behavior during a stop. The following is from the handbook:

“If you are pulled over by a police officer, pull over to the right side of the roadway and stop your vehicle as far away from traffic as possible to ensure safety for both you and the police officer.

Turn off the engine, radio, CD player or any other device which may get in the way of communication with the officer. If it is nighttime turn on your hazard flashers and interior lights to help the officer see. Roll down your window to communicate with the officer. 

It is important that you and your passengers remain calm and keep your safety belt fastened. Keep your hands on the steering wheel and limit movements. If the officer asks for your drivers’ license proof of insurance and/or vehicle registration tell the officer where it is located and slowly reach for them. Remain in the vehicle at all times unless requested by the officer to get out. Always answer questions clearly and fully.

Never run from the police as it is dangerous. Many fatal crashes occur from police chases. The consequences for running from the police are more severe than the initial traffic violation.”

Law enforcement officers are trained in proper behavior and conduct procedures but sometimes citizens feel they have an issue with the way they may have been treated. 

“Every law enforcement agency has an Internal Affairs or Professional Standards Unit but here we have an open door policy and will discuss anything that an individual or group has an issue with when it comes to the integrity of our police force,” said Chief Nates. ”I encourage anyone who feels they’ve been mistreated to contact that agency’s Professional Standards Officer.”

National Night Out drug and crime prevention event is this Tuesday, August 2 from 6 pm – 9 pm. A hotdog cookout with Irmo police officers will be held at the Community Park of Irmo during that time.