Guest Viewpoint: How to react if you are stopped by police

Guest Viewpoint: How to react if you are stopped by police

LAUREL, MS (WDAM) - This is a guest viewpoint from Chief Tyrone Stewart

There are many different reasons why you might be stopped by police. Whatever the reason, the officer needs your cooperation.

The Laurel Police Department along with Mayor Johnny Magee have started a program to teach drivers the proper protocol to take when you are pulled over. We often see mistakes especially coming from our youth.

If you are stopped by the police while driving, you may feel confused, anxious, or even angry. These are natural feeling, but remember, traffic stops can also be stressful and dangerous for the police officer. Each year, a number of law enforcement officers are killed or seriously injured while making the "routine traffic stop". With this in mind, there are things that you as a law abiding citizen, can do to help lessen the unpleasantness of the experience.

When stopped by police remain in your vehicle and keep your hands on the steering wheel so the officer can see them. Avoid any sudden movements and do not reach for your license or other documents until the officer requests them. And if you have a gun or any other weapon you should immediately tell the officer where the weapon is. In all cases, a citizen is required to cooperate with the police.

Remember, we exist to achieve a safer community for our citizens. We are always here to help you.