HANOVER COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — In an effort to educate the public and save lives, the Hanover County Sheriff’s Office is spreading an important message about how to behave during a police traffic stop.
The video, created by the sheriff’s office in partnership with the Virginia Public Safety Training Center, shows several scenarios outlining what drivers can expect and how they should behave when pulled over by a Hanover deputy.
“We understand that a traffic stop can be a very stressful experience for drivers, and particularly young drivers, but we also need to understand that it can be very dangerous for that officer as well,” said Lt. James Cooper, public information officer with the sheriff’s office.
The idea for the eight-minute video began after the death of George Floyd in May. Floyd’s death sparked a conversation between community members at Fairmount Christian Church and Abner Baptist Church about race relations.
“We put together a team of 12 men, six from each of the churches. Fairmount is a predominantly white church and Abner is a predominately black church, and we’ve been meeting on Zoom now since July,” said Rick Raines, senior pastor at Fairmount Christian Church.
Attorney Alex Taylor was one of those community members involved in the conversation. Wanting to inform the public about how to interact with police, he suggested the idea of a video.
“Nine times out of 10, if you’re going to have some type of interaction with police, it’s going to be a result of being pulled over because of some type of traffic infraction,” Taylor told 8News.
Through the county’s Worship Watch program, a network of more than 160 churches that communicate with the sheriff’s office, the video became a reality.
“Here in Central Virginia, we have a great relationship [with the sheriff’s office], but want to support them so some of the tragedies we see across the nation won’t happen here,” said Raines.
The educational video will be shown in Hanover County Public Schools driver’s education courses.
According to the video, if you are pulled over by an officer, you should:
- Immediately pull over to a safe location. If there is not a safe location close by, reduce your speed and activate your hazard lights while looking for a safe location.
- Once you pull over, lower your radio and roll down your window to communicate with the officer.
- Do not reach for your driver’s license and registration until the officer asks you to do so. Keep your hands visible at all times.
- During a nighttime stop, it is a good practice to turn on your interior lights.
- Remain in your vehicle throughout the stop unless asked to do otherwise by the officer.
- If a second officer pulls up to the traffic stop, do not panic. It is a common practice. The second officer is typically checking on the safety of the first officer.
- When the officer has your license and registration, they will return to their vehicle to run your license to make sure it is valid and that there are not any outstanding warrants in your name.
- The officer will either give you a verbal warning or fill out a summons. If a summons is issued, the officer will explain it to you before asking for a signature. A signature is not an admission of guilt.
Watch the full video below:
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