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If you are approached by a police officer, it is not the proper time or place to “express yourself” or worry about being “dissed” or “disrespected”. Calm and mature heads should prevail.

This information is not intended as legal advice.

The following helpful suggestions are provided by the Pinellas County Urban League And should not be  construed as or substituted for legal advice. Laws and individual situations may differ and these suggestions may not be appropriate for your circumstances.

If you need legal advice, consult your lawyer. The information provided is a sketch of your rights and responsibilities. In any case, you are always urged to use common sense when interacting with a police officer.

  1. STAY CALM
  2. ACT MATURE
  3. KEEP A LEVEL HEAD
  4. USE COMMON SENSE

The bottom line is to prevent a negative confrontation, stay out of jail and avoid harm.

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If you are stopped on the street:

•Stay calm. Your reaction may alarm or upset the officer and set a negative tone.
•Keep body movements to a minimum. If you have a medical condition, notify the officer as he or she approaches you.
•Keep your hands in view of the officer and get your thoughts together.
•Notice or ask for the officer’s name, badge number or business card if you deem it appropriate.
•Always make eye contact with the officer to let him know that he has your attention as well as that you have his.
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If you are stopped while driving:

•Use your turn signal and pull over safely.
•Stay in your vehicle and wait for the officer to approach.
•Only get out if the officer asks you.
•Keep your hands on the steering wheel in full view of the officer unless directed otherwise.
•If asked to provide your driver’s license, vehicle registration or proof of insurance, ask the officer if it’s o. k. to get it wherever it is i.e. (Glove box, pocket purse, console etc.)
•If you receive a citation, do not argue with the officer, if you feel it was unwarranted. Present your appeal in court and you may avoid a more serious complication.
•You are required to sign a citation. It does not admit guilt.

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IF YOU FEEL VERBALLY OR PHYSICALLY ABUSED, REPORT THE INCIDENT IMMEDIATELY.

12 REASONS POLICE MAY STOP YOU:

  • If you are near a crime scene and fit the description of a suspect.
  • Hanging out in known drug areas.
  • Acting suspicious (running, hiding etc.) when police are near.
  • Walking with large or valuable items (TV, Stereo equipment, 2 or more bicycles.
  • Someone has identified you as the person who committed a crime.
  • If you are bad mouthing officers.
  • Playing loud music.
  • Violation of traffic law. (speeding, faulty lights or turn signals, loud or no muffler, erratic driving, improper lane change or weaving in and out of traffic.
  • Possession of an open container of alcohol.
  • Minor in possession of tobacco or alcohol.
  • Wearing clothing representing gang membership.
  • Unsupervised minor out late at night.

REMEMBER…

  • If the police have stopped you, they think they have a reason to do so.
  • Note the time and location where you were stopped.
  • Be calm, cooperate and identify yourself.
  • Provide identification if requested.
  • Advise the officer if you are about to move. It is best to ask the officer if you may move before hand.
  • In many situations, you can talk your way into jail. Avoid being confrontational.
  • Notice or ask for the officer’s name, badge number or business card.

Again, if you believe that you were verbally or physically abused by a police officer, you or your parents should file a written complaint at the police department’s front desk. Be sure to get a copy for your records.



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