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Your rights during a traffic stop – Part 2

We often find ourselves in a rush to get somewhere, but sometimes rushing through traffic can cause a confrontation with law enforcement.

Meridian Police Chief Benny Dubose said that traffics stops tend to escalate when individuals refuse to comply with the commands or requests of an officer.

He explained that an officer’s commands can be to roll down your window or step out of the car.

But here the lines can get a little blurry.

“Circumstances where an individual may be smoking in the vehicle and the officer asks them to put the cigarette out, but the individual refuses to comply. Does the officer have a right to make them put the cigarette out?”

And what about drivers who feel they were stopped for no legal reason, and feel as though they were profiled?

“I can’t address other agencies. I don’t think a lot of racial profiling goes on. I think a lot of criminal profiling goes on,” said Dubose.

Whatever the case may be, Dubose stressed that drivers need to remain calm.

“The side of the road is not the place to have court…because it’s only going to get worse if the verbal confrontation continues.”

He said drivers can use their cellphones to record what’s happening and added that the officer’s body camera should be recording as well.

“They have assisted us in disputing several complaints. They have also assisted us in disciplining some officers for misconduct.”

Drivers can also file a complaint at the police department.

“We can make bad decisions. If we do, we’re held accountable for it,” said Dubose.

But to avoid these situations, Dubose stated that respect is key.

“I think respect on both sides, on the part of the officer and on the part of the civilian in the vehicle, I think there has to be respect between the two.”

As a final tip, Dubose said that during a traffic stop, drivers can ask for a police officer’s badge number. Officers with Meridian Police Department are supposed to give you that information.

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