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Know your rights, part 1

Police stops happen every day and at some point, every motorist probably has had the experience of being pulled over for a variety of reasons. It’s often a tense situation for motorists; but also, for the officer.

Chief Benny Dubose with the city of Meridian’s police department spent time with us to discuss the do’s and don’ts so that motorists can be better informed while driving.

He stresses the importance of taking your time to find a safe spot to pull over even if it means driving a short distance.

“Take your time, find a safe spot that is a safe spot for both you and the officer. If it means driving a little short distance to a parking area or a parking lot it’s okay to do so. And if you are a female alone that may be driving at night and you’re in a secluded area, it’s okay to drive to a well-lit area that you feel comfortable with.” Dubose said.

For safety reasons, the chief says don’t reach for your driver’s license and other information that the officer may request prior to approaching the vehicle. He says that it makes it easier for both the motorist and the officer if the motorist gets permission before reaching for his or her information.

“Get permission to reach for that information,” Dubose explained. “That makes it easier for the officer and the motorist. If the officer asks for that information and you lean over to your glove box in an attempt to open your glove box, to retrieve that information without letting the officer know, the next thing you might see is a gun in your face, because the officer has no idea of what you’re reaching for and it’s a safety issue for him. “

Many motorists ask the question “Do I have the right to record the officer?” Chief Dubose explains

“Motorist do have the right to record the officer either audible or visual. However, it would not be advisable to have a cell phone pointed in the direction of that officer while he is trying to conduct business.” Dubose said.

According to Dubose, while recording the officer, it’s important not to direct the phone towards the officer or shinning a light directly in his face is not going to be tolerated.

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