The Weekly Briefing with Police Chief Jim Bodine
Our feature today has to do with the proper protocols that should be followed during a traffic stop by law enforcement officials. Chief Jim Bodine of the Wellsboro Police Department told us what we should do when we get pulled over.
The first thing we need to do is pull to the right side of the roadway when it’s safe to do so. This is a common misconception among motorists. Many think you have to pull over right away but the officer performing the traffic stop would rather you take your time and find a safe area where both you and the officer will be out of danger. The second thing that Chief Bodine reminded us of is that we are never to exit the vehicle. We are to await the officers arrival and allow them the necessary time to approach the vehicle. If the stop is being performed at night, turn on your interior lights and use your hazard warning lamps. Another important thing to remember is to make no quick or sudden movements. Remain calm and patient and wait for the officer to request the appropriate documents.
There are three possible outcomes of a traffic stop. The first is a citation for alleged violations. You must plead guilty or not guilty to the citation and mail into the proper justice. The address you will need is on the front of the citation.
The second is a written warning. If it is a warning for a technical issue (registration, inspection, etc.) you will have five days to fix the issue. Do not forget to return the warning card within the prescribed time limit or you will receive a citation in the mail.
The third possible outcome is a verbal warning. This is solely at the officers discretion. However, it’s always a good policy to be polite and respectful to the authority present. Rushing, arguing with, or belittling an officer will never make your situation better.