Little late getting in on the discussion, but here is what I teach in vehicle contacts at both the academy and in-service level:
-Proper vehicle spacing (at least 15 feet)
-headlights on brights (no wig-wags)
-spotlight on the outside driver side mirror (in most cases)
-Dim light bar (if possible)
Then PASSENGER SIDE APPROACH (if possible). The passenger side approach has a number of benefits, the biggest three being (IMHO):
-You are not exposed to traffic
-Gives you the element of surprise (most people dont expect you to do passenger side approach and many times you have to tap on the window to get their attention to the passenger side)
-Gives you much better vision into more of the passenger compartment
Also just a good habit to get into for vehicles with tinted windows, is to ask the driver to turn on dome light for duration of traffic stop. At night, this basically makes tinted windows hard to see out of from the inside. If somebody is not willing to turn on the dome light or leave it on....they are a good candidate to have exit the vehicle. I think its more than reasonable to have an officer safety concern if you explain to them for your safety during the stop to leave the light on, and they bawk.....there is a reason for it which you better look into.
I long to accomplish a great and noble tasks, but it is my chief duty to accomplish humble tasks as though they were great and noble. The world is moved along, not only by the mighty shoves of its heroes, but also by the aggregate of the tiny pushes of each honest worker.
Last edited by x_out86; 10-10-2012 at 22:06..