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Tactical question...night traffic stops

Discussion in 'Cop Talk' started by Agent6-3/8, Oct 10, 2012.

  1. Cochese

    Cochese Most mackinest CLM

    Jun 30, 2004
    Unmarked Rustbox
    Does this directive mandate FORWARD facing overheads or just overheads in general?
  2. 11A


    Nov 28, 2011
    All overhead lights (take downs are not included in that) shall be used; that is something patrol complains about because a lot of guys would like to shut down the front lights, but the upper echelon won't change it.

    I'm too new to know any better at this point, but shutting the front lights down makes sense because they do mess with my vision just as much as the driver's.
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2012

  3. Cochese

    Cochese Most mackinest CLM

    Jun 30, 2004
    Unmarked Rustbox
    Welcome to the rest of your career. :rofl:
  4. Napalm561


    Apr 21, 2009
    I had pulled an off-duty officer over, at night. I aimed everything I could into the driver's side mirror, as well as the rearview mirror. I approached from the passenger side, and kept my flashlight off until I reached the "B" pillar of the drivers door, but I could see fairly well inside the vehicle on my approach. Even the officer I pulled over didn't know where I was, or from which direction I was approaching. This feedback helped me decide that, at night, this approach suited my safety concerns, while on traffic stops in the dark.
  5. x_out86


    Feb 19, 2007
    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)
    -takedowns on
    -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.
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2012
  6. Both spotlights and takedowns on, headlights on, overheads on position 2 which is solid red/blue facing forward with the rears wagging along with an arrowstick wagging as well.

    The driver spotlight is pointed between the violator's driver side mirror and A-pillar which throws enough light into the mirror to reflect onto him and also creates a lot of splash over in his face when he turns to look back if he wants to see where I am.

    Passenger side spotlight is either on the violator's rearview mirror or just lighting up the interior of the car if there are passengers in there. The takedowns throw out a lot of light in general too so that helps.

    Always walk up slowly and watch for backlighting, especially if you can't see the insides of some of these very dark tinted cars.

    As we park wide to create that corridor to walk in, we can manage to stay out of the path of our own spotlight, especially if you angle it in a bit like I do. Lets me see the inside of the car as well as I take a wider approach before getting up to the car behind the B pillar to make the driver turn around to talk to me.
  7. DaBigBR

    DaBigBR No Infidels!

    Oct 28, 2005
    Circling the wagons.
    I run takedowns and spot light on all stop. Our bars have four LED takedowns that do a decent job. I aim the spotlight at the rear view and and use my flashlight on their side mirror. I really like passenger side approaches around the back of the patrol car, but haven't used them as much as as of late.

    Since this has turned in to a flashing lights discussion also, I kill all of my flashing lights upon making the stop and activate a single alternating red/blue "warn" pattern to the rear. At my old department our first progressive switch position was a single alternating red/blue to the front and "warn" pattern to the rear. I run the way I do for a couple reasons:

    1) Flashing lights are disorienting to everybody, especially me when walking back to my car.

    2) Rapidly flashing lights can and do cause target fixation and otherwise draw more attention to the stop.

    3) I hate blinding my backup. The single alternating red/blue gets the point across, without making it hard for them and approaching motorists to see.

    I like the cruise light idea that Cochese mentioned, too.
  8. packsaddle


    Jan 15, 2009
    good stuff so far.

    the only thing i will add is that with multiple passengers i have the driver roll down all the windows in the vehicle before i approach.

    i usually call it out from my drivers door (behind the spotlight) and then circle behind my unit and approach from the passenger side of the violator's vehicle.

    i use a wide variation of approaches depending on the circumstances of the stop.
  9. 4teecal

    4teecal Token Aussie.

    Dec 13, 2004
    There is no such thing as too much light especially in a bad guys eyes.
  10. merlynusn


    Nov 16, 2007
    The way our setup is, when you hit 3, all the lights come on (overheads, takedowns, wig wags). 1 is rear overheads only. I think the wig wags are tied into the 2 position as well, but it's been a while since I've been in a car.

    I also like the spotlight because it eliminates the tint on the windows.
  11. rockapede


    Sep 3, 2009
    What's been working for me lately:

    1. Call out the stop before taking action (if possible)
    2. Full blast on lights (including wig-wags) until stop is effected, then nix wig-wags.
    3. Angle with at least 15-20 foot reactionary gap.
    4. Spotlight on driver mirror.
    4. Beat them out of the car and don't slam the door.
    6. Wide approach to driver side to stay out of spotlight and get a better look inside the vehicle. This is particularly easy in my city as the vast majority of my stops are on narrow surface streets with light traffic after dark.
    7. Dome light on, please.
    8. Passenger side on second contact.
  12. Sharkey


    Nov 21, 2006
    DFW, TX
    That is what I did but haven't done a night time stop in about 10 years. :faint:
  13. opelwasp

    opelwasp ZOG/MORON LUBE

    Nov 22, 2005
    Northern California
    Set their car on fire, and ID them as they flee the burning wreck.
  14. Then you have to get all sweaty running after them. Just call in an airstrike. Let CSI and forensics identify them.