It is critical to keep in mind that police officers are placed in threatening situations almost daily, and while they become adept at reading non-verbal communications to determine if they are being threatened, it is also possible for them to mistake an unthreatening move as one that could possibly threaten their lives causing the officer to respond accordingly.
Specific Non-Verbal Communication to be Aware of When Interacting with Police Officers
There are specific behaviors everyone needs to avoid if pulled over or confronted by a police officer which include:
- If you see flashing lights in your rear-view mirror, pull over as quickly as possible, and as far away from traffic as you can to ensure yours and the officer’s safety.
- Never exit your vehicle unless the officer instructs you to do so.
- If you are stopped by a police officer at night, be sure to turn on your interior car lights to enable the officer to clearly see you.
- Keep your hands visible at all times, and do not make a sudden move unless the police officer has requested you provide your license, proof of insurance, etc. Then request permission from the police officer to reach into your glove compartment for your insurance verification, etc. Remember, the police officer has no idea if you have a weapon concealed in the glove compartment or elsewhere in your vehicle.
- Always remain calm, respectful and cooperative.
Remember the importance of being aware of your non-verbal communication with police officers, and that threatening/arrogant demeanor causes the officer to respond accordingly.