If you are dealing with a suspected criminal then you need to be safe. If you are questioning someone about criminal activity one of the first questions should be, “Mind if I search you for weapons?” If the person refuses to permit you to search, then you should search anyway if you have the legal authority to do so. If they refuse, ask they why, do they have any weapons, are they holding drugs, what do they have on them they don’t want you to find?
Don’t talk to people from inside your car, unless you drive up to the reporting party who runs up to the car, points down the street and says “That’s him, officer.” Any conversation longer than one second and you need to get out of the car. Being seated in the car leaves you at a great tactical disadvantage. I have known officers who will sit with their gun on their lap, pointed at a person standing next to their patrol car window. Will your bullets penetrate the car door? Will you get all kinds of glass and metal flying back on your face if you shoot that way? Can you even hit the target?
When questioning suspicious persons it is easy to be too focused on the questions and not enough on the person. What is their body language telling you, are they getting ready to run, or to attack you? Are they too nervous? Are they paying attention or are they planning something. Are they getting too close to you, are you in a good tactical position? Suspects will sometimes move very slowly to get you to turn to a less favorable position or to give them a chance to escape. Don’t let your questioning of a suspect distract you from your officer safety needs; that’s what the SGT Says.