Two officers make a traffic stop on a suspect in a red pick up truck. The suspect vehicle pulls over, stops and the suspect jumps out quickly and begins shooting right away. The suspect jumps out of his vehicle so quickly that he does not even take his car out of gear. Once the suspect fires a few shots, he returns to his vehicle and tries to drive away. His vehicle has hit a pole and it takes him a few moments to begin to leave. Officers stay back with their vehicle and fire and hit the suspect.
I often work a two officer patrol car as the passenger officer. When we make a traffic stop I unbuckle my seat belt as soon as it is apparent that the violator is going to stop. I watch the vehicle occupants, people in the vicinity and potential cover and lighting at the stop location. I have my hand on the car door handle and I actually open the door just as the patrol car stops, the remaining momentum of the car stopping will actually open the door. I am out of the car the instant the patrol car stops. My right hand goes to my handgun, and depending on several factor, I may even have the gun out.
Why is the vehicle being stopped? Is it a simple traffic offense or a stolen or wanted vehicle? Did the vehicle stop right away? Were the occupants of the vehicle looking back at the police car or moving around inside the car? Is the driver stopping his vehicle at a place were he has a tactical advantage? Are there multiple occupants? Depending on the answers to these questions depends on my need to have the handgun out and in my hand; that’s what the SGT Says.