Sheriff's Office Releases Traffic Stop Safety Message

                                                                                                                NEWS RELEASE #: 16-193 - OCTOBER 20, 2016

The Sarasota County Sheriff's Office is reminding citizens that open communication and mutual respect is key to helping both drivers and deputies feel safe during traffic stops.

Although traffic stops are a routine part of a deputy's work day, getting pulled over can be a stressful situation for anyone. For that reason, Sheriff Knight encourages citizens to consider the following safety tips if they are pulled over:

- Remain calm and find the nearest and safest place to pull over; either off the road as far as possible or into the nearest driveway or parking lot.
- We appreciate that most people would like to have their license, registration and proof of insurance ready, however swift movements can raise safety concerns for the deputy. Remain seated and if you have passengers, ask that they remain seated as well.
- Stay in your car until you receive instructions from the deputy. These instructions may include to keep your hands on the steering wheel.
- If your documents are out of reach, let the deputy know where they are before you reach for them.
- Put your cell phone down and turn the radio off so you can clearly communicate with the deputy.
- Ask and answer any questions honestly. It's important that both the driver and the deputy share a mutual respect and have an open dialogue with one another.
- Once the deputy has collected all the pertinent information from the driver, he or she will likely return to their car. Be patient, the deputy will return as soon as he/she can.
- After you have been released from the traffic stop, signal your intention to enter the roadway. Do not let the outcome of the traffic stop interfere with your destination. We understand that your time is valuable and we want to get you on your way as quickly and safely as possible.

"In today's world, traffic stops are not only stressful for the driver, but they can also raise safety concerns for law enforcement," said Sheriff Knight. "It is critical that everyone remains calm and communicates with one another. Our hope is that by sharing this safety message, both residents and visitors will feel safe while traveling through Sarasota County."

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