LEO Near Miss: Officer’s traffic stop nearly turns into ‘suicide by cop'

This near miss reminds officers to be cautious with preconceived notions about the conduct or intentions of a suspect

Law Enforcement Officer (LEO) Near Miss is a voluntary, non-disciplinary officer safety initiative that allows law enforcement personnel to read about and anonymously share stories of close calls or “near misses,” which provide lessons learned that can protect fellow officers in similar situations.

Event Summary

I’m a short, female officer working midnights in a high-crime area. I’m pretty proactive and make a lot of traffic stops searching for narcotics, gang activity and firearms. I stopped a truck thinking it might be stolen. We have a problem in my area with people printing fake paper tags and placing them on stolen vehicles (along with hiding expired registration and inspection stickers).

The truck was a lifted F250. I couldn’t see into the truck. I approached the driver, staying behind the door frame, and I told him to keep his hands on the wheel. He gave me expired insurance and told me he didn’t have his immigration papers. I told him I didn’t care and we don’t enforce immigration laws. I opened his truck door to get the insurance so I could have the VIN and his name. Again, he told me he didn’t have his immigration papers. When I opened the door, I looked inside to make sure no one else was in the car and there were not any visible weapons. For a third time, the driver told me about his papers.

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