WHAT prompts Police to make traffic stops

Friday, May 11th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Dozens of viewers contacted us after a Six on Assignment report last week about traffic stops. They wanted to know more about what prompts a stop and what to do if they see someone obviously breaking the rules of the road.

KOTV's Emory Bryan says it's another day behind the wheel for Tulsa Police Officer Steve Skidmore. He's running radar on Highway 169."I first picked him up at 80, got him locked in at 79, we're going to visit with him." This van was stopped for speeding, the most common violation. But officers can make a stop for almost anything, including expired inspection stickers, even though the program will end in August. "It's still a violation up till that August 25th date, and you may be stopped for it, but you may not necessarily be cited."

Officer Skidmore says officers realize people are sometimes afraid to pass a police car, but says that's ok, as long as they don't exceed the speed limit. He knows people are nervous during stops but urges caution when drivers decide where to pull over. "I'd much rather them look for safe spot or take their time and pull over as opposed to going from an inside lane in this case shooting over all the way to the shoulder and causing a crash." Several viewers wanted to know how they could be certain a real police officer was stopping them, and not just an imposter. Tulsa Police tell us they always use marked vehicles like this traffic stop. Their unmarked, undercover cars never make routine traffic stops.

Officers look first for dangerous drivers, but also keep an eye out for the routine, such as expired tags, a $70 ticket. It's another thing to check before you drive, so they police won't have to pull in behind you. The police encourage people to call with reports of dangerous drivers. They'll alert officers in the field to be on the lookout.