What to know during a Traffic Stop and Inspection by Law Enforcement
Best Practices from Clarence Cox, UMA Board Member (Georgia Coach Lines, Fayetteville, GA), and the former President of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives and retired Chief of Police in Clayton County (GA):
- On many interstate highways, if there are three or more lanes, it is almost always unlawful to be in the left lane for an unreasonable amount of time. If you use the far-left lane to pass, get in and out of it but don’t stay in the left lane.
- Law Enforcement jurisdictions need to use CVSA-certified officers for commercial vehicle inspections.
- Videotape any roadside inspection for your own purposes later, even if the officers have body cameras. The U.S. Supreme court says that Law Enforcement needs a warrant to look at your cell phone without owner’s consent.
- Ask for a supervisor if you are stopped, if you are having a conflict with the officer, on the side of the road for an inspection, as most law enforcement will not conduct a search on the roadside but most likely direct the bus to a safer location such as a rest stop, so that passengers may exit.
- The bus should be turned off for a while for fumes to dissipate to use a K9 to accurately alert. Otherwise, it’s probably not accurate detection.
- If you are stopped on the side of a highway and law enforcement, quickly bring out a K9 Unit at the stop, it is most likely an interdiction not a traffic violation. In other words, they have a sting type of operation, and their goal is to search for drugs, large sums of currency, weapons, human trafficking and more.
- Sometime police make assumptions and have suspicions when they see an unmarked bus, often referred to as a “ghost bus”, perhaps because of experience finding drugs or illegal items or activity on these types of vehicles.
- Never argue with the officer. In other words, don’t hold court on the side of the road.