How to stay safe when pulled over by the police

An officer and suspect interaction is fraught with danger especially if the police anticipate DANGER. The interaction may trigger an evolutionary based defense reaction that may mean that our analytical reflective thinking fades out and we focus only on immediate survival.  You may interpret any cues as potentially dangerous and that your life could be in danger. At that point the information is not processed rationally; since, it reaches the  amygdala 22 milliseconds faster than to the cortex where thinking would take place.  You react instead of act!

amygdala cortex.jpg

Adapted from: Ropeik, D. (2011). How Risky  Is It, Really? Why our fears don’t always match the facts. New York: McGraw Hill

We all have experienced this automatic response.  Remember when you were pissed off and angry at a close family member or friend? In the heat of the argument (or was it the battle for survival?), you said something that was cruel and painful–a real zinger.  As the words left your mouth, you realized that you should not have said what you said. You wished you could reel the words back. Immediately you know that this would be very difficult to repair. At that moment, you reacted in self-defense from the amygdala before the cortex was aware.

Similarly, an officer and you may react automatically without thinking when they perceive personal danger. How you behave and move could automatically signal DANGER or SAFETY to the officer .  To deescalate the situation when stopped by the police, behave in a way that signals to the officers that you are NOT a danger to them.

I highly recommend the short YouTube video by country singer, Coffey Anderson, Stop the Violence Safety Video for when you get pulled over by the Police. They share, what to do actually when you get pulled over by the police? It offers strategies to help diffuse tension at traffic stop, it gives solid steps into ways of staying safe, and getting home. SHARE this. It’s a must for all to see. If you have the opportunity, role-play the situation with your friends so that it becomes your new automatic response.

The video is on YouYube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MnoLAtu0Wjk

 

 

 

 


One Comment on “How to stay safe when pulled over by the police”

  1. E Wolf says:

    These are great and I share the with patients and colleagues regularly. Keep them coming! To strengthen and preserve your professional stature, I made a few notes below. They are intended to serve a constructive purpose, and I hope they are not offensive. This issue has numerous spelling or keystroke errors. Maybe it would be a good idea to review it, or give it to an editor to proof and resend it… =========================================================== may trigger instead of “my” trigger fragment: Without knowing…. *Excellent graphic! *Amygdala is misspelled on the bottom line In the story … change to “you said” instead of sad…. and change to reel the words back; not “real the words back.” And finally, perhaps consider rewording the last line to read (something like): “highly recommended to role-play…” instead of the rather threatening comment: “Remember (remember from when?) that it’s not good enough…”, etc

    ​Your friend,​

    *”LIVE BETTER…NOT JUST LONGER”*

    *Ellie M.B. Wolf, MS, BCB* *Fellow, **BCIA* *Internship Supervisor, Certification Instructor* *Biofeedback and Stress Recovery of New Jersey* *Elizabeth, NJ 07208* *847-308-1424* fearbuster.ellie@gmail.com

    On Sun, Sep 25, 2016 at 11:54 PM, the peper perspective wrote:

    > erikpeper posted: “An officer and suspect/person interaction is fraught > with danger especially if the police anticipate DANGER. The interaction my > trigger an evolutionary based defense reaction that may mean that our > analytical reflective thinking fades out and we focus onl” >


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