OPD Launches Traffic Stop Safety Campaign
Pull safely off to the right, don’t make sudden movements, and roll down all car windows. That’s just some of the advice the Orlando Police Department is spreading through a new social media campaign focused on traffic stops. The campaign stems from discussions with the citizens’ police review board.
OPD spokeswoman Michelle Guido said something to keep in mind is that 99 percent of the time a person is pulled over, they know it’s by police,“because a car is behind them, the lights are on, perhaps a siren is on; they understand that the person that’s going to be approaching them is a police officer but zero percent of the time do police officers know for certain what’s happening inside any car that they stop.”
She said another tip is: don’t take off or put on your seat belt as that can be construed as a sudden movement.
Melba Pearson agrees with that advice. She’s deputy director of the ACLU of Florida. But she said OPD’s campaign misses the point: that some police officers are using excessive force and more emphasis should also be placed on officers themselves.
“looking at, are they afraid of the communities their policing? Do they have unconscious bias towards people that they’re dealing with, which causes them to react?” said Pearson.
The ACLU said departments should focus on deescalation techniques.
OPD said it has policies and ongoing training for bias-free policing. And that this outreach campaign is targeted toward its social media followers.