There is a scene in Mission Impossible 3. Laurence Fishburne’s character is interrogating Ethan Hunt, who trained Lindsey Farris and certified her for field work. These spies are supposed to be field agents of operational perfection. So it is with extreme annoyance that Fishburne asks Ethan Hunt: “How did agent Farris allow herself to get captured?"
It imparts the idea that it was the fault of Agent Farris’s work that got her captured. It’s not about how good the opposing spies are. It’s about how you will always be better than them in every situation. I don’t know exactly why that small scene has stuck with me all these years. Maybe what it means to me is the idea that with enough experience and preparation, you can always always a solution to a challenge. It is under your control.
So here it is: if you happen to get pulled over by a police officer, then here is my guide on how to handle the situation for the best possible outcome: YOU NOT GETTING SHOT AND POSSIBLY KILLED.
GENTLY pull over to the nearest safe area on the side of the road. Try to be in an area where the police officer will have much less, or zero chance of being struck by a passing car. They don’t like that kind of situation.
If you have your windows tinted, then ROLL DOWN ALL YOUR WINDOWS IMMEDIATELY.
There is nothing worse than the uncertainty created by a vehicle that an officer can’t see into. You want to be, literally, fully transparent with the officer to CREATE TRUST. If it’s dark outside then TURN ON YOUR INTERIOR CAR LIGHTS IF YOU KNOW HOW TO DO IT. If you don’t know how to do it, then I feel sad for you. No, seriously, then I’ll talk about it later down below, but basically, don’t fiddle around with your car controls. Don’t worry about it. (Make a mental note to learn how to operate your second most valuable possession in the world.)
DO NOT GET OUT OF YOUR VEHICLE. Don’t ask why. Just please, don’t get out of your car.
Pretend there are snakes and spiders all around your car. Don’t open your door. Don’t do it.
PUT YOUR HANDS IN THE 10-2 POSITION ON YOUR STEERING WHEEL AND DON’T MOVE AN INCH.
DON’T MOVE YOUR HEAD AROUND.
If you move around a lot, even with the windows down, frantically searching your pockets or purse for your unexpired driver’s license, or worse yet, if you lean over to your glove box and rifle through it to find your unexpired insurance and unexpired registration, then YOU ARE CREATING AN UNCERTAIN SITUATION for the officer. DON’T SCARE HIM.
Because if your actions at this point create fear, then the officer might think twice about approaching your car.
In the worst case, because he is 100% guaranteed to have a lethal weapon, it might be drawn and pointed towards you in preparation for defense. You see, the officer has no idea if you have a lethal weapon. You know you don’t. But they don’t.
This is your opportunity to CREATE TRUST BY SITTING PERFECTLY STILL.
If you have passengers, then don’t ask them to be still, don’t suggest it, don’t give gentle guidance to them,
YOU MUST COMMAND THEM TO BE FUCKING STILL.
DON’T FUCKING MOVE.
KEEP YOUR HANDS VISIBLE AT ALL TIMES.
AND FOR GOD’S SAKE, SHUT THE FUCK UP.
TELL YOUR STUPID PASSENGERS: THE PERSON APPROACHING THE CAR HAS A LETHAL WEAPON AND WE DON’T WANT TO GET SHOT.
If they move around too much, and scare the officer, then you might get shot.
REMEMBER: you don’t want to get shot because your friends are fucking stupid and didn’t understand your CLEARLY DELIVERED COMMANDS.
When the nice officer who isn’t in danger of getting hit by a passing car finally approaches your fully transparent vehicle that gently pulled over the the side of the road with everyone being QUIET AND STILL, say in a very gentle, not annoyed way, “Hello officer, how can I help you?"
REMEMEBER: DON’T MOVE YOUR HANDS. KEEP ‘EM AT A 10-2.
DON’T MOVE YOUR BODY.
Only turn your head respectfully forwards the officer (the guy who has the loaded gun) to speak. If it's night time, then prepare to stare straight into a flash light. Don't panic. Don't be annoyed at the flashlight in your face, just be cool.
Eventually, the officer will likely ask for your license and registration.
At this point, you TELL HIM EXACTLY HOW YOU ARE GOING TO MOVE.
For example, “My license is in my pocket. I have to undo my seatbelt, then reach into my pocket to get it.”
SPEAK CLEARLY FOR THE BODY CAM FOOTAGE.
He will probably eventually say “Please get it."
Then here is another chance to CREATE TRUST because you already told him exactly what you were going to do:
NO NEED TO RUSH.
NO NEED TO PANIC.
MOVE SLOWLY IN EXACTLY HOW YOU SAID YOU WOULD.
You don’t want to make a sudden move that startles the officer and gets you SHOT AND KILLED IN SELF DEFENSE BECAUSE YOU MADE THE OFFICER FEAR FOR HIS LIFE.
I have found that it is ESPECIALLY TRUE if you have to go into your glove box.
MOVE SLOWLY and STATE YOUR ACTION CLEARLY.
Coincidentally, many pistols are just about the right size to fit in a glove box, or under your seat.
That is why you MOVE ESPECIALLY SLOWLY when you reach towards your glove box, and generally, as stated above, SIT STILL. DON’T FUCKING MOVE.
And again that is why you keep your hands on your steering wheel. KEEP YOUR HANDS VISIBLE AT ALL TIMES. NO SUDDEN MOVES.
It’s OKAY to get pulled over.
It’s NOT OKAY to create UNCERTAINTY
It’s NOT OKAY to SCARE a cop.
It’s NOT OKAY to get yourself SHOT AND KILLED.
It makes for a bad day for everyone involved.
I learned all the above as a teenager growing up in NC in the 80’s. It’s still true today in 2016.
My name is Dae Yu.