Program teaches students how to act when pulled over by police


Jene Thomas – General Assignment Editor 

With the cops by her side, Danielle Judkins, a resident advisor of West Campus Residence Hall, told students to show respect and not to argue when they get pulled over by the police.

“When they tell you something, don’t argue,” she said. “Just say ‘I see.’ Just comply and if you want to fight it, you can go to the courts and fight it.”

The advice came from her program “Don’t React, Know How to Act,” hosted in West Campus on Feb. 10 in the fourth floor common area with help from the Southern police department. Greeted by doughnuts, milk and a presentation, students were invited to come and learn about how to act and react when they see the red and blue lights flashing behind them.

“When you see a police car, pull over to the right safely and quickly,” Judkins said. “Slow down fairly quickly but not too quickly where the cop would have to break to avoid hitting you.”

After pulling onto the right shoulder, she said people are expected to turn off their cars, put both hands on the steering wheel and await directions from the cops.

“If we’re pulling you over, it’s because you did a violation,” Officer Sergio Nunez said.

Once they’ve collected the driver’s license and car insurance, the officers will validate the information, assuring the car isn’t stolen or registered improperly. Depending on how things check out and how well the driver reacts, the officer could either give a verbal warning, a written warning or a written refraction, also known as a ticket.

“The key is attitude,” Nunez said. “Just say ‘yes, sir.’ You give me attitude, refraction.”

It was emphasized that people should not make any sudden movements in order to prevent reflexive reactions from the police.

Sgt. Marc Tullo warned the attendees of the dangers of making quick movements.

“Don’t go reaching for stuff in the car because the first thing I’m going to think is you’re reaching for a gun,” he said.

Avoid giving the officer a reason to search through the car. It was featured on the slideshow presentation and constantly repeated by Judkins and the officers. Tullo said alcohol should remain in the back seat or in the trunk.

If a singular beer can is on the floor beneath the passenger seat, it warns the officers that it was taken out of the package wrapping and could be used for current consumption, which is enough probable cause for a search and seizure under the 4th amendment. The same could be said of marijuana. It may be unseen, but cops know the smell well.

“Don’t carry any weed in your car because as soon as you roll down your window, we can smell it,” Tullo said.

Just as students may get pulled over, faculty is also expected to follow the law or else receive an infraction, Nunez said. Despite statistics which say black drivers are more likely to get pulled over in Connecticut than a white driver, according to the Courant, the police emphasized that anyone who commits a violation will be pulled over.

When getting pulled over, students and faculty alike are expected to show respect and not to argue. They said they have a reason for asking cars to pull over. If they see something wrong, they will address it no matter who it is.

“I know why I pulled you over,” Nunez said. “I’m not going to just pull you over because I want to because you’re white, black, yellow, green. That’s not our style here at Southern.”

Photo Credit: Derek Torrellas

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