Officer Encounter

What Should I Do When An Officer Approaches Me On The Street?

Most officers are readily identifiable by their uniform. On occasion, you may encounter officers who are not wearing a uniform. If you have any doubts as to the identity of the police officer, you are entitled to ask for proper identification including the officer’s name and/or ID number.


Police can stop you under three general circumstances: if the officer suspects you have committed a crime, if the officer actually sees you committing a crime and if you are driving a vehicle after having committed a violation. The officer may ask your name, address, what you are doing or where you are going. In most circumstances, the officer will ask you to produce identification.


Refusal to answer questions or being evasive may cause the officer to become more suspicious and to investigate more thoroughly. The goal for everyone should be toward achieving a resolution or solving the crime.


If offenders could be identified simply by the way they looked or dressed, it would be easy to be a police officer. The fact is officers have to investigate. Do not take offense to an officer asking questions. They are doing their jobs, preventing crime for you and the rest of the community.


Some points to remember: keep your hands where the officer can see them, put things down that you may be holding when the officer asks you, stay put and stay calm – never walk or run away from the police as this makes the officer more suspicious and could escalate the situation.

What Should I Do When An Officer Stops Me While I’m Driving

For many reasons, traffic stops are the most dangerous aspect of police work. More officers are injured or killed conducting routine traffic stops than any other function. Officers must interpret the actions and behavior of the occupants of the vehicle, as well as constantly monitor other traffic. For these reasons, officers are trained in making safe vehicle stops and to follow a set procedure. The way they approach your car is not meant to intimidate you.


If you are directed to stop by a police officer:

  • Slow down and pull as far off to the right as safely possible
  • Stay inside your vehicle unless directed otherwise by the officer
  • Keep you hands where the officer can see them and don’t make any sudden movements
  • Be prepared to produce the necessary documents. As the driver of the car, you are required by law, upon demand of the officer, to produce a valid drivers license, proof of insurance and the vehicle registration

What Is Discriminatory Profiling?

Unequal treatment of any person including stopping, searching, questioning, detention or arrest solely or primarily on the basis of their racial or ethnic characteristics, religion, gender, sexual orientation or socio-economic status.


Title 18 Section 242 of the US Code states that no person under the color of the law will deprive any person of his/her rights, privileges or immunities secured by the Constitution. Any violation of this code should be reported immediately to the University Police Department.

What Is Equal Protection Under The Law?

The 14th Amendment states that every person is entitled to be treated the same for similar circumstances.

What If I Have A Complaint About The Police Or A Specific Officer?

Any person can file a complaint with the University Police Department if they feel they have been stopped or searched based on racial, ethnic or gender-based profiling. All complaints are handled by supervisors or the administrative staff in the department.