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A routine traffic stop is most likely not very dangerous, but as an officer approaches the vehicle, what will happen in the next few minutes could be a life-or-death encounter.
This is one of the most vulnerable moments in an officer’s shift, but the lessons that local law enforcement teams learned during a recent Governors Highway Safety Office class, and will carry back to their departments, will help decrease that danger.
“You don’t know when you are going to have a shootout,” the GHSO contract instructor told a class of experienced officers Tuesday.
During the 40-hour Strategies and Tactics Of Patrol Stops (S.T.O.P.S.) Instructor class, 19 officers, including four from MPD and two from the Coffee County Sheriff Department, trained in various traffic stop scenarios.
Certified with the city were Officers Bryan Eldridge, Derek Jones and Fred Lee along with Sgt. Patterson. Sheriff Department Deputies Daniel Ray and Brandon Reed attended.
Patterson said that he class covered tactics on how to approach vehicles during different types of risks.
“You never know what type risk you will have when you’re approaching a vehicle.”
Deputy Daniel Ray said that the class would help protect the safety of the public as well as him and his fellow officers.
“They teach you different responses if you are taking fire – to go to cover and return fire,” Ray said.
“Our main priority is always being safe. It also makes it safe for the violator or the person that you stop by making them more at ease.”
Officers and deputies from across Middle Tennessee attended the training.
“Training together is always helpful,” said Chief Mark Yother. “We’re all on the same team.”