NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – If there’s a constant in police work, it’s the traffic stop.
Most are pedestrian or uneventful.
But ask any officer who wears the badge and they’ll be quick to tell you, there’s no such thing as a routine traffic stop.
“They might have just committed a heinous crime two states over you know nothing about,” says Commander Scott Ryan, Hendersonville Police.
“I might be walking up on granny who just left church and she’s in a hurry because she left her oven on, or I might be walking upon the man who just beat his wife and children near to death,” says Lt. Ken Miller, Cheatham County Sheriff’s Office.
Many high-speed chases, crazy crashes, and shots fired all began with a traffic stop.
“Our business is like a new movie every day. You never know what is going to happen,” says Ryan.
According to veteran officers, a traffic stop is a balancing act. It’s about treating motorists with respect, while not letting your guard down to the possibilities of danger.
“You try to protect yourself in a way that is not offensive to the innocent civilian running late for work,” says Ryan. “But you cannot drop your guard. That’s when bad things happen.”
“We try and train our officers to think of both sides of the spectrum,” says Chief Don Bandy, Gallatin Police.
Lt. Ken Miller, Cheatham County Sheriff’s Office, says it is all about training and tactics, “Put yourself in the most advantageous position you can where you have the advantage, where you are safest. Your eyes are moving, scanning the car. Where are their hands? What is in that center console? What is on the dash? Wedged between the seat? How many people in the car? When you first approach you have no idea what you are walking up on.”
In a special News 2 series, officers open up about the perils of their job and how they cope with danger on a daily basis.
You can check out more from Behind the Badge here.