Traffic stop etiquette class proposed

A state lawmaker from Houston plans to file legislation requiring schools to teach students on how to interact with law enforcement officers.

Traffic stops in Austin happen every day. So far this year, APD patrol officers have issued 93, 237 traffic citations and 136,638 citations in 2015.
Learning how to handle one of these roadway encounters - in a classroom - is an idea being pitch by state Senator John Whitmire ( D ) Houston.

"Just too many individuals think they can confront law enforcement and have a good outcome, and that’s just wrong,” said Sen. Whitmire.

The Ideas by the Sen. Whitmire was prompted by recent controversial incidents with police. Combative confrontations and ugly shouting matches that have trigger national outrage. The senator says he is trying to de-escalate the growing anger- and not give cops a free pass for bad behavior.

"If you run into an officer that is improperly handling himself, or herself, you don’t confront them at that moment, you've got to cooperate and then report them the next day to the authorities to your state senator, to your parents,” said the Senator.

For law enforcement officers traffic stops are anything but routine.  The course work could provide perspective about the risks police face and could be taught during a civics or health class, according to Sen. Whitmire.

“In the 9th grade, before you start driving, you need to learn that if you have contact with a law enforcement officer, yes you have rights and due process, but you don’t need to try to demonstrate it on the streets of Texas,” said the Senator.

Tuesday, Sen. Whitmire's idea will be discussed during a legislative hearing at the state capitol. While that may be the first of many discussions, a local police department has already posted a lesson on line.

A video titled - Traffic Stop Etiquette- was produced last year by the Round Rock police department. The advice on the video PSA sounds pretty simple and basic, but parents who spoke to FOX 7 think it's a lesson that may have a place in the classroom.

"It’s time; it’s been past time, to have a class like this. Where children will learn what to say, what not to say, and what to do, when approached by police officers,” said Mary Cofield.

Another parent, Diana Perez feels improving trust during enforcement activity will improve the overall relationship with authorities.

"Some kids are intimidated, you’re scared to talk to a police officer, no it should be like that,  you should  be friendly with a police officer, he ought to be, hey that’s my help right there."

The parents also suggested - some extra class time for police officers --- saying relationships could improve with more work on de-escalation tactics and roadside etiquette.

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