In Chapter 2, Purposes and Methods of Traffic Enforcement, we learned that the initial moment of personal contact with a motorist always involves some degree of tension. The reality is that this is not going to be a pleasant experience for the violator.
As the motorist observes the police officer approaching his car in the side-view mirror, his mind is racing with a wide range of possibilities as to how this encounter is going to end. At the very least he might receive a stern warning and lecture from the officer. At the very worst, this may cost him a hefty fine and maybe a significant hike in his insurance premiums, or perhaps a suspension on his driver’s license if there are other prior violations.
How that individual will react to these unpleasant possibilities is the unknown factor that creates tension for the police officer. The officer knows that it is his professional responsibility to behave in a courteous manner even if it means enduring discourtesy or verbal abuse from the motorist.
The idea of following a standard verbal format or script, when engaging in personal contact with a violator may seem strange or restricting to you. Many officers though have developed their own style or scripts for communicating with violators that work well for them.
In three to four paragraphs, answer the following questions:
1. Based on what you have learned, how do you feel about the practice of having one prepared “script” for police officers during their contact with a motorist stopped for a traffic violation? Include how you think rookie police officers should be trained regarding this practice of using a “script” when communicating with traffic violators?
2. What are the advantages of using a prepared “script”?
3. What are the disadvantages of using a prepared “script”?