Southfield police officer Rafid Maya speaks with 17-year-old Lydia Gill, of West Bloomfield, during a simulated traffic stop April 11. The Police Department hosted the Please Stop Me program where teenagers could experience a traffic stop and learn the proper protocols.

Southfield police officer Rafid Maya speaks with 17-year-old Lydia Gill, of West Bloomfield, during a simulated traffic stop April 11. The Police Department hosted the Please Stop Me program where teenagers could experience a traffic stop and learn the proper protocols.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes


Southfield police simulate traffic stops for teens

By: Kayla Dimick | Southfield Sun | Published April 16, 2019

 Maya and University High School senior Cortney Cochran, 18, of Southfield, go over paperwork during a simulated traffic stop.

Maya and University High School senior Cortney Cochran, 18, of Southfield, go over paperwork during a simulated traffic stop.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

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SOUTHFIELD — The Southfield Police Department made 25 traffic stops April 11 — all teenagers.

It wasn’t a citywide crackdown or bust, but the Please Stop Me program.

The goal of the new community program, according to acting Chief Brian Bassett, is to provide a safe environment for new drivers to experience a traffic stop.

Bassett said teens from Southfield Public Schools were invited to experience a traffic stop in the empty parking lot across from the Southfield Municipal Complex, near the intersection of Civic Center Drive and Evergreen Road.

“The purpose of the program is to try to provide a safe environment for young drivers to learn what to expect during a traffic stop, and for Mom and Dad to be with them and kind of talk them through the process,” Bassett said. “As young drivers, they’re going to be on their own and they’re not going to have that kind of guidance, so we just want to create a safe environment for them.”

Participants — with their parents or guardians riding shotgun — were taught step by step what to do when pulled over, with a focus on the safety of drivers, as well as the officers on the stop. The teens also learned the various reasons for a traffic stop, their rights during a stop and what to do if they’re ever involved in a traffic stop.

Bassett said the event is not in reaction to any recent incidents and is mainly a proactive measure.

“We’ve been very lucky in Southfield because we haven’t had a lot of issues, so we’re doing this proactively. We’ve all seen social media where we see different traffic stops be escalated, and from our perspective, unnecessarily,” Bassett said.

One of the biggest mistakes drivers make during a stop is that they try to fight their infraction during the stop.

“The biggest challenge that we have is that we want young people to understand that there’s a place, there is a time, to challenge a traffic stop and to challenge a ticket,” Bassett said. “That place and that time is not on the stop. It’s after, whether it’s a citizen complaint or if there is a traffic citation, there are procedures to do that.”

Drivers were given a handout from the Police Department listing the proper procedures to follow during a stop and what their rights are.

According to the handout, when drivers are stopped, they should:

• Turn down the radio and, at night, turn on the dome light.

• Upon request, produce their driver’s license, registration and proof of insurance.

• Be polite and respectful.

• Not argue.

• Keep their hands visible or on the steering wheel.

• Stay in their vehicle unless requested to do otherwise.

• Provide truthful information.

• Not interfere with, touch or obstruct the police.

• Not complain at the scene.

• If they have a concealed weapon permit and/or if they are armed, inform the officer.

Officer Kelly Buckberry, who helped facilitate the event, said the program was a long time coming.

“This should have been done a long time ago,” she said.

Southfield resident Asia Allen, 17, was first in line to get stopped.

“I’m here to see how it feels like to get pulled over by the police and see what you have to do,” Allen said.

Bassett said that because the program quickly filled up, many students are on the waiting list for the next event, which will be held at a date to be announced.

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