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  #1  
Old 01 February 2013, 02:24 AM
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Police Police tap cars during traffic stops?

Comment: I've heard that when police make traffic stops, they often tap or press a hand against the rear of the car (taillight or trunk) as they approach the vehicle from behind. I've also heard several explanations for why they do this:

a) They're leaving fingerprints behind to document their contact with the vehicle in case the perpetrators take off or abduct the officer.

b) They're pushing down on the trunk to ensure it's latched so that no one attacks them by popping out of it.

c) They're trying to startle the vehicle's occupants to hinder their efforts at hiding any incriminating evidence.

So do police actually do this? If so, why?
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  #2  
Old 01 February 2013, 02:41 AM
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I've been pulled over twice and neither time did the police officer actually do that.

Though I don't think that they'd be worried about someone popping out the trunk of my hatchback.

Seriously though, whoever came up with that idea has watched too many Trunk Monkey commercials. One: it'd be freaking obvious if a car was driving along with its trunk open, and two: that wouldn't really do anything since practically every car these days has a button that the driver can use to open the trunk anyway (and there's also some cars that have levers inside the trunk that open the trunk in order to prevent someone from becoming trapped in the trunk).
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Old 01 February 2013, 02:54 AM
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Driver

Quote:
it'd be freaking obvious if a car was driving along with its trunk open
A trunk lid can be unlatched without being open, especially if something else (such as a bungee cord) is being used to hold it closed.

Quote:
Generally they don't need to document contact with a vehicle. Their tickets are carbon copies and they document plate number
But not if the occupants of the pulled-over car drive off or attack the officer before he can write the ticket.
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Old 01 February 2013, 03:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snopes View Post
But not if the occupants of the pulled-over car drive off or attack the officer before he can write the ticket.
Which is why I mentioned cameras - though they might not be universal. But I would think that before they actually talk with the driver they do the basics like get a plate number in case they do drive off...
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Old 01 February 2013, 04:06 AM
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Originally Posted by diddy View Post
Which is why I mentioned cameras - though they might not be universal. But I would think that before they actually talk with the driver they do the basics like get a plate number in case they do drive off...
Yeah, finding a car with that number plate is easier then pulling over every car of that make, model and number to dust it for prints it.
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Old 01 February 2013, 04:11 AM
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I thought it's standard procedure now for the police to run the plate numbers before they ever get out of their car. If the pulled car is stolen or the owner has outstanding warrants it helps to know ahead of time that it's going to be a dangerous situation.
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Old 01 February 2013, 04:16 AM
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d) The police officer has OCD and it is a compulsion.
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Old 01 February 2013, 07:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by diddy View Post
Which is why I mentioned cameras - though they might not be universal. But I would think that before they actually talk with the driver they do the basics like get a plate number in case they do drive off...
If the plates were stolen and the perpetrators removed or swapped them after getting away, knowing the plate number won't help identify the car.
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Old 02 February 2013, 06:32 AM
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Actually, it's quite true. I've been watching COPS since it started and more times than not, when an officer is walking up to the car, he makes a very deliberate move to touch the rear of the car... my guess was to "feel" if its running or possibly starting to move...???? Dunno...
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Old 02 February 2013, 08:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snopes View Post
If the plates were stolen and the perpetrators removed or swapped them after getting away, knowing the plate number won't help identify the car.
Stolen plates or not, recording the plate number can still be helpful.
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Old 02 February 2013, 04:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crocoduck_hunter View Post
Seriously though, whoever came up with that idea has watched too many Trunk Monkey commercials.
Thank you for bringing the trunk monkey back into my life!
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  #12  
Old 01 February 2013, 02:46 AM
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The several times I have been pulled over for various offensives (don't ask) I have never seen cops do this. None of the above makes sense:

1) Generally they don't need to document contact with a vehicle. Their tickets are carbon copies and they document plate number - they also have cameras to record pull-overs.

2) Who keeps people hidden in the trunk on the off chance that they get pulled over? And if your trunk isn't closed it will open on the road.

3) I would think that flashing lights would be enough to startle vehicle occupants and even before then it would be too late since they observe people once pulled over. Cops aren't dumb. If they suspect somebody they act.
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