What Happens When you have Contact with a Deputy Sheriff?
GENERALLY, a Deputy Sheriff:
- Will provide his or her name upon request
- A Deputy Sheriff who is not in uniform will present proper identification; you may request to examine their credentials so that you are satisfied they are a law enforcement officer.
- Will inform a person of the reason for being stopped.
- Will only use the amount of force necessary to affect the arrest of a suspect and to maintain the custody of the prisoner.
- Will only arrest a person for a crime committed in the Deputy’s presence, when accepting a citizen’s arrest, or when the officer has probable cause to believe a person has already committed a serious crime.
Why Do Deputy Sheriffs Stop People?
There are a variety of different reasons why you might be stopped by a Deputy Sheriff in Jackson County. Reasons might include:
- The Deputy may think you are in trouble and need help.
- You may have violated the rules of the road.
- Your vehicle might have a safety violation.
- You may fit the description of a wanted suspect.
- You may have been a witness to a crime.
Oregon Law Requires (ORS 811.145):
“…Upon the immediate approach of an authorized emergency vehicle, the driver of every other vehicle shall yield the right-of-way and shall immediately drive to the right-hand edge or curb of the highway, clear of any intersection, and thereupon stop and remain stopped until the authorized emergency vehicle has passed”
If you are stopped:
With this in mind, there are things that you, as a law abiding citizen can do to help make the experience a more efficient, positive, and safe experience for both you and the Sheriff Deputy.
If you are stopped by a Deputy Sheriff while driving, you may feel confused, anxious, or even angry. These are natural feelings, but remember, traffic stops can also be stressful and dangerous for the Deputy Sheriff. Each year, a number of law enforcement officers are killed or seriously injured while making the “routine” traffic stop.
Please remember the following:
- When you see the blue and red overhead lights and/or hear the siren, remain calm and pull safely over parallel to the right side of the road.
- Remain in your vehicle unless the Deputy advises otherwise. Be sure the officer is wearing a police uniform. If not keep your door locked and ask for credentials.
- Keep your hands where the Deputy can see them. It’s a good idea to rest both hands on the steering wheel.
- Inform the Deputy of any weapons in your vehicle and their location. Do not reach or point to the location.
- Avoid any sudden movements, especially toward the floorboard, rear seat, or passenger side of the vehicle. The Deputy might think you are reaching for a weapon or concealing some other object.
- Do not immediately reach for your license or other documents until the Deputy requests them. Oregon law requires drivers to show their license, registration and insurance card to a peace officer upon request.
- If your documents are out of reach, tell the Deputy where they are before you reach for them.
- If the stop occurs during darkness, the Deputy will likely use a bright spotlight to illuminate your vehicle.
- If there are passengers in your vehicle, encourage them to remain quiet and cooperate with the instructions. As the operator you are solely responsible for your vehicle and its occupants.
- The Deputy may issue you a ticket. If you feel the reason is vague or unclear, ask the Deputy for details.
- If you contest the violation, you will have an opportunity to address the matter in court; do not argue with the Deputy.
- Be honest with the Deputy. If you really didn’t see the stop sign, or were unaware of the speed limit, let the Deputy know. Being honest about any situation is the best approach.
- Many agencies use single-officer patrol cars, especially in the suburbs. It is normal to see two or three marked patrol cars on a routine traffic stop, especially at night. This is to ensure the Deputy’s safety.
- Finally, if you receive a ticket, please accept it calmly.