The Greensboro City Council is currently in the process of learning more about the Greensboro Police Department and how it operates.
At the urging of Councilmember Marikay Abuzuaiter, a number of sessions have been set up for councilmembers to take mini-classes in different police procedures at the Public Safety Training Facility on Church Street.
Wednesday, Oct. 14, Abuzuaiter and Councilmember Tammi Thurm participated in a class that could have been called, “Everything you always wanted to know about traffic stops, but were afraid to ask.”
Officer Brian Price, who has served with the Greensboro Police Department for 28 years, gave the presentation, which began with the reasons for a traffic stop all the way through to having the councilmembers watch a simulated traffic stop in the Police Training Center parking lot and then try it themselves.
Price said that the reason for a traffic stop is either that the officer has reasonable suspicion or probable cause that a crime has been or is about to be committed. Reasonable suspicion is a lower standard than probable cause, but an officer has to be able to articulate the basis for that reasonable suspicion.
Price noted that there are no quotas for stopping cars or writing tickets and no bonuses either.
Abuzuaiter and Thurm were asked about times they had been stopped by police officers and how they felt. Both expressed varying degrees of anxiety.
Price said, “That anxiety is on both sides.” He said that an officer making a traffic stop never knows what they are going to encounter when they approach the vehicle, but that the primary goal of the officer is to ensure his own safety and the safety of everyone involved.
Price said he always introduced himself, gave the driver the reason for the stop and asked for their license and registration. He said North Carolina law requires the drivers to produce their driver’s licenses during a traffic stop.
Thurm asked about the legality of people who have been stopped video taping the incident.
Price said, that as far as legality goes, “It’s 100 percent.” He added that he didn’t have any problem with the driver or passengers video taping the stop because his body worn camera was video taping the stop, also.
Not only does the officer’s body worn camera automatically activate when the officer turns on the lights and siren, the body worn cameras of any other officers at the scene also automatically activate and the police car itself also has two cameras that activate.
So whether the person in the car videos the incident or not there is a lot of video being shot.