|Lawson Police Department,
You Make the Call
Modern Policing is an ever changing and often complicated environment. As new laws
and new court decisions are made, Police have to constantly adapt to these changes in
order to make lawful decisions. Often Police Officers are confronted with complicated
and quickly changing situations and are required to make split second decisions. To
be a Police Officer takes experience and constant training to keep up with these ever
changing laws and court rulings.
Now its your turn to make the call and be the Police Officer. Below is an actual situation
where Police Officer's had to make a decision. How would you handle the call?
Officer Jones is patrolling when he observed a vehicle with out of state license plates
being displayed only on the rear of the vehicle. After checking his records which were
issued in 1998, Officer Jones found that the state in question requires two license
plates to be displayed. The traffic stop occurred in 2005.
Officer Jones conducts a traffic stop on the vehicle and makes contact with Mr. Smith
and Mr. Williams who both say they are travelling on vacation. Neither person has a
license to drive, both appear to be unusually nervous, there doesn't appear to be any
luggage in the vehicle, and Officer Jones smell the heavy odor of air fresher in the
vehicle. Believing that there is more going on then just a vacation trip, Officer Jones
asks for a consent to search the vehicle and the driver agrees. While searching the
trunk area, Officer Jones locates a hidden compartment that contains a large amount of
At trial, Mr. Smith and Mr. Williams argued that the search of the vehicle was unlawful.
They argued that Officer Jones relied on information about another states licensing that
may have been out of date. In addition they argued that Officer Jones moved beyond
the initial reason for the stop when he requested consent to search the vehicle. Officer
Jones' department had a written policy to impound certain vehicles and conduct