(CBS) — Lake County Sheriff’s Deputy Joseph Halek takes part in a mock traffic stop in Libertyville.
“Good Morning, I’m Deputy Halek, do you know why I pulled you over today?” he asks another officer who is posing as a speeding motorist.
Halek says approaching a vehicle always has its risks. Police have to be ready for the unexpected, so, how they ask questions and how they interpret a motorists’ body language is key to the outcome.
“How you talk to people, the words you use, when you use them, are very important,” Halek says.
“Communication is key,” he adds. “Whether it be someone coming into our records desk to request a police report or someone getting pulled over, it can be a stressful situation. Stress levels are up on both sides, so what relieves that stress is communication between the civilian and the officer.”
“We train our officers in better communication,” says Chris Covelli, Lake County Sheriff’s Department spokesperson. “In order for us to do our jobs, we have to be perceived as legitimate to society. We also have to make sure we all know how to respond to someone who is in mental crisis. They need to identify it and stabilize it before there is any violence.”
Veteran Officer Robert Skrypeck has been on the force for 22 years. He says no one wants to be pulled over by the police but patience and courtesy is key to the outcome on both sides.