Grand Valley Police Department

If stopped by the police

Police Interactions 

It is the intent of the GVSU Police Departments to provide fair and equal service to everyone who works, lives, and learns in the community. Frequently, in the course of a police officer’s duties, it becomes necessary to stop a person and make an inquiry such as:

          • What is your name?
          • What is your address?
          • Do you have any identification?
          • What is the nature of your activities?

Sometimes, routine interactions with law enforcement cause a person to feel intimidated or to respond in a manner which gives rise to conflict or suspicion. Our intent is to provide this informational guide to reduce elements of conflict when potentially confronted. You are cautioned, however, that this is not a legal advisory.
Home or Street Interactions
If a police officer stops you on the street or at home the officer has a reason for the contact.  The officer may suspect that you are in violation of a law. It is possible that criminal activity occurred nearby and the officer believes you may be of assistance.
In any case, DO NOT RUN from the police officer.  Be calm.  LISTEN.  Find out what the officer wants. Don’t assume that you know the reason you are being stopped.  Provide identification if you are asked.  It’s best if you remain cooperative.
DON’T SAY ANYTHING THAT IS NOT TRUTHFUL. This will only make matters worse and you may end up causing further troubles for yourself or the police officer. In any circumstance you certainly are afforded the ability to ask questions of the officer. But in doing so, please remain calm. Yelling and threatening a police officer will only make a situation more difficult.
Traffic Stops Interactions

Why Am I Being Stopped by the Police?
          • Moving violations are the most common violations of state law committed by a driver of
          a vehicle while it is in motion. The term “moving” distinguishes it from other violations
          such as parking violations, equipment violations, or paperwork violations relating to
          insurance, registration, inspection, etc.

          • Criminal investigations can also relate to road use such as, drunk driving, or to matters
          such as theft, assault, fraud, etc. Many times descriptors of vehicles or individuals
          involved in criminal activity are relayed in area broadcasts to officers and may take action
          if encounter similar or matching types of information to further investigate.

What should I do if I’m stopped?
          • If you are driving a motor vehicle and an officer signals you to stop, whether the police
          officer is in a patrol car, on a bicycle, or on foot, you must pull over. 
          • Pull over to the RIGHT hand side of the road.
          • Remain in your vehicle at all times unless instructed otherwise.
          • If it is dark, turn on the interior light.
          • Keep your hands in sight, preferably on the steering wheel.
          • The police officer will request your license, registration, and proof of insurance. 
          • Give the police officer a chance to explain why he or she stopped you.
          • If there are passengers in your vehicle, encourage them to remain cooperate.
          • If the police officer asks you to step out of your vehicle, do so without any sudden or
          threatening movements.  Give the police officer at least three feet of professional space to
          do his or her job.

Page last modified November 17, 2010