On March 7th, 2013

Flashing Lights: When You Are Being Pulled Over CHP Public Safety Dispatchers Can Help

Recently a Bakersfield woman being pulled over by a California Highway Patrol (CHP) officer, expressed concern about coming to a stop in a rural, dimly lit location.   She reportedly drove 3 miles in an attempt to find a well-lit area before finally pulling over. 

There is no question flashing lights behind you, and meant for you, can be unnerving.  It may be difficult to determine what agency is involved and where you should safely navigate to a complete stop.

Any questions, do not hesitate to call 911.  CHP Public Safety dispatchers are essentially your guardian angels during a traffic stop. 

"Yes, call 911," said Tina Brazil, CHP dispatcher and president of the CHP Public Safety Dispatchers Association.  "Tell us where you are, what vehicle you are in, if you know what agency is pulling you over and why it is you feel unsafe."

The law requires that a driver pull over in a timely manner but unmarked law enforcement cars or remote, dark areas can cause some drivers to become concerned for their safety.

CHP dispatchers are in constant contact with CHP officers and can also call local law enforcement agencies if CHP is not involved, all the while, keeping the caller on the line.

"If it is CHP we are able to broadcast to our officers, do we have anyone at that location trying to pull over a vehicle matching that description.  If we can't verify, we will direct the caller to  a public place, like a gas station, convenience store, a well lit area and have an officer respond to them."

The same applies should someone feel as though they are being followed.  CHP dispatchers will stay on the line, advise the driver to go to a busy, well-lit establishment, go inside and make yourself known to a clerk and an officer will respond.   "Don't ever hesitate to call 911 in those situations," said Brazil.  "If someone truly is concerned about their safety,  they should call 911."

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