If you don't trust a police officer, running is not the solution - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

If you don't trust a police officer, running is not the solution

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WHITEHOUSE, TX (KLTV) - Law enforcement officers are offering up some helpful safety tips after an East Texas woman who ran from a police officer ended up in handcuffs.

Friday morning, a uniformed police officer on a motorcycle was patrolling a Whitehouse neighborhood. The Whitehouse police chief says the officer was looking for suspicious activity because of increased crime in the area. Then, the officer spotted an abandoned truck and a woman walking nearby.

When the woman saw the officer she starts jogging away. The officer asked her to stop and talk to him, but she kept going. Eventually he chased her down, put her on the ground and handcuffed her. When backup arrived, police begin questioning the woman and learned she didn't seem to have anything to hide.

"If there would have been people around me, I would have stopped to talk to him, but there are some bad police officers in this world and I was afraid because there wasn't anyone else around me," she explains.

"In most cases, I'd just say, call 911 and let the agency know that you're being followed by someone attempting to stop you and you're nervous and you'd like to know if it's a police officer," says Van Zandt County Constable Pat Jordan.

Jordan says knowing how to handle a situation you might be uncomfortable in is important for both your safety and the safety of the officer who is making the stop.

"If an officer tells you to stop, you need to stop. You don't have to talk to him. You don't have to answer his questions but if he asks you who you are and you don't identify yourself, he has the right to take you in," explains Constable Jordan.

You are obligated to stop and identify yourself. You do not have to answer any other questions because you have the right to remain silent, but you do not have the right to run from the police.

The Van Zandt County Constable's office had some other tips if you're uncomfortable with an officer who has stopped you. They suggest:
  • Ask to see the officer's badge and ID cards
  • Call 911 and ask for another officer to come to the scene
  • If you're in your car, you can opt to roll the window down just a couple of inches and speak with the officer through the crack
"There are a lot of unique and different individuals that we come into contact with every day. I don't know what causes people people to do what they do, but if you just use good judgement overall... you'll be alright," adds Jordan.

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