Law enforcement’s job is to protect and serve citizens, but sometimes it can be intimidating to talk to them. This can be because they may have their hand on their gun as they speak with you, they may take precautions when approaching a vehicle during a traffic stop, or because they may catch one in the act of breaking the law. Whatever the circumstances, it is best to remain calm when interacting with them.
Avoid escalating the situation
Some people cannot help themselves when dealing with authority figures, but it is essential not to make matters worse. Ways to avoid this include remaining polite but do not volunteer any incriminating information. Do not give the appearance of being unreasonable or threatening. If all else fails, invoke your right to remain silent.
Do not allow a search
Unless they obtain a search warrant, the officer generally must ask permission to search you or go through your possessions. Politely deny their request and ask if you are free to go. If they are at the door, ask who it is before opening the door and do not allow them inside without a warrant.
Avoid falling for tricks
Officers are trained to analyze evidence, behavior and interview suspects. This training allows them to draw conclusions, and this can lead to arrest. Keep in mind that they expect truthful answers, but they may not be telling the truth. They may try to intimidate a suspect or appear friendly by saying something like “we’re just talking here” or “your friend already admitted to it.” Potential suspects should avoid falling for these phrases or others designed to put them at ease while gathering evidence.
Ask for help
If they persist in a line of questioning, it likely is time to ask for legal guidance before answering any more questions.