NC State Highway Patrol Trooper explains training going into traffic stops

Specially trained for traffic stops

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Each year State Highway Patrol reviews how they train troopers to make traffic stops, taking into account stops that end in tragedy like the trooper shooting death in Columbus County.

"You might not know the trooper that works 10 counties away, but he's still a family member, he's still a part of your agency," NCSHP Trooper Ray Pierce said. "It's like losing a loved one."

Trooper Pierce has been pulling people over for almost 20 years, but he said it never gets easier.

"It brings back those thoughts of how dangerous the job is," he said.

The most nerve wracking part for trooper is approaching the car and not knowing who is there and how they will act.

"We're looking for movements, items in the car, contraband, firearms anything that could hurt you," he said.

Troopers are trained to deescalate situations.

"The violator will unfortunately sometimes dictate the traffic stop whether they're angry or mad," he said.

They are trained to curb the conversation when it's heading in a certain direction.

"The roadside is not the place to make your argument, you will have your day in court," he said.

Keeping the safety of the violator and the trooper is always the top priority. That can include being aware of traffic.

"You'll check that person's information to make sure their license and registration is valid, all while keeping your eyes on the occupants and driver of the vehicle," he said.

He said fortunately most of the time the driver has calmed down by the time he returns.

Troopers train for the unexpected. Preparation is all they can continue to focus on.

"We'll view the videos, see what happened and try to develop ways to keep that from happening again, but unfortunately with a traffic stop, you never know who you're stopping," he said.

He also said that with almost 200 trooper vacancies across the state, it’s unlikely that troopers will start driving with another trooper.

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