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Many people have experienced a traffic stop from the perspective of the one getting pulled over. Participants in the Maumee Citizens' Police Academy got to learn what it's like being on the other side of the stop Tuesday.
This week's class was on traffic and OVI enforcement. In Maumee, the majority of traffic stops are for speeding, running a red light, and expired plates. Students learned what a stop involves Tuesday night.
The uncertainty of what will happen as an officer approaches a vehicle requires plenty of training.
"You want to be keeping your eyes on what the occupants of the vehicle are doing, and you have to be looking out for traffic that's on the roadway at the very same time," explained Sgt. TJ Stratton.
It's not uncommon for a routine traffic stop to lead to something bigger, like a dangerous situation involving drugs, crime, or drunk driving.
"[We look for] non-verbal cues, the avoidance techniques and things like that," explained Officer Andrew Pollauf.
Three volunteers in the class, each at about the same blood alcohol content, but different body masses and amount of alcohol consumed, were given field sobriety tests Tuesday. The walking test, eye test, and balance test are all aimed at getting drunk drivers off the road.
"I've seen a lot of crashes that involve drunk driving in Maumee, and it's definitely rewarding when you can pull one off the road," Officer Pollauf said.
The tips learned by the class about driving errors, actions and more give the Maumee Police about 40 sets of extra eyes on the road.
"[It's] a good involvement between the community and the officers, puts us on that same page, makes things so much more efficient for us," said Sgt. Stratton.
Next week, the class heads to the shooting range for a firearms demonstration.