The hidden dangers of traffic stops


2024-02-21 09:56 HNP

Under the Official Languages Act, this office provides services to the public in English only. You will find general information in both official languages at and

Aux termes de la Loi sur les langues officielles, ce bureau n'offre des services au public qu'en anglais. Vous trouverez des renseignements généraux dans les deux langues officielles au et

You might think that pulling over vehicles and writing tickets is one of the easiest jobs a police officer can do, and in fact, pulling over a vehicle for something like speeding or not stopping at a stop-sign can be very straightforward – that is, if that’s all there is to it. However, all too often, the officer has much more to contend with, and traffic stops can in fact be one of the most dangerous aspects of frontline policing.

Picture this: you’re an officer on patrol in Mission, and it’s just after midnight. You see a vehicle fail to stop at a stop sign. Is this someone who is tired and rushing to get home after working late, or did they fail to stop because they’re impaired? It’s your duty to ensure this person is safe to drive, so you pull over the car to check their sobriety.

It’s dark, you’re alone on the side of the road, and there are four adults in the car. You don’t know if they’re all good friends returning from a late dinner, or if the driver might be impaired, or if someone in the car has an arrest warrant and is determined not to go to jail. You speak with the driver and determine that he is in fact prohibited from driving, so you place him under arrest. Others in the car are also known to police, and have to get out, because the car will be impounded due to the prohibited driving. After the others get out, in the back seat you notice a canister of bear spray and a machete – both of which are concerning, as there were no indications that the occupants were on their way for a night-time camping trip, and it seems more likely that the group planned to use the items as weapons. As you conduct a search of the vehicle for any other weapons, something even more nefarious catches your eye – an open chip bag, with part of an object sticking out the top of it. You open up the bag and see the muzzle of a handgun inside. The gun is a 3D-printed 9mm handgun, and it’s loaded. You breathe a sigh of relief that all of these weapons were safely taken off the streets, and you begin your investigation into why the occupants had the weapons in the car.

Corporal Harrison Mohr with Mission RCMP explains: This scenario happened in Mission on the night of February 15, and it’s a stark reminder of how dangerous a simple traffic stop can be. It’s not uncommon for police to encounter various hazards during traffic stops – whether it’s a weapon within reach of the occupants, a vehicle that flees at high speed - narrowly missing the officer standing roadside, or an impaired driver that staggers out into traffic. No one likes getting pulled over, and if you have committed a minor traffic infraction and nothing more, you’ll likely be on your way soon. But please remember that no matter the time of day or night, the type of vehicle, or the reason for the traffic stop, our officers don’t know what or who they might be dealing with when they first walk up to your window. It’s traffic stops like the one described here that mean we have to be extra cautious when approaching any vehicle, as we never know when a loaded gun might be sitting next to someone in the car, or how determined someone is not to get arrested. Fortunately, the majority of traffic stops are with law-abiding drivers that have only committed a traffic violation, and we definitely appreciate all the drivers that are courteous and patient when being pulled over – you definitely make our jobs and our communities safer.

The investigation into the possession of the firearm is ongoing, and Mission RCMP will assess what charges to recommend against the driver or other occupants of the vehicle.

Photo of chip bag with gun inside

Click here for large photo of chip bag with gun inside

Photo of gun found inside chip bag

Click here for large photo of gun found inside chip bag

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