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ASK A COP — What’s the story when 4 cop vehicles respond to a traffic stop?

Gerry from Nederland asks: Oftentimes I see one police vehicle stop one car, other times I see two, three and even four police cars stop one vehicle. Is it safe to assume that someone in that vehicle has done something really bad?

Answer: If you observe four police cars out on one vehicle, it only makes sense to believe someone has done something really bad, but that’s not always the case. Police officers routinely stop and check on the safety of fellow officers during traffic stops. Sometimes an officer may ask for another officer to stop by for a variety of reasons, i.e. several passengers in the vehicle, unable to obtain identity of driver or language barrier. So if you happen to see a vehicle stopped with several police units behind, it does not automatically mean something horrible has occurred. The primary reason additional officers show up to assist their fellow officers on a traffic stop is for the officer’s safety and the safety of suspected person(s) who are being stopped. The MOST DANGEROUS daily action police officers engage in are TRAFFIC STOPS!

Lovely from Beaumont asks: I think a danger on the roads are drivers who allow their dogs to be all over their body while driving, mostly having their head and legs out of the driver’s window. I’m not an animal hater. I have two wonderful fur friends, but they’re not allowed to be on me while driving. Is having a dog all over the driver a distraction? Is this legal, or why isn’t this illegal?

Answer: Dogs in the laps of motorists while they’re operating a motor vehicle is definitely a distraction. Keep in mind laws are made only after something happens, so in the state of Texas, I thank God nothing monumental has occurred to someone because a dog was sitting on the driver’s lap. Therefore there’s no such law in Texas that requires a dog to wear a seatbelt or be restrained in a crate while a motor vehicle is being driven. Only Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire and Rhode Island have laws that enforce the safe crating or restraining of a dog while they are being transported in a motor vehicle. I must say I’m not a hater of our furry friends, but I, like you, have trained my dogs to sit down while in a motor vehicle. Lovely, let’s hope we NEVER have to make this a law in Texas!

Karen from Port Arthur asks: If someone is caught going over 25 miles of the posted speed limit, is this violation an automatic arrest? I’ve been told you will automatically be arrested if you are caught going 25 miles per hour over the posted speed limit in Texas.

Answer: In Texas, a driver can NOT be arrested for the charge of SPEEDING, no matter what speeds they are accused of driving. I know that sounds weird, but Texas law is Texas law. However, with that said, a driver can be arrested for reckless driving, which is a higher charge than speeding. The Texas Transportation Code defines reckless driving broadly as operating a vehicle with “willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property.” Reckless driving is a traffic misdemeanor punishable by up to 30 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $200. Now, here’s the twist, if an officer believes you are reckless for going 25 mph over the speed limit, then “YES,” you can be arrested for reckless driving, not speeding.

Join Officer Rickey Antoine for Ask A Cop Live on KSAP 96.9 FM “The Breeze” every Tuesday from 1 to 2:30 p.m. You can tune in at ksapthebreeze.org. Ask your question live at 409-982-0247. Email your questions to Rickey.Antoine@portarthurtx.gov, call 409-983-8673 for a voicemail question or mail them to: Ofc. Rickey Antoine, 645 4th Street, Port Arthur, Texas, 77640. If you happen to see me in public you can Ask A Cop!