The Necessity of Pretext Traffic Stops in Law Enforcement




Inmon, Jeff

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Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas (LEMIT)


Police officers across the nation use pretextual traffic stops on a regular basis to fight crime and protect the public. It is a valuable tool that, when used properly, helps to save lives, prevent and solve crimes, and gather criminal intelligence. Unfortunately, they have come under attack by legislators and community members across the country. Although pretext traffic stops have been ruled legal by the United States Supreme Court, some still argue they are illegal, produce evidence that is inadmissible in court, and encourage racial profiling. The legality of pretext traffic stops has been addressed by the courts and there is no research supporting pretextual traffic stops encourage racial profiling. In fact, racial profiling by government officials is illegal and citizens are entitled to equal treatment under the 14th Amendment. State legislators should not outlaw or limit pretextual traffic stops by law enforcement and departments should implement training, policies, and tracking to ensure racial profiling does not happen. Pretext traffic stops are a vital part of keeping a community safe.



Searches and Seizures, United States Constitution 4th Amendment