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Traffic stops never routine
[February 01, 2013]

Traffic stops never routine

Jan 31, 2013 (News-Democrat & Leader - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- When law enforcement approach a vehicle for a routine traffic stop, it is never routine to them. Officers are trained to always look upon a stop as a potentially dangerous situation, one in which could put them in harms way, and one officers take very seriously.

On Jan. 29, 2013, this held to be true as deputies of the Logan County Sheriff's Department who met up with illegal drugs and a hidden stolen firearm during a "routine" traffic stop.

At approximately 1:15 a.m., deputies Kyle Harvey and Robert Toombs of the Logan County Sheriff's Department, conducted a traffic stop on a 2000 Pontiac Grand Prix driven by 22-year-old Kylen J. Kemp of Fort Campbell. The stop was initiated at Robinwood Apartments in Russellville.

According to a news release, the deputies noted a strong odor of marijuana emitting from the vehicle. When deputies asked Kemp to step out of the vehicle, the passenger, 23-year-old Demarcus Green of Clarksville, Tenn. attempted to destroy evidence by placing a baggy of suspected narcotics in his mouth in attempt to swallow it.

After detaining both individuals, deputies searched the vehicle and located an amount of marijuana and a stolen firearm hidden underneath the passengers seat. During the incident, Mr. Kemp was found to be wanted for Desertion by the United States Army 1-327th Infantry Battalion Division.

This, said Logan County Sheriff Wallace Whittaker, is why officers have to take traffic stops very seriously.

"There is no such thing as a routine traffic stop," said Whittaker, adding that when you approach a vehicle you have stopped, you do not know who you are dealing with. Traffic stops, said the sheriff, are one of the most dangerous situations officers are in. According to statistics, said Whittaker, traffic stops are one of the main causes of death for police officers.

Whittaker said when law enforcement are trained, they are taught to take precautions when pulling over a vehicle. He said they have even come up with a new word called the "Kill Zone," which puts you in that 12 foot radius of a possible gun shot.

"You do not take it lightly," said Whittaker. "It could be an escapee, a domestic situation or someone on drugs and/or alcohol. Sometimes officers are to relaxed during a traffic stop, and it can be a deadly mistake." The sheriff says during training, the Department of Criminal Justice teaches officers certain techniques when approaching a car, ones that can save your life. Whittaker mentioned just a few weeks ago four shootings occurred out of state where troopers were shot approaching vehicles.

"I tell my deputies to be very careful and to take every stop very seriously," Whittaker said.

___ (c)2013 the News-Democrat & Leader (Russellville, Ky.) Visit the News-Democrat & Leader (Russellville, Ky.) at Distributed by MCT Information Services

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