Doug Huffman wrote:
It would be good to reduce the lecture to a mnemonic mantra similar to LOADED, MUZZLE, TRIGGER & TARGET that could be repeated until it becomes second nature.
In my work when things got tough then my thought was "back to basics." Then I could slow things down and work through the problem.
My suggestion: Respectful, Polite, Silent.
Be respectful of the officer. He is doing a job. Most likely, the reason you are even talking to him is due diligence on his part. Someone may have called in a "man with gun", and the dispatcher wasn't trained to ask follow-up questions, and dispatched the officer.
This can be the hard part, because it is normally not part of the next part, Silent. Usually being polite requires one to answer questions posed to them, as long as they are not "unreasonable". The problem lies in the fact that you have to treat all the questions as "unreasonable", because they are being posed by an officer.
The main part of this is being calm, and quiet in your tone when you make the limited statements allowed under SILENT.
This doesn't mean stare at the officer like you are deaf. It means offer no information, other than what is required of you by law. Some states have "Stop and Identify" laws, which require you give your full legal name to an officer during a "Terry Stop."
The only 5 simple statements
you should consider making:
1) "Good morning/afternoon, Officer."
2) "Officer, my full legal name is (your name)." (Check your state laws. Some require you to produce State ID if you have it in your possession.)
2) "Officer, I am not required to provide my name/identification, and choose not to do so." (Check your state laws.)
3) "Officer, I will not answer any questions with my attorney present."
4) "Officer, am I free to go, or am I being detained? If I am being detained, what is the reason?"
5) "Have a good day, Officer. Thank you, and be safe."
EDIT: These 5 are not in any particular order. They are just the only things that you will ever need to say in an interaction with an officer. In regards to 4, if the officer gives you a reason, DO NOT ARGUE THE REASON.
Just ask him to state it. Arguing the reason leads into a conversation.
Remember, stay SILENT as much as possible. You can use this reason the officer states later, when you file your complaint and lawsuit. Again, don't argue the reason, just get it.