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What to Expect When You are Stopped by One of Our Officers

Why was I stopped?

Motorists can be pulled over by police officers from our agency for various reasons. Even if you think you know why, this may not necessarily be the reason the officer is stopping you for. Regardless of the reason, the officer needs your cooperation in order to safely conduct their business and ultimately minimize the delay you may experience.

  • You may have committed a traffic offense or other criminal violation.
  • The officer might think you are in trouble and need help.
  • You may be a potential witness to a crime.
  • You may fit the description of a person/vehicle the police are looking for.
  • Someone may have called 9-1-1 to report something wrong with your vehicle or its operation.
  • How do I know the person stopping me is really an officer?

Members of the Palisades Interstate Parkway Police will only be wearing uniforms found on this page. When the officer approaches your vehicle, they will identify as “Parkway Police” and usually a request for documentation. Officers will only be driving an all-white or all-black Ford Crown Victoria, Police Interceptor, Chevy Tahoe, or Dodge Charger. The vehicles will either have no writing at all, or will display our patch on the driver/passenger doors. If you are unsure if the person stopping you is a legitimate police officer, please contact us immediately at 201-768-6001.

An Officer Activated his lights / siren but didn’t pull me over.

A large majority of motorists ask why an officer had turned their lights on or activated their siren just to pass. Motorists should be aware that unless you are in moderate or heavy traffic, the law does not allow a vehicle to be driven in the left lane unless you are actively passing another vehicle. Motorists are required to maintain a right lane at all times unless passing pursuant to 39:4-88(a). Officers will routinely signal a vehicle to return to the right lane if they are attempting to respond to events where lights and sirens are not warranted or recommended. Officers will also routinely signal a vehicle under the same conditions if that vehicle has been in the left lane for an extended period of time and is not actively passing. In any case, always pull to the right, never the left.

What should I do when pulled over?

  1. When an officer activates his lights and/or siren, you should immediately activate your turn signal, pull to the right and stop. Never pull to the left.
  2. Once stopped, remain in your vehicle. If possible, lower your windows and if at night, activate your interior light(s). Avoid any sudden movements, especially towards the floorboards or under your seat. Try to keep your hands where the officer can see them. It is a good idea to keep both hands on the steering wheel and for passengers, on your lap in front of you unobstructed.
  3. Do not immediately reach for your license or other documents until the officer requests them. New Jersey law (39:3-29) does require drivers to show their license, registration card, and insurance card to a police officer upon request regardless of what state you are from.
  4. If your documents are out of reach, tell the officer where they are before you reach for them.
  5. If the stop occurs during darkness, the officer will likely use a bright spotlight and flashlight to illuminate your vehicle. Do not be alarmed, this is for the officer’s safety as well as yours.
  6. You may notice other police vehicles arriving at the location where you are pulled over. Do not be offended or feel that this increases your probability of guilt. Other officers on patrol will routinely stop at another officer’s scene to assist or ensure their safety.
  7. You may receive a ticket (also called a summons). If you feel the reason is vague or unclear, ask the officer for details. Keep in mind that the officer’s safety as well as yours are paramount and they may not be able to answer all of your questions on the side of the road. Any questions regarding your ticket can always be answered by the court staff. They can be reached at 201-768-8702.
  8. If you are issued a ticket, don’t argue with the officer. Please accept it calmly. Arguing with the officer regardless of any feelings will only make matters worse. The side of the road is never the appropriate place for the conversation. You will have an opportunity to address the matter in court should you wish to appear.