30% Officers Killed in the Line of Duty Died at Traffic Stops - WJBF-TV ABC 6 Augusta-Aiken

30% Officers Killed in the Line of Duty Died at Traffic Stops

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Augusta, GA -

A recent study that shows 30 percent of police officers who die in the line of duty are killed during traffic stops.

Officers from across the area have spent the past two days learning valuable safety lessons when it comes to those stops.

This news hits close to home with 3 officers killed recently on the job.

In the last 2 years, a Richmond County Deputy and two Aiken Public Safety Officers were killed during stops. 

Now - for the first time ever - several officers from across the CSRA came together to learn what they can do to not only keep you safe, but also keep themselves safe when they're on the road.

Traffic stops can range from catching speeders to cracking down on seat belt violators.

"Each vehicle we stop has the potential to be deadly," said Sgt. Danny Whitehead.

"Something so minor as a tag light in Atlanta, a GSP officer was killed in the line of duty over a tag light," said Lt. Lewis Blanchard.

And officers say there's no such thing as a routine traffic stop.

"We've actually seen where someone gets out of the vehicle and starts shooting at the officer. Or as they are approaching vehicle," said Blanchard.

"I have stopped a motor vehicle in the past for no seatbelt. After arresting the individual, I found there was a deceased woman in the trunk," said Whitehead.

"Maybe the officer finds something like marijuana in the car so the person knows they are going to go jail so its fight or flight and they start shooting at the officer," said Blanchard.

For the last 2 days, around 60 officers trained on things like how to approach a vehicle with tinted windows and when to call for back up.

"It's definitely a dangerous job especially when it comes to traffic stops. Our goal is to make the road safer," said Whitehead.

"We are keeping as officers as safe as possible so they can go home to see their loved ones," said Blanchard.

GBI agents also trained officers about sex and drug trafficking on the I-20 corridor when they make traffic stops. They say it is a growing problem and Georgia has one of the highest rates of sex trafficking because of large events like the Masters and the Final 4.

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