What You Can Expect

Being Pulled Over

As far as police officers are concerned, there is no such thing as a routine traffic stop. Every stop has the potential for danger.

Getting pulled over by a police officer can be a stressful and uncomfortable experience, especially if you have never been pulled over before. This page is designed to familiarize you with what to expect from a traffic stop of the Missoula Police Department.

The primary reasons for being pulled over are for your safety and the safety of others. Officers carry out the Department's goal of providing a safe community and motoring environment for the public. They are responsible for enforcing criminal laws, traffic laws and investigating crimes and collisions.

We hope this page will help you feel more comfortable and informed should you have a contact with a Missoula Police Officer. Please remember that our goal is to make sure you and your loved ones are safe on the streets.

What You Can Expect From the Missoula Police Department

  • That the officer identifies him or herself, is courteous as well as professional and treats you in a respectful manner
  • That you will receive an explanation of why you were stopped
  • That if you are issued a ticket (citation), it will be explained to you as well as your options for resolving it

If you are stopped by the Missoula Police Department, here are some helpful items to assist you when stopped by the police.

Safety is Our Concern: Don't be Offended

Most citizens already realize that law enforcement is a difficult and dangerous profession. Scores of police officers are killed each year, and hundreds more are injured and assaulted. For these reasons, police officers tend to be extremely cautious. They place a great deal of emphasis on officer safety and survival. Certain safety practices are instilled in our officers from the first day of their careers.

Although the procedures maximize safety for the officer, they may seem standoffish, impolite, or offensive to citizens who may not consider such precautions necessary with "them." Even though you have no intention of doing the officer harm, he or she will probably maintain a defensive posture.

Treating Citizens with Respect

Missoula Police Officers are trained from day one in keeping our community safe and enhancing the quality of life for all of us. They are taught to be respectful, professional and courteous.

If you feel an officer has acted inappropriately, we want to know. Please contact the Missoula Police Department and tell us your concerns. You have the right to file a complaint and it will be followed up on. Conversely, we would also welcome commendations of a positive nature.

A disagreement over the validity of a traffic infraction or criminal citation is not a complaint. Such disagreements should be directed to the proper court having jurisdiction in the matter.