One of the main job duties that police officers are responsible for is helping keep the community safe on the road. This includes enforcing all of the traffic laws in their community and giving out citations to any drivers who are not following the traffic regulations. However, if you are thinking of becoming a police officer yourself, you may wonder who exactly you will be pulling over. For example: Can you pull over a school bus? Most of us rarely see school busses pulled over and we have all the details on why that is.
A police officer can technically pull over a school bus if the driver of the bus is breaking any of the local traffic laws. However, most police officers will never pull over a school bus during their career and most of us have never seen a school bus pulled over by any police officer. This is mainly due to the strict regulations that school bus drivers follow, which encourages drivers to follow all of the local traffic laws.
Why School Buses Rarely Get Pulled Over
Since most of us have never seen a school bus pulled over, some may assume police officers can’t pull over school busses. However, this is not the case. Technically, a school bus can be pulled over in most states. The biggest reason we don’t see many pulled over is due to the close monitoring and guidelines that school bus drivers follow.
Before you can become a school bus driver, all drivers must go through extensive training in most school districts. The training goes over the current traffic laws in detail and also goes over any driving regulations that the school district might have for school bus drivers. The training usually also includes behind the wheel and hands-on training as well. The extensive training helps the school bus drivers become prepared for driving safely with a bus full of children and prepares them for how to handle any situation that may arise.
Along with their extensive amount of training, most cities also have strict rules for hiring school bus drivers, including only hiring drivers with excellent driving records. You will likely not qualify to become a school bus driver if you have a large number of traffic violations on your driving record since safe driving is essential to keep school children safe while riding the bus. Each school district will have its own specific requirements when it comes to driving records for potential school bus drivers.
In most areas, a school bus driver can potentially lose their job if they are pulled over while driving their school bus, which also strongly encourages drivers to follow their local traffic laws and not get pulled over. Most drivers do not want to take the risk of potentially losing their job by speeding or breaking any other traffic violations, which is a large reason why we rarely see school busses pulled over by police officers.
Even after a school bus driver has been hired and gone through training, the drivers are still closely monitored in most school districts. Many school districts have GPS in all of their school busses, which can track the location, speed, and movement of a school bus. The main reason for this is to be able to track children when needed, but it also helps school districts monitor the driving habits of their school bus drivers. If a driver regularly drives over the legal speed limit, the school district would be able to see this through its GPS system.
In the rare situation where a school bus driver is pulled over during a traffic stop, the driver of the school bus is responsible for the ticket. The school district is not responsible for the traffic violation or paying the fine associated with the ticket. Just like when a police officer pulls over any other driver, the traffic violation would go on the driving record for the school bus driver and only be associated with the driver’s name.
Regulations for Pulling Vehicles Over
No matter what type of vehicle a police officer is pulling over (even if it’s a school bus), there are certain rules that every law enforcement professional must follow. The biggest rule for pulling someone over as a police officer is having a probable cause.
If a police officer doesn’t have a valid reason for pulling someone over, they are not allowed to do so in any state. For example, a police officer can pull someone over for driving over the current speed limit, driving without any broken lights, changing lanes incorrectly, etc. The driver must be making some sort of traffic violation or have something specific wrong with the safety of their car in order to be pulled over fairly.
If a police officer thinks a particular driver might have drugs in their car, they can’t pull the driver over and ask the driver to see inside their car. The police officer would need a probable cause to pull the driver over, like for speeding. After the officer pulled over the driver for speeding, they could then ask the driver to see inside the car or search the car if they suspected there may be drugs in the car.
However, police officers can only search a car if the driver agrees to the search, or if the police officer can see something suspicious within clear sight through the window. For example: If the officer could see drug paraphernalia on the passenger seat when he was talking to the driver, he would have the right to search the car. If the driver tells the officer they can’t search the car, the officer would need a warrant to proceed.
When a police officer pulls over a driver during a traffic stop, the officer also needs to allow the driver to pull over safely. The police officer cannot demand that the driver pull over in unsafe conditions where the driver and their car might be in danger. All community members have the right to pull over safely when being pulled over by any law enforcement professional.
In most areas, there is no regulation against a police officer pulling over a school bus. A police officer can generally pull over any driver that has made a traffic violation, even including a school bus with children currently on the bus. However, it is extremely rare to see a school bus pulled over due to the strict regulations school drivers must follow.
Similar to school bus drivers, police officers also have regulations they must follow when pulling people over. This includes always having probable cause to pull the driver over, allowing the driver to pull over safely and treating the driver fairly after pulling them over.
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Do I need to have a good driving record to become a police officer?
Although the specific requirements to become a police officer will vary depending on where you live, most states do not require you to have a perfect driving record in order to become a police officer. However, it is recommended to work on having a good driving record if you want to become a police officer and keeping your traffic violations to a minimum.
If you live in an area where there is a large amount of competition to become a police officer, it will be even more important that you have a good driving record. If you have a large number of traffic violations on your driving record, your area may choose another candidate over you for an open position as a law enforcement professional.
Is it difficult to qualify to become a police officer?
The difficulty in qualifying to become a police officer will depend on the area that you live in and the amount of competition you have. Most states will have similar requirements you must meet like being a US citizen, being 21 years or older, having two years of college education, and having no criminal record.
If you have a misdemeanor or any sort of criminal record, most areas will disqualify you from becoming a police officer. You also won’t qualify to become a police officer if you have been prohibited from carrying a firearm or driving a motor vehicle since both of these are large parts of fulfilling your job responsibilities as a police officer.
What are the benefits of becoming a police officer?
Becoming a police officer is a career choice that comes with a wide amount of benefits. Police officers in most areas receive incredible health, dental and life insurance, along with paid days off. Another benefit is it doesn’t take a large amount of school to become a police officer since most areas only require two years of a college education.
Possibly the biggest benefit of becoming a police officer is knowing what a positive difference you are making in your community. As a law enforcement professional, you get the privilege of knowing you are helping keep your community safe.
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Please note: This blog post is for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Please consult a legal expert to address your specific needs.