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RIDING SHOTGUN with Trooper Dennis

January 5, 2012

By Chris Dennis, OHP Trooper

Trooper Dennis,
What is the proper thing to do when you are being pulled over?

Well, if you are being stopped by law enforcement, pull to the right side of the road. I usually know where I want someone to stop their vehicle. Some people pull in to a driveway on the opposite side of the roadway or keep driving because they know a better spot to stop at. Just pull over to the right side of the roadway and stop.

After you stop, crack your window and keep your hands on your steering wheel. Don’t start digging in your glove box for your paperwork or digging under your seat looking for your purse or wallet. A glove box and under your seat are also convenient places for people to hide weapons and drugs. Nine times out of ten, I don’t know who I’m stopping and my ultimate goal for the day is to go home and make sure everyone else is on track to go home as well.

If it is dark, turn the dome light on and make sure your headlights are dimmed. Usually, I ask for a drivers license and the insurance for the vehicle. Be patient. Some folks automatically assume that they are getting a ticket if they are stopped. After I have a drivers license or insurance verification in my hand, then I will tell the person stopped why I stopped them. Do not get out of your vehicle to meet the officer. Every trooper and law enforcement officer is different so after stopping your vehicle, pay close attention to the officer.

Trooper Dennis,
My family and I are new to southeast Oklahoma and we aren’t use to seeing deer on the side of the road, everywhere we go. What should we do if we hit one with our car?

Deer are beautiful, majestic creatures of the wild. I enjoy a little venison with some gravy and mashed potatoes. I don’t enjoy when they decide to wait for the perfect time to cross over to greener pastures. It’s usually dark and they seem to like trying to warm themselves with your headlights. So far, I’ve warmed up four.

What do you do if you hit one? Well, you should report the accident to us, but we don’t have to take a report on it, that is, unless you swerved off the roadway and went through somebody’s fence, hit another car or someone was injured. Being from southeast Oklahoma, we don’t like to waste deer meat. If one is hit, and you want the deer, you should contact the highway patrol or your local game warden and we can fill out the proper paperwork so that you can take it home with you.

Trooper Chris Dennis is a member of the Oklahoma Highway Patrol and has more than 10 years experience. If you have a question for Trooper Dennis, he can be contacted by email at or through Troop E headquarters out of Durant, Oklahoma at 580-924-2601.

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