“PSP Experience” Program Aimed At Building Trust Between Public, Law Enforcement

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Ever wonder what it’s like to be on the other side of a traffic stop?

Thirteen people had the chance to find out Thursday night when they stepped into the shoes of the troopers with Pennsylvania State Police.

They held a mock traffic stop presentation at the YWCA Greater Pittsburgh in Homewood-Brushton. Two state troopers acted as the driver and passenger of a car getting pulled over.

“Just as simple as taillight being out can end up being your life,” said Shawna Hallisey, one of the participants.

Cpl. Brian Carpenter was the instructor.

“As police officers, we are trained observers and we have to pay attention to what’s going on inside the vehicle,” said Cpl. Carpenter. “So we have to pay attention to people’s hands, things like that.”

That’s what Hallisey realizes she didn’t do during her mock traffic stop.

“Not seeing his gun, not seeing his weapon. I was not prepared,” she said. “I was too busy looking into his eyes, creating a conversation instead of surveying my scene.”

KDKA’s Amy Wadas also had the chance to suit up as a state trooper. After running the driver’s information, she asked him to step out of the vehicle to conduct a field sobriety test.

Then, in a split second, the situation changed. What Amy didn’t notice was the passenger had a gun.

After the class, the participants say they can relate to police if they ever get pulled over.

“I feel like I have a whole other respect for troopers and what they go through and if they seem nervous,” said Kevin Kisow, one of the participants.

“I think they realize the difficulty, and can appreciate it from different perspective,” one of the troopers said.

The mock traffic stop presentation is part of a five-week program called the “PSP Experience.” It’s intended to build trust between law enforcement and the community.

Thirteen people are participating in the course.

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