What Cops Most Fear

This is what I do to avoid trouble when cops pull me over

Shefali O'Hara
5 min readJul 21, 2022


Photo by Erik Mclean on Unsplash

One of my friends was telling us about providing training to police officers. She is not in law enforcement, but she worked for a state education agency. She told me that for the most part, the young officers she taught were idealistic and wanted to help people. While law enforcement tends to attract authoritarian types, most of them, at least when they start out, seem to genuinely want to protect others. There are a few bad apples, of course.

“But most of the ones who want trouble gravitate to the larger cities,” she said. “Places like Chicago where they hope to see action.”

She also told us what cops most fear when they get a call.

“The two situations they hate most,” she told us. “Are domestic situations. Those can get out of control really fast. And they also hate traffic stops. Those are the situations when they are most in fear for their own lives.”

So how can we use this information to avoid trouble with the law?

Domestic situations

When it comes to a domestic situation… I’m not sure what to tell you. Hopefully you won’t need to call the cops but if you do… be polite. If the cops have been called against you, it’s even more important to be polite.

Don’t talk about your rights or how you have done nothing wrong. The police don’t care. This isn’t fair, but in most cases that is the reality. When the police officer asks you questions, don’t answer, but instead say “I’d like to have my attorney present before I answer any questions.” Politely stick to that.

Traffic stops

I am more familiar with what to do if you get stopped while driving, as I have been stopped a few times. Only one of those times was the officer rude. I kept my mouth shut but I made sure to get his name and badge number.

The main thing you need to do in these situations is to make sure the cop does not see you as a threat. Remember, police officers have been shot and killed during traffic stops. You don’t want to push their buttons.

Here is what you should do if you get pulled over by a cop:



Shefali O'Hara

Cancer survivor, writer, engineer. BSEE from MIT, MSEE, and MA in history. Love nature, animals, books, art, and interesting discussions.