Editor's note: Every week a Lake Oswego police officer answers your questions in this space. Please send your questions to reporter Cliff Newell at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 503-636-1281, ext. 105.

"When pulled over for a traffic stop, we know you need license, registration and proof of insurance. Should I wait with my hands on the wheel until I am asked for these documents or have them ready?"

CLAUSENAsk any law enforcement officer and they’ll tell you traffic stops are never routine. We don’t know who we are stopping or what we are walking into, and safety is our No. 1 priority. Safety not only for the officer, but also for the driver and their occupants. When I contact a driver, I like to see their hands on the steering wheel.  It helps me know that there is nothing in their hands that could hurt me. If I walk up on a vehicle and the driver is digging through the glove box, it’s hard to tell what they are doing, especially if the vehicle’s windows are tinted. Obtaining the required documents can be done later when an officer asks for them. There is no urgency to have the documents ready when contacted by an officer. If you are in a hurry, that might be the reason you got stopped in the first place. It is my recommendation that on a traffic stop you keep your hands on the steering wheel, relax and know that we are not out to ruin your day.

 — Officer Brandon Clausen

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