If you've been pulled over by the police, you might have noticed the officer touching the back of your car as they approach your window.
If not, you might have seen this action on police reality TV shows. Ever wondered why they do this? A police officer has shed light on the practice after pulling someone over.
Officer Tony Messer mentioned that this is 'likely among the top three questions' he receives regarding his profession. He then elaborated on the somewhat somber rationale behind this gesture.
"These fingerprints is just in case the worst of the worst happens when you approach the driver," he said of the protocol surrounding a traffic stop."
"If a driver was to flee after committing a crime, this would link the vehicle and your fingerprints together to give the detectives another piece of evidence."
Placing fingerprints and DNA on a car could aid in an investigation under dire circumstances. However, Officer Messer encouraged fellow officers to share if they had specific reasons for this practice.
One officer concurred about leaving fingerprints but added that they touch the rear of the car 'to be sure the trunk is closed to avoid a possible ambush.'
Another echoed this sentiment, stating their primary reason was to verify that the trunk was indeed shut to avert any surprises from someone emerging suddenly.
Citing the 'DC sniper case' as a pertinent example, they highlighted the significance of this routine. Other officers chimed in, noting that they also use this practice to detect if someone might be concealed or, in some instances, being concealed in the trunk.
Another officer mentioned they conduct this check to ascertain if there might be kidnapping victims concealed within, emphasizing that not every hidden individual poses a threat.
In a discussion with News 6, traffic safety specialist Trooper Steve Montiero reinforced the sentiments shared by Officer Messer and other police officers in the TikTok video comments.
He stated, "When law enforcement officers conduct a traffic stop, there are plenty of procedures that need to be done, not only for the safety of the violator, but for the safety of that officer."
Montiero further emphasized that the act of touching the trunk serves dual purposes: to confirm it's 'adequately latched' and to leave behind fingerprints, thereby linking the officer and the vehicle.