With all the attention on traffic stops going wrong for black folks out here, and all underprivileged groups honestly, I just wanted to pass along some advice that my mom gave me.
If you have a car compatible with it, just bite the bullet and get it installed. What you are aiming for is the operator service. This is what you use when you have an accident in some far off place or need your car opened remotely, etc. However, it could potentially serve another, life-saving service.
Here’s what I was told: One of my mom’s friends, had a friend, who’d recently purchased a brand new cadillac. Top of the line, newest model, all the bells and whistles, it was amazing. She was driving in the middle of the night and had to roll through one of the more affluent neighborhoods to get to her location. She knew the inherent risk so she was careful about her speed and obeying traffic laws. She also knew that everything legally and mechanically was in order, so there was no foreseeable reason for her to be pulled over.
Sure enough, she’s driving down one of the residential streets and sees lights flashing in her rearview. (For those not familiar with the area, a lot of the very wealthy areas in LA have this illusion of being secluded. Houses are built with 15 ft high walls of ivy and solid brick so that no one can see in or out of your property. Getting stopped on one of these streets might as well be the same as getting stopped on the side of a dirt road.)
She called her OnStar service and asked the operator if she would be willing to just stay on the line and listen to the encounter. She explained that she was being pulled over, knew that she hadn’t broken any laws, and was concerned for her safety. The operator agreed.
The cop ended up propositioning her, threatening her with what would have ended up being a huge legal mess unless she had sex with him. Once he made his intentions explicit, the operator spoke up to confirm that she had heard the entire conversation and would be reporting it to authorities immediately. That scared the cop off and allowed the woman to make a break for it.
They did end up using the audio in a case against him and I believe he was discharged, or something like that.
Anyway, you see the point. Just the sound of the operator’s voice was enough to scare him and throw him off. Primarily because he didn’t even know she was there.
As I was writing this, I realized you could do something similar by putting a family member, friend, coworker, someone on your speakerphone and asking them to stay quiet and listen. Even better if they can record the call while it’s happening. Then, if they are to speak up after a threat has been made, it lets the officer know that there is someone else, someone outside of the situation, who has evidence and can act as a witness. And if the situation becomes dire, maybe, just maybe, hearing that someone else is listening might be enough to keep you safe.