Lawmaker urges teaching how to behave during a traffic stop - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

Lawmaker urges teaching how to behave during a traffic stop

Senate Bill 17 aims to help young people learn how to deal with police during a traffic stop. (Source: KSLA News 12) Senate Bill 17 aims to help young people learn how to deal with police during a traffic stop. (Source: KSLA News 12)
State Senator Ryan Gatti of Bossier Parish proposed the law that would require driver education instructors to include “course content relative to appropriate driver conduct when stopped by a law enforcement officer.” (Source: KSLA News 12) State Senator Ryan Gatti of Bossier Parish proposed the law that would require driver education instructors to include “course content relative to appropriate driver conduct when stopped by a law enforcement officer.” (Source: KSLA News 12)
Sharon of Sharon's Defensive Driving in Shreveport is on board with the new bill. (Source: KSLA News 12) Sharon of Sharon's Defensive Driving in Shreveport is on board with the new bill. (Source: KSLA News 12)
SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) -

A proposal before the Louisiana Legislature soon could change the requirements for driver's education students in the state.

The legislation introduced by state Sen. Ryan Gatti, of Bossier Parish, aims to help young people learn how to behave with police officers during a traffic stop.

"I feel like the reason we have so many problems with young people and police is because they don't know actually know how to handle the situation," said Theodore Keppard, a driver's education student at Sharon's Defensive Driving School in Shreveport.

Gatti's Senate Bill 17 would require driver's education classes to include "course content relative to appropriate driver conduct when stopped by a law enforcement officer."

"You know, keeping your hand on the steering wheel, not making any sudden movements, rolling your window down before the officer gets there ... having your license and registration ready," the lawmaker explained.

Gatti said his bill would provide another opportunity for officers and the public to get together and talk about something that’s a source of anxiety.

Louisiana gained national attention last year for several police-involved shootings – most notably the deaths of Alton Sterling and the ambush killing of three police officers in Baton Rouge.

It's a rift Sharon Boykins hopes the new law will help fix.

“Even if you treat a police officer the way you want to be treated, sometimes it turns out bad," said the owner of Sharon's Defensive Driving School.

"But, nevertheless, it would help for the police officers to know how the person feels when they’re being stopped. And it’ll help the person that’s being stopped to know how a police officer feels.”

Boykins said police interaction is something already included in her lessons but it would help to have a law in place. 

“I believe that if the public is educated ... that when they stop, regardless of what color you are, what race you are ... . If the public can know that this is what’s expected of you, then it gives them something now to look at and say this is what we all agreed, this is what we're gonna do,” she added.

Gatti acknowledges that his proposal is not without opposition.

But he expects it to pass with support from both sides of the aisle.

The bill cleared the Senate Transportation Committee on Thursday. It now goes to the state Senate.

If approved, the new driver's education requirement would go into effect in January.

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