Beyond the Routine Traffic Stop

Good police work means paying attention

By Robert J. Kicklighter  |   May 30, 2019

“You never know how much you can do, until you try to do more than you can.” —T. Blauer

One of the bizarre things Keith Richards said was, “I don’t have a drug problem. I have a police problem.” Now, two young men in Brunswick, Ga., can concur.

On a hot and muggy Saturday morning, tempers flared between Cedric Ramsey, 26, and a female in a yard in Brunswick. A nearby citizen called 911 as a result. Ramsey and a friend, Ronald Ulmer, 35, quickly left the scene, traveling in a black Dodge Charger. Soon after, K9 Officer Marty Davis and Officer Marlon Groover, Brunswick Police Department, located the black Dodge Charger near Lanier Boulevard and Cleburne Street. Upon locating the vehicle, the officers immediately conducted a traffic stop. During the stop, Davis, a four-year veteran with the department, observed a large sum of money inside the vehicle.

At that point, Davis and Groover believed there was more to this traffic stop than a minor problem with person complaint. These officers’ instincts paid off after Davis instructed Groover to remove Ramsey and Ulmer from the vehicle. Once Grover removed them from the vehicle, Davis walked his certified narcotics-detection dog, Kilo, around Ramsey’s car. Kilo promptly alerted and provided sufficient probable cause for the officers to search the vehicle.

In the 2005 case Illinois v. Caballes, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a dog sniff after a traffic stop is not an unreasonable search under the Fourth Amendment. In his majority opinion, Justice John Paul Stevens explained: “A dog sniff conducted during a concededly lawful traffic stop that reveals no information other than the location of a substance that no individual has any right to possess does not violate the Fourth Amendment.”

The resulting search of Ramsey’s vehicle revealed a large amount of illegal narcotics with several firearms and cash. Also, officers determined Ramsey and Ulmer were convicted felons in possession of this contraband. Ramsey and Ulmer were arrested and transported to the Glynn County Office of the Sheriff where they were turned over for the booking process. According to Lt. Babbin, Brunswick Police Department, the narcotics will be sent to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) for identification.

The “Father of Modern Policing,” Sir Robert Peel said, “The police are the public, and the public are the police; the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full-time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence.” On this day, the attention of the duties of the Brunswick Police Department officers may have resulted in saving innocent lives, as these drugs and weapons could have led to numerous deaths in Brunswick and surrounding communities.

Conclusion

The instincts of these officers to go beyond a mere traffic stop demonstrated a strong desire to remove criminals from our streets and keep our neighborhoods safe. Per Lt. Babbin, “It’s the mission of the Brunswick Police Department to provide quality law enforcement services, using all personnel and resources, to diminish illegal narcotics and firearms from the streets of Brunswick, Georgia.”

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Robert J. Kicklighter

Robert J. Kicklighter

Robert J. Kicklighter is an experienced educator with a background in criminal law instruction, law enforcement, security administration, and high-performance management. Kicklighter has a PhD. in Public Safety, Forensics, and Homeland Security and a master’s in Criminal Justice. He was the 2002 DUI Officer of the Year. He is a senior Georgia POST instructor and is currently the Law Academy Director at Savannah-Chatham County Public School System and a criminal law professor at Strayer University and Savannah Technical College.
Robert J. Kicklighter

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