Williams, Ariz. — A State trooper conducted a high-risk traffic stop in rural Arizona on a passenger car after learning its license plate had been reported stolen. The male driver was detained for a short time before being released with no charges.
On Thursday, August 11, 2016, at approximately 7:43 p.m., a DPS trooper was patrolling near the town of Williams along Interstate 40 and ran a computer registration query on a passenger car. The registration check returned that the license plate on the car had been reported stolen according the National Crime Information Center (NCIC). The trooper requested back-up and continued to follow the vehicle until the car exited the freeway at which time he initiated a high-risk traffic stop. A high-risk traffic stop is where trooper’s guns are drawn and occupants are ordered out of the vehicle when serious crimes or hazardous conditions may exist.
Initially the driver, identified as Kenneth Walton, was not responding to officer’s commands while seated in his vehicle so the trooper moved up the passenger-side window and got the occupant’s attention by tapping on the window with his hand. It was at this time the trooper realized there was a child in the car as she sat up into view. Mr. Walton was ordered out of the car and detained in handcuffs while the trooper conducted his investigation. The investigation concluded the rental company had not replaced the vehicle plates when the front plate was reported stolen and Mr. Walton and his daughter were released from the scene.
“AZ DPS understands and sympathizes with the concerns the family has regarding this situation,” says Captain Ezekiel Zesiger, Flagstaff District Commander. “Anytime a police contact is made for a possibly stolen vehicle our troopers are trained to take all necessary precautions. In this instance, the vehicle's license plate was reported as stolen. Troopers must adhere to their training in regards to conducting a high risk traffic stop in these types of situations. Training and protocols are in place for the safety of the Trooper as well as the safety of citizens. Fortunately, the subject in this case was compliant with the trooper and the situation ended peacefully with no one being harmed.”