What is routine about routine stops?
The quick answer is nothing. Each time a CHP officer activates the red light, it is a unique situation. It may be a “routine stop” to address an expired registration tab, but it is not uncommon for the driver with a guilty conscious to think it is about something else entirely. There are examples of registration stops of not yet reported stolen cars, people fleeing a robbery or heading out to kill another individual. The items in this case are just a few of the weapons confiscated during “routine stops”. They include automatic weapons, a homemade cannon, and switchblade knives.
On October 1, 1981, CHP motorcycle officer Johnny Martinez and another officer slowed traffic to a stop to clear some debris from the road, a routine operation. Two men fleeing an armed robbery thought the officers were stopping traffic to apprehend them. They pulled alongside the officers and opened fire, killing Officer Martinez and wounding his partner.
On November 17, 2005, officer Andy Stevens made a routine stop on a vehicle to address an expired registration issue. Unknown to him, the driver had been hired as a “hitman” and was enroute to kill another individual. The killer, thinking someone had tipped off police, opened fire and killed Officer Stevens.