New Mexico Deputies Ask 'Absurd' Questions

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. --

Law enforcement officers said they often ask absurd or out-of-the-ordinary questions during traffic stops to gauge the behavior of drivers.

In the recent DWI trial for well-known attorney Ron Bell, the deputy who was at the scene testified that he asked Bell if he had any grenades or rocket launchers in his car, followed by if he had a body in his car.

"I'm making the questions so outrageous, so I can see a response," Deputy Larry Allen said.

Allen isn't the only member of the Bernalillo County Sheriff's Office to use those tactics. Capt. Gregg Marcantel said did the same thing when he was on patrol.

"I'm looking for your non-verbal behavior. I'm looking for your anxiety. I'm looking for how it is you answer those questions," Marcantel said.

Marcantel said the obviously absurd questions break the ice and break down the driver's anxiety level. The method can also help officers.

"If I need to search you, I have to search you. That's an awkward situation for both me as a policeman, and you as a citizen, so in doing so I might want to break the ice," Marcantel said. "They're never intended to offend, the fact is most of the intent is to actually do the opposite."

Marcantel said those kind of questions usually precede a search.

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