Minnesota DPS updates traffic stop guidelines 4 years to day after Philando Castile was killed by police

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety updated the state's driver's manual Monday with additional information on what to do if you are pulled over by police while in possession of a weapon. The announcement comes four years to the day after Philando Castile was shot and killed by a police officer during a traffic stop in Falcon Heights after informing the officer he was legally carrying a firearm.

The driver’s manual already has a section about this, but the new language outlines in further details what drivers with firearms should and should not do during a traffic stop. It will also describe what drivers should expect from law enforcement. 

Minnesota Department of Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington announced the updates at a press conference Monday afternoon along with Valerie Castile, the mother of Philando Castile. She advocated for the addition to the manual to help provide consistency in traffic stops, especially when a weapon is involved. 

“We all need to be on the same page," Valerie said. "We all need to know what to expect from one another.” 

She encouraged the public to read the updated driver's manual. 

"I think this updated manual is helpful for the police officers and the community members as well because at the end of the day....at the end of the day we all want to go home," she said.


The new information in the Minnesota Driver’s Manual advises motorists with firearms to:

  • Keep their hands on the steering wheel as the officer approaches.
  • Let the officer know they have a firearm. 
  • Tell the officer the firearm’s location. 
  • Drivers should not: 
  • Reach around inside the vehicle. 
  • Get out of the vehicle unexpectedly or approach the officer. 

The new language also outlines what drivers can expect from law enforcement during a traffic stop. According to the Minnesota Driver’s Manual, during a traffic stop, drivers can generally expect the officer to:

  • Greet the driver.
  • Identify themselves as a law enforcement officer.
  • Obtain the driver’s license and proof of insurance.
  • Inform the individual of the reason for the stop and explain the circumstances for issuance of the citation or warning.
  • Check both the validity and authenticity of the driver’s license.

Other advice for drivers during a traffic stop includes:

  • Stay calm. 
  • If the traffic stop is made after dark, turn on your vehicle’s interior light.
  • Keep all doors shut, and remain in the vehicle unless directed otherwise by the officer.
  • Keep your hands on the steering wheel so they are easily observable. 
  • Give the officer your full attention. 
  • Do not make sudden movements or search for your driver’s license or vehicle documents; wait for the officer to give you instructions. 
  • If you have a weapon or firearm in the vehicle, inform the officer upon your first interaction with them.


The announcement comes on the anniversary of Philando’s death. He was shot and killed by a police officer during a traffic stop in Falcon Heights after informing the officer he was legally carrying a firearm. 

To mark the occasion, there will be a rally Monday afternoon at the St. Anthony Village City Hall and Community Center from 4-7 p.m. 

The Philando Castile Relief Foundation is also hosting a candlelight vigil at 8 p.m. at the Philando Castile Peace Garden site on Larpenteur Avenue near Snelling Avenue in Falcon Heights.