Howell County News/ Amanda Mendez

Deputy Commended after Positive Interaction with Armed Subject

A routine traffic stop led to a commendation for Howell County Sheriff’s Deputy Travis Weaver. On the surface, it seems like a good cop was simply doing his job, but the story has resonated with so many people and continues to be shared online. 
On April 30, Dep. Weaver initiated a traffic stop for an unsafe merge. The driver was Eliu Perez, Jr. from South Dakota. In Perez’s Facebook post about the interaction, he says he immediately disclosed to Dep. Weaver that he had a loaded gun on his person. And asked, “How do you want to handle this, officer?”
Perez indicated that he found it remarkable that he, a Mexican-American from out of state, was able to have a positive and safe interaction with law enforcement. 
“I am sharing this because cops get a bad rep. I am Mexican with a loaded gun and didn’t get shot, following instructions is the key [sic],” wrote Perez.
In an interview with Howell County News, Dep. Weaver describes the scenario as a very routine part of his day-to-day work. If it had not been for Perez’s post and the subsequent attention it received, this interaction would have been “just a normal day.”
“I was dumbfounded that he even took the time out of his day to post. I didn’t see anything special about it. I had seven other stops that day,” said Dep. Weaver. 
After stopping Perez, Dep. Weaver said he asked him to step out of the vehicle and sit in his patrol car, as he has been trained to do whether or not a firearm is involved. 
“A lot of younger cops have been trained to pull people back [into a patrol car during a stop]. It’s safer that way,” Dep. Weaver said. 
Perez agreed to step out of his car and Dep. Weaver removed and unloaded the firearm.
“He was just so respectful,” he said, “Just as friendly as can be.”
While Perez was in the patrol vehicle, the officer was able to determine he was carrying legally. Perez was not issued a citation and went about his way to continue a solo cross-country road trip. According to Dep Weaver, Perez’s ethnicity and background had no bearing on the way he treated him during the stop. That is, he believes he treated Perez the same way he would have treated any other person on the road that day.
“It’s all walks of life we run into everyday. Treat everybody how you want to be treated. Everyone wants to go home safe at the end of the day just like I do,” Dep. Weaver said. 
Missouri is a constitutional carry state, so it is not strictly necessary to disclose to law enforcement during an interaction that you are armed. However, the deputy said that most responsible firearm owners in the area do in fact disclose when they are carrying. 
Sheriff Brent Campbell issued a commendation to Dep. Weaver on May 1. 
“Deputy Weaver is a team player and eager to learn. I look forward to seeing him develop in this profession, this calling he has chosen. Keep up the good work Deputy Weaver and thank you for what you do,” reads the commendation in part. 
For himself, Dep. Weaver received the praise and attention very humbly, commenting, “I’m just in the right place at the right time, and I do what I’m supposed to do.”
Deputy Travis Weaver is a native of Willow Springs who began his career in law enforcement in 2019 at the Willow Springs Police Department. He graduated from Willow Springs High School in 2016.

Howell County News

110 W. Main St.,
Willow Springs, MO 65793

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