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Old May 17, 2010, 09:30 AM   #1
ncpatriot
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Police Officers, Alcohol

Redirect me if this has already been addressed. As near as I can tell, police officers in most areas can carry off duty, only right, but can also drink alcohol while carrying. How does that make any sense whatever? Citizens in my state cannot even carry in a place serving alcohol whether they consume or not. Cannot have alcohol in system when having a firearm in the car. Is a police officer somehow less prone to impaired judgment than other people? 2 city cops from my town were involved in an assault in a nearby city while out drinking with friends. Several sheriff's deputies were involved in a bar doing drug dealing and other illegal activity. A former police chief here had several buddies involved in car theft and prostitution. Does that show superior judgment and character?

Don't get me wrong. I am pro police all the way. But why should they be allowed to drink while carrying deadly weapons? In that respect, they should be subject to the same laws as the rest of us.

Please correct me if I am wrong on this. LEO's I would especially appreciate your feedback. Please do not take this as a personal assault. I appreciate the dangerous work you do every day.
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Old May 17, 2010, 09:51 AM   #2
ScottRiqui
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I think you're right to be confused/upset - there definitely seems to be two sets of laws at times.

Sometimes there are even inconsistencies in how the law applies to non-sworn civilians (I put in the "non-sworn" part because cops are civilians too.) As an example, Virginia is about to allow concealed-carry in restaurants starting July 1st. But, you won't be allowed to consume alcohol while carrying concealed. The strange part is that open-carry in restaurants here has been legal for years, with no prohibition against drinking while carrying (except for common sense, of course.)

I chalk it up mostly to different political/social climates in place when the various laws were enacted.
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Old May 17, 2010, 10:06 AM   #3
andrewstorm
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crazy carolinas laws

open carry laws in n.c. must have changed , i toted a 44 around everywhere anytime, shotgun ,rifle in the pickup truck rack 44 0n the seat and u could buy handguns at a private sale,shoot at any copperheads,rattle snakes cottonmouths u see,i recon the yankees in charlotte ruined it by now,they musta came down from chicago.looks like arizona,vermont,and alaska are the only real american liberty states
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Old May 17, 2010, 10:16 AM   #4
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Old May 17, 2010, 11:17 AM   #5
Don P
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Just curious as to what is making you thing its oke-doke-ie for LE to get drunk while carring off duty? Small town LE and small town politics, and the good ol boy network. Next time you see this happening call the State police and see what happens.
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Old May 17, 2010, 11:21 AM   #6
ncpatriot
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Thanks Andrewstorm. I can't say we have it the worst. We are a shall issue state and police in general are respectful of right to carry. After a wreck, I informed the officer I was carrying. He never hesitated, just said "OK, let's get your cars moved". That was respect I appreciated. Once approached a deputy on the street, informed him and asked if the place I was going was prohibited, grey area location. He said "no problem, go on in". Yes, I remember many people carrying long guns in truck racks, etc. Still see that once in awhile, but exposes you to breakins and theft. I seldom ever saw people doing OC except when fishing or hunting. Probably still OK in those locations. Only other OC I saw were a few store clerks & gas station clerks. I hope we expand our freedoms but give thanks we don't have the situation in California where that crazy sheriff rescinded permits issued by previous sheriff. Permit holders did nothing wrong but she said the issue of permits was not justified. That's the problem with discretionary issue. Our problems are not so much from "yankees in Charlotte" as with our own home grown legislators in Raleigh.
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Old May 17, 2010, 01:10 PM   #7
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Police Officers, Alcohol

In most states if you drink one beer or have one glass of wine you can still legally drive a vehicle. In my state, State Police Trooper's are discouraged from freqenting bars, tavern's, etc. But I see nothing wrong with an off duty officer, who is carrying concealed, drinking a beer or glass of wine. I do see something wrong with state laws that limit where you can legally carry a concealed weapon when you have a permit. They don't understand the words "shall not be infringed". I eat dinner every Thursday night in a lounge, and I usually have a glass of wine, I'm always 'packing'. We have many laws on the books regarding firearms that we should not have. As the signature of one poster says "With every new law, we loose another freedom".
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Old May 18, 2010, 09:29 AM   #8
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Andrewstorm, NC laws can be kinda esoteric. Word of advice, hint, hint----be careful, killing rattlers in NC is a no-no. My Taurus 85 is 95% of the time on my truck seat in plain view, with first two rounds being shotshells, and I've been thru several 'license checks' with it. I always inform, and only have to explain if it is loaded or not--while showing my CCP.
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Old May 18, 2010, 10:48 AM   #9
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In my City Cops are not allowed to be intoxicated by general order. However, real life is another matter. If I know its gonna be a howl at the moon night, which are fewer and fewer as I age, the Sig stays locked up in the safe and I prearrange my ride home.

However, for a couple of pops after work type of deal I would still be armed.
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Old May 19, 2010, 01:10 AM   #10
ncpatriot
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Don P, where did I say it was OK for LEO's to drink while carrying? That was the whole point of my post.
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Old May 19, 2010, 08:34 AM   #11
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Look at HR218, the LE safety Act: The fed law that allows LE, On or Off Duty and Retired LE officers to carry "notwithstanding" state and local laws.

The law states YOU CANT BE INTOXICATED.

This law was tested in Court where as the Meade County Prosicuter tried to charge a off duty Seattle cop with its CCW laws. (Carrying in a bar).

The cop was in Sturgis (bike week) with other Washington cops. They got into it with some members of the Hells Angles MC Gang. The Cop shot one of the Hells Angels. There was no dispute whether it was self defence or not. But the prosicuter went after the cop for having a firearm in a bar, violation of state law.

The case was thrown out because the cop was covered by HR 218. The Law enforcement safey act. The law states the officer COULD NOT BE INTOXICATED. The cop in this case wasn't.

But if you look at the background of the case you can see the why and what for of the law, again the LE SAFETY ACT.

We need to back up a bit, the Cop had worked in the past undercover was was responsible for the Arrest and conviction of members of the Hells Angel MC Gang in the Washington Area. He was reconized by members of the Gang when he was in Sturgis. That is what started the disturbance in the Bar and the Cop was able to protect himself only because HR218 allowed him to carry.

This was one of the reasons the Judge upheld the law, he, like the authors of the law, understood cops need to have the ability to protect themselfs while off duty or retired, from those whom they've had dealings.

So before we bad mouth Cops for getting special treatment, we need to put ourselves in their shoes.

And Before you jump on the Cop for putting himself in that position, that being hanging around where bikers hang out, you really need to understand the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. Its not all Biker Gangs, 99% are just normal bike lovers. In reality they police themselves. Most are normal law abidding people who get together with other bike lovers a couple weeks a year to ride through the beautiful Black Hills.

So, do cops get special treatment, I'd say in this case, yes, but they also have higher standards. A cop can have a drink in a bar, while carrying, BUT if he's caught drunk while carrying, its a whole new ball game.
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Old May 20, 2010, 09:30 AM   #12
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Quote:
We need to back up a bit, the Cop had worked in the past undercover was was responsible for the Arrest and conviction of members of the Hells Angel MC Gang in the Washington Area. He was reconized by members of the Gang when he was in Sturgis. That is what started the disturbance in the Bar and the Cop was able to protect himself only because HR218 allowed him to carry.

While the Copper was legit in his actions, his reasoning leaves something to be desired IMHO. If you worked UC in the 1% world, why would you go to Sturgis or anywhere of that ilk? Seems counter-productive to me. Kinda like people who "exercise" their rights on traffic stops. Sure you can do X but what are the risk/rewards.
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Old May 25, 2010, 12:34 PM   #13
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As far as I know, in NJ prohibitions on off duty police drinking while carrying are matters of department policy; specifically, the department may or may not defend the actions of an officer who was found to be intoxicated while carrying.

NJ law does not prohibit those with carry permits from drinking; most who have such permits are retired LEO's (very few are issued carry permits based on the justifiable need standard). So, retired LEO's are free to drink while carrying. However, oddly enough, liquor licensees are required to not serve anyone they know to be armed, by Alcoholic Beverage Control regulation.
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Old May 25, 2010, 12:57 PM   #14
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Laws against possession of a firearm while intoxicated apply universally.
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Old May 25, 2010, 02:38 PM   #15
johnwilliamson062
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"Good ol' boy network" is your answer in most instances.

I saw an armed officer open carrying in a bar not long ago with a few other officers(I knew one from High School). They were clearly intoxicated Who is going to call the police on them? What responding officer is going to do anything? They got in their cars and drove home.

A few weeks later this iddue came up and I someone had just been at an officers wedding. LOTS of alcohol and everyone armed. At some point I guess veteran officers began demonstrating drawing a firearm from their retention holsters(repeated quick draw type stuff) to some rookies who had a problem with it at some point or were complaining about it. The people standing around not involved did not see anyone unload or check chambers, so the assumption is that they were doing so at a crowded wedding reception with rounds in the chamber and full mags. Only a few officers directly involved, but obviously many others around let it go.

Pretty much every officer I know well at all is very respectful of firearms, a great shot, etc. I know them b/c I have met them shooting and they are enthusiasts to begin with. Some of their colleagues scare me to death with their level of proficiency, attitude, and behavior.
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Old May 25, 2010, 04:20 PM   #16
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I'm of the opinion that you shouldn't consume alcohol at all while carrying a firearm. Imagine:

"So, Mr. Jones, you're telling this grand jury that you were absolutely certain your life was in danger, and that you were left with no alternative beyond lethal force. However, you registered a blood-alcohol level of 0.05%. Can you tell us that your judgment may not have compromised?"

It could be a problem for anyone, including law enforcement.
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Old May 25, 2010, 08:47 PM   #17
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active sworn LEOs; drinking, use of force events....

To my limited knowledge, some US LE agencies & chiefs, Sheriffs, Dirs, etc are very strict or regulated about drinking/alcohol.
I'd heard that Dir Louis Freeh by mandated policy didn't allow FBI special agents or sworn 083 police officers(yes the FBI has it's own PD, ) from drinking at all. Freeh considered sworn members & agents to be on-duty or fit for duty 24/07.

In late 2009, a young sworn LEO in Salt Lake City UT shot a violent but unarmed felon that was beating his brother. The events were in a crowded bar in the SLC area. The felon was wounded but charged. The LEO did not face criminal charges and it wasn't reported if he was drinking or had any dept or professional standards actions taken.
The a-hole CPD TAC officer in Chicago IL who got drunk and savagely beat a female bartender is a great example of why sworn LE officers or anyone who CCs should not drink & carry. He was arrested but Im not sure what happened to him. The PBA/FoP shouldn't support that d-bag but Im sure he'll give some shuck and jive excuse like PTSD or carpal tunnel syndrome.

A few years ago I spoke to a senior LEO in a small PD who said that in past(1960s/1970s/1980s), sheriffs & PD chiefs were extremely strict about ethics, morals and off duty conduct standards. He saw cops fired for going to strip clubs or adult book stores off duty. He explained that as times changed, newer younger LEOs started to have fewer ethical standards and viewed their sworn position as a job or occupation rather than a career or calling. I could understand what he meant.
In closing, these ethics standards not only apply to LE. Last summer, I saw a group of firefighters from Jacksonville FL in a bar. They were completely trashed and starrted to fight with each other! One of firefighter told me how his co-worker had be drinking all day since 900am! That is just pathetic.
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Old June 2, 2010, 11:01 AM   #18
Wagonman
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The a-hole CPD TAC officer in Chicago IL who got drunk and savagely beat a female bartender is a great example of why sworn LE officers or anyone who CCs should not drink & carry. He was arrested but Im not sure what happened to him. The PBA/FoP shouldn't support that d-bag but Im sure he'll give some shuck and jive excuse like PTSD or carpal tunnel syndrome.
This embarrassing incident has absolutely nothing to do with Cops carrying off duty whether or not they are drinking. This guy is an embarrassment to himself, the department who was found guilty of aggravated battery which was a miscarriage of justice due to the lack of injury to the victim. This guy should never have been the Police.
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Old June 2, 2010, 11:54 AM   #19
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He explained that as times changed, newer younger LEOs started to have fewer ethical standards and viewed their sworn position as a job or occupation rather than a career or calling.
THis is a complaint I hear from retired officers also. maybe it is just older officers complaining about younger or maybe there is something more to it. One has told me that 30 years ago if a guy came into his department and didn't view it as a calling the other officers would basically force him out. He agreed that as pay has risen relative to other jobs this has been one of the effects. I know most, although not all, LEO in my area seem to think of it more as a job then a calling at this point.
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Old June 2, 2010, 12:23 PM   #20
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I agree John, maybe it's just the usual old guy griping, but I just don't know.

The new kids seem less about the job than we were.
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Old June 2, 2010, 01:13 PM   #21
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Quote:
Laws against possession of a firearm while intoxicated apply universally.
From HR 218:
Sec 926B, c (5) is not under the influence of alcohol or another intoxicating or hallucinatory drug or substance;

Note the law dosnt say Possession, and according to the Court Case Involving the Off Duty Cop from Sturgis, (who had been drinking but was not intoxicated), in Sturgis Last year, the cop was protected by HR 218.

Since I dont drink much I'll not test the law, but I'm not checking my gun with the bartender when I take my wife to dinner at a resturant that does serve alochol. I just dont drink at all when I'm carrying.
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