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Old June 21, 2009, 07:36 PM   #51
maestro pistolero
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Have him drive to the nearest police station and identify himself and place the call from there with a bunch of cops present.
Exactly. I mentioned this in an earlier post. It's fascinating how the OP and those who seem to be on the 'other side of the coin'* are more concerned with how the officers were justified than how they displayed so little imagination in finding a way to exercise the prerogative of the husband to authorize a forced-entry welfare check on his wife. The husband's fear under the circumstances was reasonable and correct as it turned out.

*An interesting title with built-in assumptions about which side most folks fall on.
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Old June 21, 2009, 07:39 PM   #52
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what "more investigation" could be done within the law?
Quote:
Originally Posted by ftd
I've already said that I think they should have done more to try to gain access (NOT "break down the door"), by contacting the landlord.
Since there was no "emergency" the landlord could not have entered.

Quote:
What would you have the police, firefighters, ems, do ?
Quote:
Originally Posted by ftd
EMs and firefighter in an EM roll - the same as I have said for police. Firefighters in a fire roll - most big city fire Department have infra-red devices to detect heat (as in fire) - make sure there is no fire and call the LEs to investigate a false alarm if no fire is detected.
They would not have detected a fire and there was no "false alarm" of one.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ftd
In an apartment situation, I would also expect them to seek out the landlord for access/inspection as the danger to mutiple dwellings could be catastrophic.
Since they would not have detected a fire, there would be no need for (or a right to) "access/inspection."
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Old June 21, 2009, 07:41 PM   #53
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Originally Posted by publius42
how hard would it be to identify the person on the phone in less than four hours? Have him drive to the nearest police station and identify himself and place the call from there with a bunch of cops present.
I suggested something similar waaaaay back in post #28.
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Old June 21, 2009, 07:46 PM   #54
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From post #26

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For example, what if a police officer in the location of the husband were to verify his ID and call it in? How long could that take? If I, as a civilian, in 5 seconds, can think of a way to verify the gentlemen's identity, why is that so insurmountable for LE professionals?
So some of us, at least, agree that more could be done in such a circumstance to effect a welfare check.
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Old June 21, 2009, 07:54 PM   #55
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Originally Posted by maestro pistolero
Exactly. I mentioned this in an earlier post.
It's not our job to come up with such solutions. Rather, it's the job of individuals to take care of themselves. Had he taken responsiblity firght form the start, this never would have happened. Now that it has, he's trying to point the finger at anyone he can rather than to accept his own screw–up.

Quote:
Originally Posted by maestro pistolero
It's fascinating how the OP and those who seem to be on the 'other side of the coin'* are more concerned with how the officers were justified than how they displayed so little imagination in finding a way to exercise the prerogative of the husband to authorize a forced-entry welfare check on his wife.
I'd suggest that you harken back to the OP where the question was not "how do the officers verify the man's identity" but was defending the officers for not kicking in the door.

Quote:
Originally Posted by maestro pistolero
The husband's fear under the circumstances was reasonable and correct as it turned out.
He should have stayed home and taken her to the hospital. It's not up to the police to come up with solutions for every situation that people create. It's great that you're able to do so in the comfort of your living room.

Last edited by bigger hammer; June 21, 2009 at 08:00 PM.
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Old June 21, 2009, 07:56 PM   #56
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but how hard would it be to identify the person on the phone in less than four hours? Have him drive to the nearest police station and identify himself and place the call from there with a bunch of cops present.
A valid question publius, Let me ask you this, if you are in a city, 4 hours from your home in any direction, could you, with the contents of your wallet, or vehicle;

A. Prove that you live at the address you are interested in and that you are either the owner, or renter on the lease ?

B. Prove that you are legally married to, or co-habitating with any person in that home ?

C. Prove that there is actually an emergency at that address that would require a
forced entry ?

If you can do all those things, ( answer honestly ) then you are well beyond the ability of the average person.

And unless you can do all of those things, to the satisfaction of a police officer, you are right back at square one.

Quote:
I've already said that I think they should have done more to try to gain access (NOT "break down the door"), by contacting the landlord.
OK, fair enough. Tell ya what, lets test your theory, (if you wish)

Do you rent ? Or have a friend or relative that rents, ?

If so, have someone go to the manager, or super, and tell them you think someone inside may need medical attention, see if they will unlock the door on that premise.
Your findings should prove to be educational.

You mentioned having the police contact the landlord and ask for access, the answer to that question is simple, the police do not have a legal right to do so, and most landlords are not gonna risk a lawsuit from a tenant for opening that door without a warrant to do so.


The what-if's in this story are mind-boggling at the least.
It seems that if someone hears the words "pregnant woman" or "child" that somehow common sense, and legalities go right out the window.

This situation is not that difficult to understand, If it worked the way you imagine it should, then you would never have any expectation of privacy, either in a home you own, or especially in a home you rent.
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Old June 21, 2009, 08:01 PM   #57
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It's fascinating how the OP and those who seem to be on the 'other side of the coin'* are more concerned with how the officers were justified than how they displayed so little imagination in finding a way to exercise the prerogative of the husband to authorize a forced-entry
Not our job to use "imagination" unless we have authority to enter which is (a) Authorization to enter from someone a little more legit than a voice on a phone. (b) obvious danger to life. I. E. I see a person in need of assistance through window etc.

Some posters have some convoluted ideas about what the Police should do, how bout simply calling a friend or relative to save the day....repeating myself.

Last edited by Wagonman; June 22, 2009 at 01:07 AM.
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Old June 21, 2009, 08:35 PM   #58
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It's fascinating how the OP and those who seem to be on the 'other side of the coin'* are more concerned with how the officers were justified than how they displayed so little imagination in finding a way to exercise the prerogative of the husband to authorize a forced-entry

What I find "fascinating" is that you believe that, from 4 hours away, the husband HAS that prerogative.

Again I ask :

How will he Prove he is the rightful owner, or tenent at that address? Drivers license ? That only says he lives there, nothing more. Unless he happens to have a Deed or Lease with him he is short on proof.

How will he Prove that the woman at the address is his Wife, Girlfriend, etc.? Hope he has his marriage license, Oh ! I know ! a Picture of them together !

How will he prove that this woman even lives there, or exists for that matter?

How will he Prove that there is an emergency, or for that matter, that she is even home ? Car in the driveway ?
Maybe, or, she could have left with someone.

The "imagination" possibilities are boundless.
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Old June 21, 2009, 11:41 PM   #59
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I almost agree with OUTCAST.

I had a similar situation happen to me 10 years ago. My mother living in another state 7 hours away. Talked to her Thursday night, advised her would not call on Friday, flew home on Saturday, and tried to call. No answer...Tried later, no answer, checked with all close relatives, no body knew anything.

Call the local police for a welfare check....they followed all the steps of above, and could see nothing....but did report seeing her walker...If the walker was there she was there.

I had to call out a locksmith, and have him open the door for the police, ($125). There they found my mother laying on the floor knees bloody from trying to get up for 3 days. She had fallen off the bed hanging up the phone after talking to me on Thursday....

So having a locksmith open the door was the key difference in my case. (And probably cheaper than repairing a kicked in door.
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Old June 22, 2009, 02:51 PM   #60
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Call the local police for a welfare check....they followed all the steps of above, and could see nothing....but did report seeing her walker...If the walker was there she was there.
Which means they likely looked in a door or window to see the appliance, you knew the significance of the walker and acted on it;

Quote:
I had to call out a locksmith, and have him open the door for the police, ($125). There they found my mother laying on the floor knees bloody from trying to get up for 3 days. She had fallen off the bed hanging up the phone after talking to me on Thursday....
Those two first words are the gold here. You realized that you had to take responsibility for the situation, the police could not legally call that locksmith any more than they could legally kick the door in. The locksmith only needs to satisfy himself that the bill will be paid for him to legally do his job. A different and higher standard applies to emergency responders.

( I'll bet that once the door was opened the officers merely had to shout, and hear a response from your Mother before they were justified to enter the house)

Also, the thing some folks just don't seem to understand is, if the police officers in the OP had looked in the window and actually seen anything IE: Blood, overturned furniture, the toddler running around, or heard any noise such as a moan, cry, scream, They would have booted the door.

Sorry to hear your Mom had to go through that ordeal and, glad things turned out OK.
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Old June 22, 2009, 03:50 PM   #61
maestro pistolero
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What I find "fascinating" is that you believe that, from 4 hours away, the husband HAS that prerogative.
What in the world does being 4 hours away have to do with his prerogative to authorize forcible entry? It only goes to verifying his identity, which we've established could be done by a PD in his local.

Quote:
Again I ask :

How will he Prove he is the rightful owner, or tenent at that address? Drivers license ? That only says he lives there, nothing more. Unless he happens to have a Deed or Lease with him he is short on proof.
Absurd. We are supposed to carry a deed or lease around with us?
By your criteria, he wouldn't have been able to authorize entry if he were standing on the porch, because the documents you think are required would be in the house.

If the husband were suspected of a crime and there were probable cause, his address of record (as in driver's license) would be entirely sufficient to get a search warrant for the premises. The judge would assume the information to be correct and issue the warrant.

Why, then wouldn't it be sufficient for the lawful occupant to verify his home address for the purposes of a welfare check?

Quote:
How will he prove that the woman at the address is his Wife, Girlfriend, etc.? Hope he has his marriage license, Oh ! I know ! a Picture of them together! How will he prove that this woman even lives there, or exists for that matter?
Oh pulleeeez! He wouldn't need to, since he is the lawful occupant. He alone could authorize entry for good cause, like a welfare check on his pregnant, sick, and missing wife.

Quote:
How will he Prove that there is an emergency, or for that matter, that she is even home ? Car in the driveway ?
Again, irrelevant. He alone could authorize entry for good cause or no cause.

Quote:
Maybe, or, she could have left with someone.
SO WHAT! Welfare check completed. Wife not home. . . end of story.

Quote:
The "imagination" possibilities are boundless.
Except when it comes to facilitating the welfare check for the out of town husband.
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Old June 22, 2009, 05:12 PM   #62
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which we've established could be done by a PD in his local.
Would you, Please point out where that has been established and how it was established ? I am sorry but, I must have missed it.

Quote:
By your criteria, he wouldn't have been able to authorize entry if he were standing on the porch, because the documents you think are required would be in the house.
You are attempting to change the criteria by substitution, sorry, but that dog won't hunt. If the man were "standing on the porch", he would not need police to kick down the door, or, do a welfare check, I would think a key would be the only thing he might need. Nice try though.

Quote:
If the husband were suspected of a crime and there were probable cause, his address of record (as in driver's license) would be entirely sufficient to get a search warrant for the premises. The judge would assume the information to be correct and issue the warrant.
Again, you attempt to obfuscate. Notice the underlined words from your quote ? Particularly the words "probable cause" and "Judge" There is a reason that those things are necessary for another of the highlighted words, "warrant"
Those reasons are the same reasons that a "Forcible Entry" is not likely to be authorized by a dispatcher over a phone, or another cop 4 hours away. It's this inconvenient little thing called the Constitution.


Quote:
He alone could authorize entry for good cause or no cause.
Apparently not, the guy in the OP was not successful at it. He had no Proof, hence, no prerogative.


ETA: I have been involved in more locked threads, and had more accusations of "cop bashing" leveled at me than almost anyone else on this subfora; yet, even I can see the officers acted responsibly in this case. How the hell did this happen?
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Old June 22, 2009, 05:35 PM   #63
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On your drug lab the cops will get a search warrant then bust the door so they won't lose all their evidence in court. The only way to kick the door is if you can explain how there were exigent circumstances that led you to believe kicking the door was the only thing to do. If the officers walked around the house looking in windows and saw her on the floor you are good to go. Unfortunatly in todays Sue happy world Morally right or wrong legally they were right.
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Old June 22, 2009, 06:36 PM   #64
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Fascinating. Not only do I find myself completely convinced of the other side of an argument, I am in wonder at those who still are not.

You won't hear this come out of my mouth or off my keyboard very often, but I admire the patience and tenacity coming from you "coppahs" in this one.
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Old June 22, 2009, 06:49 PM   #65
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Ok what does this get me?

"Hello 911, I am standing on the porch at my elderly fathers house, he asked me to come visit a few minutes ago, but now he doesn't answer the door and I think he is home because I see his hat thru the window and he never goes anywhere without his fedora. He has heart trouble so I'm kinda worried, can you send someone over?"

Does this get his door forcibly opened to check on him, or do you have to wait till someone complains about a foul smell a week later? Is there no middle ground?
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Old June 22, 2009, 07:23 PM   #66
maestro pistolero
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If you don't have a key, rental agreement or a deed with your name on it, you are obviously wanting to break in to the house for nefarious reasons unrelated to to the health of your father. There is no legal path available to you to come to the aid of your father without endangering the careers of the officers who take the call. I wouldn't wait for the police to open the door if I were you.
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Old June 22, 2009, 07:28 PM   #67
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Yes, well I usually have a tire iron in the car so if it ever comes up, and this is really how it is....no need to bother anyone with my troubles.
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Old June 22, 2009, 07:35 PM   #68
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Ok what does this get me?

"Hello 911, I am standing on the porch at my elderly fathers house, he asked me to come visit a few minutes ago, but now he doesn't answer the door and I think he is home because I see his hat thru the window and he never goes anywhere without his fedora. He has heart trouble so I'm kinda worried, can you send someone over?"

Good question, let's analyze ;

You are: "Standing on the porch of your elderly Father's house" and you can get "no answer" at the door, You seem to have a suspicion that he is home, due to the forgotten fedora. Further, you fear that, since he has a history of "heart trouble" his health might be in jeopardy.

Since you do not have any legal constraints such as, probable cause, nor are you bound by laws against Illegal Search And it is unlikely that your Father, if he is still alive, will prosecute you for breaking and entering or burglary (even if you are wrong) I would think the logical course of action would be for You to forcibly enter the house, by whatever means necessary. I would think the next logical step would be to verify your Father's presence, and condition. The Final step would be to call 911 and request medical help if he is still alive, or request Police assistance if he has expired. Of course, if he is simply not home you will likely have some 'splainin' to do to him, and a door to repair.

Quote:
Is there no middle ground?
Yes, there is ! The "Middle Ground" of which you speak is commonly referred to as "personal responsibility".

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Old June 22, 2009, 07:43 PM   #69
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If you don't have a key, rental agreement or a deed with your name on it, you are obviously wanting to break in to the house for nefarious reasons unrelated to to the health of your father.
Respectfully, His post stated quite clearly what his motives were.

Quote:
There is no legal path available to you to come to the aid of your father
There absolutely is, and it does not require a Police officer be present.

Quote:
I wouldn't wait for the police to open the door if I were you.
Agreed, If he requires medical attention, and you are on the porch, you can respond much more quickly, and possibly further a better outcome.

Quote:
Yes, well I usually have a tire iron in the car so if it ever comes up,
This would make an excellent tool for a forcible entry, good to remember.
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Old June 22, 2009, 07:47 PM   #70
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Well I ask out of curiosity, and leading this thread down a slippery slope isn't the attempt, but you are suggesting that I take responsibility when in doubt and that seems reasonable enough to me.
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Old June 22, 2009, 07:53 PM   #71
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how bout simply calling a friend or relative to save the day....repeating myself.
That would have been the smartest thing to do. In this situation I think the police should have taken some sort of measure to ensure and confirm the safety of a pregnant woman and her child. This would have probably been more easily facilitated had a relative or friend come to the apartment. If the officers acted within the scope of their authority, thats fine. I live in a place where their are far more police than there is actual crime. When you call the police, you get a fire truck, ambulance and usually another cop who cruises in to see whats going on. Then after the incident you get a follow visit or phone call. Plenty of time, man power and money in NOVA.

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Old June 22, 2009, 08:02 PM   #72
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You won't hear this come out of my mouth or off my keyboard very often, but I admire the patience and tenacity coming from you "coppahs" in this one.
Dang Bud, I'm not in LE but, Don't I at least get an "honorable mention" ?
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Old June 22, 2009, 08:43 PM   #73
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Yes, you most certainly do, from my perspective. Thanks for the show.
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Old June 22, 2009, 09:36 PM   #74
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Can someone educate us civilians about what tools that EMS/rescue people have and use to enter locked buildings?
Yes, we have the Fire Department. And they have halligan tools and super sledges and the like on their trucks. HOWEVER, we are bound, at least down here, by the same standard as LE. If we don't have any evidence of a reason to enter a home for an emergency, we don't enter. Now if there is fairly solid reason to believe an emergency is taking place inside the home such as the car is in the drive-way running and it is apparent that it has been running for some time with nobody answering the door, I would personally use that as grounds to enter after 'staging' and awaiting LE.



RE: the OP. I think the coppers acted on the level in this situation. Of course, I would have been upset had it been my wife and all, but I would have been equally upset if I was laying on the couch asleep and the boys in black(they don't wear blue here) busted my door in because some smartarsed neighbor or friend called in a 'welfare check.' When I was younger, go ahead and laugh, I felt like cops used the law as a reason to act on one extreme or the other. Now that I work in armed security and spend a great deal of time BS'ing with our local LEO's and working around them, I can understand a great deal of why they do what they do.
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Old June 22, 2009, 09:58 PM   #75
bigger hammer
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alloy
"Hello 911, I am standing on the porch at my elderly fathers house, he asked me to come visit a few minutes ago, but now he doesn't answer the door and I think he is home because I see his hat thru the window and he never goes anywhere without his fedora. He has heart trouble so I'm kinda worried, can you send someone over?"

Does this get his door forcibly opened to check on him, or do you have to wait till someone complains about a foul smell a week later? Is there no middle ground?
This person doesn't need the police to force the door open for him. He can do it himself and should.
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