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Old June 16, 2009, 09:00 PM   #1
Wagonman
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The other side of the coin

http://www.officer.com/web/online/To...1-Call/1$47087

This is the reason some Coppers err on the side of being more proactive, not because we are jack booted fascists that use the BOR for toilet paper.

These Coppers are going to have unwarranted aggravation for respecting the civil rights of the lady who didn't answer the door due to her condition.

Who thinks the Coppers were incorrect in their actions.....and why? I am in the camp that would say that they did their job by the numbers. But, the victim's husband is crying foul, lazy Coppers shoulda kicked down the door and saved the missus.

Another wrinkle, how do you know that is in fact the husband callling 911 and not someone screwing with the victim.

Last edited by Wagonman; June 16, 2009 at 09:09 PM. Reason: following advice of Mod----attempting a NO LOCK thread
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Old June 16, 2009, 09:35 PM   #2
Dust Monkey
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From the article:

Quote:
"And nobody responded, so I call 911 to come to my house and check my wife with my one-and-a-half-year (old) boy. So, when they came they knocked on the door and told me ... that nobody responded in the house, no TV, no noise, no nothing in the house," he said.

Aboagye says he asked police to break down the door but says police were unable to do so because they did not have the tools.

Aboagye left work and made it home nearly four hours later, finding his unconscious wife on the floor.
This is thin, see through. Do not have to tools. Wow, what happened to all the ninja SWAT gear, or the universal key, your boot.

If you get a call about someone in medical need, giving birth, and you knock on the door and leave cause no one answered. You arent protecting someones civil rights, your lazy and you are not doing your job as a public servant.

They should have aggravation. Use your noggin. People who want to screw with others usually call in a SWAT type call, as in "drugs at this house, drug buy going down". The odds of someone calling in to check on a family member who may be in medical need is very low.

You want to tackle the real problem, as I and others see it, address this:
http://www.pr-inside.com/drug-suspec...y-r1320357.htm
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Old June 16, 2009, 09:49 PM   #3
maestro pistolero
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They dropped the ball

Nowhere in the story does it say they refused to enter for reasons of protecting civil rights, only that they had no tools to enter. If they had been chasing fleeing felon, you can bet they would have found a way. And, as the story points out, there was no attempt to enlist the help of the fire department who most certainly have such tools.

There was never a question raised about the identity of the 911 caller. In any case, there are any number of ways of identifying the gentlemen over the phone, such as a drivers license@, SS#, home address on his ID. And there would be serious ramifications for someone misdirecting police activity if he were motivated by ill-will, of which there was no indication or suspicion.

Finally, the officers had direct information that the welfare of two individuals was in serious question, one of them a child, and they had permission from a resident of the home to enter. This was a fumble, and someone almost died.
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Old June 16, 2009, 10:21 PM   #4
OuTcAsT
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Quote:
I am in the camp that would say that they did their job by the numbers
Well Wagonman, at least you are consistent with your answers, I asked you a question a while back, about booting a door if you got no response to your knock, you said ;

Quote:
I would radio my dispatcher and get a "callback" if there is no answer or voice mail I code out the job and jump back in the squad and leave with a hearty HI HO SILVER AWAY!!!

…for me and just about any Copper I have worked with it has to be pretty cut and dried and the spidey sense has to be tingling for me to get into that kind of play.

I really question why, if the husband were as worried as he claimed, A) Why he left the house to begin with and, B) Why it took him 4 hours to return.

I will reserve further comment until more info is available, the article is too vague.
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Old June 16, 2009, 11:40 PM   #5
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I really question why, if the husband were as worried as he claimed, A) Why he left the house to begin with and, B) Why it took him 4 hours to return.
(B) is pretty simple - Alexandria and Virginia Beach are over 200 miles apart, and traffic in Alexandria can be terrible at the best of times. Frankly, he did well in getting there in four hours. Not everyone works in the same town where he lives.

Last edited by csmsss; June 17, 2009 at 08:23 AM.
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Old June 17, 2009, 12:01 AM   #6
Michael Anthony
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Quote:
The odds of someone calling in to check on a family member who may be in medical need is very low.
This is false.

Law enforcement receives premature, and outright BS calls from "worried family members" every day.

The fact that they felt the need to make an excuse for why they couldn't get in is regrettable. Their answer should have been "We do not do that."

The very rare possibility that something is wrong is immaterial. With no evidence of criminal or suspicious activity, law enforcement has no authority or duty to take any action.
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Old June 17, 2009, 10:30 AM   #7
maestro pistolero
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Quote:
With no evidence of criminal or suspicious activity, law enforcement has no authority or duty to take any action.
I would quibble with the authority part of that statement, they were given permission from the occupant to enter. We already know they have no duty to protect. Their primary duty is to enforce law as agents of the state.
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Old June 17, 2009, 11:04 AM   #8
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Quote:
We already know they have no duty to protect. Their primary duty is to enforce law as agents of the state.

Yup, no crime = no lawful entry.

However, had the husband been on the premises, and asked for help, they would likely have had some obligation to do so,
at the least a moral one.
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Last edited by OuTcAsT; June 17, 2009 at 11:10 AM.
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Old June 17, 2009, 12:37 PM   #9
maestro pistolero
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Quote:
However, had the husband been on the premises
What difference should that make? He had more of a need for help being four hours away. And he DID ask for help.

Quote:
Yup, no crime = no lawful entry.
Under ANY circumstances? Reference please? What if they KNEW someone was dying inside and needed their help? Would that entry be illegal?
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Old June 17, 2009, 02:02 PM   #10
OuTcAsT
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What difference should that make?
If he were there, in person, obviously he could give permission to enter, as all the operator had was a call from someone saying he was the husband, (at least with the info we have) There is no absolute way to be certain he is who he says he is, and, being an apartment, it would be even harder to confirm.

Quote:
Under ANY circumstances? Reference please? What if they KNEW someone was dying inside and needed their help? Would that entry be illegal?
After discussions I have participated in, on this forum, in the past, my understanding is that there must be some sort of "reasonable suspicion" that there is a crime, or life threatening emergency, before a forced entry is advised.

Obviously, if the officer sees, or hears something that makes him suspicious, he will likely boot in, but a dark, silent house? And a story that the wife is not answering the phone ? That's pretty thin.

Still not enough facts yet, but sounds like they were acting reasonably to me so far.


ETA: The guy obviously had a "gut feeling" that something was wrong well before he left for work, otherwise there would have been no Dr. Appointment planned. IMO he should have called EMS then or, stayed home. ( Been through this with 2 kids, you gotta go with your gut ) And yeah, I know someone is gonna say " Why risk his job over something that could have been nothing" ? I have sacrificed job over family, ya gotta have "priorities".
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Old June 17, 2009, 02:04 PM   #11
bigger hammer
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dust Monkey
This is thin, see through. Do not have to tools. Wow, what happened to all the ninja SWAT gear, or the universal key, your boot.
I'd guess that's the reason given by the phone operator telling the person reporting why the officers couldn't break down the door.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dust Monkey
If you get a call about someone in medical need, giving birth, and you knock on the door and leave cause no one answered. You arent protecting someones civil rights, your lazy and you are not doing your job as a public servant.
Had the call been coming from inside the house, breaking the door down probably would have been the appropriate response. Since it was coming from outside the house, it's not.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dust Monkey
They should have aggravation. Use your noggin. People who want to screw with others usually call in a SWAT type call, as in "drugs at this house, drug buy going down".
Most often crank calls where people want some action, take the form of "man with a gun." That's not a SWAT callout for any department that I know of. Neither for that matter is "drugs at this house, drug buy going down". SWAT doesn't roll out just because someone is buying or selling drugs. A narcotics team might, but most often a patrol unit will investigate.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dust Monkey
The odds of someone calling in to check on a family member who may be in medical need is very low.
The call is so common that it has a name. Here, it's called a "Welfare check." Often they're based on things as vague as "They won't answer the phone" or "We were supposed to have lunch and they're late."
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Old June 17, 2009, 02:05 PM   #12
bigger hammer
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maestro pistolero
There was never a question raised about the identity of the 911 caller.
It would be more accurate to say that the story does not mention if the department attempted to verify the identity of the 911 caller. You have no idea if that was done.

Quote:
Originally Posted by maestro pistolero
In any case, there are any number of ways of identifying the gentlemen over the phone, such as a drivers license@, SS#, home address on his ID.
None of these gives any reliability to the identity of the caller.

Quote:
Originally Posted by maestro pistolero
And there would be serious ramifications for someone misdirecting police activity if he were motivated by ill-will, of which there was no indication or suspicion.
There are "serious ramifications" for murder too. Last I heard it hadn't stopped it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by maestro pistolero
Finally, the officers had direct information that the welfare of two individuals was in serious question, one of them a child, and they had permission from a resident of the home to enter. This was a fumble, and someone almost died.
Unfortunate for sure. But no fumble.
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Old June 17, 2009, 02:06 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OuTcAsT
I really question why, if the husband were as worried as he claimed, A) Why he left the house to begin with and, B) Why it took him 4 hours to return.
I don't know the geography there. Perhaps that's how long a drive it is?

Quote:
Originally Posted by OuTcAsT
I will reserve further comment until more info is available, the article is too vague.
A logical and reasonable thing to do. Based on just what the article presents, the police were right in leaving.

I can easily imagine the outcry from the usual suspects had this gone another way. Someone has a p!ss–off with a neighbor. They make a similar call. The resident doesn't don't answer the door because he's taking a nap. The police kick in the door, the resident, thinking he's being robbed, goes for a gun and is killed by the police.
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Old June 17, 2009, 02:07 PM   #14
bigger hammer
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Quote:
With no evidence of criminal or suspicious activity, law enforcement has no authority or duty to take any action.
Quote:
Originally Posted by maestro pistolero
I would quibble with the authority part of that statement, they were given permission from the occupant to enter. [Emphasis added]
They were asked from someone who was not identified to break down the door.

Quote:
Originally Posted by maestro pistolero
We already know they have no duty to protect. Their primary duty is to enforce law as agents of the state.
You've misunderstood the concept. Polcie have a "duty to protect" society. There is no duty to protect "a given individual."
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Old June 17, 2009, 02:08 PM   #15
bigger hammer
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OuTcAsT
However, had the husband been on the premises, and asked for help, they would likely have had some obligation to do so, at the least a moral one.
Had he been on the premises he probably would have a key so breaking the door would not have been necessary. Or he could have broken the door down himself. Had he been physically incapable of doing so, after they determined that he WAS a resident they could have done so. With nothing but a voice on a phone, there's not enough.
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Old June 17, 2009, 02:09 PM   #16
bigger hammer
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Quote:
Yup, no crime = no lawful entry.
Quote:
Originally Posted by maestro pistolero
Under ANY circumstances? Reference please? What if they KNEW someone was dying inside and needed their help? Would that entry be illegal?
If this was known (note the emphasis) then entry would be OK.
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Old June 17, 2009, 02:10 PM   #17
maestro pistolero
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I don't know the geography there. Perhaps that's how long a drive it is?
Answered in post #5. 200 miles, trafficky at times.
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Old June 18, 2009, 12:51 AM   #18
JustDreadful
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I'm no blue groupie, but the cops did the right thing here. Saying that cops should, or even CAN, kick in a door based on a phone call opens a giant can o' worms. Any house they want to take a look around in, "We got a call..."



Quote:
The fact that they felt the need to make an excuse for why they couldn't get in is regrettable. Their answer should have been "We do not do that."
This
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Old June 18, 2009, 01:04 AM   #19
Wagonman
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I would not be justfied in breaking down a door because of an anonymous caller said to.

The not having proper equipment is meaningless, they should've said "we came, no answer residence secure ground level. This post proves the damned if we do damned if we don't reality of Police work.
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Old June 18, 2009, 01:29 AM   #20
Dust Monkey
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So when a cop, swat team, busts down a door because of a "informant" who may or may not have been vetted and ends up being the wrong address, it's ok. But a voice on the phone about a medical emergency is not ok. Seems the adrenial junkie call gets the go ahead. Are cops today really that obtuse? I emailed this thread to a 20 year veteran of LE, friend of the family. His response, well, was ***? And opined that if it were officers who worked under him, that they would not have a job after that.

And you folks who support these cops for not doing anything, and you also support cops who bust in doors on lies and shakey info from a CI, seems like you want your cake and to eat it too.

What's the difference between A caller wanting a health and welfare check and an informant with no evidence to back up his info and a caller in New York calling in a Swatting prank in California? Answer: the first does not get the door kicked in. The latter 2, cops trip over themselves to use the ninja gear.
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Old June 18, 2009, 02:27 AM   #21
Wagonman
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So when a cop, swat team, busts down a door because of a "informant" who may or may not have been vetted and ends up being the wrong address, it's ok
No, and this happens so infrequently that it is almost a straw man.

Quote:
But a voice on the phone about a medical emergency is not ok. Seems the adrenial junkie call gets the go ahead. Are cops today really that obtuse?
No, smart ones don't break the law. I am not breaking down any doors based on a voice on a phone.

Quote:
emailed this thread to a 20 year veteran of LE, friend of the family. His response, well, was ***? And opined that if it were officers who worked under him, that they would not have a job after that.
Really, for doing what exactly? Not breaking down the door on shaky at best information? for not having X-Ray vison?

Quote:
What's the difference between A caller wanting a health and welfare check and an informant with no evidence to back up his info and a caller in New York calling in a Swatting prank in California? Answer: the first does not get the door kicked in. The latter 2, cops trip over themselves to use the ninja gear. ***.
If I stipulate that you shouldn't enter a house without a legit warrant or being invited do you stipulate these Coppers did nothing wrong?
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Old June 18, 2009, 05:47 AM   #22
bigger hammer
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dust Monkey
So when a cop, swat team, busts down a door because of a "informant" who may or may not have been vetted
Round here, and I'm pretty sure that it's the same in the rest of the country, an informant must be either reliable, or corroborated by evidence. There must be evidence of some criminal activity and there must be exigent circumstances that mitigate getting a search warrant before a door is "busted down." If you have evidence of it properly happening some other way, please, let's see it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dust Monkey
and ends up being the wrong address, it's ok.
I don't recall anyone saying that a mistake is "OK." Can you show us one of us saying that?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dust Monkey
But a voice on the phone about a medical emergency is not ok.
Not unless something happens to provide evidence that there is indeed a medical emergency inside. Hearing someone call for help, seeing someone on the floor, or seeing bloody footprints from the dog are such things. If the informant is present and identifies themself, or is known to the police they're deemed to be reliable and action would be taken, but as you put it, "a voice on the phone," no, it's not enough.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dust Monkey
Seems the adrenial junkie call gets the go ahead.
No they don't.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dust Monkey
Are cops today really that obtuse?
Are you really this incapable of understanding?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dust Monkey
I emailed this thread to a 20 year veteran of LE, friend of the family. His response, well, was ***? And opined that if it were officers who worked under him, that they would not have a job after that.
I'd bet that after they broke in and found nothing, and he paid for a few doors and doorframes out of his own pocket, (sometimes as much as $1,000) he'd change his mind. This time it was real but usually it's not. Usually it's a crank call or someone making a mistake. I've already described a couple of them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dust Monkey
And you folks who support these cops for not doing anything, and you also support cops who bust in doors on lies and shakey info from a CI, seems like you want your cake and to eat it too.
Please show us anyone who supports breaking down a door based on information from a "shakey info from a CI."

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dust Monkey
What's the difference between A caller wanting a health and welfare check and an informant with no evidence to back up his info
If there's "no evidence to back up his info" then doors shouldn't be coming down.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dust Monkey
and a caller in New York calling in a Swatting prank in California? Answer: the first does not get the door kicked in. The latter 2, cops trip over themselves to use the ninja gear.
Do you have some specific incident to back this up? I’m sure that it's happened, just about all of us have said that sometimes cops do the wrong thing, but when have any of us supported it?
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Old June 18, 2009, 07:05 AM   #23
MosinM38
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I'd give them some slack.

It's bad but....

I am sure dozens of "Concerned family members" call police every day for trivial matters.

Think this is bad?

Can you imagine the upreoar if they had kicked down the door and for some reason everything was fin and she had decided not to go to the appointment?
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Old June 18, 2009, 08:56 AM   #24
OuTcAsT
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O.K. This is really simple, and I will tell you why;

A close relative of mine works for my town's 911 dispatch center. After having her read this thread, and her husband, (who is a LEO), they both agree that the Police did everything they could in this instance. First, when a 911 call comes in, if it does not come from the residence in question, they will take note of where the call comes from, If it is a cell phone, or from another city (as the call in question was likely one or the other) it is considered to be somewhat "suspect" as there is no possible way to positively identify a voice on a phone. The request for a welfare check is not simply dismissed, LE or EMS is dispatched to check the premises as a priority.
They will knock on doors or windows, check for unlocked doors, look in windows (if possible) and call the home phone (if available) to attempt contact. Unless they have some evidence (they see someone lying on the floor thru the window, smoke is showing, evidence of a forcible entry, or the caller claims the occupant threatened suicide in the last few minutes) then that is where their responsibility ends. They have no legal authority to enter a private residence without evidence of an emergency. A voice on a phone is not substantial evidence in most cases. and understandably so. They both told me that a neighbor, or close relative, "at the scene", might be enough, if the evidence were strong enough to support a forced entry.

The law cuts both ways, the same law that protects us from an illegal search, (or a prank phone call) Also places "personal" responsibility firmly on the shoulders of you, your family, and friends, if you, or someone in your home, has special medical needs. I can take no umbrage with the officers in this case, they stayed within the law all the way, as it should be. Is it regrettable that this happened ? Absolutely, but the responsibility rests on the shoulders of the only persons who took a calculated risk, the Husband, and ultimately, the Wife.
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Old June 18, 2009, 09:38 AM   #25
johnwilliamson062
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until the lawyers stop suing everyone for everything, don't expect a police officer to help you out when he is not required to. There are all kinds of things he could be liable for once he enters that house. Why don't officers unlock car doors for people anymore? It isn't b/c they are too busy. It only takes 30 seconds if they know what they are doing. It is b/c if they break the lock they may have to pay for it. Fifty years ago that was not true.
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