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Old November 5, 2011, 08:38 PM   #26
youngunz4life
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I remember that time quite well...his crash was less than a week before the Challenger disaster

RIP
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Old November 6, 2011, 04:04 PM   #27
R1145
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In California, only a marked vehicle can legally conduct a traffic stop. A marked vehicle doesn't need to be a black & white (specifically, all the CVC requires is markings on both sides and a red light). Note that there are CODE 3 equipped bicycles that can legally be used for traffic stops (i.e. a "POLICE" sticker on both sides and a red light).

So, I don't think an unmarked vehicle could legally be used for a traffic stop, though I suppose they are, on occasion, in unusual circumstances.

There is no legal requirement for the driver of a marked law enforcement vehicle to be in uniform, although this may be covered under the department's policy.

Although crimes involving impersonation of a peace officer certainly occur, fortunately in the U.S. they are rare enough that I don't think it would be a legal defense for failing to yield on a traffic stop involving a marked vehicle.

For an unmarked or plainclothes stop, I think some good, defensible strategies would be:

- Activating hazard lights and driving slowly to a well-lit, public place;

- Refusing to roll down the windows more than a crack, giving ID, and requesting a marked unit with a uniformed officer be dispatched;

- Using a cell phone to call 911 and verify that the officer conducting a traffic stop is legitimate.

There is no provision in the California Vehicle Code for driving a unmarked vehicle without license plates, regardless of agency, as far as I know.

The overwhelming majority of traffic stops are conducted by duly appointed public officials in the lawful execution of their duties, so I think it is unreasonable to assume otherwise. Evasion is not an acceptable strategy under these circumstances. Keep your mouth shut, use common sense, cooperate and be observant. If there is an abuse, consider it a money-making opportunity...

Last edited by R1145; November 6, 2011 at 04:20 PM.
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Old November 6, 2011, 04:31 PM   #28
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The overwhelming majority of traffic stops are conducted by duly appointed public officials in the lawful execution of their duties, so I think it is unreasonable to assume otherwise. Evasion is not an acceptable strategy under these circumstances. Keep your mouth shut, use common sense, cooperate and be observant. If there is an abuse, consider it a money-making opportunity
Huh???

Are you advocating taking it laying down from an LEO imposter, and then filing suit for damages? Twisted, to say the least.
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Old November 6, 2011, 04:40 PM   #29
R1145
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No, I think my post speaks for itself, but to clarify, evasion (as suggested in your original post) is not a reasonable tactic when challenged by an unmarked vehicle, at least initially, because the chance of it being an impostor is vastly outweighed by the probability it is a LEO.

I mention filing suit in the event it is an illegal stop conducted by LEOs. The point is, most of the time, it will be a cop, and one should cooperate regardless.

If other indicators lead common sense to conclude that it is a criminal stop, then, perhaps, evasion becomes a reasonable option.

Time for me to go do some traffic stops. Please don't evade my funky (if legally marked) vehicle and my proper (if wrinkled) uniform...

Last edited by R1145; November 6, 2011 at 04:56 PM.
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Old November 7, 2011, 09:19 AM   #30
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because the chance of it being an impostor is vastly outweighed by the probability it is a LEO.
Sorry, R1145, that doesn't pass the reason test. The possible consequences of stopping for a police impersonator far outweigh those or refusing to stop for a real cop in an unmarked vehicle. Many years ago, this issue was addressed by a Virginia court, which ruled the defendant, a state representative, had no duty to stop for an unmarked vehicle and was justified in not doing so. That's Virginia. Could be different elsewhere. But I wager it can be successfully challenged anywhere in the U.S.
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Old November 7, 2011, 08:13 PM   #31
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R1145

Ummm ... WHAT? It sounds to me like your putting an officer's ego ahead of a persons safety. I say NO!!! DO NOT!!! cooperate with someone your not sure of. I say BE SUSPICIOUS of anyone not in uniform, and not using a clearly marked police vehical.

Scroll back to some of the davice given by me, and other members... some of who are cops too. OK you say the the great majority of car stops are made by legitimate police officers... or as you put it "duly appointed public officials acting within their duties" So what?... So My wife sould go ahead and pull over for the sexual predator on tha back road to make sure she dont hurt some cops feelings?

Puh-leese man... did you think about that before typing it?

I think sometimes we forget who the police work for... They work for us... remember?

Last edited by Glenn Dee; November 8, 2011 at 06:58 PM.
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Old November 7, 2011, 08:17 PM   #32
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Turn on your flashers, don't increase your speed or try to flee, and dial 911. You will know very soon if the guy is legit. Drive to a busy area, the most hardcore impersonator is not going to pull that bs in a busy 7-11.

Know what the police vehicles look like in your region. Know what color lights they use. If cops are blue, know that. If in doubt call 911, they will find out if the guy is legit.
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Old November 7, 2011, 09:25 PM   #33
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We weren't supposed to make Traffic Stops in unmarked cars. We were to call a marked unit and let him make the stop. It had better be something important, Fail To Stop And Render Aid (wreck), DWI or other serious event. I never had it come up. I did go make stops for others who'd id'ed some serious violation.
I was sworn in as a Texas Cop in 1977, I guess I'll be some kinda Cop until they bury me.
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Old November 7, 2011, 11:44 PM   #34
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Pretty good advice.

If I had pulled in behind someone and "lit 'em up" and they floored it I would probably decide they were running. If the person is genuinely concerned and turns on flashers and keeps a sedate speed until they get to a more public area I would understand, as would 95% of the cops I know.
I enjoyed the comment from one gentleman who said something to the effect of not forgetting who the cops work for, they work for us. My personal answer to people who pulled that tired garbage on me was to hand them a nickel and tell them that was their portion of my salary for the year. Sir, you should never forget that the cop who works the streets pays a house payment and taxes and a water bill just like you do. He probably pays the same amount toward Police services that you do. He/she is definitely working to keep you safe and sound and to stand between you and imminent danger of harm. If need be the cop will put personal safety out of mind and stand between you and danger. I have been, after 40+ years in public safety, been honored to know personally 34 Police Officers who gave their lives to keep the world a better place for you and your family to be. I was shot in 1980 while chasing a burglar on foot at 2am. But I will tell you that "works for us" has other meanings beside the one you used. We don't work "FOR" you. In most cases you aren't qualified to tell us how to do our job. Our job dictates that we be brave even when scared out of our wits, just like you would be. Our job teaches us that if anyone has to get hurt it needs to be one of us and not you or your family. There are muttonheads out there who like to pretend they are cops and they try to stop you. If you ever see one of them get stopped by the real cops and follow his case you'll see that we take that very seriously. We will patrol and do anything else we can to prevent that from happening.
I'll add another bit of advice... if you're in an area where you know where the Police department is drive to that location before you stop. Or if you are driving to a safe place and see another police car flash your lights and honk your horn if the one behind you suddenly tiurns the lights off.
We aren't the enemy.
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Old November 8, 2011, 04:15 AM   #35
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A lot of people have advised calling 911 to verify that it's really an officer. What if you're alone in the car? Are you gonna get an expensive ticket for using a cell phone while driving?
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Old November 8, 2011, 05:01 AM   #36
BillCA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by R1145
In California, only a marked vehicle can legally conduct a traffic stop.
Did they change the CVC?

In California, any police vehicle may initiate a vehicular stop. However, police units use for traffic enforcement must be painted with contrasting colors, display the agency's name and agency emblem on the door.

As a practical matter, most agencies I'm aware of discourage using unmarked units to perform car stops for vehicle code violations. A stop might be initiated due to suspected prostitution, drug or other crimes however. If an unmarked it stopping you for a traffic infraction, it should be a real whizzer of a boneheaded move.

Back circa 1973 I had this happen to me. A local agency lost a patrol unit to a T/C so the officer that night was driving their "utility" vehicle -- a 1972 Ford Ranchero ...with faux wood paneling on the sides no less. About 00:20 I'm on my way home from the girlfriend's house (in the cold) in a 1961 Ford. He decides to stop me for a tail-light out. 1/2 block from an intersection, he lights me up as I signal for a right turn. I finish the turn and in the mirror notice the "Ranchero" outline. ***? The lights are a pair of reds in the grill, one higher than the other. That's all I could see (No ambers, no rotators). I went slowly down the block and put on the right signal again. After about 1/2 mile, no siren. Hmmmmmmm. I turned right on an arterial, continued for 2 blocks, turned right again. No spotlight, no siren. Back onto the original highway again (speed aprox 25mph) I followed this loop twice more before a marked unit showed up. Extracted from the car by voice commands, proned out, cuffed & stuffed. Neither officer was understanding, neither was willing to listen to my reply to "what did you think this was, a circus?" After 90 minutes I was released. After 120 minutes I was filling out the I/A complaint and talking to the watch commander (who understood).

Driving in a 1 to 3 block "circle" at or below the speed limit certainly negates the "evasion" argument. It also keeps you in the same area for responding support units to find a spot to "intercept" the action. Using 4-way flashers is a good idea (my car was not equipped) too.
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Old November 8, 2011, 10:34 AM   #37
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Most of this discussion has been about unmarked cars and plain clothed officers. Unfortunately, there individuals out there who use fake cruisers and uniforms. Case in point.

In Arkansas a number of years reports were coming in about a marked uniformed deputy stopping women on secluded roads and rapeing them. The perp was caught when he passed a Deputy who did not recognize him and the jig was up.

Investigation revealed that the individual had purchased a used police Crown Vic equiped it with lights, siren and appropriate decals. He had purchased his uniform and insignia through a mail order house.

I don't remember how many victums there were but the number 18 stands out.

Prior to him being caught, The law enforcement community recommended that women not stop until they were in a safe place.

The good part of the problem was that LEO Management excised good leadership and instructed their officers not to attempt a stop unless the contact could be made in a lighted occupied location. Or with mutiple units. These instructions saved a lot of hate and discontent.

I think in this day and age all LEO's should make stops only in that manner. This will not only protect the public from impersonators but will protect the officers as well.
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Old November 8, 2011, 12:41 PM   #38
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QUOTE: R1145:
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
In California, only a marked vehicle can legally conduct a traffic stop. A marked vehicle doesn't need to be a black & white (specifically, all the CVC requires is markings on both sides and a red light). Note that there are CODE 3 equipped bicycles that can legally be used for traffic stops (i.e. a "POLICE" sticker on both sides and a red light).
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

One of my brothers, a Chief of Police in a small Texas town, drove an unmarked vehicle, but still had his law enforcement shirt, on, badge and his
45 handgun, told me, when I asked him about pulling cars over with it, that
he could stop anyone, even outside his jurisdiction, if he saw a crime being committed, but could not make traffic stop for breaking the speed limit. If he saw someone run a stop sign he could stop them. His town was so small
they have only one or two regular police cars, and one unmarked one.
Quite often these small town police make calls in neighboring towns by arrangement when one of them is not able to respond. He did not like it
when State Troopers would work speed traps inside city limits but did not like to work any accidents. The real aggressive ones that stop lots of traffic violaters I have noticed, are the State Troopers.
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Old November 8, 2011, 01:00 PM   #39
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One of my brothers, a Chief of Police in a small Texas town, drove an unmarked vehicle, but still had his law enforcement shirt, on, badge and his
45 handgun
What, no pants? That must be a sight to violators just passing through for the first time. Must be a graduate of the Aggie College of Law 'n Order...
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Old November 8, 2011, 02:40 PM   #40
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Good advice.

itc that is pretty good advice. The only problem is that no pln survbives contact with rea;ity. It is seldom possible to choreograph a traffic stop...the folks getting stopped will drive on, pull to the left, stop in an alley or a back parking lot. ou imagine it and they will do it. Getting on the PA to tell them where to stop seldom works because some smart-alec drunk will pretend he's deaf.
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Old November 8, 2011, 03:03 PM   #41
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Its a scary story.
When i was a teenager growing up in Chicago. Me and my buddy went to pick up two girls we were dating, they were sisters. Well after picking the girls up and leaving in my buick we got tailed by a unmarked crown victoria, Im talking about this guy was on our bumper. Then came the lights, im talking about the same lights you find on unmarked cars, so we pulled over. We were in a pretty crappy neighborhood, we figuered it was the cops, so we pulled over and waited. Then the car pulls up next to us, at this point my heart dropped, the occupants of this vehicle were nothing close to cops, it was 4 young punk gangbangers! They pulled up next to us, flashed us there gun then speed off! Thank God they didnt shoot. Anyways, Im assuming those punks bought a used police interceptor, which is common in chicago, there are a lot of dealers that sell those, but the issue here was the stroblights were not removed, or were reactivated by those punks. Im always cautious about pulling over for unmarked vehicles, ill usually drive to the nearest gas station, or any public plase were people are around.
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Old November 8, 2011, 03:53 PM   #42
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Quote:
The only problem is that no pln survbives contact with rea;ity.
little confused - not sure if it is me or you don't proofread often(you had other examples):

when I was a teen this wannabe fed teenager troublemaker into real grenades, sawed off shotguns, you name it had one of those bubble blues mentioned earlier. He scared me half to death back in the days when we ran from cops for a livin'(late teen drinking years). I went down a huge steep hill, lost my beer, my humility, etc. It was all a joke. He had driven up on us as we drank and smoked one day. He had one of those old cop cars too(not cop car but the ones that look like it with the side mirror and all). Anyways, he grew up to be a good man: he is with the coast guard police nowadays unless he made a transition to the non-military LEO's.

These cars exist today! You know, the ones that you slow down for on the hwy only to find out it is just some joe schmo who has the vehicle for whatever reason. People need to be careful first! I agree w/Glenn about that. If you have any issue, you need to trust your gut and do what conn trooper said too.

I got pulled over today. Guy didn't even run my name/license. This is Very Rare...even when I am cut a break usually my license is run. Maybe it had to do with me having an answer to his question and probably more that I continued for 1/8 mile and pulled off the major two lane road with only a curb into a little side street.

We had no conversation about guns, but I did not have my firearm on me. I had an apptmt and had to run out the door(bad excuse but I could not be late for that one).

all the best
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Old November 8, 2011, 05:41 PM   #43
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ary I concede it is not a perfect world. My suggestions are based on 15 years as a part time II depupty in Ouichita county AR. This rural county is the largest in Ar. Typically we had two units on patrol. When my partner and I worked it added a third unit.

Our primary dutys were DUI enforcement, security checks of isolated homes, business',churchs and driver assistance on back roads.

When a stop was made we selected the location so as to ensure safety of the vehicles, Officer safety and civilian safety in that order. I only had two run on me. One time we had five DUIs at the same time. The jailer had to come out and collect 4 of the drunks and we called on local Volenteer fire men to secure the vehicles.
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Old November 8, 2011, 06:38 PM   #44
TexasJustice7
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QUOTE: Secret Agent Man
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
What, no pants? That must be a sight to violators just passing through for the first time. Must be a graduate of the Aggie College of Law 'n Order...
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Lets just say the small town police, wear slacks or blue jeans. County seat towns the police might rate a proper police uniform. Small towns don't spend the money the bigger ones do for their police officers. Nonetheless
if you are pulled over by one you can count on paying something, when the JP gets thru with you. The only ones I see are the ones working for the sherrif's dept, and of course the state troopers wear the striped pants.
I have been pulled over once by a trooper, one of the tag lights were out.
I asked my brother about that, thinking it was nitpicking, and he told me they catch a lot of drugs that way.
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Old November 8, 2011, 06:40 PM   #45
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When is a cop not a cop?

When it's Robert Birmingham the Blue Light rapist in Arkansas, 1996. Used a blue light on dash to stop single women on remote roads.

The local law did indeed put out the word for women not to pull over for unmarked vehicles until they had reached a well lit public place.
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Old November 8, 2011, 07:14 PM   #46
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Aryfrosty

It was me that made the comment about sometimes people forgetting who the police work for. And I stand by that statement. The Police work for the people. The police derive their power from the people. The police represent the people. Keeping in mind that we as Americans are governed by consent.

Of course the police pay taxes... often more than most of the people they serve. But that dont make them exempt from their responsibilites. IMO every police officer should have to review the constitution, and take a civics course as in service training every year. The police it seem's have joined every other political jerk in thinking the people are here to subjicated by them. As evidenced by the militarization, and generally negative attitude of so many officers today. Being a police officer is NOT a entitlement, or a right, nor is it an oppertunity to play catch up on people who took your lunch money in middle school. It is a privledge, an honor, and a responsibility. All taken on for the greater good.

Glenn.
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Old November 8, 2011, 08:19 PM   #47
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WOW! It seems to me we have a very large number of people here who are stopped by the police on a regular basis. Maybe if you didn't give the police quite so many reasons for wanting to talk with you, you wouldn't have to worry about marked and unmarked cars quite so much.
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Old November 8, 2011, 08:22 PM   #48
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Quote:
IMO every police officer should have to review the constitution, and take a civics course as in service training every year. The police it seem's have joined every other political jerk in thinking the people are here to subjicated by them. As evidenced by the militarization, and generally negative attitude of so many officers today.
GlennD, I cannot speak for your experience. I am sure that some cops are exactly as you described. Respectfully, my experience has led me to a different point of view. The Maine Criminal Justice Academy requires cadets to memorize the bill of rights. Most police hiring panels (here in Maine anyway) have citizens of the town appointed by the town's selectmen as voting members of the panel. Every rookie cop has the definition of "Reasonable Articulable Suspicion" (The legal standard that must be met before someone can detained for further investigation) drilled into his or her head. Most cops that I know, could teach a civics class.

If an unmarked car signals to pull me over along a deserted stretch of road at night and my senses tell me to be cautious; I will turn on my hazards, obey all traffic laws, call 911, and drive the speed limit to a well light populated area before I pull over. I would be taking this action out of a sense of self preservation, not because I think the police have forgotten their place in today's society.
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Old November 8, 2011, 08:31 PM   #49
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I will go so far to add a little. I think every woman alone at night has the right to drive to a more populated area before pulling over for someone she KNOWS is a cop. The more susceptiple(spelling?) ones are hookers, strippers, and the like. There have been many documented caes of uniformed officers taking advantage of these women(or other women). I am a man, so I can't understand these things or I should say fears like a woman can. That being said, every American has the right to feel safe. Let's face it, there are some people in some parts of society's ranks that are victimized more than others and that "turn the green lights on" for predatory males. Many times the predators prey on all types of women anyways. If you have any doubts, play it safe.

PS(and on a side note/slight tangent): Being an adult with children, this is what scares me with predators. We all know they are out there, and they know when they can make their move. I don't really even like to talk about it.

PPS - Those guys(impersonators in Colorado) from my earlier posting in this thread with the news story. They had probably been seeking a woman. After ending up with a man, they were trying to decide what to do(robbery? car theft?). Either way it is speculation, but a woman might not have been that lucky.
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Old November 18, 2011, 03:42 AM   #50
youngunz4life
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http://www.fox59.com/news/wxin-imper...umn?hpt=ju_bn5

November 2011 News

the one comment at the end of the story about the "grammar police" is interesting too...
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