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Old May 1, 2012, 08:05 PM   #1
Jeff22
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Dealing with the police

A tip to the unaware or unfamiliar in dealing with the police: first of all, know who the police are! Know the difference between the city police, the county sheriff's department and the state troopers. They have slightly different but overlapping jurisdictions. Their cars are probably painted differently and they probably have different colored uniforms. Know who your primary service provider is! If you live near the border of your jurisdiction, know what the uniforms and the squad cars of the neighboring town look like. That isn't too hard -- just pay attention when driving around on your normal business, and then remember what you see. Neighboring jurisdictions back each other up all the time, and if one agency gets tied up on a major incident, the department next door may end up being primary responders to calls in your town. It happens all the time, and it is NOT evidence of a particular emergency nor of a government conspiracy . . .

If you live in Hickory Hills and the Police Communications Center gets a 911 disconnect from your house, you may get the Hickory Hills PD or the Sheriff's Department or the State Police or cops from the next town or village over, depending upon the situation. It's not at all unusual.

Any time you interact with the police, be truthful, don't have an attitude nor appear to be concealing information and your day will go a lot smoother. Almost always when we the police encounter somebody with a belligerent attitude, it's because they're trying to hide something. You don't have to offer information, but answer the legitimate questions that you are asked. If you appear to be trying to hide something, cops treat that the same way that sharks treat the smell of blood in the water . . .

Just because you explained something to the call taker on the phone DOES NOT mean that information was ever passed on to the officer. If it’s really busy, they’ll just send the officer with a minimum of information and expect them to sort it out when they get there.

If you live on the boundary of multiple jurisdictions, be aware of where the incident happened and which police department you called. If you have called to report something, and then you just flag down a passing police car, the cops inside (a.) may not have received the call yet and so have no idea what you’re talking about, or (b.) may be from another jurisdiction, possibly dispatched by a different comm center on a different radio frequency, and they may not know what you’re talking about, either.

Just because you talked to a cop once about a particular situation does NOT mean that all cops everywhere will be familiar with the situation. We are not telepathically connected!

If you reported a problem at midnight, don’t call back at eleven the next morning and expect to talk to the same officers. Individual police officers are not on 24/7. We do go home to sleep and conduct our personal lives from time to time.

Pay attention to what agency the officer works for, and ask for their name and badge number or radio number or ID number. We get issued business cards to give to people we interact with. Get a business card from officer friendly and ask for the case number of the incident (if there is one), the address of occurrence and the case title, and write down the date. That way, if at some later time you need to make an inquiry, you'll have the information that you need.

If they’re in plainclothes, feel free to ask to look at the officer’s credentials. Just keep in mind that you don't know what an authentic police ID card for that agency looks like. (I don't know what official ID cards for the surrounding agencies look like, either.)

If somebody comes to your door in plainclothes, and they're a real cop, they're used to having people ask to see an ID, and may be used to having you phone dispatch to verify their identity, depending upon where you are. BE SURE YOU CALL THE RIGHT POLICE DEPARTMENT!
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Old May 2, 2012, 02:27 PM   #2
bravoguns
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Jeff22,

Thanks for posting. I understand the frustrations. I can't stand it when someone has a problem and the only deputy they want to speak to is me. They will wait till I come back on to report whatever it is they are reporting. By then its too late to do anything about it.
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Old May 2, 2012, 05:40 PM   #3
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I can't stand it when someone has a problem and the only deputy they want to speak to is me.
I like that. It made me feel I was doing my job and had built the trust of the people in my area.

I believe that is Classic Robert Peel. It also ment that I was getting the citizens involved. I new what kids were heading for trouble and it met I could get help from the public in heading it off.

This is what real police work is about, not the para-military steriotype we have today.

Of course this was before the days of pepper spray and tazing. We had to talk to people and work out their problems instead of tasing them.
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Old May 2, 2012, 06:05 PM   #4
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True & False...

I agree and I also disagree with a few of the topic remarks.
1) 911 calls/non emergency calls: I agree that citizens or "reporters"(a local term for people who contact emergency services) should be clear on where an incident is & to be descriptive(who, what, where, etc) BUT the general public can't be expected to know every street address or know how a LE agency routes 911 calls, records calls, stores or coalates information, etc. John & Mary Taxpayer don't patrol the streets & answer calls for service. They may also be upset, emotional, angry, etc. LE officers should remain professional & handle these situations like mature adults(some don't).
2) Some sworn LE officers & agents DO NOT wear uniforms or display badges-creds. I had a homicide investigation at the property where I lived about 2 years ago. NONE of the sheriff's office detectives wore badges or even sidearms!
Years ago I filed a formal complaint against 2 small town police officers who were in plainclothes, in an unmarked vehicle, OUTSIDE of their jurisdiction. The officers refused to provide photo ID or creds and were extremely rude/hostile. I also had an incident doing security work at a hotel where I walked into a group of plainclothes LE officers/agents who were "gearing up" with ski masks, weapons and raid gear. That could have quickly become a "blue on blue" event!
3) I've dealt with a few sworn LE officers & agents who were; rude, crass, condisending, lazy, and dishonest. There is an industry term for this conduct: "hiding behind the badge". Field training officers & LE supervisors should do what they can to discourage or avoid those behaviors but as time goes by, fewer & fewer don't. Lawsuits, bad PR, EEO complaints, and-or union hassles are what many US law enforcement officials want to avoid with their sworn personnel.
I've seen this go on a lot in my metro area. PM me if you'd want specific examples. There are many.

In closing, I would suggest armed citizens & forum members learn more about their local LE agencies BUT they shouldn't expect all of them to be polite, productive or well trained. Learn to document all records & stay vigilant.

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Old May 2, 2012, 06:43 PM   #5
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All cops should be "polite, productive and well trained" at all times.

That's what the public expects of us, and it isn't that hard a goal to achieve.
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Old May 2, 2012, 07:15 PM   #6
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True, but...

I agree, 100%, but the major problems are training & supervision.
As I posted, it's not the general pubic's or the caller's duty/obligation to have a timely response to a 911 call. It's also not their responsibility to run subjects thru the NCIC, check tags(license plates), check for BOLOs(be on the look-out), enforce codes/ordnances, etc.
Some sworn LE officers become lax, burned out or have poor work habits.

A few years ago, I read a FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin article about internal affairs complaints & LE professional standards. The DoJ research project showed that in the US, most citizen complaints/IA investigations were against sworn officers who were; male, white, 25-34 years old, with approx 7 years on duty(with the sworn LE agency). Sheriffs, police chiefs and other public safety officials need to be aware of these factors.
In the late 1990s, I worked with a sex crimes police detective(who's LE agency had a DoJ Civil Rights Decree at the time) who told me the PD was going downhill. The senior detective & Korea war/combat veteran explained to me the large police agency hired young college grads who served only 4-6 years on the force then got burned out, leaving the LE career field entirely. He said fewer & fewer sworn officers could or would work an entire career with one police department. The detective said some older cops wanted to change the hiring policies & mindsets but the upper mgmt didn't care.

This is what armed citizens & some armed professionals need to deal with in their areas. Citizens should respect & work with LE but the sworn officers need to be aware of the citizens & businesses in their patrol zones and not treat them like dirt or potential threats.
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Old May 2, 2012, 07:57 PM   #7
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Captn Kraig sometimes there are some folks that could use a good tazing, and have some sense knocked into them. Just ask the missus here.
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Old May 2, 2012, 09:29 PM   #8
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Wow, Kraig. Hit the nail on the head there...
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Old May 2, 2012, 09:35 PM   #9
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I agree, police officers should basically be model citizens, I have yet to meet one that was. Not saying there isn't any out there but the ones I've dealt with are far from model citizens. I've been cussed out, screamed at, and accused of a number of crimes by 2 police officers. I kept a calm tone, although I was raging inside. If I had let it shown, I'd be in Barboursville right now. I had a bad time with the short arm of the law, could've been worse if my conduct was anything worse than calm. You will more than likely run into corrupt, paid off, theiving, and just plain rude police than the nice cops. That's my experience anyways. Look up Mason County sheriff and you'll see he signed a plea agreement for shooting a gun in a home and in the direction of a minor and for wrongfully spending county funds. You will also find a deputy being fired for taking county money also. And a deputy resigning because what he has been asked to do was against his beliefs and didnt think how things were right in the county police. This doesn't even include the police that somehow go undetected. Luckily, someone is doing their job and catching these criminals. So, that also proves good police are still out there. I'd like to meet one and shake their hand.
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Old May 2, 2012, 09:57 PM   #10
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WV Gunner,the problem with your local cops may just be that they are a product of their local jurisdiction.Cops don't come from outer space,they are recruited from the local area for the most part.If your town is chock full of creeps,dope smoking scumbags and most of the women are floozies,how the heck can the local PD hire descent cops?New Orleans PD is a prime example.The average person there is a total loser and local corruption has been going on since the end of the Civil War.
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Old May 2, 2012, 10:07 PM   #11
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great post! hit the nail on the head police are people to can't be jerks to them and expect something different in return. I understand where your coming from my father is a police officer and I get to hear all of his stories. Another note if the PO is being a jerk don't be one back its going to get you no where just down some road you don't want to go down, it may not be that there just a rude person (there are some out there) it may be that their tired from working someone else's shift or having a bad day at home (we all have these days) and the PO doesn't have an patience to deal with garbage.

Courtesy goes a long way!

Also don't go watching youtube videos and think that what that person is doing or that law in that city also will apply in your city/town. New york being a strict state you can't do some of the nonsense you see in these video's.

Last edited by Frank Ettin; May 4, 2012 at 12:02 PM. Reason: clean up language
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Old May 2, 2012, 10:38 PM   #12
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Interacting with cops

1. Competent and courteous cops are produced within departments with competent and courteous leadership. The process requires constant effort and planning from the sgt on up.

2. In the last 25 years I made at least 60 1000 mile round trips between Central Texas and South Mississippi. Before leaving either way, I took time to start the trip out freshly showered, shaved, and dressed conservatively and in good taste. My vehicle was clean and neat and devoid of gun magazines or anything else that would attract attention. I drove the speed limit, yet on three occasions I was stopped in small towns on malarkey: weaving, 1 mph over speed limit, or whatever. I made a point to be courteous and answer questions precisely and calmly. I never got a ticket. Any offense would have been fantasy. But, I could have made trouble for myself.

3. The cop's job is totally thankless. Burnout is common. Cops that act like jerks most likely have had a ton of manure dumped on their head from the public. AND, they probably have been treated like dirt from their supervisors, who may be responsible for most stress in police work.
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Old May 17, 2012, 07:17 PM   #13
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I have never heard of any officer refusing to show photo ID. In my (plain clothes) agency, it was the first thing we did unless a gun (and badge) was callled for.

As for "jurisdiction", every state I have lived in (NJ, MASS, NH, CA, AZ), all officers had statewide authority. That is, a Podunk PD officer could, in theory, write a traffic ticket in Big Town. It was not often done, but sometimes .....
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Old May 18, 2012, 11:32 AM   #14
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What is an "armed professional" as used in the context of this thread?
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Old May 18, 2012, 02:22 PM   #15
WIN71
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Times change

Quote:
Of course this was before the days of pepper spray and tazing
Will if it was then it had to be in the days of sap gloves, saps, short billies, heavy flashlights and wooden sticks.

The old days tools for when "talk" failed............
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Old May 18, 2012, 02:23 PM   #16
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And have a recording device present if they're outta line.

Sorry if I sound like the "other side" but as an aspiring LEO, I believe it's everyone's responsibility to ensure our public servants are policed.
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Old May 18, 2012, 06:07 PM   #17
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Something I would add to the OP: Find out what time your local LE agency changes shifts. If your non-emergency call can wait a bit, call the police AFTER their shift change, NOT just before it! The responding officer will likely be in a much better frame of mind if he just came on duty, instead of having been minutes away from going home before you called with something that could have waited. Next: If you spot an off-duty LEO, please don't take that as an opportunity to air your grievances or complaints. I know that the mantra is that we're cops 24/7, but the truth is, we don't wear the uniform all of the time. We're like anyone else; our off-time is reserved for us and our families, and nobody wants to have their job interrupt them on their own time. Food for thought.
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Old May 18, 2012, 06:12 PM   #18
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Kraigwy: Speaking for myself, I always remember that it's far easier to talk a man into handcuffs than it is to fight him into them. I learned long ago that when I treat folks as I would like to be treated, my job goes much smoother. But we all know, there are just some people we deal with [thankfully, a small minority] that will not cooperate, no matter how polite we are to them. Every so often, an officer just has to use force, be it tazer or OC spray...either of which is far preferable to using PR-24 side-handled batons, ASP batons, or fists.
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Old May 18, 2012, 11:56 PM   #19
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This is correct

Quote:
Every so often, an officer just has to use force, be it tazer or OC spray...either of which is far preferable to using PR-24 side-handled batons, ASP batons, or fists.
Tazer, or the new and improved pepper spray, and especially the pepper spray, are non lethal, non physically injuring, compliance tools.

In the old days, physical force and major pain compliance were the only ways to gain control and complete an arrest when all else failed. The end result was the in custody sometimes displayed symptoms of physical damage. It usually required a stop at the local hospital for treatment and a signed release to be booked.

OC and the Tazer left no visible damage, but by some departments policies it still usually required a hospital clearance.

Officers went from pain and injury submission to simple pain suppression without actual physical injury.

Bottom line, If you can not talk him in, then get the guy in with the least physical destruction. This newer stuff does that.

What some young coppers thought was it’s easy to fight um in to jail. What they soon learned was they have to be out there every night. You can not last 30 years by fighting somebody every night.
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Old May 19, 2012, 03:07 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by evoasis
Sorry if I sound like the "other side" but as an aspiring LEO, I believe it's everyone's responsibility to ensure our public servants are policed.
Agreed up to a point, but I have a problem with your (implied) primary purpose for those recording devices. While cameras do help keep some cops "in line", their primary purpose should always be to ensure that the truth comes out in any criminal or internal affairs investigation.

Keep in mind that a common tactic used by criminals caught with their hands in the cookie jar is to file false complaints against the arresting officers. They view it as a form of revenge.

Before we installed cameras in our cruisers, complaints of abuse, theft, etc. against us were common. Numerous lawsuits were filed, but the City always thought it was far cheaper to settle out of court. Maybe so, but the involved officer(s) never had a chance to clear their name and forever had a shadow of doubt hanging over their integrity.

When we first installed cameras in our cruisers, our officers absolutely hated them, and proactive policing dropped off considerably. They were sure that the only purpose those cameras served was to spy on them.

Today, the opposite is true. Our guys wouldn't be without them and I've actually had guys ask to switch cruisers when their assigned cars had a faulty camera. And the interesting thing is that, since we installed cameras, there hasn't been one serious complaint sustained, and lawsuits have dropped off to near zero .

My apology that this was a tad bit off topic, but I felt that this was an issue that needed addressing.
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Old May 19, 2012, 03:30 PM   #21
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I always feel it's better to do whatever it takes to keep a cop happy and send me on expeditiously on my way than to make waves and risk a costly avoidable drawn out confrontation.
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Old May 19, 2012, 04:37 PM   #22
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Get a case or incident number when reporting an incident.

It will be the way to follow up.

Also, if it is a repeat situation (drug house, loud parties and various bad neighbors etc) you want to attach that incident to the case or incident number, otherwise it gets scattered and is a low level issue.

If you an get enough incidents on file, then it triggers a response (they get billed, charges get pressed, it gets taken more seriously than a one off)

Insist on your rights. No I do not do what makes the officer happy, I do what I need to get my situation handled. Its my taxes and I am a good citizen, I get the service, not the scum (I do know it has to be on their time line due to emergencies).

Case in point when my neighbor tore out my property corner and was trying to take over 2 feet of my property.

The officer just wanted to let it go, blew it off.

I would not, I called in my surveyor who confimred the location, it was gone, it was 30 inch rebar and you do not remove one of those accidentally.

I would not let it go until I had an agreement that the neighbors would let the surveyor put the corner back in (concrete monument this time!).

Yes LEO is busy, but they are also there to serve us. You loose your neighborhood and they are going to be busier than ever. You loose your qulaity of life along with it. Some time spent snuffing something now can save tens of thousand latter as well as keeping your area crime free as possible.

Be polite, but be firm if you are not being taken seriously or blown off.
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Old May 20, 2012, 07:19 AM   #23
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Quote:
If they’re in plainclothes, feel free to ask to look at the officer’s credentials. Just keep in mind that you don't know what an authentic police ID card for that agency looks like. (I don't know what official ID cards for the surrounding agencies look like, either.)
Yep, we're too stupid to read, too stupid to figure anything out for ourselves, we're just the stupid public. And some cops wonder why we don't particularly care for them. When the "force" treats us as being stupid and ignorant, that tends to be the attitude returned.

When I explain the exact ordinance I want enforced and the cops wants to know if I have a law degree it tends to infuriate educated people. You don't have to be a lawyer to READ the local ordinances and laws.

Last edited by Brian Pfleuger; May 20, 2012 at 07:59 AM.
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Old May 20, 2012, 09:14 AM   #24
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Quote:
the PO doesn't have an patience to deal with garbage.

Courtesy goes a long way!
This is where we separate a professional Police Officer from someone learning the ways. It does not matter what your mood is as an officer, when you serve the public, you must be professional at all times.
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Old May 20, 2012, 09:54 AM   #25
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We are aware that we are expected to always be professional. Curiously, it seems that we're seldom, if ever, expected to act like human beings. We are no different than anyone else; we have "bad days" at work, same as anybody, and sometimes, it can be very difficult to constantly maintain that textbook professionalism that the majority of us strive for. I suggest that you do a Google search for a very brief, but very much on point, piece entitled "Me, The Lousy Cop" and take the few seconds required to read what it says.
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