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Thread: Letter from Lt. Wilson

  1. #1
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    My complaint wound up splitting off on two different paths. The matter of OC in general resulted in the training directive I have posted. My complaint that the officer had no business putting my pistol in my backpack wound up with this letter. I have to wonder, if/when this happens again and I have no backpack, where they will put my pistol? If they were so concerned about seperating my gun and ammo, why did they ignore the speedloader in my pocket? I am going to ask a few clarifying questions about this. I honestly believe Lt. Wilson did right by me, and OC in general. This entire matter, including the stop was handled in a courteous and proffessional manner. This whole matter was wrapped up in about three weeks. I was told that a complaint can take up to 90 days, but that this one would take much less time, and it was. At no time was I ever told that OC was illegal. We are now left with dealing with misinformed citizens calling 911, and how the OPD will respond. Much of that seems directed by information and opinions from the Olympia City Attorney's Office, and any problems I have in the future regarding the propriety of stops will be directed to them.

    I always believe in giving credit where credit is due, and I am satisfied with how the OPD dealt with this and will be writing a letter to that effect. Below is a hand transciption of the letter I receieved. It is on a city letterhead. Same issue with lack of scanner. If anyone wants to scan it I can provide a photocopy.

    Dear Mr. Coffman,



    We have completed our investigation into your allegation that Officer Schaeffer conducted an illegal search of your backpack on October 8, 2007.



    The investigation determined that Officer Schaeffer was trying to safeguard your ammo and handgun as he handled your property. His intent was to place the ammo and hung in separate pockets of your backpack so to ensure public and officer safety [/i]after the officers left you. Officer Schaeffer said his examination of your "Alice" pack revealed that he was able to slip your handgun into the top portion of your bag without opening the cinch strap. He was also able to slip the ammo into a side pocket without opening or handling the back.(sic)[/i]



    In examining Officer Schaeffer's intent and actions it was clear he was not conducting a search. Officer Schaeffer also knew you were not being arrested or subject to a search of your belongings [/i]given the information he knew at the time.



    As I discussed with you over the phone, officers have a right to take steps to protect themselves and the public and are quite aware of the consequences if they don't address these issues.



    Our examination of the Open Carry issue was aided by your information and questions posed during the investigation. Thank you for your help.



    We determined that an instructive document was necessary to aid our officers on the procedural steps they should take upon receiving notice from the public of an incident involving the open carrying of a weapon. That instructive has been enclosed.


    If you have questions about this investigation you may contact Chief Michel's office at 753-8410.



    Sincerely,



    William W. Wilson, Lt.

    Professional Standards Office

    Olympia Police Department



  2. #2
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    This is the letter I sent in response...



    Hi,

    Thank you for the recent letter and copy of the training directive. I will not dispute the findings regarding Officer Schaeffer's actions, as intent has to count for something. I would have appreciated simply being asked though. I am glad I was able to provide some small help in regards to information regarding open carry.

    I would like to ask, if/when a stop should happen again, can I presume given peaceable actions on my part before I am approached I can expect a similar "low key" approach, as opposed to say being physically manhandled? Also, as one more point of clarification, what if I had no backpack to put my weapon into? Where would it have gone when it was returned? I can understand from the interest of officer safety seperating the gun and ammo, but I had a speedloader in my left pocket, which was known to the officers. Had I been of evil intent, I could have easily and quickly recovered and reloaded my weapon. The fact that the speedloader was ignored makes me question some of the actions here. If I had been carrying my 9mm with a spare mag, reloading would have even been simpler.

    I would enjoy knowing in greater detail the protocol OPD follows in stops of this nature. I am not disputing the right to officer safety any more than you dispute my right to bear arms. But I believe knowing (and of course sharing on opencarry.org) OPD doctrine would be benificial for both parties.

    I appreciate the time and effort you put into this manner, and will be expressing that in a letter to Chief Michel.



    Thank you,

    Steve Coffman





  3. #3
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    I have been quite impressed with the professionalism displayed by both Lt. Wilson and Mr. Coffman in their dealings together. Many thanks to Steve for his investment of time to work this out and thanks to Lt. Wilson for his efforts to remain true to the law and teach others to do the same.

  4. #4
    State Researcher HankT's Avatar
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    Well done, sv_libertarian.

    Good communication and pragmatism coupled with firm insistance on your RKBA and carry mode. Or vice versa, if you wish.

    I think you were dealt some lemons...andmade some lemonade.



  5. #5
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    Thanks guys. I think it helps alot that the OPD played pretty straight. They are truly unique in my experience. There is a strong system of accountability in place here, and it seems to work.

    Steve

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