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Thread: 1st encounter with police

  1. #1
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    Hey guys, I had my first encounter with Wilkes-Barre's finest today. I was very nervous and am not sure if I should beupset or happy with what happened. Everyones thoughts would be greatly appreciated. Let me just say that my firearm was unloaded as I was trying out open-carry again in the neighborhood where my family lives.

    At about 1:45 this afternoon. as Iwas walking down the street, a tow truck drives by very slowly with the driver eyeballing me very hard. He goes down the street and comes back a minute later still eyeballing me. At 2:00pm a Wilkes-Barre police car pulls up next to me. This police officer was very professional and very friendly.. the second officer that arrived was not.

    Officer 1: (opens window) How are you doing today?
    Me: I'm doing good. How are you?
    Officer 1: (gets out of car) I'm doing pretty good.I'm going to askyou to please keep your hands where I can see them and walk towards my car.
    Me: No problem. (I put my hands up and walk towards his car)
    Officer 1: Could you please put your hands on the hood?
    Me: Sure. (I put my hands on the hood)
    *just then,I see the tow truck come up the street and pull over.
    Officer 1: Wegot a 911 callabout a man with a gun. (he motions towards the tow truck)
    Me:Ok. (Officer1then comes around the car, moves up behind me and takes my firearm)
    Officer 1: Wow.. thats heavy. And big.
    Me:Yeah, it's all steel. And chamberedfor 45 long colt.
    *just then, a 2ndWilkes-Barre PD car pulls up and the officer gets out.
    Officer 1 toOfficer 2: Could youclear this for me? (hands him my firearm)
    Officer 2:Yeah. (takes firearm and starts looking it over)
    Officer 1: Do you have any other weapons on you?
    Me: No.
    Officer 1: Ok. (pats me down)
    Officer 1 : You can relax now.
    Me:Ok (Ilean on the hood ofhis car)
    Officer2: What are you doing open-carrying?
    Me:I'm exercising my rights.
    Officer 1: Are you from around here?
    Me: No, I'm from New Jersey.
    Officer 1: Could I see some ID please?
    Me:Sure (I hand him mydrivers license)
    Officer 2: Is this loaded?
    Me: No, not today.
    Officer 2:How do I open this?
    Me: Slide the catch forward, then back, thenroll outthe cylinder.
    Officer 2: (still playing with it) Why is this so difficult to open!
    Me: Sochildren can't load it.
    Officer 2: (gives me a dirty look)
    Me: Slide the catch forward, then back, thenroll out the cylinder.
    Officer 2: (he finally gets it open and sees it's unloaded) What are you doing open-carrying a firearm?
    Me:Just getting a feel for this neighborhood and exercising my rights.
    Officer 1: Do you have a permit to carry?
    Me:I don't need a permit to open-carry in Pennsylvania.
    Officer 1: Ok. (looks at Officer 2)
    Officer 2: Maybe you shouldn't be open-carrying, it makes people nervous!I don't open-carry when I'm off duty!
    Me: That's your choice. I'm open-carrying because it's my right.
    Me: (I look at Officer 1) I've been open-carrying around here for a couple of weeks. Night and day. Most of the people know me. Everyone is very friendlyand seems open to the idea of open-carry. Manylike the fact thatwhen I walk for exercise (I motion to my belly) I also carry.I do have a carry permitfor concealed but choose to open carry. (I hand him my license to carry)
    Officer 1: Iknow what you mean. (nodding)
    Officer 1: I'm just gonna run this quick (holding up mylicense to carry) and then we can get you on your way. (gets in his car, writes down my drivers license info, my license to carry info and then calls itin)
    Officer 2: What did the guy in the tow truck say to you?
    Me: Nothing. Why? Is that the guy who called it in? He drove by twice but didn't stop.
    Officer 2: The call was anonymous.
    Me: Ok
    Officer 2: He carries too ya know.
    Me: Who?
    Officer 2: The guy in the tow truck.
    Me: Ok and?
    Officer 2: That's how gunfightsstart!
    Me: (laughing) Are you serious?I only plan on drawing my firearm if my life or my family's lives are in danger. (laughing) If there is any threat of a gunfight then you need to go talk to the guy in the tow truck.
    Officer 1: (gets out of car) Everything is good. So do you have family around here?
    Me: Yes, right down the road.
    Officer 1: Whereabouts?
    Me:I give him the address. (he writes it down)
    Officer 1: And who lives there?
    Me: I tell him. (and he writes it down along with the other info he got off my licenses)
    Me: So, am I being charged with something?
    Officer 1: No no, not all. Well, thank you for you help today. I'm sorry if we caused you any inconvenience. (hands me back my firearm)
    Officer 2: I'm all for people carrying but you should really considercarrying concealed!Open-carrying is brandishing!
    Me:No, brandishing would be if I unholstered itwithout a good reason. (I reholster my firearm) I'm simply exercising my rightto open carry. (I make sure to tuck my shirt behind my holster real well, so now I'm open carrying again)
    Officer 2: (looksat my firearm, then at me, then at my firearm again and then at me again with a real dirty look)
    Me:It's my right.
    Officer 2: (gets back in his car and speeds away.. driving towards my family's house)
    Officer 1: You have a nice weekend. (gets in his car and waves goodbye)
    Me: You too.
    *I call my family and they say that2 Wikes-Barre PD cars just drove past the house. They were probably checking out my truck which was parked on the street with my more than obviousNew Jerseyplates)

    The whole encountertook about ten or fifteenminutes. I didn't get either officer's name or ask for business cards. I did go down to Wilkes-Barre PD headquarters later to find out whothey were and was told that shift change had already happened and I would have to come back tomorrow between 6am and 2pm. I'd like to ask Officer 1 for hisbusiness card or at least get his name (for future reference) and I'd like to get Officer 2's business card or namealso (to possibly send one of the PA training memos to him). I generally think the encounter went well but as this is my first, I have nothing tocompare it to. Anyone have anycomments, questions or suggestions? Thanks!

    A.J.

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    I know several guys on the WBPD, most are straight shooters. The guys I know are on the midnight shift though.

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    You're just lucky you didn't OC over here in Indiana, or "the whole barracks would have emptied out and everyone would have come flying, causing a dangerous situation for bystanders" according to a Trooper I once had a lovely afternoon with.

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    "...it's all steel. And chamberedfor 45 long colt...Slide the catch forward, then back, thenroll out the cylinder."

    OK, I give up, and I thought I waspretty good at this. What were you carrying?



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    Hey guys! So, I went down to Wilkes-Barre PD headquarters today at 1pm to find out who the officersare that stopped me. They told me that the officers were out on the road but to come back at 145 (right before shift change). At 145 I went back and asked to speak to the officers..

    Officer 1: (smiling) Hey, how are you? (offers to shake my hand)
    Me: I'm good. (I shake his hand) How about you?
    Officer 1: Good good. What can I do for you?
    Me: Well, yesterday was my first encounter with the police while open-carrying and I wanted to thank you for being so professional and friendly during the stop.
    Officer 1: Thank you. Thank you. I'm really surprised you haven't been stopped before. Have you carried anywhere else besides your neighborhood?
    Me: Oh definitely.Lonestar, Smokey Bones, Friendlys, McDonalds, Ruby Tuesdays and about a million other places to eat. Home Depot, Loews, Sheetz, Walmart and...
    Officer 1: Walmart! Really? And no one has given you any problems about it?
    Me: No not at all.
    Officer 1: Wow, I'm surprised.I figured that would be the place.
    Me: Nope, never had a problem there.
    Officer 1: Wow.
    Me: Yeah. You know, I also wanted to get your name for my records.
    Officer 1: Hey, no problem. I'mOfficer ******* *******.
    Me: Thanks. (I write down his name)
    Me:What was the deal with the guy in the tow truck?
    Officer 1: Oh, that guy. (shakes his head) He's the one that called 911. He said that there was a guy with a gunby the church. (shakes his head again)
    Me: Oh I get it.
    Officer 1: Yeah. (nodding) Yeah.
    Me: The second officer that responded saidthe call was anonymous. But he seemed to imply that the tow truck driver knew what was going on.And mentioned us getting into a gunfight.
    Officer 1: That officer...uh...yeah. (shakes his head) He...uh. (laughing and shaking his head) Yeah...
    Me: I get what you're saying. (laughing)
    Officer 1: Exactly. (nodding)
    Me: You know, he also mentioned something that concerns me a great deal.
    Officer 1: What's that?
    Me: He mentioned that open-carrying was considered brandishing.
    Officer 1: (rolls his eyes and shakes his head) That guy uh...
    Me: That's not right.He needs to look up the definition of brandishing. Maybe he needs to review the training memos about Pennsylvania laws concerning open-carry.
    Officer 1: That guy isn't... uh... . Know what I mean?
    Me: I know what you mean, but it's still notright you know.
    Officer 1: I know. (nodding) I know.
    Me: Well, I don't want to keep you. It's quitting time and I'm sure you want to get out of here. Thanks again.
    Officer 1: (offers to shake my hand) Thank you.
    Me: (I shake his hand)
    Officer 1: I'm sure I'll probably see you again sometime. (laughing)
    Me: (laughing) I'm sure you will. Goodbye.
    Officer 1: Goodbye. (waves)

    Looking back now, I think the stop went pretty well. I'm sure there are a few things I could have said or done differently but I don't think I didtoo bad for my first time.I also think that my visitat thePD HQ went very well also. Comments, questions or suggestions? Thanks!

    A.J.

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    Steve in PA: Good to hear that there are some straight shooters on the force. Do you open-carry in the Wilkes-Barre area?

    Aran: Wow! How far is Indiana from Wilkes-Barre?

    ScottNH: You are going to laugh but my Sig226 is getting some work done to it at the factory, so until I get it back I've been carrying my... Thunder-5. It's an all steel (weighs 3 pounds), 5 shotrevolver chambered for .45 Long Colt or .410 gauge. I also bought the components to modify it to fire .45/70 It was more of a novelty purchase, you know, a check out this little piece type of thing. Well, it's become my new sidearm till I get the Sig back. :-)

    A.J.

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    Did you OC to the PD HQ?

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    mystery_man wrote:
    ScottNH: You are going to laugh but my Sig226 is getting some work done to it at the factory, so until I get it back I've been carrying my... Thunder-5. It's an all steel (weighs 3 pounds), 5 shotrevolver chambered for .45 Long Colt or .410 gauge. I also bought the components to modify it to fire .45/70 It was more of a novelty purchase, you know, a check out this little piece type of thing. Well, it's become my new sidearm till I get the Sig back. :-)

    A.J.
    Well, I guess the cop can be forgiven for not knowing how to clear that bad boy.

    For the benefit of those (like me) who are/were unfamiliar with the cannon A.J. was carrying, it's very similar in concept, if not execution, to the Taurus Judge. Here's a glance:



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    No, I don't open carry. I am a LEO, but not for WB.

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    mystery_man wrote:
    Steve in PA: Good to hear that there are some straight shooters on the force. Do you open-carry in the Wilkes-Barre area?

    Aran: Wow! How far is Indiana from Wilkes-Barre?

    ScottNH: You are going to laugh but my Sig226 is getting some work done to it at the factory, so until I get it back I've been carrying my... Thunder-5. It's an all steel (weighs 3 pounds), 5 shotrevolver chambered for .45 Long Colt or .410 gauge. I also bought the components to modify it to fire .45/70 It was more of a novelty purchase, you know, a check out this little piece type of thing. Well, it's become my new sidearm till I get the Sig back. :-)

    A.J.

    I don't even know offhand where Wilkes-Barre is. Indiana is about an hour east of Pittsburgh, on 22/30 and 119

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    imperialism2024: Ithought it bestnotto OC to the PD HQ. Here's why: When I went there on the day of the stop, the officers were very leery of me. When I had mentioned that I had just been stopped for OCing and was looking for the officers, they seemed to come out of the woodwork (and didn't look happy). Same thing happened the following day. On my third trip down there when I finally did meet the officer, I didn't OC either. I didn't want it to seem like I was flaunting it "in his house", if you get what I mean. I think I will OC to the PD HQ if I need to go there in the future though. What do you think?

    ScottNH: Thanks for the picture! It isjust like the Taurus Judge, only bigger.

    Steve in PA: It's nice to have a LEO on the board. It'sgood to hear opinions from the other side of the fence. Helps to get a different perspective on situations sometimes.

    Aran: Ok. You're west PA. Wilkes-Barre is east PA, abouttwo hours north of Philadelphia.

    A.J.

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    mystery_man wrote:
    imperialism2024: Ithought it bestnotto OC to the PD HQ. Here's why: When I went there on the day of the stop, the officers were very leery of me. When I had mentioned that I had just been stopped for OCing and was looking for the officers, they seemed to come out of the woodwork (and didn't look happy). Same thing happened the following day. On my third trip down there when I finally did meet the officer, I didn't OC either. I didn't want it to seem like I was flaunting it "in his house", if you get what I mean. I think I will OC to the PD HQ if I need to go there in the future though. What do you think?
    Sounds like a plan.

    I'm sure they'll know you well by then...

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    Had to do some quick running around today, short-sleeved red plaid shirt, blue jeans, Hi-Point C-9 in a FOBUS holster on my hip:

    R&P Building, downtown Indiana, no stares, comments, or finger-pointing.

    Main branch, First Commonwealth Bank, Philadelphia Street, no stares, comments, or finger-pointing.

    Flower Boutique off Oakland Avenue, White Township, no stares, comments, or finger pointing.

    First Commonwealth Bank, Cherry Tree, no stares, comments, or finger-pointing.

    Uneventful, but I was prepared, just in case.

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    Officer 1: (opens window) How are you doing today?
    Me: I'm doing good. How are you?
    Officer 1: (gets out of car) I'm doing pretty good.I'm going to askyou to please keep your hands where I can see them and walk towards my car.
    Me: No problem. (I put my hands up and walk towards his car)
    Officer 1: Could you please put your hands on the hood?
    Well, at this point in the conversation I would have politely asked, “For suspicion of what crime are you detaining me?" If the officer cannot articulate a reasonable suspicion that there is a crime afoot, and that you’re involved, his seizure of you is illegal. I don’t know that I would have gone back to thank him for that.

    I understand your appreciation for how he was friendly, but if you’re going to stand up for your firearms rights, stand up for your privacy rights as well.

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    Not sure how I missed this when it was originally posted.

    You did fine. Each person has to decide how to handleeach police encounter.

    I suspect the stop only went pretty well because you were willing to waive your 4th, 5th, and 6th Amendment rights.

    Lots of cops will treat you nice as long as you cooperate. The true test of their professionalism is how they treat youwhen you stand on your rights.

    It would seem the police think a legal activityis suspicious. I have a big problem with police thinkingthe exercise of an enumeratedright is suspicious.

    You did nothave to consent to the stop itself. The hands on the hood. Theweapon seizure. The pat-down search. Thelicense check.

    Your consent is the key. Based on your report and my understanding of the law, if you had refused consent,it would have been an unlawful search and seizure.

    If I'm not mistaken, there is a Pennsylvania court opinion that an OC'd gun is not grounds for suspicion. Anybody know this one?

    There is also the US Supreme Court decision on the subject, Florida vs JL.

    The question presented in this case is whether an anonymous tip that a person is carrying a gun is, without more, sufficient to justify a police officer's stop and frisk of that person. We hold that it is not. http://tinyurl.com/2gppnu

    That last basically means that cop stuck his foot in his mouth up to his knee when he told you it was an anonymous call. You don't have to be as fiesty as me, but I'd have asked him if he realized he'd just thrown all of his reaonable suspicion out the window. And then asked him if he wanted to try a different permissible deception just to see if he thought he still had reasonable suspicion based on something else he wasn't telling me. Note: This is pushing the envelope and not entirely true. FL vs JL is about a concealed gun, not an OC'd gun. There is language in it to the effect that the court declined to create a 4th Amendment exception for guns.

    All's well that ends well. Lets see what happens next time.
    I'll make you an offer: I will argue and fight for all of your rights, if you will do the same for me. That is the only way freedom can work. We have to respect all rights, all the time--and strive to win the rights of the other guy as much as for ourselves.

    If I am equal to another, how can I legitimately govern him without his express individual consent?

    There is no human being on earth I hate so much I would actually vote to inflict government upon him.

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    Citizen wrote:
    Not sure how I missed this when it was originally posted.

    You did fine. Each person has to decide how to handleeach police encounter.

    I suspect the stop only went pretty well because you were willing to waive your 4th, 5th, and 6th Amendment rights.

    Lots of cops will treat you nice as long as you cooperate. The true test of their professionalism is how they treat youwhen you stand on your rights.

    It would seem the police think a legal activityis suspicious. I have a big problem with police thinkingthe exercise of an enumeratedright is suspicious.

    You did nothave to consent to the stop itself. The hands on the hood. Theweapon seizure. The pat-down search. Thelicense check.

    Your consent is the key. Based on your report and my understanding of the law, if you had refused consent,it would have been an unlawful search and seizure.

    If I'm not mistaken, there is a Pennsylvania court opinion that an OC'd gun is not grounds for suspicion. Anybody know this one?

    There is also the US Supreme Court decision on the subject, Florida vs JL.

    The question presented in this case is whether an anonymous tip that a person is carrying a gun is, without more, sufficient to justify a police officer's stop and frisk of that person. We hold that it is not. http://tinyurl.com/2gppnu

    That last basically means that cop stuck his foot in his mouth up to his knee when he told you it was an anonymous call. You don't have to be as fiesty as me, but I'd have asked him if he realized he'd just thrown all of his reaonable suspicion out the window. And then asked him if he wanted to try a different permissible deception just to see if he thought he still had reasonable suspicion based on something else he wasn't telling me. Note: This is pushing the envelope and not entirely true. FL vs JL is about a concealed gun, not an OC'd gun. There is language in it to the effect that the court declined to create a 4th Amendment exception for guns.

    All's well that ends well. Lets see what happens next time.
    2, 4, 5, 14th amendments apply, not the 6th (speedy trial). But your points are well taken. I'm sure some of the Gestapo were polite, too--as they ushered the Jews to the trains to take them to Treblinka.
    "For any man who sheds his blood with me this day shall be my brother...And gentlemen now abed shall think themselves accursed, they were not here, and hold their manhoods cheap whilst any speaks who fought with us on Crispin's day." Henry V

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    Gunslinger wrote:
    Citizen wrote:
    SNIP Not sure how I missed this when it was originally posted.
    2, 4, 5, 14th amendments apply, not the 6th (speedy trial). But your points are well taken. I'm sure some of the Gestapo were polite, too--as they ushered the Jews to the trains to take them to Treblinka. (emphasis Citizen's)


    Right to counsel.

    Amendment VI

    In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense. (emphasis Citizen's)
    I'll make you an offer: I will argue and fight for all of your rights, if you will do the same for me. That is the only way freedom can work. We have to respect all rights, all the time--and strive to win the rights of the other guy as much as for ourselves.

    If I am equal to another, how can I legitimately govern him without his express individual consent?

    There is no human being on earth I hate so much I would actually vote to inflict government upon him.

  18. #18
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    Citizen wrote:
    Gunslinger wrote:
    Citizen wrote:
    SNIP Not sure how I missed this when it was originally posted.
    2, 4, 5, 14th amendments apply, not the 6th (speedy trial). But your points are well taken. I'm sure some of the Gestapo were polite, too--as they ushered the Jews to the trains to take them to Treblinka. (emphasis Citizen's)


    Right to counsel.

    Amendment VI

    In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense. (emphasis Citizen's)
    Right to counsel is n/a with respect to what rights were violated. Right to keep and bear arms; right to be secure in your person and property from illegal search and seizure; right to due process of law; right to equal protection of law were de jure violated. That he has the right to cousel under the 6th--and to a speedy trial by jury, doesn't come into play until/unless he is accused of a crime, which he wasn't. (Miranda v AZ, Gideon v Wainwright, et al) being the cases deciding. Therefor, while those rights exist ex post facto of the stop, they were not violated during it.
    "For any man who sheds his blood with me this day shall be my brother...And gentlemen now abed shall think themselves accursed, they were not here, and hold their manhoods cheap whilst any speaks who fought with us on Crispin's day." Henry V

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    A. J. You did an excellent job. I especially like that you followed up and went to the police station. Ill bet the officer was truly surprised that someone would go toso much trouble to pay him a compliment. Again good job.

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    Gunslinger wrote:
    SNIP Therefor, while those rights exist ex post facto of the stop, they were not violated during it.
    I agree that they weren't violated during the stop.

    My reference above was an observation thatI thought the reason the stop went as well as it did, meaning he wasn't treated worse, was because he waived his rights, the right to not answer questions in the absence of an attorney being one of them.
    I'll make you an offer: I will argue and fight for all of your rights, if you will do the same for me. That is the only way freedom can work. We have to respect all rights, all the time--and strive to win the rights of the other guy as much as for ourselves.

    If I am equal to another, how can I legitimately govern him without his express individual consent?

    There is no human being on earth I hate so much I would actually vote to inflict government upon him.

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