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Thread: What to say in Police and LEO Encounters

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    I could not find this in searching, but I apologize if this has been discussed previously:

    When contacted by the police for open carry, what and how much should I say? I know that under most circumstances (interrogations, traffic stops), a person should remain silent. Should I inform the officer that I am within my rights, ask for his supervisor, or smile while being disarmed because of the amazing civil suit that I have on my hands? Will officers let me record any encounters, or will they tell me to put it away? I realize that a lot of officers are not understanding of the laws, so would enlightening their ignorance only fall on the deaf ears of the already "informed?"

    Thank you.

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    The first thing to remember: be polite, act friendly, look friendly, smile.

    Next: "Am I being detained? Am I free to go? If I'm not free to go, for what purpose are you detaining me? Am I suspected of a crime? Am I free to go?"


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    Also, get yourself a voice recorder to carry (outside of your pockets, possibly under your shirt).

    Constantly ask "am I free to go?". Don't volunteer ANY information (find out if you must identify yourself to police) and DO NOT consent to any searches. Do your best to answer their questions with questions. Remain silent, don't let them stir you up. You DO NOT have to answer any questions or submit to any questioning without counsel present.

    Be friendly, be polite, always show you respect them by adressing the officer as "sir" or "ma'am", don't get belligerant or loud. You haven't done anything wrong, so don't act like it.

    This 45 min video may keep you out of jail. It's VERY VERY good, well worth the watch.

    I strongly urge you to watch every second of this vid.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yqMjMPlXzdA

    Good Luck



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    I do indeed have a voice recorder, and I plan on using it. This sounds like the good way to do it. I will ask if I am being detained. Thank you for the video, I will watch it.

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    "Happiness is a warm shotgun!!"
    "I am neither a pessimist nor a cynic. I am, rather, a realist."
    "The most dangerous things I've ever encountered were a Second Lieutenant with a map and a compass and a Private who was bored and had time on his hands."

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    SFCRetired wrote:
    The only change I would make is that I will not address an officer as "sir" or "ma'am". Those are titles of respect that I reserve for commissioned officers of the armed forces (force of habit).

    I recommend addressing the LEO as "Officer" followed by the last name if you see it.

    After having had LEOs here address me by my first name (he was younger than my son!) and as "boy", I most assuredly do not show the respect that "sir" or "ma'am" implies.
    Of course. I'm only speaking from experience, and the only on duty police i've dealt with have been nothin but courteous and respectful with me.

    I totally agree.... Give respect, get respect.

    At the minimum, call them "officer".

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    Technically I believe you should address them as the type of LEO they are, i.e. Deputy, Trooper, etc. "Officer" isn't a one-size-fits-all, especially out in the less populated areas, but that's only what I was taught by LEOs, in other areas that may not be as appropriate.

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    KBCraig wrote:
    The first thing to remember: be polite, act friendly, look friendly, smile.

    Next: "Am I being detained? Am I free to go? If I'm not free to go, for what purpose are you restricting my free movement under color of authority? Am I suspected of a crime? Am I free to go?" If my movement is restricted by you under color of authority, I exercise my right to have legal representation present for additional questions. (Then go silent.)
    Fixed it for you.
    The problem with the internet is nobody can really tell when you’re serious and when you’re being sarcastic. –Abraham Lincoln

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    ChinChin wrote:
    KBCraig wrote:
    The first thing to remember: be polite, act friendly, look friendly, smile.

    Next: "Am I being detained? Am I free to go? If I'm not free to go, for what purpose are you restricting my free movement under color of authority? Am I suspected of a crime? Am I free to go?" If my movement is restricted by you under color of authority, I exercise my right to have legal representation present for additional questions. (Then go silent.)
    Fixed it for you.
    No you didn't.

    You fixed it to be technically correct for a written document, but almost useless in spoken conversation.


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    BhmBill wrote:

    I totally agree.... Give respect, get respect.

    At the minimum, call them "officer".
    Or dude.

    You might want to look into this though. LEO's love to ask for your ID as in Driver License during an encounter on FOOT. If this happens to you, what's your answer ?

    Mine is, I don't have it with me.

    In LA, I'm only required to have proof of ID when I'm in a Vehicle, NOT when I'm walking around the Mall, Grocery store, Pizza Hut! So Ileave it in the Truck.

    This can make the LEO upset and frustrated, but Oh Well. I'm not here to make their lives happy. I could careless what they do.





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    You guys kill me with your classic and expected phrases..

    How about... be polite and see what the officer wants to talk about. If you do not like the topic you shut up and walk away.

    If you are not free to go, you will be told to stop. Once you are ordered not to go anywhere you are being detained.

    If you are now being detained... be quiet!! :P

    I can tell you that these cute phrases being presented are going to do nothing but tick the cop off and make you sound like a smart ass.

    That cop will report to others "This open carry guy was a real {fill in the blank} as he tried to play back street lawyer."

    IMO.... This is going to give open carry a bad name.

    If you have to ask if you are being detained and cannot figure out on your own that you are clearly free to leave... you should probably assume you are detained and exercise your right to remain silent.

    But feel free to say what you want.


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    hansolo wrote:
    I could not find this in searching, but I apologize if this has been discussed previously:

    When contacted by the police for open carry, what and how much should I say? I know that under most circumstances (interrogations, traffic stops), a person should remain silent. Should I inform the officer that I am within my rights, ask for his supervisor, or smile while being disarmed because of the amazing civil suit that I have on my hands? Will officers let me record any encounters, or will they tell me to put it away? I realize that a lot of officers are not understanding of the laws, so would enlightening their ignorance only fall on the deaf ears of the already "informed?"

    Thank you.
    Search for "Busted: A Citizens Guide to Surviving Police Encounters" on youtube (from Flexyourrights.org).

    Visit www.flexyourrights.org, and become VERY familiar with the site. You can download a Bustcard from their site, which is like a cheatsheet for when you forget your name, and what planet you're one when you are actually questioned.

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    LEO 229 wrote:
    You guys kill me with your classic and expected phrases..

    How about... be polite and see what the officer wants to talk about. If you do not like the topic you shut up and walk away.

    If you are not free to go, you will be told to stop. Once you are ordered not to go anywhere you are being detained.

    If you are now being detained... be quiet!! :P

    I can tell you that these cute phrases being presented are going to do nothing but tick the cop off and make you sound like a smart ass.

    That cop will report to others "This open carry guy was a real {fill in the blank} as he tried to play back street lawyer."

    IMO.... This is going to give open carry a bad name.

    If you have to ask if you are being detained and cannot figure out on your own that you are clearly free to leave... you should probably assume you are detained and exercise your right to remain silent.

    But feel free to say what you want.
    Good advice. I've been looking for the LEO view on this. What will they do once you say nothing the entire time, after being asked for your ID (while NOT in a car, but walking).

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    bdodds wrote:
    Technically I believe you should address them as the type of LEO they are, i.e. Deputy, Trooper, etc. "Officer" isn't a one-size-fits-all, especially out in the less populated areas, but that's only what I was taught by LEOs, in other areas that may not be as appropriate.
    Just don't say "Ocifer" with a stoned look in your eye, reeking of Jim Beam.

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    Statesman wrote:
    Good advice. I've been looking for the LEO view on this. What will they do once you say nothing the entire time, after being asked for your ID (while NOT in a car, but walking).
    I cannot identify what each LEO will do.

    Contact was made so the real question is why.

    Either the LEO wants to check you out for some reason. (And in all honesty.... this is done with the best intent in promoting public safety)

    Or... the LEO believes you are in violation of a law. (Even if wrong... still being done with best intentions)

    Very few cops exist that hate the fact that you are armed. Most are for gun ownership. I personally do not know any that fit this category.

    So...

    The LEO is going to get bored with your silence and if he has nothing on you... he will have to let you go.

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    Never tell the cop you are recording unless you live in MA.

    What should you say:

    Am I being detained?

    Am I free to go?

    Do you suspect me of a crime?

    I want a lawyer.

    Nothing more after that...

    There is nothing to say to exercise your 5th amendment rights, just shut up.

    You could ask for a supervisor, not a bad idea necessarily.

    Think about it. What can a cop really do? I stopped a guy and he wouldn't talk to me, so I arrested him for not talking to me. Come on.

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    codename_47 wrote:
    Think about it. What can a cop really do? I stopped a guy and he wouldn't talk to me, so I arrested him for not talking to me. Come on.
    Try... "I stopped a guy who was armed and he wouldn't talk to me, so I arrested him..."
    Gun control isn't about guns -- it is about control.

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    demnogis wrote:
    codename_47 wrote:
    Think about it. What can a cop really do? I stopped a guy and he wouldn't talk to me, so I arrested him for not talking to me. Come on.
    Try... "I stopped a guy who was armed and he wouldn't talk to me, so I arrested him..."
    Or...

    I stopped a man with a gun acting strangely and refusing to say a word. I took him into protective custody so that I could have time to determine if he was going to be a threat to the community.

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    demnogis wrote:
    codename_47 wrote:
    Think about it. What can a cop really do? I stopped a guy and he wouldn't talk to me, so I arrested him for not talking to me. Come on.
    Try... "I stopped a guy who was armed and he wouldn't talk to me, so I arrested him..."
    On what charge? OC is legal in many states, and it is a right in mine. :celebrate

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    delete plz... double post

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    LEO 229 wrote:
    demnogis wrote:
    codename_47 wrote:
    Think about it. What can a cop really do? I stopped a guy and he wouldn't talk to me, so I arrested him for not talking to me. Come on.
    Try... "I stopped a guy who was armed and he wouldn't talk to me, so I arrested him..."
    Or...

    I stopped a man with a gun acting strangely and refusing to say a word. I took him into protective custody so that I could have time to determine if he was going to be a threat to the community.
    Wha? "Protective Custody"? Is that a euphemism for illegal arrest? Or are you being sarcastic?

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    Statesman wrote:
    LEO 229 wrote:
    demnogis wrote:
    codename_47 wrote:
    Think about it. What can a cop really do? I stopped a guy and he wouldn't talk to me, so I arrested him for not talking to me. Come on.
    Try... "I stopped a guy who was armed and he wouldn't talk to me, so I arrested him..."
    Or...

    I stopped a man with a gun acting strangely and refusing to say a word. I took him into protective custody so that I could have time to determine if he was going to be a threat to the community.
    Wha? "Protective Custody"? Is that a euphemism for illegal arrest? Or are you being sarcastic?
    In Virginia, a cop can take a person into "protective custody" or "detain" them for 4 hours so they can be evaluated by a mental health professional. People who may be a danger to themselves or others.

    This is NOT an arrest and is done in the best interests of the person and the public.. I have done this many times and they all get admitted into the psych ward. They get a lawyer and a hearing with a judge do determine their mental status.

    I cannot speak for every other state... but I am sure many have a similar program.

    So... if you are armed with a gun and acting strange... this is a possibility.

    This is why you should be "human" and act normal when approached by the police. After you have established that you are not a fruit cake.... you can shut up.

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    Oh good Lord. Haven't we hashed this subject to death in this forum??

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    Leo's right on a couple of points. Some of you guys do sound kind of silly relying on some formulaic verbal talisman as if it makes any real difference. It's just like the old pothead myth that undercover cops are magically compelled to reveal themselves if you ask the magic question, "Are you now or have you ever been affiliated with any law enforcement organization?"

    What ever happened to the days when adults could have a polite conversation and reveal only what they wanted to. My heart breaks at the thought that otherwise intelligent and presumably educated people have no other recourse than to fall back on the rhetorical repertoire of third graders. "He's touching me. Quit touching me. Make him stop touching me."

    Acting like a latrine lawyer is almost as bad. It's annoying and boring and most folks really don't have the depth or breadth of legal knowledge to pull it off well.

    How about dead silence? It would be real easy for a good writer to cobble up a plausible 5150W&I (CA law, 72hrs) psych commitment report and deposit you in a nice soft pastel colored room for a few hours. It won't hold water in the long run but if I'm really willing to do it, I won't care. What recourse do you have? Just about none, and you get to deal with the fact that you got locked up for a looney just because you hate cops and the gov so much that you really should just stay on your compound.

    If the cop starts talking to you and you don't want to you can always keep walking. It is polite but not mandatory if you smile and greet him as you walk on by. If he asks questions you don't want to answer you can always tell him you aren't going to answer. If you are in CA and he's finished his (e) check you can always try to recover your gear, excuse yourself politely and start walking away. If he won't take no for an answer you can always ask for a supervisor. If you are prepared and have the relevant laws on paper and are conversant with them you can always try to make a convert.

    You can also start your own conversation. Cop- Why are you carrying a gun? You- How about them Mets. Cop- What are you, some kind of gun nut vigilante? You- Have you read any good books lately? Cop- Why aren't you answering my questions? You- Because I don't have to and they are boring me.

    Be original. Don't be boring. One trick wing nuts are no fun to play with. They don't even make good stories to tell at the donut shop later. If you've got the stones to go strapped you have an obligation to be just as heavily armed mentally.

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    LEO 229 wrote:
    Statesman wrote:
    LEO 229 wrote:
    demnogis wrote:
    codename_47 wrote:
    Think about it. What can a cop really do? I stopped a guy and he wouldn't talk to me, so I arrested him for not talking to me. Come on.
    Try... "I stopped a guy who was armed and he wouldn't talk to me, so I arrested him..."
    Or...

    I stopped a man with a gun acting strangely and refusing to say a word. I took him into protective custody so that I could have time to determine if he was going to be a threat to the community.
    Wha? "Protective Custody"? Is that a euphemism for illegal arrest? Or are you being sarcastic?
    In Virginia, a cop can take a person into "protective custody" or "detain" them for 4 hours so they can be evaluated by a mental health professional. People who may be a danger to themselves or others.

    This is NOT an arrest and is done in the best interests of the person and the public.. I have done this many times and they all get admitted into the psych ward. They get a lawyer and a hearing with a judge do determine their mental status.

    I cannot speak for every other state... but I am sure many have a similar program.

    So... if you are armed with a gun and acting strange... this is a possibility.

    This is why you should be "human" and act normal when approached by the police. After you have established that you are not a fruit cake.... you can shut up.
    Interesting. This is the first I've heard of this. I wonder what kind of protections are in place from state to state, aside from a detainment time limit (which is good), to prevent abuse. It sounds like any "less than ethical" cop wishing to annoy or harass someone who OCs, may be able to do so for that time period.

    So now I may have to choose between exercising my 2nd and 5th ammendment rights, and a 4 hour detainment, which could get me fired at work for being late, or some other obligatory function in life. What happens if I choose to remain silent while I am being "evaluated" by government psychiatrists? Can anything I say during detainment be used against me as well? What a conflict!

    I realize I am getting into the IFs and BUTs here, which is annoying even for me, but this is downright scary. Next thing you know there will be a similar detainment rule to evaluate whether or not I may be a terrorist, and I'd be sent to the local friendly DHS department for interrogation. I guess that would be the case in Missouri, where DHS thinks right wingers are potential terrorists.

    Nothing against you LEO 229. I appreciate you speaking to this subject. I learn something here daily.

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