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Thread: Police Identification

  1. #1
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    Police Identification

    I know the stop and identify laws for myself, but I can't find anything about whether or not a cop must identify himself prior to my cooperation. Any thoughts or can someone point me in the right direction?

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    I have never come across anything except a police department policy that requires a cop to identify himself to a traffic stopped driver. No law or anything like that.

    I s'pose that's why many cops wear uniforms and badges. In court opinions I have come across references to people submitting to a "show of authority" mainly in cases where there was some discussion about whether the person was seized or not for the purposes of the 4th Amendment.

    There are statutes like the traffic statutes that say a driver has to pull over and stop if a police car turns on his flashing lights.

    Beyond that, I haven't come across such.

    Please elaborate on what you are thinking as far as cooperation. Are you thinking "at what point am I compelled to submit to the cops authority?" Or, are you thinking, "How identity info does he have to give me before I help him investigate a crime by another person?"

  3. #3
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    I'm wondering about when a cop starts asking me to give identification, stay where I am, etc. Can I demand his identification before I comply? Can I say "Sir, until you can provide picture ID I'm not going to be responsive to your demands."

    Or if he refuses, can I call 911 to report a suspicious person wearing a stolen police uniform....etc?

    This came up because I was watching youtube video of people demanding police identification before exiting a vehicle, answering questions, or any other demand. Just curious....I find refusing to identify myself and remaining quiet sufficient tactics, but wouldn't mind knowing if they're required to identify themselves.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by marinepilot81 View Post
    I'm wondering about when a cop starts asking me to give identification, stay where I am, etc. Can I demand his identification before I comply? Can I say "Sir, until you can provide picture ID I'm not going to be responsive to your demands."

    Or if he refuses, can I call 911 to report a suspicious person wearing a stolen police uniform....etc?

    This came up because I was watching youtube video of people demanding police identification before exiting a vehicle, answering questions, or any other demand. Just curious....I find refusing to identify myself and remaining quiet sufficient tactics, but wouldn't mind knowing if they're required to identify themselves.
    Oh, I see. Tactics and law are two different things. You will want to learn the law in your specific jurisdiction.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by marinepilot81 View Post
    I'm wondering about when a cop starts asking me to give identification, stay where I am, etc. Can I demand his identification before I comply? Can I say "Sir, until you can provide picture ID I'm not going to be responsive to your demands."

    Or if he refuses, can I call 911 to report a suspicious person wearing a stolen police uniform....etc?

    This came up because I was watching youtube video of people demanding police identification before exiting a vehicle, answering questions, or any other demand. Just curious....I find refusing to identify myself and remaining quiet sufficient tactics, but wouldn't mind knowing if they're required to identify themselves.
    In the heat of a real felony stop, I don't know of a single officer who is going to think for even a second to identify himself more than the cliche: "Police! Stop!" However, during a routine stop, if the officer is going to ask you for ID, the fan is still relatively stuff-free, and you will be able to ask the officer for his identification. I haven't met an officer yet (there are surely some out there) who would not readily identify himself.

    If for some reason you feel that you may be dealing with someone who isn't a LEO, ask him to call his supervisor to the scene. During a routine stop, they will do it. You'll tick 'em off and ruin any chance of a traffic stop ending in a warning, but the supervisor will come out--unless you are dealing with a phony cop, in which case you are already in deep and dangerous stuff.

    If it is an OC stop and you are following the law, I don't see any downside to asking for a supervisor.

  6. #6
    Regular Member hermannr's Avatar
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    I don't think that would be a good idea in most situations...If a LEO pulls me over in a marked cruiser, is wearing a uniform, has a visible badge that goes with the uniform and type of car...no, I would not get testy...I do have an advantage where I live though, I know all of the LE cars, including the unmarked ones. There are not that many. But then the local WSP Lt drives an unmarked car, but then he also wears a uniform with his badge plainly visible. Met him when I had car trouble one day. Best LEO encounter I have ever had.

    Unmarked car with lights in the grill, no uniform, no badge out in the open, You bet I would ask for positive ID, and I don't mean just flashed at me. Could be just as much a LEO as the guy with the uniform, but I would want to make sure before I handed over my ID (even more so my pistol)
    Last edited by hermannr; 05-03-2011 at 03:18 PM.

  7. #7
    Regular Member SouthernBoy's Avatar
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    You are not required to carry an ID in my state so a "stop and identify" is fruitless to an LEO... unless he has RAS. And even if you have an ID, you do not have to show it.

    INAL.
    In the final seconds of your life, just before your killer is about to dispatch you to that great eternal darkness, what would you rather have in your hand? A cell phone or a gun?

    Si vis pacem, para bellum.

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