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Thread: LEO tactics of which you might not be aware

  1. #1
    Regular Member Badger Johnson's Avatar
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    LEO tactics of which you might not be aware

    From my VCDL newsletter:

    Mr VanC was walking along the street at midnight, not breaking any laws, when a plainclothes cop rolled up on him and stopped him and made him show ID. He got an anonymous email from an alleged LEO explaining the action of the LEO who stopped him. I think it's interesting because there is a discussion of tactics which I've not seen before. I've added some bolding on those comments. I did get permission from Mr VanC to repost this here. Sorry about the length.

    "Mr. Van Cleave,

    On your recent encounter, I thought I would shed some light on why things may have gone the way they did. The courts have ruled that merely by turning on the flashing lights of a police car that an officer has effected a seizure in which a reasonable person might not feel they are free to leave. In your case there would have been no reason to turn the lights on as you were engaged in fully lawful activity and doing so would have put the officer in the position of having made an illegal seizure.

    Additionally even things like volume and tone of voice can be considered a seizure rather then a consensual encounter.
    Which probably explains why you couldn't hear him. Too loud a voice or too strong a tone and again he would have effected an illegal seizure. The difference between, "Sir." and " SIR!" is sometimes a subtle intonation or slight volume change. If he had used the PA system even with a mild request, the volume alone may have been enough to be considered a seizure, aside from violating noise ordinances or departmental prohibitions on using the PA for certain encounters.

    "Tactically speaking" it wouldn't have been wise to turn on his interior light as that would have highlighted him and made him vulnerable if you turned out to be a bad guy. *Not only would it have lit him up for an aggressor's fire, it would have temporarily reduced his ability to see you, either from glare on interior glass or reduction in night vision. So turning on his interior light to help identify himself would have put him at a dangerous disadvantage. *Something I don't think the general population would choose to endure if they were in his shoes.

    It sounds like you encountered an officer who actually knew what he was doing. But I am glad to see that it ended well, despite raising your alert level.

    One of the things I have found is that a lot of people who can and should carry, don't. When encountering a CHP holder on a traffic stop I often ask them, "Are you carrying today?". *I would say that 9 times out of 10 they tell me they are not. To which I usually reply "Why not?" *This seems to surprise a lot of people, and while some say they were coming from the communist state of Maryland or DC (my words not theirs) the rest will usually reply, "I didn't think I would need it today." *Or something to that effect. *I'd say another third have prohibitions against weapons at work and so they leave their guns at home.

    It is a shame really that people have to choose between keeping a paycheck and potentially saving their own lives. Perhaps the VCDL should launch a campaign about gun safes in cars? *Then perhaps more people would be able to avoid having to make that choice."
    Last edited by Badger Johnson; 05-20-2011 at 06:06 PM.

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    I am commenting on the letter's contents, as opposed to refuting the poster.

    No flashers to avoid a detention? Yeah, right. Like the cop couldn't turn on his lights to allay apprehension in the person about to be chatted with. Then tell the citizen it wasn't a detention, he was free to leave, the cop just wanted to ask a few entirely voluntary questions, the lights were on entirely for traffic safety and to allay the citizen's concern about being accosted by a criminal. "Knowing all that, may I ask you some entirely voluntary questions?"

    What we have here is a near-confession that the cop is willing to just up and scare people who he cannot possibly reasonably suspect. Remember, if he had enough information to legitimately suspect PVC, the cop could have used the lights. This encounter was either totally a fishing expedition, or the cop actually did in his mind suspect PVC when the cop did not really have anything upon which to base his suspicion.

    Now, if fishing, we can conclude the cop is a bit unthinking. First, if he is fishing, he has to know there is a great chance the guy he is about to encounter is just some Joe out for a walk. Second, here is a guy who is a cop, who practices security and thinks about bad guys all day long, and is certainly thinking about a bad guy at the time. And, he doesn't stop to consider his driving and abrupt exit from the car is going to make an everyday Joe apprehensive? Thoughtless cop. Cop more bent on playing cops-and-robbers than consideration for the citizens.

    As far as dangerousness of turning on interior lights goes, the cop could just as easily not made the contact at all. Dangerousness solved.

    From the cop's driving, and the initial questions, it sounds like he was suspicious of PVC. Leaving the flashers off to avoid the suspect fleeing runs right up against leaving the flashers off to avoid a seizure. Either the cop had enough to reasonably suspect PVC or he didn't; which is it? The letter writer's arguments are internally fighting with each other. Playing around in the "legalities" grass only serves to obscure that while technically legal, this cop had no legitimate reason to suspect PVC. Yet, the indications are that he did suspect PVC. Great to know some police in Chesterfield are willing to act on unjustified suspicions, and willing to make law-abiding citizens apprehensive.

    PVC's encounter was unnecessarily apprehension-inducing at inception. Citizens deserve better. There were other options available to the cop.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Citizen View Post
    I am commenting on the letter's contents, as opposed to refuting the poster.
    [...]
    PVC's encounter was unnecessarily apprehension-inducing at inception. Citizens deserve better. There were other options available to the cop.
    Smack me if I'm stating the obvious...

    The letter was from another cop altogether, in response to PVC's description of the encounter on a VA-Alert. The cop that wrote the letter was trying to explain why the one PVC encountered, might have done things the way that he did.

  4. #4
    Regular Member Badger Johnson's Avatar
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    Yes it was an (alleged) LEO writing anonymously to PVC to 'explain' the stop. What is not exactly clear to me is how this new LEO learned of the stop. Was it really remarkable such that the original LEO would spread it around the locker room? Was it the original LEO's sergeant?

    In this case we have about as credible a witness as possible in PVC's case (not sure if he recorded it, if not, shame on him, lol).

    We do have the actual email, according to PVC.

    To me the new LEO is basically saying that they wear a 'little bunny costume' (figuratively) and try to 'sneak up on you' and here's how it's done.

    It gives them plausible deniability; 'I didn't detain him, I just asked nicely', and if necessary, they can add that the alleged perp was hostile, grinned diabolically, or ignored them and they had to escalate. I mean who knows what a LEO is thinking at any one time.

    That's part of the problem. They should ALL be acting professionally, using their judgment, acquired during years on the job and NOT stopping old gentlemen behaving calmly, since they KNOW very well that CRIMINALS do not carry openly.

    Since carrying is a challenge to their school yard ego, they do it anyway and act all innocently afterward.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Badger Johnson View Post
    SNIP...Yes it was an (alleged) LEO writing anonymously to PVC to 'explain' the stop. What is not exactly clear to me is how this new LEO learned of the stop...
    The VA-Alert system has some 15K signed on, if I recall Bruce Jackson correctly.

    I would be surprised to hear that no signed-up readers were cops--some cops are genuinely interested in 2A.

    Quote Originally Posted by Badger Johnson View Post
    ...That's part of the problem. They should ALL be acting professionally, using their judgment, acquired during years on the job and NOT stopping old gentlemen behaving calmly, since they KNOW very well that CRIMINALS do not carry openly.
    I foresee trouble.

    Distinguished gentleman? Yes. Middle-aged gentleman? Yes. Old gentleman? Uh-oh.
    Last edited by Citizen; 05-22-2011 at 04:59 PM.

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    Founder's Club Member Hawkflyer's Avatar
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    Smile

    Quote Originally Posted by Badger Johnson View Post
    ...SNIP
    NOT stopping old gentlemen behaving calmly, since they KNOW very well that CRIMINALS do not carry openly.

    Since carrying is a challenge to their school yard ego, they do it anyway and act all innocently afterward.
    Wait just one darn minute. Just who are you calling 'OLD!" Many of may be well seasoned, but we are defiantly not old.
    "Research has shown that a 230 grain lead pellet placed just behind the ear at 850 FPS results in a permanent cure for violent criminal behavior."
    "If you are not getting Flak, you are not over the target"
    "186,000 Miles per second! ... Not just a good idea ... It's the law!"

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