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Thread: LEO education on the law

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    LEO education on the law

    I have been interested in the law concerning school zones, and I have a pretty close friend who is also a police officer.

    He had no input regarding the federal law. In fact, what he told me left me shaking my head: His education on federal law at the academy was non-existent.

    Laws about how to make sure a conviction sticks were included, but...

    The point: if there are too many laws to teach the LEO, and too many for any one lawyer to know them all, how can we possibly not be law breakers? The answer is we don't know, and you probably are...

    And I think that is the point and purpose, because then our fake freedom can be taken at any time. Like one cynical cop (not my friend) once told me: "There are two types of people, people I have caught breaking the law, and those I haven't caught yet."

    Even my buddy is breaking the law every time he carries while off duty on the way home (he passes many schools and has no CPL). I think he rests secure in the knowledge that his fellow officers would never be so stupid as to charge him for a silly federal law...and I think that is true, until it becomes useful to use it.
    Last edited by Monroe; 05-30-2011 at 04:36 AM.

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    Campaign Veteran skidmark's Avatar
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    Welcome to OCDO. You will do yourself a favor by joining any of the gun rights organizations in Washington.

    Cops are not required to know every part of the criminal laws, let alone the civil codes. They do need to understand the basics of reasonable, articulatable suspicion and probable cause, as well as have a passing familiarity with the most common laws thay will be enforcing. They can hold you under RAS/PC while they investigate to determine if in fact any specific law was violated, or which of several possible laws stands the better chance of resulting in a conviction when you are tried for violateing it. They even get a free pass (qualified soverign immunity) if they hold you under RAS/PC and it turns out you did not violate any law(s).

    As for you friend driving past schools without a CPL - he's a cop. Cops have LEOSA and their department's policies on carrying off-duty to give them the same privilege of carrying within a GFSZ as you get by having a CPL.

    It sounds like you just discovered why so many folks urge folks not to ask for legal information from law enforcement. You are much better off finding the research done by reputable people/organizations and then confirming their opinions with what you understand the law to mean (which may involve a discussion with an attorney).

    stay safe.
    Last edited by skidmark; 05-30-2011 at 06:35 AM. Reason: forgot to welcome newbie to OCDO.

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    Regular Member amlevin's Avatar
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    An arrest by an officer for any "crime" is not the whole issue wrapped up and finished. His "arrest" then requires several steps to determine if a charge is to be filed. The officer merely starts the process but it can be ended at several steps along the way by those who know more about the law than the officer. From the police the information goes to the Prosecutor who reviews the facts as presented and decides whether to charge or not. The "defendant" gets an attorney who also reviews the iformation and if it's BS, moves for dismissal at the preliminary hearing. Even if it makes it to a charge, and a court case, there still remains the Judge and Jury for review and consideration of all the facts.

    In short, the Police Officer is not totally in charge of one's destiny. He merely starts the process.

    It would be impossible to teach officers a compendium of the laws applicable in his area and expect him to remember every fact, facet, and application. At best they get, and can handle a summary of the most important and most applied laws. For all the rest they have to rely on supervisors, prosecutors, and reference materials.
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    Regular Member amlevin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NavyLT View Post
    Do you have a citation for that, please? There is no exception in 18 USC 922 (q) for off-duty or retired LEO. LEOSA in 18 USC 926B and 926C only exempts them from State law, not Federal law.
    Would this apply to Supervisory Law Officers that are technically never "Off Duty". People like the Chief? Asst. Chief's? Division Heads? Etc? Or is it merely a matter of who is going to arrest a cop for carrying in a School Zone.
    Last edited by amlevin; 05-30-2011 at 06:59 PM.
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    Regular Member Lammo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by amlevin View Post
    An arrest by an officer for any "crime" is not the whole issue wrapped up and finished. His "arrest" then requires several steps to determine if a charge is to be filed. The officer merely starts the process but it can be ended at several steps along the way by those who know more about the law than the officer. From the police the information goes to the Prosecutor who reviews the facts as presented and decides whether to charge or not. The "defendant" gets an attorney who also reviews the iformation and if it's BS, moves for dismissal at the preliminary hearing. Even if it makes it to a charge, and a court case, there still remains the Judge and Jury for review and consideration of all the facts.

    In short, the Police Officer is not totally in charge of one's destiny. He merely starts the process.

    It would be impossible to teach officers a compendium of the laws applicable in his area and expect him to remember every fact, facet, and application. At best they get, and can handle a summary of the most important and most applied laws. For all the rest they have to rely on supervisors, prosecutors, and reference materials.
    True, except to the extent that Prosecuting Attorneys become rubber stamps for Law Enforcement. Having been on the receiving end of many cases that should have been rejected I will testify that it does happen. Don't know how the average citizen goes about keeping the prosecutor honest; if I figure it out I will get it done.
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    When I was in line at the court house in Tacoma applying for my CLP last year, there was a uniformed PCDS in line behind me; said he needed one to carry off duty…

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bitter End View Post
    When I was in line at the court house in Tacoma applying for my CLP last year, there was a uniformed PCDS in line behind me; said he needed one to carry off duty…
    First off, welcome to the forum!

    I know someone in law enforcement, they claim they don't need one to carry off duty. I don't have the cite handy (someone help me?) but that's their claim. Hopefully someone can find the law.

    The CPL (I know CLP may be habit to type due to the brand of oil) does come in handy for purchasing handguns, though, since the background check is practically instant rather than several days.

    Just a little input. Come to one of our meets!
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    Regular Member amlevin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by .45ACPaddy View Post
    I know someone in law enforcement, they claim they don't need one to carry off duty. I don't have the cite handy (someone help me?) but that's their claim. Hopefully someone can find the law.

    The Law Enforcement Officer Safety Act (LEOSA) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Law_Enf...ers_Safety_Act

    It "Generally" allow them to carry without a permit but as one of the LEO's who posts here pointed out, it is more convenient to have a CPL.

    The person who stated he needed one to carry off duty may subject to a Department Policy that requires them to have one for off duty carry.
    "If I shoot all the ammo I am carrying I either won't need anymore or more won't help"

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    Regular Member amzbrady's Avatar
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    I always get a little concerned when I wind up in a close proximity of a group of school kids on outings. We stopped at a rest stop off the highway, and there was a large group of kids hanging about. My first thought was that I should maybe wait a few till they started loading back up, but I had to pee really bad, so I figured whats the worst that could happen either WA state patrol would teach me the law, or I would teach them the law, or nothing would happen. I went to the restroom, came back out and noticed they were in a hurry to load back up, must have been running late. I walked our dog with our daughter then went and got her a cookie from the stand and left a dollar donation to some school fund that was running the coffee stand. People stopped and petted our doggie and didnt say anything to me.
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    Regular Member amlevin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by amzbrady View Post
    I always get a little concerned when I wind up in a close proximity of a group of school kids on outings. We stopped at a rest stop off the highway, and there was a large group of kids hanging about. My first thought was that I should maybe wait a few till they started loading back up, but I had to pee really bad, so I figured whats the worst that could happen either WA state patrol would teach me the law, or I would teach them the law, or nothing would happen. I went to the restroom, came back out and noticed they were in a hurry to load back up, must have been running late. I walked our dog with our daughter then went and got her a cookie from the stand and left a dollar donation to some school fund that was running the coffee stand. People stopped and petted our doggie and didnt say anything to me.
    A mob of school kids on an outing does not magically turn something like a Rest Area into a School Zone. Why would a WSP Trooper even be interested in you carrying legally while stopping to "make the bladder gladder"?
    "If I shoot all the ammo I am carrying I either won't need anymore or more won't help"

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    I know someone in law enforcement, they claim they don't need one to carry
    off duty. I don't have the cite handy (someone help me?) but that's their claim.
    Hopefully someone can find the law.
    RCW 9.41.060

    The Law Enforcement Officer Safety Act (LEOSA)
    Nope, HR 218 only authorizes commissioned/sworn peace officers (who have full powers of arrest in their state) to carry off duty in all other states (basically, nationwide reciprocity for cops). Previous to this federal law, even a sworn cop was not covered in every other state, although some states did have clauses in their state laws to grant officers from other states exemption from the requirement to be licensed in that state (there were many notable exceptions -- CA, IL, NY, WI, all the familiar places).

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    In WA 9.41.060 exempts LEOs from licsencing requirements set forth in 9.41.070. This enables them to carry on their commision card and even allows off duty carry in places not normally allowed by 9.41.300. See also 9.41.280

    http://apps.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=9.41.280

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bo View Post
    RCW 9.41.060

    Nope, HR 218 only authorizes commissioned/sworn peace officers (who have full powers of arrest in their state) to carry off duty in all other states (basically, nationwide reciprocity for cops). Previous to this federal law, even a sworn cop was not covered in every other state, although some states did have clauses in their state laws to grant officers from other states exemption from the requirement to be licensed in that state (there were many notable exceptions -- CA, IL, NY, WI, all the familiar places).
    Quote Originally Posted by LibertyDeath View Post
    In WA 9.41.060 exempts LEOs from licsencing requirements set forth in 9.41.070. This enables them to carry on their commision card and even allows off duty carry in places not normally allowed by 9.41.300. See also 9.41.280

    http://apps.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=9.41.280
    Appreciate the cites and input, guys!
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    Regular Member amzbrady's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by amlevin View Post
    A mob of school kids on an outing does not magically turn something like a Rest Area into a School Zone. Why would a WSP Trooper even be interested in you carrying legally while stopping to "make the bladder gladder"?
    Thing most worries me in a group of school kids is an uneducated liberal parent or teacher that will freak out and cause a scene, my wife doesnt need it and a large group of children dont need a brainwashing lecture on how dangerous it is to be around a (properly holstered) gun.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Monroe View Post
    I have been interested in the law concerning school zones, and I have a pretty close friend who is also a police officer.

    He had no input regarding the federal law. In fact, what he told me left me shaking my head: His education on federal law at the academy was non-existent.

    Laws about how to make sure a conviction sticks were included, but...

    The point: if there are too many laws to teach the LEO, and too many for any one lawyer to know them all, how can we possibly not be law breakers? The answer is we don't know, and you probably are...

    And I think that is the point and purpose, because then our fake freedom can be taken at any time. Like one cynical cop (not my friend) once told me: "There are two types of people, people I have caught breaking the law, and those I haven't caught yet."

    Even my buddy is breaking the law every time he carries while off duty on the way home (he passes many schools and has no CPL). I think he rests secure in the knowledge that his fellow officers would never be so stupid as to charge him for a silly federal law...and I think that is true, until it becomes useful to use it.
    I may be mistaken, but I am pretty sure a law enforcement officer does not need to possess a CPL, even while off duty, when being within the boundaries of a school.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NavyLCDR View Post
    Do you have a citation for that, please? There is no exception in 18 USC 922 (q) for off-duty or retired LEO. LEOSA in 18 USC 926B and 926C only exempts them from State law, not Federal law.
    If that is, infact the case, I am highly positive that no off duty police officer would EVER be prosecuted for this.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aaron1124 View Post
    If that is, infact the case, I am highly positive that no off duty police officer would EVER be prosecuted for this.
    Yep what sucks is that a regular citizen protecting his human rights would be though.
    I am not anti Cop I am just pro Citizen.

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    Regular Member Bitter End's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sudden valley gunner View Post
    Yep what sucks is that a regular citizen protecting his human rights would be though.
    Too true... a sad state of affairs.

    And thanks for the welcome 45ACPaddy

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