Citizen Patrol - Armed but unarmed
I live in Israel and last week I did my first shift on our local citizen patrol. Basically we are a neighborhood watch under the auspices of the local police.
The rules for citizen patrols in Israel are definitely different than what I was familiar with in the US. When I lived in New York, I was a NYPD auxiliary police officer. We did not carry guns, just night sticks, and although we carried handcuffs, our powers of arrest were very limited. We were basically eyes and ears for the NYPD.
In Israel, we also don't have police powers but we can make arrests if the perp agrees to remain in custody! In other words, we can ask the perp to remain detained and if they listen, we can keep them "under arrest" until the police arrive. If they run away, we can't really pursue. We have police radios and can communicate with the police and we have to patrol in at least pairs. We can patrol on foot or by car, if we qualify for the driving patrol.
We can carry weapons - I posted a week or so ago that I qualified at the police range by firing a M1 Garand. On my shift, I carried a more modern version of the M1, with a folding stock. When I sign out a weapon, I have to keep it either on my person at all times or in my locked house in a secure location.
But here's the kicker. We are not allowed to carry ammo in the weapon. The police issued me the M1 and two full ammo clips, but I have to patrol with the M1 unloaded. We can only load the ammo if we feel our life is in danger. I know this makes no sense, but no one ever said the government or bureaucracies or supposed to follows rules of logic.
I know that my SA was on full alert during my patrol. Luckily for me the patrol time was 3 am to 6 am on Saturday am, and given the fact that Saturday is the Jewish Sabbath and all construction work shuts down for the Sabbath, our neighborhood was very quiet. No cars coming in and out; no construction workers in the neighborhood (we live in a new neighborhood that is still under a lot of development).
Saturday is probably the easiest day to do the patrol. The great thing was that I had to sign the M1 out on Friday and got to keep it all day Friday and Saturday. When I attended synagogue on Saturday, I had to carry the M1 into services and I had it at my side during the entire service. It was very interesting to see the reactions of people - native Israelis basically didn't even give me a second look. Ex-pat Americans often did a double take and you could sense their fear at times, or more accurately, their total cluelessness as to why I was carrying a rifle. Several people did congratulate me for being in the citizen patrol, as the main reason for the patrol is to keep an eye on our neighborhood.
So my question is this: given the limitations I have to work with, what would be your recommendations? I was thinking of patrolling with a clip in my hand ready to be inserted if needed. Have you ever heard of other situations where someone is required to have an unloaded weapon?
Picture of the M1 I carried
I found this picture online - it's the exact same model I carried:
Next time I'll take my own picture.