Best Practices: Steps citizens should take when working with LEO's
This is a discussion on Best Practices: Steps citizens should take when working with LEO's within the Law Enforcement, Military & Homeland Security Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; Got tried & true suggestions for how best to work with an LEO in various situations? Am specifically interested in comments from current or former ...
August 20th, 2006 11:28 AM
Best Practices: Steps citizens should take when working with LEO's
Got tried & true suggestions for how best to work with an LEO in various situations? Am specifically interested in comments from current or former LEO's on the question of: Best practices for how citizens should handle contact with LEO's, generally as well as in specific situations.
A number of recent discussions have posed situations where someone was confronted or assisted by LEO's during the course of the engagement, during follow-up, during a call to one's home, or during an emergency/situation out in the world (ie, Katrina, gunfight at the 'corral', etc). The responses of many were so varied that it got me to thinking that what seems to be floating around out there in most folks' heads is: common sense, wives' tales and urban legend. I can't recall a simple recipe of guidelines or recommendations listed anywhere, neither at my local Sheriff's Dept. nor the local PD.
Possible situations include:
- General preparation: during an unfolding situation (ie, being a witness), during questioning
- "Cold" call to your home by an LEO.
- Called an LEO to your home.
- Witness to a situation/scenario outside your home, then working with responding LEO's.
- Involved in a takedown, where you are apparently suspected of something
- Involved in an emergency situation, then working with responding LEO's.
If you're going to comment, please identify whether you're current/former law enforcement, or not. That will help people sift through the opinions.
So, fire away (so to speak). The floor is open.
August 20th, 2006 12:28 PM
1. witness -try to gather as much info as possible. give the highlights first so they can get a decript. out.
2. LEO at your home- keep your hands in sight, be polite and honest.
3. When LE respond., better to be either holed up and ready to secure your gun , than out on the front lawn holding a weapon if possible. They do not know who the good, bad guy .
4. If stopped be polite and follow instruction to the letter. Let your lawyer do your explaining if need be.
5. involved in a emergency. help out, but back off if more qualified personnel show up. (rescue, more LE etc. )
"In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock." Thomas Jefferson
Nemo Me Impune Lacesset
August 20th, 2006 12:56 PM
First off I am NOT LEO. What I am is a Career FD Captain, A Vol Asst FireChief, and the owner of a small Security Firm. Also years ago I was an Airport PD officer.
Originally Posted by ccw9mm
In all three cases I do work with LE and have been involved assisting LEOs in a hostage situation (career FD medical), investigating a break-in (SO) and backing up an officer whose PD back up was a LONG way off (got off SO duty getting in car) when he asked me to go with him. Plus many more instances in 22 yrs of FD.
General preparation: Don't do anything that the officer doesn't tell you to do...LEO may not know you are just a witness. When questioned give just what YOU KNOW..no theories, guesses etc (Who, what when, where , how).
Cold" call to your home by an LEO If you mean the LEO coming to your house during an investigation then answer the questions as best as you can.
Called an LEO to your home This depends on what you called them for. Is it a noisy neighbor...stranger that came to your door..possible B&E? If it is a non-violent type (noisy neighbor give them the basic info along with any pertinaent history (argueing across fence etc).
If it is a or was a potentiel violent situation (B&E active or prior etc)
give known info and get out of the way..folow the LEOs instructions.
Involved in a takedown, where you are apparently suspected of something DO EXACTLY AS LEO SAYS!!! Remember these people want to go home at the end of their duty day! You MUST give them your name and ID if asked. If they want to cuff you and put you in the back of a patrol car then co-operate fully. You don't have to answer all questions but you can help defuse the situation by co-operating. ****, you might even get taken in but just remember and think about what you would do if you were the LEO.
Involved in an emergency situation, then working with responding LEO's. If the LEO(s) ask you to assist them then you are defacto deputised to work under the LEOs authourity. You will more than likely be tasked with watching a sector or watching the 6. Don't plan on being on the assault team.
Be Safe and Careful,
Mountaineers Are Always Free
August 20th, 2006 01:35 PM
Just wanted to mention that this was a really good idea for a thread.
I used to work with rookie LEO's in a lot of different scenarios for training. I am *NOT* a LEO nor ever have I been. I'll just answer what I can tell you:
-The other two had it right. During questioning (when you are a witness), tell them only what you know. Assumptions, guesses, generalizations, etc, will only complicate the invesigation. If you hunkered down after something happened, do NOT guess what happened based on what you saw before hand. "Just the facts, sir."
-During a cold call to your place, it can depend. If the investigation is about someone close to you, they should be looking for their suspect to possibly show up or show themselves at your house. Be very straight forward with them and keep all motions slow and deliberate. IMHO, I would tell the officers/agents that you are armed and keep the BS to a minimum.
If they're just looking for someone/something else they may not be so on edge but I would follow the same guidelines as mentioned for witness.
-When calling a LEO to your home, just be very straight forward and keep a cool head. Other than that, I would say that one of our resident e911 dispatch guys could answer better.
I'm not anywhere near qualified to answer anything else. Again - bravo on the topic.
The Gunsite Blog
ITFT / Quick Kill Review
"It is enough to note, as we have observed, that the American people have considered the handgun to be the quintessential self-defense weapon." - Justice Scalia, SCOTUS - DC v Heller - 26 JUN 2008
August 20th, 2006 03:52 PM
Originally Posted by rocky
Rocky summed it all up nicely.
Saved me some typing. Good Job Sir.
A LTTLE TRAINING IS A DANGEROUS THING ....
August 20th, 2006 03:57 PM
August 21st, 2006 12:15 AM
i work with LEO everyday, dispatch, and i talk to them all the time. The best you can do is FOLLOW THEIR DIRECTIONS! if you wonder why people get beaten repeatedly or tazed repeatedly it is because they are not listening and following directions. If they go to cuff DONT RESIST. that will more than likely get you in more trouble or get you a good whoopin if you do the wrong thing like try to run away or reach for something they cant see(ie phone) because they may think you reaching for weapon. be honest and polite and answer the questions to the best of your knowledge and dont get all jumpy with them. as said before they want to go home at the end of the day. remember being HONEST and POLITE will get you a long way. One of my officers said that if he pulls someone over and they say they dont know why and they were speeding they are getting a ticket! Just be honest and appologize and you would be amazed how far that goes =O)
August 21st, 2006 03:59 AM
For any questioning situation be truthful and don't exaggerate the circumstances. The LEOs will ask you an open-ended "what happened" question first, then pointed questions from there. Make the open-ended answer simple (e.g. BG came in, demanded money..., etc.) and just answer the other questions as they come. If you are involved in a situation that you have used your gun, cooperate with the LEOs (e.g. take directions and don't resist) keep the above in mind but the second that you are physically restrained (e.g. cuffs, etc.), invoke your right to silence.
If an LEO asks you if you have a weapon and you do, answer truthfully. They will take their own precautions as they deem necessary for that particular LEO. They will ask you where it is, then they will ask you if you have a permit for it, surrender the card. The LEO may or may not remove your weapon from you, but most will.
If you have used your weapon, make sure it is not in your hands when they arrive or you will be treated as a BG until they sort it all out. If you do not have it in-hand or the question never comes, don't say anything about it (unless your state law dictates otherwise). You did your job to conceal well as they don't know it's on you and the possibility of you having weapon is not an issue or isn't to that particular LEO.
And I'm a dispatcher at a small station with LEOs and corrections officers within 20 feet of me 90% of the day, if that means anything. The reason why you have seen many different responses on a lot of posts by current/former LEOs is because each LEO is different and operates on their own levels. The experience I am drawing from is that I have about 18 LEOs with 3 or less years on, a few with more, and all of the sergeants and above have a lot more. The 18 LEOs are replaced with new ones once they reach 3 years, so I see them come all the time. With timing and growth, I'm looking at about 30 off the top of my head that I have seen come and go and even some that didn't make it.
August 25th, 2006 04:43 AM
Great tips. Thanks, everyone.
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