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Actually, that's not true. In this district, we are encouraged to use discretion. It's the final check and balance to stupid laws.

Case in point. Some egotistical slob that thinks his farts don't stink in a big city in Colorado decides to ban "assault weapon" ownership. He gets his liberal, socialist loving city council members to vote for it. He even says that he will fine you 1000 dollars a day for not turning your " assault weapons" in.

You know that the law is unconstitutional, stupid, immoral and dangerous to those that refuse.

As a police officer do I have to enforce that silliness? Absolutely not. The brain dead officers that do are as guilty of wrongdoing as the Mayor and the city council and should be treated as such.
States make shall and may laws, not city councils. Those would be ordinances, not laws.
 

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Laws are presumed to be constitutional until they are challenged and found to be otherwise. Our individual opinions on the laws in question are irrelevant. Until a state Supreme Court or federal circuit, or SCOTUS issues an opinion saying a law violates either the state or federal Constitution it is the law and it is valid.

Military personnel are not required to obey illegal orders. But they refuse to obey at their own risk. If they obey an order that is clearly illegal they can also be punished. The " I was just following orders." defense was tried by many in Nuremberg who ended their sentence at the end of a rope.
 

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No...much greater weight. The weight of the oath of office. You swear to uphold the Constitution, and the law. Laws are changeable, on a whim almost, the Constitution forms the basis of our society and form of government and changes very little. Obeying an unconstitutional order is breaking your oath of office.

I pray that Americans never allow police or soldiers to become blind-obedience automatons who will march lockstep out and massacre helpless men, women, and children because someone orders them to do so. If WWII and Nuremburg taught us anything, it should have taught us that.

I pray the oath of office weighs so heavy on their consciences that they consider carefully each response they make in light of their knowledge of both the law and the Constitution. And the duty to always do right versus something questionable, illegal, or completely wrong is a matter of the officer surviving to a ripe old age. Some have violated that trust with themselves and lost.

BTW - enforcing laws where the officer has discretion with wisdom and mercy is better than the alternative. Yes, there may be risks, but there are always risks associated with doing what is right. Lastly every member of the military should remember My Lai. Obeying orders blindly is not really a healthy thing and can be quite a bit more painful than the alternative.

My hat is off to whomever trained some of the former officers on DC. I would gladly invite you guys to my Ethics classes should I ever be called to teach again. You could handle the lecture better than I.
AMEN!
 

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At the cost of 1000 dollars a day, what difference does it make?
The officers didn't swear an oath to uphold city ordinances. Their oath is to the doc and upholding STATE statues. It would make huge difference to me as an leo.
 

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After several trips to court where the judge found them guilty of possession, then put them on probation...for one or two lids or for sale amounts of pills...I scattered the stuff, and let them go.

After seeing some high muckety-muck Shriner businessman smash into a family of 5 in their van, then run off and hide, taking a cab home and coming to the door drunk, pretending he'd been in bed all night...saying his car was stolen...I took the keys from a working man and threw them up on a building, then sent him home in a cab, rather than locking him up, when he hadn't hurt anyone or had a wreck.

After working a few robberies and a rape, I encouraged ladies to keep their purse zipped in the store and men to pull their coats down.

In order not to tie up the only unit protecting my beat for an hour or two, I gave walking drunks a ride to their doors.

When a $60 ticket would have meant I hocked something to make it till payday, I gave a LOT of warnings and it took a long time for me to run out of tickets.

Not for personal gain, not favors for friends, not lazy...discretion. Every break I ever gave someone wouldn't add up to the times the DA pled something down to nothing to get a clearance. I had people who'd wait for me and tell me things they knew I'd need to know...because I gave them breaks...

It worked...I'm proud of the way I did it...I'd do it the same way again. Only differerence is-now, I'd be on youtube and the evening news...everybody's got a camera. I policed in the spirit of the law, not in the letter.

Oh, yeah, and one night I walked up on a car at a dead end street that was a block south of the city limits...and took three lids off a guy and a .22...scattering the grass in the mud and throwing the .22 in the pond, before I told him I couldn't arrest him this time because he wasn't in the city. The next days off, I was laying in bed reading the paper, and read where one of my fellow officers caught him inside a church burglarizing and arrested him. He didn't have a gun. I'll never know, but I felt good about that one, too.
 

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How about orders that are unconstitutional, such as the seizing of civilian firearms?
When did the Supreme Court decide such actions are unconstitutional?
 

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Military personnel are not required to obey illegal orders. But they refuse to obey at their own risk.
How about orders that are unconstitutional, such as the seizing of civilian firearms?
No different than any other order they are given. If they disobey they will be subject to court martial at which time the court will decide if the order was a lawful order or not. If they find it was the soldier may be reduced in rank and sent to prison. After completing their sentence they may receive a dishonorable discharge which means they can never legally own firearms again.
 

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No different than any other order they are given. If they disobey they will be subject to court martial at which time the court will decide if the order was a lawful order or not. If they find it was the soldier may be reduced in rank and sent to prison. After completing their sentence they may receive a dishonorable discharge which means they can never legally own firearms again.
I hear what is being said here, but an observation is in order. After WWII, the Allies convened a court to deal with Nazis who had committed "war crimes" against humanity. During those trials, many former SS members whined that they were "only following orders" when they led millions of innocent people into the ovens and gas chambers. After due deliberation, the courts, in almost every case, came back with a conviction and a death sentence.

The message of Nuremberg was crystal clear. Soldiers who claim innocence of criminal activity after carrying out illegal orders, thereby committing crimes against mankind, were in no way exempt from guilt and punishment when such orders were clearly against every code of human conduct. Soldiers had a duty to resist such orders, or face dire consequences after the fact. That they might face consequences from those who issued such orders made no difference. If they carried those orders out, they now faced the gallows and the firing squad.

Whether it be soldier or police officer, there are certainly things worse than getting fired, sued, serving a prison sentence and/or a dishonorable discharge. There is the ability to look oneself in the eye in the mirror without seeing the reflection of a monster who carried out orders that resulted in a shame that cannot ever be washed away, painted over, or disappear with the passing years. That uncleanness of soul will forever strip away any sense of pride for having faithfully served one's country or people. Every remembrance of it will draw one closer to the brink of the abyss until he or she is finally swallowed up.

Always remember that there is a higher court than any on this earth and the standards of guilt or innocence are quite different.
 

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One thing most people forget about Katrina was that SCOTUS did not issue their Heller opinion until two years later. There was no federally recognized individual right to keep and bear arms. McDonald did not incorporate that against the states until 2010. The only legal question about the handling of confiscation in the immediate aftermath of Katrina was the laws and constitution of the state of Louisiana.
Since then many states and Congress have passed laws to prohibit such conduct.
 

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One thing most people forget about Katrina was that SCOTUS did not issue their Heller opinion until two years later. There was no federally recognized individual right to keep and bear arms. McDonald did not incorporate that against the states until 2010. The only legal question about the handling of confiscation in the immediate aftermath of Katrina was the laws and constitution of the state of Louisiana.
Since then many states and Congress have passed laws to prohibit such conduct.
There hasn't been any movement by SCOTUS or the legislature to do anything about red flag confiscations, which are happening on the regular.
 

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Old retired police chief here. If I assign a particular officer to enforce a duly adopted law, or to serve duly issued legal process, and the officer refuses, I will be reviewing resumes and applications while a former officer is looking for new employment.

There were always a few laws that I personally disagreed with, but unless there were legitimate arguments about the constitutionality or the legislative process, they remained laws. When complaints were received a measure of enforcement action was required.

There were court orders that I thought were ill-advised or counter-productive to good enforcement practices, but unless there were legitimate arguments about legality, constitutionality, or the legal process (affidavits, testimony, etc) a court order is a court order, and failure or refusal to carry out the order are grounds for a contempt of court citation (criminal contempt allows a trial; civil contempt can result in summary judgement and jail time with little more than a show cause hearing).

I remember a few young officers who needed to be told "It's not just an adventure, it's a job", sometimes repeatedly.
 

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@retired badge 1 I agree and understand well the issues a Chief faces every day between the political and legal elements. A gentleman, (whose position I won't state) once came to me and wanted to talk. He asked what I thought about a situation where he was instructed to carry out politically-motivated orders which he felt were very dodgy, as the British say. I believed at the time he was talking about some city ordinances that the politicians were about to write to appease a group of activists, which might be in violation of state law. I'm sure you know how "authoritative" such things can seem, coming from those who hired you. We talked for an hour or so about what his response should be. Sometime later, he resigned after he requested a closed door meeting with the politicians.

I think that as long as things are more or less "normal" and the laws are not openly unconstitutional, officers are oath bound to obey. IF things get "dodgy" and duty and laws start conflicting with the oath and the constitution, then there is a decision that must be made. Do I enforce something that is clearly unconstitutional and conflicts with my conscience? Or, do I just take the badge off and walk?

I feel very strongly about my personal "oaths". First to my God, to my family, to myself, and then to everything else. Police work may be a calling or just a job. Regardless, when it threatens to destroy those critical oaths, then I must walk away. That is a lesson not easily received by many officers, but I have seen first hand the terrible results of oath-breaking. It just isn't worth it. IMHO at least.
 
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