Just cruising the site and the "pulled over - LEO good experience" caught my eye and once in a while I feel compelled to get out one of my boxes. I wanted to send a "THANK YOU" to "DIVEGEEK" for something on a reply he made 18 January 2011, it is 03 June 2012 now and I just saw it for the first time and this is to politely inform DIVEGEEK that I am stealing your "quote" and plan to use it regularly in the many correspondences I have about everything important in life to me, FAMILY, MY COUNTRY, THE LAWS WE ALL LIVE BY, THE 2nd AMENDMENT and my GUNS!
From divegeek: Now from Me2: "Four boxes protect our liberty: soap, ballot, jury and ammo. Use in that order."
I am a retired LEO. I do not profess any kind of prejudice when the subject of "LEO's" and "Armed Citizens" comes up when the subject is maintained in an objective manner with the best interests of all concerned. I do have opinions, kinda like noses, so does everybody else.
I am not a lawyer and anything written here is in no way to be interpreted as legal advice.
Anyone reading this will when all things are considered agree with a general statement: "There are guys in uniform on the streets of America who have thus far slipped through some cracks somehow, who should not be allowed to wear that uniform and who disgrace it every time the wear it. There are "citizens" of this great country who slip through cracks, who hold concealed carry permits who should not be allowed to hold a gun much less carry it in public. There exists the vast majority, I would like it to be 99.99, keep on with the nines for a while here, who contribute to the betterment of us all just by being there at any time in any place. The real truth is as the fact that we human beings are at best, human beings, and it will never be 99.9 to infinity.
Since 1972 I can say openly that I have never carried a concealed firearm. I must also say that since then I cannot remember walking out my front door unarmed. I carry on my hip a Glock 9 in a 511 tactical thumb-lock holster and make no effort whatsoever to conceal it. I have gone the extent and posses a current Concealed Carry Permit. Since retirement, or perhaps better said, not being in uniform, I carry 17 rounds in the clip and ZERO in the chamber, which by the laws of my state declare it to be "unloaded". I shoot regularly and keep my skills at retrieving my weapon, chambering a round, acquiring my target (I'm talkin defensive or combat terms now) which will always be another human being whom I intend to double-tap and cause that he/she is dead before they collapse into the heap of flesh I have rehearsed in my mind 10,000 times in 28 years. On tactical courses I never shoot just to keep my weapon from getting rusty. I go there and practice with the full understanding that the next time I draw and fire away from that range it would be the real thing.
I live in a city of 87, 461 and county of 1,033,910 (2K10 census) and have made it regular practice to meet and greet as many LEO's as possible. I do that to establish as best I can a degree of communication that says clearly who I am, what I am, and if at any time, anywhere I happen upon an LEO engaging a combative individual I won't have to dispense with a lot of unnecessary verbiage to establish that this LEO now has a backup - well armed too!
Anyone can GOOGLE or You Tube thousands of videos of LEO/citizen encounters and refine the search to show 3rd party citizen involvement. In all the training received by every cop there is no matter how often, how varied the training, how capable the LEO is of taking physical control of a situation, one thing has never been taught and never will be - how to read anyone's mind! NO COP has the slightest idea of what is going to happen in the next few seconds when anyone not obviously an LEO enters that tiny little circle where the LEO is reacting not acting by deliberate thought. THEN comes the rest of the 10,000 people per square mile of this country who are not examples of good lawyers by being at the bottom of some sea who each have 10,000 tricks to find ways to prosecute anyone for anything and right now there lives and breaths otherwise good - I'll go way out on a limb here and say - GREAT American's whose biggest mistake was getting involved as they tried to help someone in uniform who was determined at the moment to be in dire need of help from anybody. So why would anyone even think about getting involved? One of our greatest cities, New York, just as one example, has by living the experience taught so many to NEVER get involved. I use this example: If I am beside a swimming pool which for whatever reason has no attendees anywhere in sight except for me and a child in the middle of the pool going down for the third time and has begged me to save his/her life. I could if I chose to do so just stand there and watch that child die and no court in this country could touch me because I "chose not to get involved" (Good-Samaritan laws for EMT's etc. so forth and so on not included here). Typing these words I know as I live and breathe what actually would happen in that exact, however, unlikely scenario actually happened. I would not think a single thought about who might sue me for a thousand different things because I wouldn't have time to think - I would be grasping a child from certain death and should the most unfortunate of all happen, the child dies anyway after all I could do, I will grieve but I will know in my mind and heart that all I could possibly do was done to save a life.
From the what if's, the maybe's, the could be's even the very good possibility that "this" outcome will be the case if you do "this" instead of "that" to a glimpse at the realities of life.
Anyone operating a motor vehicle on a public byway at any time is exercising a privilege - not a right. A law enforcement officer, however, does not and indeed cannot pull a vehicle over without what is termed in legalese: "Probable Cause". You have been observed by that officer or deputy sheriff or trooper doing something that he/she will have determined by a lot more than a casual glance to be in violation of one or more established ordinances, usually traffic in nature, and that officer has determined that it has become necessary to have a close-up and personal discussion with you about it. More often than not it will have been determined by the LEO that you have violated some ordinance termed as "a moving violation". NONE OF IT, EVEN SIGNING THE TICKET SAYS YOU ARE IN FACT GUILTY, that is for a court of law to determine or for you to admit to the charge and pay a fine that is has already been prescribed by those who make laws. Perhaps the vehicle you are driving has some problem such as a clearance light, tail-light, brake light, head-light, or any number of things that violates established laws and for which you can be issued a ticket for such things termed at the law: "A non-moving violation".
An LEO learns in formal training as well as experience that one of his most important functions out there is the understanding and practice of "DISCRETION". Just because you are stopped does not mean you WILL BE WRITTEN A TICKET - just as the hundreds of times you knowingly and willingly violated the law, usually by speeding, and you never saw a cop. You may be stopped knowing you are guilty of say for example doing 10 to 15 over the posted speed limit. You know you were speeding, you may even steel yourself for the coming shock of how much it is going to cost you, and you pull away without a ticket, a little education and hopefully a great deal of gratitude for a lesson well learned and don't speed again at least until you are sure the cop who stopped you is out of sight...
A reality of life that fits here is the one mentioned earlier. There are some who should not be cops - but are. There are citizens who should not have permits to carry - but do. You could be stopped every day at exactly the same place for exactly the same thing - only like the "Groundhog movie" - not at all related to the previous experiences, have a different cop stop you each time and have a number of different experiences from it. You may be unfortunate enough to have the worst of the cops who should seriously be doing something else in life stop you and YOU ARE going to be ticketed. You could have anger management issues and if the cop is as polite as can be you may go off on him/her and invite a kind of bad day you really do not want.
Did I write anywhere that I am NOT A LAWYER? I cannot, do not, and will not give legal advice but I can relate personal experiences that can cover a myriad of possible adventures - or misadventures. So, not, "WHAT TO DO IF..." but rather, "WHAT I DO WHEN...." and how it has worked out for me.
It is evening and I'm driving from here to there and (this part is purely speculative you understand) my mind is not on driving the car. In my rear-view mirror I see a set of OS lights and it becomes immediately understood by me that there is no intention to pass me. "OS", you know it well, what everyone says when they first seen them, "OH! Shucks", you change shucks, you know what is meant. My first thoughts are to place my self in the LEO's position. He/she is stopping an unknown situation and it likely is as routine as they come - happens hundreds of times every day - it's happening right now somewhere. It is also possible that what the dashboard camera is recording will in some time to come wind up on one of those reality shows and we will just drop that right there. I want that LEO to know as much about who and what is being stopped as possible because I know I have absolutely nothing to hide. If you are reading this and it is routine in your life to have plenty to hide - go read something else - this is not for you.
First thing I do is activate every interior light I have. I make a safe and prompt stop well to the right and activating my 4-ways impresses no one but you are not stopping at a rest stop so 4-ways are indicated. I DO roll all windows down, I do not want conversations about whether or not one is required by law to roll down windows, take that up with some one who cares. I place both hands at about 11 and 1 on the steering wheel and try not to stare directly into the 1 million candle power spot light now augmenting my own interior lights and I sit still and wait. I do everything in my power to demonstrate visually that as far as the LEO can see there is no threat here. He/she won't act any different because some might be amazed to learn that the bad guys know all the good things to do to draw attention away from what could be someone who just offed a gas station attendant and has been wanting to put a few into some cop for a while now. I only expect that I will visually demonstrate all I can to at least take a little off the edge. Depending on where the stop is will likely determine how and what side the LEO approaches. The freeway with cars zipping by all now 3 to 5 under the limit for several hundred yards or a back street or country road. The LEO initializes the conversation - not me. At the most opportune time, while doing my best to look directly at the LEO, but before moving my hands one inch, I'm going to state clearly and in a determined way so as to effect communication the LEO IS going to want to know and that 99.999 so on and so forth percent of the time the LEO will recognize something in my voice that will communicate that I pose no threat and I will be able to say something like, "Officer, and more likely than not I will have been able to read a name tag", or Deputy "Jones", I would like to inform you that I am legally armed and the firearm is on my right hip." If the LEO says anything that acknowledges that I have been understood yet places his/her hand over his/her own firearm I will be grateful that good training is not being ignored here. At this point any number of things can happen. "Likely" I will be thanked for the information and asked, perhaps to slowly remove my DL, registration and POI. Again, good training and I am glad to see it. The LEO may recover a step or two and ask me to exit the vehicle keeping both hands clearly visible, still, good training but I'm wondering what did I do or not do to cause such a reaction yet I'm thinking, "Ya know, I just haven't had my scanner on and I likely did not here that a person similar to my description was out and about and armed and dangerous..." Maybe this is one of those cops who shouldn't be out there anyway... bottom line, I don't care. I still have absolutely nothing to hide and right now, right here this cop has my undivided attention and cooperation to every perceived command is my only consideration.
As I slowly, deliberately, carefully perform every task required it will become immediately obvious that what cannot be mistaken for a cell phone is firmly, even tactically attached to my right hip yet my hands are frozen in a non-threatening, well raised attitude. I'm going to visit the comment posted about some LEO demanding that the citizen remove his firearm and hand it over.
Did I write up there anywhere that I AM NOT A LAWYER, that I do not, cannot, will not give legal advice?
Stopping citizens who are legally armed is not at all uncommon. Having citizens make deliberate attempts to help the LEO feel completely non-threatened unfortunately becomes almost a "I got my rights" display of ignorance. The LEO learning after the license, registration, POI is handed over and most assuredly by observation from a partner to the rear a bit but on the other side cannot possibly be a good thing. Handing the LEO your "paperwork" along with your concealed carry permit without verbalizing important facts - in my opinion - is not at all a smart thing to do. Might as well had over your "paperwork" with a 20 - 50 - or even a hundred folded neatly inside.
What I know: What my experience has been: Even what i would very likely do if:
You will never hand an LEO your entire wallet. You will remove your license and hand over only what is asked for. Too many very good cops have been sued, lost their jobs, had their department sued, because, "Well, your honor, when I gave him my wallet it had a thousand dollars in cash in it and later I noticed it was all gone..." If ANY LEO has asked me to step out of my vehicle I will gladly and safely comply. My car will already be in PARK and the parking brake, in my case a foot peddle, will have been firmly set but I will not reach for the ignition and turn the car off unless instructed to do so. If that LEO asks me politely even, or demands in no uncertain terms that I remove from it's safe place my firearm, remove the clip or not, and hand it over, regardless of how such a request/order is given I will politely but firmly state in very clear tones that the LEO may indeed have and review to his/her complete satisfaction that my permit is legal and the picture on it is me - but except I have been, emphasis on the HAVE BEEN arrested at which point I am bound to surrender peaceably and having that LEO remove my firearm while I am restrained or constrained by whatever means the LEO has determined is the best way to proceed will happen. I am and always have been law abiding in every sense but I also am obstinate as [auto-filtered]! I may forget to tell him/her that the weapon is secured in a 511 (the manufacturer) tactical thumb-lock holster used by many - but not all LEO's. The holster is designed to be virtually impossible to have the weapon removed say be someone sneaking up behind you or even in a scuffle and the thumb lock is located for the express advantage of the one wearing the holster. Should I forget to mention that and the weapon cannot be removed there will be a very PO'd cop! All of which will be part of my complete report when I sue the cop, his department, and some guy just standing across the street laughing about it all. Being completely law abiding does not mean that bad things don't happen to good people. Making sure the LEO is clearly advised in a non-threatening, no-combative way that I am legally armed, cooperating politely and completely, moving or not moving as directed to do so, exiting the vehicle in the prescribed manner with my own degree of added caution, further making every attempt I know how to make sure to politely and calmly assure and reassure the LEO that no harm is intended, demonstrated or implied does NOT mean that in the LEO's mind some degree or manner of threat from me to do deadly harm yet remains and disarming me can be reasonably argued is the one and only thing that will prevent me from taking that particular LEO back to "Traffic stop right way and wrong way class 101 in a New York minute".
If everyone who has a concealed carry permit were to adopt an attitude of cooperation and never have to any degree any such thoughts as "us against them" with law enforcement life would be so much better for all concerned. There will always be cops who would disarm any and all in a heartbeat because they feel threatened in ways other than physically and there will always be concealed carry holders who want to challenge the law at every turn. Information, education, honesty, determination to contribute to society and not burden it are the means and ways to close unwanted gaps. Ignorance and apathy are enemies of justice and only serve to widen gaps and create mistrust. Read every entry on this site about "bad experiences with LEO's from a concealed carry holder and it will become evident that in this case a "mistake was not evidence that someone tried to accomplish something good".
AS FOR "ACCIDENTAL DISCHARGE OF A FIREARM": I have read more than a couple entries in various postings here about "accidents" even "unwanted" rounds being fired. Ask anyone who ever sat in one of my classes or had me screaming in their ear loud enough so no hearing protection held back my words - "THERE HAS NEVER BEEN, THERE WILL NEVER BE ANY SUCH THING AS AN ACCIDENTAL DISCHARGE OF A FIREARM." Most assuredly in an enclosed setting, a classroom, a squad car, trying to impress the girls, it may be deemed "AN UNINTENTIONAL DISCHARGE" but by definition an accident is: "An unplanned and unfortunate event that results in damage, injury, or upset of some kind; an event that happens completely by chance, with no planning or deliberate intent..." BALONEY! An Accident with a firearm is stupidity and can't fix stupid! "EVERY FIREARM IS ALWAYS LOADED AND READY TO FIRE - NOW." If we learn it that way, live it that way, eat drink and sleep it that way, there will still be funerals that did not have to happen - we are, after all, only human.
I mentioned above that since retirement I never have a round in the chamber and it has nothing to do with legalities or technicalities or any such baloney! It is because I trust myself, my experience, events that are normal in an extremely tense moment when it would be necessary that I draw and fire upon some dirt-bag (I'm retired now, I can say that) and not so as to wound or discharge that ever so famous warning shot! The only warning shot anyone will ever hear me fire is the one(s) I just emptied into the center body cavity, ocular region, or if possible directly through the Medulla Oblongata effectively shutting this dirt-bags lights off so that even a nerve reflex will not happen causing a trigger pull. That warning will say clearly if this now pile of flesh crumpled up like a dropped sack of potatoes has an accomplice who may want to join the exchange "I had 17 rounds to fire and only 5 or so were used, and yes I know, you only heard at the most 2, maybe 3..." There is a reason I spend lot's of time at the range!
Please remember opinions and noses. At the law, however, the only opinion that matters is the one rendered in a court of law. For established laws, I'm talkin traffic laws particularly, ignorance is NEVER a defense. Learn traffic laws, practice obeying them, the cop on the job is not the judge or jury and no one is guilty of anything until it is proven to be guilt. Arguing with an LEO is never a good Idea, even if the LEO is absolutely wrong and may even be at the bottom of that list of those who should not be cops. At another time i would love to tell the story of a seasoned deputy who issued me a traffic citation at 1:30 am in the parking lot of a Home Depot in Colorado. The charge - "Reckless Driving". I was an off duty deputy from another county - so what? He was dead wrong and I told him so in very clear language. I also told him in a matter-of-fact way that I would "eat his breakfast in court" for this act of stupidity. - after the ticket was written, issued to me and he wanted to get out of there - it was 8 degrees above 0. Well, I had his lunch and supper too and handed the young prosecutor a well prepared lesson in legalese 101! This was a rare exception, the deputy was absolutely wrong, and my driving record remains spotless until this day.
Thank you gobbly for great reading with your LEO Good Experience.
"bonum commune hominis"