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  • Off-Duty Arrests

    When does your agency require you to take off-duty action?

    Obviously any cop would take action when observing a serious felony in progress, but are you required to take action if you see someone shoplifting or something like that?

  • #2
    .............................
    Last edited by Frank Booth; 02-27-2005, 01:26 AM.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Frank Booth
      Not me....The only action I would take is to call 911 unless I thought I or someone I was with was about to get shot.....When they pay me 24/7, I'll be the police 24/7.......
      im wit you brother. unless somebody is in immediate danger of dying or serious injury, i aint doin squat. im off the clock. i dont need to get involved in everything.
      "The American public will find it refreshing to see a Republican candidate, who's not a moralistic, sexually repressed, crusading hypocrite, who cruises airport men's rooms late at night."
      William Shatner

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      • #4
        My agency doesn't require a response in any situation when you are off duty. I tend to lean toward the don't get involved unless life and limb is at risk, and then I only get involved very carefully. Too many things can go wrong when you're off duty and you don't have all the tools available that you have when you're on duty (radio, baton, oc, handcuffs, etc).

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        • #5
          Most departments probably require that you do "something" but something is a relative term. You are more likely to get yourself in legal trouble off duty than on. To me *something* could mean as little as calling 911. I usually tried to stay there, call 911 and await the on duty units. While waiting I would observe what was going on, descriptions of people involved, plate numbers, etc... and then give all that info to the arriving units to do what they wanted with it. But hey... that's just me.

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          • #6
            My agency "strongly" states that we do not get involved in off-duty incidents, other than a life or death situation, and only then if there is no other choice
            Retired

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            • #7
              My agency is the Veteran's Affairs Police, and we are absolutely forbidden to conduct any LE business off duty because of our jurisdiction and rules.
              Matthew 5:9

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              • #8
                We have arrest power in all of NY state for Felony and Misdemeanor offenses while on or off-duty. So you *could* make any arrest. The department would like you do only do that if you are armed and immediate action in needed, however if for some reason you felt compelled to arrest someone for a Minor property crime or something that was non life threating you would not get in any trouble. Some of the guys you work with might give you a hard time and I'm sure the PBA would not be to happy.

                I have never had to take action off-duty, but my partner did arrest a guy for assault while off-duty. No problems with it at all.

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                • #9
                  department policy is that unless there is significant risk to human life we are to take no action in an off-duty situation, we are to be a good witness, if there is risk to human life we are to take whatever action we deem safe and appropriate.
                  never forget: www.odmp.org

                  "In peace time our best still don battledress and lay their lives on the line"

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                  • #10
                    My former department had policy for off-duty only if there was immediate danger to life limb or property and common sense prevailed.

                    I did make one off-duty arrest though, actually was party to it with two other off-duty deputies. We had just come back from the Training Center in Forsyth (GPSTC), it was late and we decided to hit a local Waffle House and upon leaving we spot a guy we had been looking for most of the week on two outstanding felony warrants out of Bibb County.

                    We were actually in Bibb County but the suspect lived in our jurisdiction.

                    He was across the common parking lot pumping gas at a quickie so we waited on him to go in to pay we quickly made our way to the front of the store and nabbed him as he came out, took him down clean with very little work.

                    All of us were armed and one guy had cuffs.

                    Called BSO and they were there inside of 5 minutes and took custody, we went downtown POV and all filled out supplementals for the arresting BSO officer.

                    Didn
                    "I neither approve or blame. I merely relate."- Voltaire

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                    • #11
                      I work for a large federal agency. We have "good samaritan protection" that if we intervene off duty (or on duty) when we witness a crime that seriously endangers life or property we will be considered to be "within the scope of our employment" which protects us from almost any personal criminal or civil liability. That said, while they mildy encourage getting involved off-duty, there is no penalty for not engaging a perpetrator.

                      The last time I apprehended someone off duty, I was coming back from the gym in shorts with only a gun. No cuffs, no phone. I saw police cars heading north code 3 and saw two punks running south with a citizen chasing them yelling they had robbed the Amoco. After taking both subjects down at gun point in an alley, I had to send the citizen back out to get an officer. When the officer arrived, I could tell from the look on his face that he wasn't expecting to come up on a sweaty grungy guy with a gun and an unfamiliar badge.

                      Later, I had a lot of second thoughts on how badly I had been prepared and how lucky I was that things came out okay in the end. In other words, I was pretty stupid.

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                      • #12
                        We are not required to do anything. Be a good "witness" is what they preach at our academy. I have seen an LASO training tape of what can go wrong.

                        Example #1:

                        off duty deputy, 5 shot 38. Multiple armed robbers at a market. He is OUTSIDE with his young daughter. When it was done, the daughter had been shot and killed. He spoke up on the tape and obviously regrets his decision.

                        We all make our own choices, but I like the rest of you try to stay out of the mix when not getting paid.
                        "Don't bother to run, you will only go to jail tired!"

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                        • #13
                          PS

                          In CA we are peace officers with powers 24/7.

                          I arrested a guy one time who I though was car jacking a lady. He was hanging out the back door and she was crashing into stuff trying to get him out. It turned out to be a domestic. I made real sure he knew I was a deputy, along with all the witnesses. I wanted to make sure my dept. covered me if something went south. He went to the pokey, but I'd rather have not got involved had I known it was DV. I would have just called 911.
                          "Don't bother to run, you will only go to jail tired!"

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                          • #14
                            Put simply...Be a good witness unless your life is put in danger. I'll tell you a brief story about a Deputy that got involed in an off duty incident.

                            To protect his identity will call him Deputy Do Right. Deputy Do Right was driving home from work and noticed two suspicious subjects that were walking in his nieghborhood. Deputy Do Right gets out of his vehicle (Leaving his keys in the ingnition. Remeber key point to story) and contacts the two subjects. When Deputy Do Right contacts the subjects they run from him. Well if your a cop you can guess what happenes next. For some cops this can be a bad habit to break. Deputy Do Right chases the subjects. Both subjects run in different directions. While the Deputy is giving chase, he noticed one of the subjects entering his vehicle. Remember Deputy Do Right left his vehicle running. One of the subjects took the deputy's vehicle and drove away from the scene. See where I'm going with this, It get's better. Well Deputy Do Right has his HT or radio with him and called this out over the air. By now everybody and thier mother is on there way to Deputy Do Right's location. To make matters worse, one of the repsonding deputies enroute to the call gets involved in a non-injury traffic collision.

                            This situation probably could have been avoided. The subjects the Deputy contacted did not do anything flagrant prior to the foot pursuit. Basically this was an off duty ped check gone wrong. It was obviouse these guys walking in the Deputy's nieghborhood were probably up to no good. A better course of action would have been to call the dispatcher, give a good description and have a patrol deputy who is better equipped contact these guys. Sometimes you have to wiegh your options before getting involved in any off duty LE activity.

                            The Deputy who was involved in this situation is a good Troop and for the most part makes sound decsions. He just had a brain fart that day. Believe me he was harrassed by his fellow deputies for a long time after this stunt. For those inquiring minds, Deputy Do Right's vehicle was recovered.


                            "Police work is long hours of boredom interrupted by moments of sheer horror."

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