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Probable cause // future course of action questions

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  • Probable cause // future course of action questions

    You've received a report of some possible drug sales going on at a certain address. The complainant states the following observations:

    Two of the persons in question live at that address. Several others hang out on the porch with those residents late at night.

    Complainant has observed others arriving, then one of the "porch sitters" (not the residents) goes over to a vehicle in the driveway, spends a bit of time inside, then emerges and hands something to the visitor. The visitor then leaves. This happens several times.

    In addition, every once in a while the cell phone of one of the "porch sitters" (not the residents) lights up. That individual then goes over to that same vehicle, spends a few minutes inside, then goes over to another car, drives off, and then returns a few minutes later.

    The complainant is able to give the plate # of the car that is frequently "visited." That car belongs to the residents at the address given.

    These activities go on several nights in a row. It is in an area well-known for illegal drug activity.

    Keep in mind the installation of a police surveillance camera less than half a block away. Camera was installed to deter drug sales on the corner.

    The location of the porch puts it out of reach of the camera.

    You and another officer drive up (separate cars) in response to the call. As you are doing so, half the people scatter. The residents go inside, leaving three individuals (none of whom were the persons observed engaging in the above-described actions, other than sitting on the porch).

    ****

    1) Is the complainant's suspicion of illegal drug sales reasonable?

    2) Assuming a yes answer to the above, what is YOUR course of action?

    2) Is there probable cause to search the vehicle, or are the complainant's observations insufficient?

    3) What is the complainant's best course of action if/when this scenario is repeated? [Excluding moving.]
    Hatred never ceases by hatred, but by love alone is healed.
    Happiness never decreases by being shared. -- Buddhist quotation
    A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger. -- Proverbs 15:1

  • #2
    1) Is the complainant's suspicion of illegal drug sales reasonable?
    Yes.

    2) Assuming a yes answer to the above, what is YOUR course of action?
    Forward the complaint to the drug unit or condct a traffic stop on the vehicle if they are speeding, headlight out, ect..

    2) Is there probable cause to search the vehicle, or are the complainant's observations insufficient?
    No probable cause exists

    3) What is the complainant's best course of action if/when this scenario is repeated? [Excluding moving.]
    Call the police. If a drug unit gets involved conact them, as they may already be being watched
    __________________

    Comment


    • #3
      ^^^
      What he said. Make every effort to ID as many people on location as possible prior to forwarding the case to narco. I'd really look to make a traffic stop off of it. You may get a dope pinch, and give the narcos someone to try and flip, plus the caller sees some form of response from the PD.
      Last edited by CUFFS137; 08-17-2008, 04:11 PM.

      Comment


      • #4
        If this were in your jurisdiction, would you be interested in digital photos of the persons involved, in order to assist in ID?

        Of course, names would be better (or in addition), but would photos help?

        It is understood that photos are insufficient as evidence for charges. But would they help you as a police officer who covers that street? Note that these are relatively new residents and you may not have made their acquaintance yet.

        Originally posted by CUFFS137 View Post
        ^^^
        What he said. Make every effort to ID as many people on location as possible prior to forwarding the case to narco. I'd really look to make a traffic stop off of it. You may get a dope pinch, and give the narcos someone to try and flip, plus the caller sees some form of response from the PD.
        Hatred never ceases by hatred, but by love alone is healed.
        Happiness never decreases by being shared. -- Buddhist quotation
        A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger. -- Proverbs 15:1

        Comment


        • #5
          Faces to go with names is always good, BUT that might be something the narcos want to do for themselves as the often have covert surveillance vehicles, and cameras for that purpose. A patrol guy snapping photos will definetely tip off the dealers, and the opportunity for a good case may then cease.
          It depends on the way your PD works. You may be good to go taking photos, you may be stepping on some toes.

          Comment


          • #6
            What about EXISTING photos taken by the complainant?

            Originally posted by CUFFS137 View Post
            Faces to go with names is always good, BUT that might be something the narcos want to do for themselves as the often have covert surveillance vehicles, and cameras for that purpose. A patrol guy snapping photos will definetely tip off the dealers, and the opportunity for a good case may then cease.
            It depends on the way your PD works. You may be good to go taking photos, you may be stepping on some toes.
            Hatred never ceases by hatred, but by love alone is healed.
            Happiness never decreases by being shared. -- Buddhist quotation
            A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger. -- Proverbs 15:1

            Comment


            • #7
              Yeah...nagging vigilante type callers do this alot. They hand you the photo, and expect you to run right over, and arrest someone. A still photo is useless for prosecution. Drug deal, guys hangin' on the porch talkin' football, what is is it?
              Take the above courses of action, and advise the caller to not take any action other than maybe calling the PD during times of high traffic, and/ or jotting down tag numbers from inside of their house. If the area or players are that bad, and they catch the caller taking pictures you wind up with bigger problems than a drug house.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by rubyrose View Post
                You've received a report of some possible drug sales going on at a certain address. The complainant states the following observations:

                Two of the persons in question live at that address. Several others hang out on the porch with those residents late at night.

                Complainant has observed others arriving, then one of the "porch sitters" (not the residents) goes over to a vehicle in the driveway, spends a bit of time inside, then emerges and hands something to the visitor. The visitor then leaves. This happens several times.

                In addition, every once in a while the cell phone of one of the "porch sitters" (not the residents) lights up. That individual then goes over to that same vehicle, spends a few minutes inside, then goes over to another car, drives off, and then returns a few minutes later.

                The complainant is able to give the plate # of the car that is frequently "visited." That car belongs to the residents at the address given.

                These activities go on several nights in a row. It is in an area well-known for illegal drug activity.

                Keep in mind the installation of a police surveillance camera less than half a block away. Camera was installed to deter drug sales on the corner.

                The location of the porch puts it out of reach of the camera.

                You and another officer drive up (separate cars) in response to the call. As you are doing so, half the people scatter. The residents go inside, leaving three individuals (none of whom were the persons observed engaging in the above-described actions, other than sitting on the porch).

                ****

                1) Is the complainant's suspicion of illegal drug sales reasonable?

                2) Assuming a yes answer to the above, what is YOUR course of action?

                2) Is there probable cause to search the vehicle, or are the complainant's observations insufficient?

                3) What is the complainant's best course of action if/when this scenario is repeated? [Excluding moving.]

                It depends on your judge and it depends on the Officers experience in narcotic arrest and investigation wheter or not they can take down the automobile. As for the scattering individuals, Ludlow case gives officer enough to detain and pat them down..anything in the house they'd need a search warrant unless they actually saw them running with the drugs in their hands into the house then with those exigent circumstances they could go in without a warrant..like I said in the beginning, regardless of case law and experience the officer has, it depends on what will fly in YOUR court with YOUR judge..
                "Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they made a difference in the world. The MARINES don't have that problem." ....Ronald Reagan

                Comment


                • #9
                  Intriguing update

                  Just a few minutes ago, an officer known to the complainant stopped a car right on the corner in front of the complainant's house (and across from the target house). Driver was initially argumentative. Officer said: "Do you want to do this the hard way or the easy way?" Driver then gave license & registration to the officer.

                  A few minutes later the officer returned the documents, and not only did not ticket the driver but also did not give any warnings or explanations for the stop. Officer said: "See, that was easy. No tickets! Have a nice day."

                  Driver left. Officer sat for a while apparently completing paper work but periodically looking up and eyeing the target house. Resident who was on the porch gets up and goes inside.

                  Complainant grins to herself.

                  [Yes, the complainant is yours truly.]
                  Hatred never ceases by hatred, but by love alone is healed.
                  Happiness never decreases by being shared. -- Buddhist quotation
                  A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger. -- Proverbs 15:1

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Narcos will commonly have patrol make cars stops strictly for the purpose of making ID's on targeted subjects. The contacts will usually be quick, seemingly 'routine' stops, involving no searches or arrests.
                    If this is the case, it's all part of the process.

                    **AND**

                    Why didn't you just say that you were the complaintant to begin with? What I said about the "nagging vigilante type caller" holds true, but it is not always the case, so please do not take offense. Just take tags, and give them to narcotics. The players may be part of a larger on-going invest.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      No offense taken! I understand "nagging vigilantes." However, I do suggest that while officers might see them that way, it might be more accurate to view them as FRUSTRATED but uninformed residents instead.

                      I didn't identify myself as complainant because I've gotten royally reamed out for "calling attention to myself." Trying not to make this all about me, and instead about the topic.

                      Besides, it's helpful to see what people's reacts would be if the question is stated in the abstract. I do believe I've gotten better responses that way. Instead of responding by bringing in baggage from my previous posts, respondents actually stayed on topic!

                      And glad to see that my presumption that action is in fact being taken is likely correct.

                      Originally posted by CUFFS137 View Post
                      Narcos will commonly have patrol make cars stops strictly for the purpose of making ID's on targeted subjects. The contacts will usually be quick, seemingly 'routine' stops, involving no searches or arrests.
                      If this is the case, it's all part of the process.

                      **AND**

                      Why didn't you just say that you were the complaintant to begin with? What I said about the "nagging vigilante type caller" holds true, but it is not always the case, so please do not take offense. Just take tags, and give them to narcotics. The players may be part of a larger on-going invest.
                      Last edited by rubyrose; 08-17-2008, 08:08 PM.
                      Hatred never ceases by hatred, but by love alone is healed.
                      Happiness never decreases by being shared. -- Buddhist quotation
                      A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger. -- Proverbs 15:1

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Oh god, I can't stop myself anymore.

                        Ok, here's what you need to do:

                        Go over there, buy some crack, and then call the police. Show them what you got. They should make at least one arrest.

                        Option 2: Move.
                        "Why is common sense so rare?" - Me

                        By the way.. They aren't "Clients" or "Customers" they're CRIMINALS... sheesh

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by rubyrose View Post
                          . . . then one of the "porch sitters" (not the residents) goes over to a vehicle in the driveway, spends a bit of time inside, then emerges and hands something to the visitor.
                          If they're drug dealers then the "complainant" has stumbled across the world's dumbest drug dealers. Why wait to do to the hand to hand transaction until after "emerging" from the vehicle? The whole purpose of getting in a car to do a deal is to make it harder for someone to see the transaction.

                          1) Is the complainant's suspicion of illegal drug sales reasonable?
                          Maybe, but really they are pretty dumb if they are doing it as you describe.
                          2) Assuming a yes answer to the above, what is YOUR course of action?
                          Assuming it's "reasonable suspicion", but NOT probable cause there is not much you can do. If a cop can articulate a reasonable suspicion the officer might be able to conduct an investigative stop (aka Terry Stop) of someone outside the residence, but he's not likely to get much out of that stop unless the officer also has a reasonable suspicion that that the person is also armed, which woud justify a frisk for weapons (in addition to the investigative stop.)
                          2) Is there probable cause to search the vehicle, or are the complainant's observations insufficient?
                          IMHO, if it's just based off of observations from the "complainant" there is not PC for a search.
                          3) What is the complainant's best course of action if/when this scenario is repeated? [Excluding moving.]
                          Keep calling the cops if the "complainant" is willing to accept the risk created by repeatedly calling in complaints on these people.

                          Maybe this has been asked before, but why do you keep coming here with these questions, rather than ask the local PD with you whom you are making these complaints? Seems to me you're better off getting the info straight from the people who actually are responding to your complaints.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Yep, the dealers are dumb. Especially dumb to have moved their operations directly in front of the home of someone known to call 911 and report such activities.

                            I DO ask the local PD. I get faster and more diverse answers here, and I like to have the answers quickly so I can better interpret what is happening on the street.

                            The officers I work with get hundreds of emails a day and I don't want to bother them with questions that can get answered here. Also, when I have the question the officer may be off duty, possibly for several days.

                            And I learn a lot by posting questions here. You give me much more detailed responses than I get from them.

                            You all are CHOOSING to do this. Nobody makes you respond to my questions, or even read them. It's not part of your job so you don't have to answer them if you don't want to. If you don't like them, don't answer them. If you consider them a waste of time...uhhhh....why are you posting a response?



                            Originally posted by SA13 View Post
                            If they're drug dealers then the "complainant" has stumbled across the world's dumbest drug dealers. Why wait to do to the hand to hand transaction until after "emerging" from the vehicle? The whole purpose of getting in a car to do a deal is to make it harder for someone to see the transaction.

                            Maybe, but really they are pretty dumb if they are doing it as you describe.Assuming it's "reasonable suspicion", but NOT probable cause there is not much you can do. If a cop can articulate a reasonable suspicion the officer might be able to conduct an investigative stop (aka Terry Stop) of someone outside the residence, but he's not likely to get much out of that stop unless the officer also has a reasonable suspicion that that the person is also armed, which woud justify a frisk for weapons (in addition to the investigative stop.)IMHO, if it's just based off of observations from the "complainant" there is not PC for a search.Keep calling the cops if the "complainant" is willing to accept the risk created by repeatedly calling in complaints on these people.

                            Maybe this has been asked before, but why do you keep coming here with these questions, rather than ask the local PD with you whom you are making these complaints? Seems to me you're better off getting the info straight from the people who actually are responding to your complaints.
                            Last edited by rubyrose; 08-18-2008, 03:45 AM.
                            Hatred never ceases by hatred, but by love alone is healed.
                            Happiness never decreases by being shared. -- Buddhist quotation
                            A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger. -- Proverbs 15:1

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Oh, you are a stitch.

                              Or you are stupid enough to think I am as stupid as you.

                              Or both.

                              Like, yeah, I'm dumb enough to go buy crack and take it to the police.

                              Like, yeah, these dealers are dumb, but they are not so dumb as to sell crack to ME even if I were dumb enough to try to buy it.

                              And who says they are selling crack, anyway?

                              Like, ummm

                              Why should I move?

                              Why should the law-abiding citizen leave her chosen place of residence, rather than the criminals, whose place of residence should be jail or prison?

                              I love your idea of law enforcement. Make the law abiding citizens move.

                              That one should be engraved on a big gold plate, as the award given to the cop who most doesn't want to do his job.

                              As opposed to the attitudes of the terrific officers I've worked with (including the one who did the fake traffic stop above), who are eager to make the arrests but need to work through the bureaucracy (thanks to others for explaining it to me!) in order to make it happen, so it takes a while.

                              Good thing you don't work here. Second thought: they probably wouldn't hire you here.

                              Originally posted by 10-31Mike View Post
                              Oh god, I can't stop myself anymore.

                              Ok, here's what you need to do:

                              Go over there, buy some crack, and then call the police. Show them what you got. They should make at least one arrest.

                              Option 2: Move.
                              Last edited by rubyrose; 08-18-2008, 04:11 AM.
                              Hatred never ceases by hatred, but by love alone is healed.
                              Happiness never decreases by being shared. -- Buddhist quotation
                              A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger. -- Proverbs 15:1

                              Comment

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