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Can my mom make a traffic stop?

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  • Can my mom make a traffic stop?

    Quick question, I live in California. I have a few members of my family that are or have been in law enforcement. My grandmother was a parole officer, she drove a state issued car for work. My mom is a DMV investigator, her vest says police, she won't answer this question for me, she just says I don't make traffic stops; but what if she did one day? Then I think about other police officers like insurance investigators like the one in the photo, etc so if you saw a traffic stop pulled over to assist and the guy was a parole officer and he told you I'm just giving these people a warning, or I'm an insurance investigator, a DMV investigator and I'm making this traffic stop because this driver was driving recklessly. What would you say or do? Okay let's assume they are on duty if that makes any difference. My mom doesn't drive a car with lights and sirens but let's say she fitted one with lights and sirens and made a traffic stop, keeping in mind that she is law enforcement. Is it likely that you'd take over and write the driver a ticket, call that person's employer, just stay to assist, ask what the heck are you doing? What would happen?

  • #2
    Why do you care? An Ohio BMV investigator does not wear a uniform or drive a marked car, nor do they make traffic stops. They have power to enforce certain sections of the Ohio Revised Code relating to the theft, fraud, misuse, etc. of items related to the BMV. I imagine the insurance investigators do not have the statute authority either. Their equivalent in Ohio does not. All of that said, I don't know California law, but others on the forum do.

    If someone without the authority to make a traffic stop makes a traffic stop for a traffic violation, I would ID the driver, tell them to have a nice day, and report the officer in question to their supervisor You're not going to get me jammed up in your mess). I cannot write a ticket for someone else.
    Last edited by just joe; 02-28-2020, 10:49 PM.

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    • #3
      All California peace officers have authority anywhere in the state. There are many different police agencies within California and the state Legislature has passed laws defining the specific mission (responsibility) of each. In the case of DMV Investigators such as your mom, their mission is to enforce those provisions of law involving the operation of the Department of Motor Vehicles, or enforcing the law on premises occupied by the DMV.

      Now, that is not an exclusive mission (the only thing they can do). As previously stated, all peace officers have authority in the state and it is within their discretion to enforce laws not related to their mission. However, such exceptions are usually reserved for major incidents where there is a great and imminent risk of death or serious injury to others.

      Taking action in someone else's jurisditiction for minor issues such as traffic violations is generally frowned upon for a number of reasons. First, it is not your responsibility. You are wasting your time and budget funds enforcing the law in someone else's jurisdiction. This is sometimes regarded as a misuse of public funds (your agency's budget money). If things go to crap, you are unable to communicate quickly with local law enforcement for assistance. While not unlawful, it is considered inappropriate to perform traffic enforcement in an unmarked vehicle and while in plain clothes. People often think such officers are impersonators and resist. The list is endless, so let's just say, yes, your mom is right, she doesn't do traffic.

      Should a dangerous incident come up when you and your mother are presenct, I would also caution you against making your mother's identity as a peace officer known. No doubt she will be quietly evaluating the situation, determining what action to take, when to act, whether acting at the wrong time (or at all) might needlessly endanger others, and possibly even deciding whether taking no action might be the least risk action of all. If you identify her as a peace officer, a criminal's focus will now be on her and how to neutralize any threat she may pose to him. In other words, you could get her killed if you out her. In such a situation, keep quiet and don't say or do anything to identify her or push her into taking action.
      Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere

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      • #4
        What is the point of this?

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        • #5
          The kid wanted to know why you don't poach in someone's else's jurisdiction.
          Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere

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          • Iowa #1603
            Iowa #1603 commented
            Editing a comment
            And like many children ..............doesn't believe his mother

          • L-1
            L-1 commented
            Editing a comment
            Sometimes its helpful to offer a little better explanation beyond "Because I said so" .

        • #6
          There are a lot of cops who CAN do things, but don’t usually do them for various reasons.

          Example: In CO parole officers are fully empowered police officers. They CAN arrest and charge anyone for anything anywhere in the state. However, if they get involved in a case that has nothing to do with parolees, they pass it off to local jurisdiction... they don’t have time to get wrapped up in stuff that isn’t their primary concern. If they make a traffic stop, which they CAN do, they don’t carry the citations and the court dates to issue tickets in every county in the state... it’s all different in each place.

          Likewise, a state park ranger in CO is a fully empowered peace officer everywhere in the state. Again, they CAN make stops and arrests outside state parks, and when I worked as a rural sheriff’s deputy I probably was backed up by park rangers as much as anyone else. ...but if they are out performing traffic enforcement outside their park, they have to explain to the boss why. They are paid to do work INSIDE the park. Once in a while, if the guy was weaving or going incredibly fast and they just happened to be there is fine, we all are concerned for public safety... but doing it on the regular is a no-go.

          There are limited jurisdiction departments in some states that can ONLY enforce certain statutes but those are becoming more rare because it’s just too useful to use one type of crime to get the bad guys, Al Capone when to prison for tax evasion, for example.
          "I am a Soldier. I fight where I'm told and I win where I fight." -- GEN George S. Patton, Jr.

          "With a brother on my left and a sister on my right, we face…. We face what no one should face. We face, so no one else would face. We are in the face of Death." -- Holli Peet

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          • #7
            All depends on the state kid. In Illinois the DMV is called the Secretary of State, and they have their own police department, with full uniforms and marked squad cars. However, most police officers in Illinois, including myself, can't tell you what the Secretary of State police actually do besides enforce handicapped parking at large shopping malls on black Friday

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            • #8
              Originally posted by Lawman25 View Post
              However, most police officers in Illinois, including myself, can't tell you what the Secretary of State police actually do besides enforce handicapped parking at large shopping malls on black Friday
              When you find out, please let me know.
              Gov Blagojevich - "I'am the American dream...."

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              • #9
                Originally posted by Lawman25 View Post
                All depends on the state kid. In Illinois the DMV is called the Secretary of State, and they have their own police department, with full uniforms and marked squad cars. However, most police officers in Illinois, including myself, can't tell you what the Secretary of State police actually do besides enforce handicapped parking at large shopping malls on black Friday
                I have only seen them at Beef Shacks. Or Portillo's. I think they enforce those handicapped spots and then go eat Italian beefs.

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                • #10
                  I've been called by an ATF agent to a shoplifter at a big box store. He, and his partner, just happened to be in the area and noticed this guy running from loss prevention out the front door. Staff hadn't had time to call dispatch at this point. ATF agents hop out of their ride, detain the runner, and call us directly. Was it their job? No. Did they have to take action? No. Did we have a good relationship with them, thus they were willing to help out? Yes. Most any decent LEO will step in WHEN IT'S NEEDED to take action and help whatever local jurisdiction they're in. If it doesn't fall under their specific mission as dictated by policy, law, or whatever, they'll hand everything off to the locals, as our ATF buddies did here. We don't go looking for things in somebody else's back yard.

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