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  • Off duty incident question

    I would like to hear from various departments on the following question. If you were off duty, out of your jurisdiction, and the following happened would you take action, would you be covered, why or why not?

    Your on vacation when you stop to gas up your family vehicle at a gas station out of your jurisdiction. While pumping gas you see a man run from the store. Moments later you see a woman run out after him yelling stop him, he just robbed me, he shot the other store clerk. Would you get involved and take action? If so would you be covered from any lawsuit the scum bag was to throw at you? I wish to hear from all, especially those in MISSISSIPPI.

  • #2
    "Your on vacation when you stop to gas up your family vehicle at a gas station out of your jurisdiction."

    Please clarify...is the family in the car with me? If so, No action besides getting his 'scrip and direction of travel.

    Family's waiting for me at the hotel, yeah, I would follow him and keep 911 on the phone. Don't think I'd attempt to apprehend him though...even though I'd want to.
    Went to Get a Cold Pop

    Comment


    • #3
      First and foremost, if you are off duty and with your family, your first consideration is for their safety and the tactical situation. You are alone, without communication, without body armor, you don't know the neighborhood and if you run around in plain clothes waving a gun, the local cops may think you a bad guy and shoot you. Quite often the best course of action in such cases is to just be a good witness and keep your family safe.

      With that said and assuming you choose to throw caution to the wind, I see two issues here, authority and backing from your department if a civil suit were to arise out of any action you take.

      If this happened in California and it involved a California peace officer, in 99.9% of the cases he would have the authority to act. Irrespective of what their primary jurisdiction is, in California, just about every peace officer has authority anywhere in the state for a public offense with respect to which there is immediate danger to person or property, or of the escape of the perpetrator of that offense.

      However, when it comes to your department defending you against civil suits, than can be another story. In most cases your department will do so as alifornia law mandates that they defend you against civil suits that arise out of you acting in your official capacity. However, if the officer acts outrageously and outside his department's guidelines, his employer can claim that by doing so he was not acting in his official capacity or as their agent and refuse to defend him.
      Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere

      Comment


      • #4
        Family was in the car a safe distance away. He ran out and around the store corner opposite of us. I gave foot chase, caught him approximate 3 blocks away. I had to do what I had to do as far as laying hands on him. I held him until the local pd got there. It turned out he shot the clerk with only a paint ball gun. Now he has filed a formal complaint against me for as he called it "unnecessary roughness". The powers that be has informed me that I am not covered under any code and that I am on my own. They plan to have a hearing with a possible negative out turn. I just wanted to see what other think. I thought I was doing right but now see why so many people always reply when ask about something- "I dont know nothing about nothing", "I didn't see a thing." Was I wrong for taking action?

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Sixthscent View Post
          Family was in the car a safe distance away. He ran out and around the store corner opposite of us. I gave foot chase, caught him approximate 3 blocks away. I had to do what I had to do as far as laying hands on him. I held him until the local pd got there. It turned out he shot the clerk with only a paint ball gun. Now he has filed a formal complaint against me for as he called it "unnecessary roughness". The powers that be has informed me that I am not covered under any code and that I am on my own. They plan to have a hearing with a possible negative out turn. I just wanted to see what other think. I thought I was doing right but now see why so many people always reply when ask about something- "I dont know nothing about nothing", "I didn't see a thing." Was I wrong for taking action?
          I see three issues only you can address:

          1. What do your state's laws say about your peace officer authority?. How far does it extend outside of your jurisdiction and under what circumstances? Did your actions fall within that authority?

          2. What does your department policy say about taking action when off duty and outside of your jurisdiction? Did you act within that policy?

          3. What do your state's laws say about when a government agency is required to defend its employees against a civil action? Do you fall within that criteria?

          If I understand you correctly, your department has said you are not covered under any code, that you are on your own and that you were essentially acting as a citizen rather than as their officer. Yet at the same time, they plan to have a hearing with a possible negative outcome based upon the suspect's claim of excessive force. I find this confusing. If their position is that you were acting as a citizen in someone else's jurisdiction, I don't know why they would be investigating you in an official capacity as an officer. Any question of force used by you as a citizen would be a matter between you and the other police department. On the other hand, if your department feels you may have used excessive force in your official capacity as their officer and needs to investigate such, then they should be defending you for any law suits that arouse out of your acting in your official capacity as well. They can't have it both ways.
          Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere

          Comment


          • #6
            Any Texas police officer has the authority to respond to a felony in progress, a breach of the peace, public intoxication, and DWI even if the offense occurs outside his/her jurisdiction.

            Now would I responed if I was alone with my family? No. I'd be more concerned about their safety.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by L-1 View Post
              I see three issues only you can address:

              1. What do your state's laws say about your peace officer authority?. How far does it extend outside of your jurisdiction and under what circumstances? Did your actions fall within that authority?

              2. What does your department policy say about taking action when off duty and outside of your jurisdiction? Did you act within that policy?

              3. What do your state's laws say about when a government agency is required to defend its employees against a civil action? Do you fall within that criteria?

              If I understand you correctly, your department has said you are not covered under any code, that you are on your own and that you were essentially acting as a citizen rather than as their officer. Yet at the same time, they plan to have a hearing with a possible negative outcome based upon the suspect's claim of excessive force. I find this confusing. If their position is that you were acting as a citizen in someone else's jurisdiction, I don't know why they would be investigating you in an official capacity as an officer. Any question of force used by you as a citizen would be a matter between you and the other police department. On the other hand, if your department feels you may have used excessive force in your official capacity as their officer and needs to investigate such, then they should be defending you for any law suits that arouse out of your acting in your official capacity as well. They can't have it both ways.
              +1

              In most states a Peace Officer has police powers throughout the state 24/7. Also, you should have some sort of legal representation either through your local POA or state POA that provides legal assitance. In CA they have CPOA (www.CPOA.org) and in TX we have CLEAT (www.CLEAT.org). It appears in MS you have Mississippi PBA (www.mspba.org), if you are a member check with them for legal support, if not join and see if you can get some support even after the fact.

              Good luck and keep us updated.
              Last edited by dbphotos; 01-06-2009, 11:41 PM.
              David Bailey Photography | Bailey Tactical

              sigpic

              "Live your life in such a way that when your feet hit the floor satan shudders and says oh hell he's awake!"

              Comment


              • #8
                I guess the question I want answered is why the department even cares. If they're distancing themselves from you and saying you weren't covered why do they even care? In that case I'd see it as being a citizen's arrest and any claim that they guy has should be a criminal complaint against you through the agency that had jurisdiction in the original arrest. I can see them doing one or the other but it looks like their playing both sides of the fence. Either tell the guy you weren't acting under their authority and he should pound sand or tell him you were and that you're entitled to all of the protections your job provides.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I dont speak for my department with my comments...

                  But I can say that was a really risky move... Its one thing to help a person in need when off duty... It is another to run after an armed robber who just shot someone with no radio?/body armor?/gun? in a place you are visiting...
                  Retired 02/01/13

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Thanks for the replies. Looking back I am not so sure I would do it all over again. The department is distancing itself due to the media making a big deal out of it being an off duty cop chasing the guy. We all know how the media can make it sound. It was plastered all over the news for a day or so and our dept hates being in the spotlight , afraid of bad P.R. Once cleared they have the tendency to pat you on the back and say great job. It was not like I beat the guy down. We fought briefly then I just wrapped him and held him until the locals got there. I am sure it will all go away in a couple of days. Maybe if I do only get a couple of days off I can spend them job hunting.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      That's just crazy that you have to be concerned with getting days off for arresting an armed robbery suspect. You should get a commendation. I'd give serious thought as to whether you really want to work for a Cheif and Dept. that doesn't stand behind it's officers better than that. (Just my unsolicited .02 cents.)
                      David Bailey Photography | Bailey Tactical

                      sigpic

                      "Live your life in such a way that when your feet hit the floor satan shudders and says oh hell he's awake!"

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        You were not wrong. Your reactions are the kind I would expect in a police officer: You see a bad guy doing bad things and stop him. The idea that your department expects you to compartmentalize to such a degree based on whether or not you're on the clock is kind of depressing.

                        Good for you. I hope everything works out. Do you have a union?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Sixthscent View Post
                          Maybe if I do only get a couple of days off I can spend them job hunting.
                          Remember the first rule of law enforcement - No good deed goes unpunished.
                          Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Sixthscent View Post
                            I would like to hear from various departments on the following question. If you were off duty, out of your jurisdiction, and the following happened would you take action, would you be covered, why or why not?

                            Your on vacation when you stop to gas up your family vehicle at a gas station out of your jurisdiction. While pumping gas you see a man run from the store. Moments later you see a woman run out after him yelling stop him, he just robbed me, he shot the other store clerk. Would you get involved and take action? If so would you be covered from any lawsuit the scum bag was to throw at you? I wish to hear from all, especially those in MISSISSIPPI.
                            I would immediately have someone (probably the lady) try and render whatever medical assistance she could to the person shot. I would standby on the phone with the local dispatcher giving as best a description as I can of the suspect and direction of travel.

                            I would also advise the dispatcher that I am an off duty officer, my race, clothing description and that I am armed. I would repeat this several times.

                            1. Im not chasing an armed subject, out of my jurisdiction w/o body armor. Unless I DIRECTLY see that person shooting someone or about to shoot someone.

                            2. Im staying with the victim. Just in case the shooter decides he/she wants to come back and either finish off the person shot, or clean up on any witnesses.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Sadly, it's exactly things like this that make the FIDO doctrine applicable in almost every off duty situation.

                              Comment

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