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  • Reasonable suspicion and probable cause

    I have some questions regarding reasonable suspicion and probable cause and would appreciate it if someone would explain them to me.

    1) When can you conduct a Terry frisk?

    Let me give you an example: Let's say that you are investigating a non-violent crime and when you are talking to the suspect you notice the bulge in his clothing. So you have a RS that the suspect is armed. Is that enough to pat him down or do you also need a RS that the suspect is dangerous and gonna try to use that gun on you or someone else?

    2) When can you arrest someone based just on someone's else word? Does someone's word (not sworn LEO) by itself constitute PC? If yes, can you explain?

    In the following thread most LEO's said that the victim's word by itself doesn't constitute PC.
    http://forums.officer.com/t180396/

    In the FLETC handbook (https://www.fletc.gov/legal-division-handbook-pdf), under probable cause (page 319) it says:

    Information provided solely by victims and/or witnesses can be sufficient to establish probable cause, given a proper basis of knowledge, when there is no evidence indicating that either the information or the victim/witness is not credible
    Also on the following website it says:
    When the victim of a criminal offense relates the details of the crime to a deputy and
    there is reason to believe that the crime has been committed, the victim is presumed to be
    credible and information is presumed to be reliable. Thus, an arrest may be made or a search
    warrant can be obtained without having to corroborate the victim's statements. However, if the
    purported "victim" of a crime is also involved in criminal conduct, corroboration is necessary
    before a search warrant can be obtained.
    http://www.usmarshals.gov/foia/direc...ations/8.4.pdf

    I'm confused.
    Last edited by timmyy19; 01-22-2015, 02:22 PM.

  • #2
    It's not hard at all. The answers are right there.
    Now go home and get your shine box!

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    • #3
      1. Yes
      2. Yes, but they need to give me a statement and or sign the citation.
      Why do we try so Hard for Little things, and so Little for Hard things?

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      • #4
        Ok so if I get this right, the victim's statement can constitute PC but only if you discover that the victim and the information she is giving you is credible. Some of the examples:

        -she admits she did something illegal therefore the information is more likely true
        -you can corroborate some of the information she gave you
        -any other witnesses that tell the same story (obviously)
        -she gives you detailed information
        -maybe you can ask her to tell you the same story a few times and see if she changes the story
        -body language



        Anything else that can help to determine if a victim or a witness is credible?

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by timmyy19 View Post
          I have some questions regarding reasonable suspicion and probable cause and would appreciate it if someone would explain them to me.

          1) When can you conduct a Terry frisk?

          Let me give you an example: Let's say that you are investigating a non-violent crime and when you are talking to the suspect you notice the bulge in his clothing. So you have a RS that the suspect is armed. Is that enough to pat him down or do you also need a RS that the suspect is dangerous and gonna try to use that gun on you or someone else?

          2) When can you arrest someone based just on someone's else word? Does someone's word (not sworn LEO) by itself constitute PC? If yes, can you explain?

          In the following thread most LEO's said that the victim's word by itself doesn't constitute PC.
          http://forums.officer.com/t180396/

          In the FLETC handbook (https://www.fletc.gov/legal-division-handbook-pdf), under probable cause (page 319) it says:



          Also on the following website it says:

          http://www.usmarshals.gov/foia/direc...ations/8.4.pdf

          I'm confused.





          Here's what ya do, and I've made it easy for ya. Go back and read, re-read, and read once more, what YOU"VE posted above. That, believe it or not, is your answer. I just don't believe it could have been stated more clearly.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by timmyy19 View Post
            Ok so if I get this right, the victim's statement can constitute PC but only if you discover that the victim and the information she is giving you is credible. Some of the examples:

            -she admits she did something illegal therefore the information is more likely true
            -you can corroborate some of the information she gave you
            -any other witnesses that tell the same story (obviously)
            -she gives you detailed information
            -maybe you can ask her to tell you the same story a few times and see if she changes the story
            -body language



            Anything else that can help to determine if a victim or a witness is credible?




            What more do you want????

            Comment


            • #7
              Another student...
              Now go home and get your shine box!

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by BikeCop501 View Post
                1. Yes
                2. Yes, but they need to give me a statement and or sign the citation.
                Does having a RS that a person has or is about to commit a crime (even a non-violent one such as theft), coupled with RS that he's armed automatically mean that he is dangerous? Maybe it's a stupid question but I'm really trying to understand when can you legally frisk a suspect.

                Thanks

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by timmyy19 View Post
                  Does having a RS that a person has or is about to commit a crime (even a non-violent one such as theft), coupled with RS that he's armed automatically mean that he is dangerous? Maybe it's a stupid question but I'm really trying to understand when can you legally frisk a suspect.

                  Thanks




                  timmy, If you haven't been able to form a view concerning your original question, nothing further is going to help you. The question itself really isn't stupid, but I'm beginning to wonder about the individual asking the question. The answer, the correct answer, was in your original post, and cited by you. It isn't rocket science.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by timmyy19 View Post
                    I have some questions regarding reasonable suspicion and probable cause and would appreciate it if someone would explain them to me.

                    1) When can you conduct a Terry frisk?

                    Let me give you an example: Let's say that you are investigating a non-violent crime and when you are talking to the suspect you notice the bulge in his clothing. So you have a RS that the suspect is armed. Is that enough to pat him down or do you also need a RS that the suspect is dangerous and gonna try to use that gun on you or someone else?

                    2) When can you arrest someone based just on someone's else word? Does someone's word (not sworn LEO) by itself constitute PC? If yes, can you explain?

                    In the following thread most LEO's said that the victim's word by itself doesn't constitute PC.
                    http://forums.officer.com/t180396/

                    In the FLETC handbook (https://www.fletc.gov/legal-division-handbook-pdf), under probable cause (page 319) it says:



                    Also on the following website it says:

                    http://www.usmarshals.gov/foia/direc...ations/8.4.pdf

                    I'm confused.
                    1. You should read Terry for a good understanding. You said " you see a bulge SO you have RS that the suspect is armed". Well, if you have RS that the suspect is armed, you can conduct a Terry stop. The question is whether the bulge, in and of itself, is RS that he is armed. I would say that it depends on the totality of the circumstances. Is the suspect nervous? is he trying to avoid eye contact? Is he reaching in the area of the bulge? Have you arrested the suspect before for gun offenses? This is important because if you write a report and say I saw a bulge and therefore did a pat down and a gun is recovered, the defense attorney will attempt to rip you apart at a suppression hearing. You'd agree with me that people carry wallets, right officer Smith? And a wallet can have a bulge like appearance, right? Anyway, you get the idea. It's all in how you articulate it.

                    2. Yes, you can arrest on a person's word. But usually not for minor offenses that are DP(misdemeanor level), at least not in NJ. The exceptions are generally DV misdemeanor assault and shoplifting. If it's defiant trespass as in a guy on your lawn and disregards your no trespass sign? No. If it's a burglary and you give a description and the police find the guy down the street? Yes. You can go to prison based solely on someone's word so it's surely enough for PC.


                    "Jerry, just remember, it’s not a lie if you believe it". George Constanza.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by CCCSD View Post
                      Another student...
                      Of course. Someone with a job would not call himself " timmy". Would you trust a "timmy" with your life?


                      "Jerry, just remember, it’s not a lie if you believe it". George Constanza.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        The court has said that a frisk is a "minor inconvenience and petty indignity." Basically, it's not considered a big deal.

                        Officers generally need RS that the person committed a crime or infraction, because forcing a frisk would be considered a detention, so you need consent or a reason to detain them.

                        Then the courts just want officers to give a reasonable explanation for why they frisked someone, just to show that they aren't doing it routinely without reason, doing it to harass, or doing it with the goal of finding contraband. Keep in mind, frisking isn't considered a big deal, so it doesn't take much. Frisking somebody on a traffic stop who is compliant doesn't make sense by itself. However, frisking somebody on a traffic stop when you are the only officer around and the person has a history of violent behavior and carrying weapons does make sense.

                        You aren't going to get many clear-cut rules on this. There's no flowchart for when you can and can't frisk somebody. You just have to be reasonable with it.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Timmeh!!!!
                          Now go home and get your shine box!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by WombatVengeance View Post
                            The court has said that a frisk is a "minor inconvenience and petty indignity." Basically, it's not considered a big deal.

                            Officers generally need RS that the person committed a crime or infraction, because forcing a frisk would be considered a detention, so you need consent or a reason to detain them.

                            Then the courts just want officers to give a reasonable explanation for why they frisked someone, just to show that they aren't doing it routinely without reason, doing it to harass, or doing it with the goal of finding contraband. Keep in mind, frisking isn't considered a big deal, so it doesn't take much. Frisking somebody on a traffic stop who is compliant doesn't make sense by itself. However, frisking somebody on a traffic stop when you are the only officer around and the person has a history of violent behavior and carrying weapons does make sense.

                            You aren't going to get many clear-cut rules on this. There's no flowchart for when you can and can't frisk somebody. You just have to be reasonable with it.
                            Well said. In order for you to do a Terry Pat, you need to detain. To detain you need RS. If its a radio call, you have your RS to detain already. Once detained, you should determine why you are doing a Terry Pat. Not really that difficult, ie can you see his hands, time of day, visibility, multiple persons, and in your case, a "bulge" in the clothing.
                            Last edited by SJay.SD; 01-22-2015, 10:44 PM.

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                            • #15
                              Legal detention and you believe (reasonably) that they are armed or dangerous.

                              Not all bulges are weapons. Larger than you doesn't equal dangerous.

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