Cop Shows

So I watch some cop shows. Police Women of Broward County is my favorite, and I actually record it. If I’m up and browsing channels, though, I’ll stop at the show about Alaska State Troopers, and there’s apparently a new one on about wildlife officers in Minnesota or Washington or somewhere.

And I enjoy them. Especially Police Women of Broward County. But I’m increasingly disturbed by the FLAGRANT display of police tromping all over people’s rights.

Examples:

1. Police Women of Broward County. They sometimes pull people over because of suspicious behavior when it turns out that there is a logical, noncriminal explanation. But in FL, I guess, people are required to disclose if they have a weapon in the car. Invariably, if there is a weapon in the car, then the police want to search the car to see what else is in there. Legally, they can’t do it without either permission or a warrant, so they ask permission and if the driver refuses, they pull the “the only reason you’d refuse is if you had something to hide” crap. Seriously? If it is legal to carry a weapon in your car with a permit, then you have not broken the law and you do NOT have to allow law enforcement to search your vehicle.

2. Same show. One of the officers stops a guy on a bike for driving recklessly and weaving in and out of traffic. She suspects he’s intoxicated. He’s not. She asks to search him anyway. He’s flirting like crazy with her and allows her to search him. She finds nothing. She lets him go. WHY search him?

3. This wildlife officer one. They’re using a robodeer to try to catch poachers. Shortly after getting robodeer set up, a suspicious car slows down, then stops and backs up. The officers RUN out to nab the poacher. Oh, wait. It’s just an overweight dude and his wife. They have no weapons, they just saw a deer standing close to the road and wanted to watch it. There is NO CRIME IN THAT. Officers search the car anyway and find… nothing. Then he shoos the couple away by telling them that the real issue is that they stopped near state property. What? Is that a crime? To stop in public lands? Lands which they, the taxpayers, own as a group? Really? Hm. Later on, they busted another couple for shining their headlights on the deer. OOOOooooo. Yes, well, you gotta watch out for those dangerous Headlight Shiners. They also didn’t have weapons and were merely watching the deer. Frankly, if I saw a deer close to the road who didn’t run away, I’d be watching him, too.

 

I mean, I guess, in reality, the officers are all within their rights. They asked permission and in each case, the law abiding citizen gave it. So perhaps my ire might more properly be directed at the people in these scenarios. Why are you allowing officers to search your person or your property when you’ve done nothing wrong and they don’t even have probable cause??

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21 responses to “Cop Shows

  1. Here’s the thing about a lot of this you posted. A police officer’s job is to protect the public and if the officer were always sitting around waiting for a 100% sign that someone is doing or has something illegal then a lot of crimes wouldn’t be prevented. Why should the police officer wait for a crime to happen? Wouldn’t it make sense to try to PREVENT the crime from happening? Studies have shown that crime prevention is 5xs more effective than crime combating.

    In ANY state if you say that you have a firearm you 1. Need to show proof of legal ability to do so and 2. Most state laws dictate that you are NOT allowed to carry a weapon in your car during the commission of a crime. So if you notify an officer that you have a gun in the car then it’s the officer’s JOB to make sure you aren’t doing anything illegal while carrying it. So if you don’t have anything to hide and KNOW AHEAD OF TIME THE LAW, then when you carry a firearm in your car give consent to search your vehicle to make the officer’s job a little bit easier and safer.

    If a cop pulls someone over for suspected drunk driving and deduces that this person is not drunk but still acting odd then it ONCE AGAIN is their JOB to see to it WHY this person is acting odd. Usually if there aren’t signs of being drunk then the person likely is high on one drug or another which is an even MORE serious of a problem. Hence the request for a search. At least the officer’s are asking instead of just doing it citing probable cause.

    Poaching is a HUGE problem and at one point deer and most other targeted and unregulated hunted animals that were being hunted were at a FAST rate to being extinct. The government had to step in to prevent the species from being wiped out and are simply DOING THEIR JOB deemed necessary by the government AND public. The car stopping and viewing the deer is 9 times out of 10 a poacher and in this situation you HAVE to act quickly. Now, for shining the headlights on the deer is an illegal way of hunting because it freezes the deer in place to be shot. This is known to ALL hunters. There’s a reason some big 4x4s and atvs have spotlights on them and that row of lights on top of them, so when a wildlife enforcement officer sees someone flashing their headlights at the deer of COURSE their training, experience, and instinct kick in that something is going on. These officer’s aren’t doing this because they just feel like it. This is ALL proper procedure put in place by current deemed necessary laws.

    Your last question is why allow an officer to search your car when you’ve done nothing wrong and they don’t have probable cause? My question is if you don’t have anything to hide with the crime rate as high as it is and the public bashing police around every corner about not doing their job is WHY NOT? ESPECIALLY if you’re going to carry around a firearm in your car. Guess what that’s probable cause right there. They need to make sure they are protecting the public.

  2. I see you’re a Christian so I hope this answers your question.

    Romans 13:1 Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.
    Romans 13:2 Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.
    Romans 13:3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you.

    • that’s some odd response, there. In following the law, how is one rebelling against the law? i don’t get it. If I’m not committing a crime, I have done nothing to look as though I’m committing a crime, and my actions are limited to slowing down and backing up in broad daylight (as long as I do so safely) to check out a deer grazing peacefully by the side of the road, I am not required to submit to a vehicle search according to the laws in my state.

      Though I have the utmost respect for police, I also know that every word that spills from their lips is not handed down by God himself, and is sometimes not even in keeping with the law. Police and other authority figures are wrong sometimes, too. Such as all the times authorities have told women to stop breastfeeding their babies because it’s illegal to do so. It is not illegal to do so, and it is actually against the law to tell her to stop.

      I’m not being un Christ like for following the law and expecting those in authority to do so as well.

      I’ve never understood the assertion that law abiding citizens should submit to unreasonable search and seizure, or any other violation of their rights, simply to prove that they’re not criminals. We’re innocent until proven guilty. By the logic you’re using, then we should all have our phones tapped and surveillance 24/7. I mean, if we’re not doing anything wrong, then what’s the harm?

      • Your response is that of a strawman argument. I didn’t say that they should search your vehicle because they see fit. Go reread what I posted. Everything you posted gave them probable cause. If you are ANYWHERE hunting is legally permitted then you are bound by the state laws there. The police aren’t asking to search because they’re bored and want to find something to do. They are searching the people’s car to see if there is a hunting rifle or firearm of sorts as it is against the law to shoot an animal from the road or from a moving vehicle.

        I at NO POINT said that police are right all the time but a simple request to search your vehicle is NOT infringing on your rights or going against the bible so YES in accordance to the bible you should NOT give the officer a hard time and just simply consent. Be annoyed by it sure, but the officer isn’t doing anything that violates your rights in any way. Especially to the stories you’ve posted. Ever single story you posted, gave the police probable cause to request a search both morally and legally. It would be different if the officer just pulled them or you out and started searching for no reason. Then yes that would be violating your rights under the illegal search and seizure act. You DON’T have to give consent but if the officer feels that you are truly hiding something then the said officer can call in a drug dog and see if the dog gives a positive for guns, drugs, people, or explosives. The dogs are trained to find all of these potential contraband. If the dog doesn’t find anything then the officer has to let you go and not search your vehicle and that is pretty standard across the board state to state.

        You made a post about intelligent debate in another blog post of yours yet here you are emotional just like the people you complained about in your blog trying to approach a debate from a strawman approach. I 1. at no point said you were being un-Christ-like. I just simply showed you the scripture that states that DO WHAT THE LAW SAYS. God didn’t give a gray area here. He didn’t say if you don’t care for what they’re doing then don’t do what they say. The only grounds God gave us to disobey the law is when they go against our Christian beliefs.

        Like I said I agree that some police overstep their bounds and abuse their power but NONE of the stories you posted show that. Every story there is an account where suspicious behavior or the laws and procedures dictated that probable cause was now evident to request a search. Once again if you have nothing to hide and have either knowingly or not knowingly put yourself in a situation for a probable cause then there’s no reason you should be concerned about a search. Instead of being quick to anger about the situation know and understand this scripture as God has told us to walk in love with one another:

        1 Corinthians 13:4-7

        4 Love is PATIENT, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is NOT EASILY ANGERED, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

      • The law states that you are to do what an officer says no matter what as long as your rights are not being violated or you are not being put into harms way. So if you go against that because you are annoyed at the law or don’t care for it then you ARE NOT in accordance with God’s will

    • sorry, I meant to add… I don’t know where you’re from, but around here (and in Minnesota), deer are far, far from being endangered. According to enature.com: It has become the most plentiful game animal in eastern North America and is even something of a pest in many areas, eating garden plants and contributing to the spread of Lyme disease.

  3. I am not unfamiliar with hunting, poachers, or the practice of light shining. It has no bearing on the constitutional right of freedom from search and seizure.

    I can’t see where I asked a question about hunting, so again, I am a bit confused by the comment.

    • Because 1. The police officers you are talking about in reference to the deer were game wardens. They deal predominantly with hunting and this sting is 100% about hunting, and all of the stories you told were tricks certain hunters use to get illegal kills. Every story you quoted the officer ASKED FOR PERMISSION to search.

  4. I do think stopping poaching is a good thing. So is stopping murder and rape. Assuming everyone you meet is plotting murder or is a rapist after his next victim is extreme. You cannot in this country search people without cause and call it crime prevention.

    • Are you serious? What did ANYTHING I say have to do with rape or murder? This is about crime as a whole unless drug dealing and robbery just aren’t a worry for you. In most states if not all of them it is proper procedure when a person notifies you that they have a weapon in the vehicle to request a search to make sure this person is 1. Not about to or already has committed a crime and 2. Not disgruntled or suicidal. That YES is crime prevention. Someone showing signs of intoxication and doesn’t appear to be drunk could either be high or having diabetic problems all of which could potentially harm themselves or others

      • Once again you are trying to make this into a strawman debate and if that’s your goal or approach to debating I will gladly back off of your blog and unsubscribe. I like your posts which is why I subscribed and it seemed you were misinformed and curious about this topic and were asking a question. Being this law and everything surrounding it is one of my knowledge bases, I figured I extend my side of the debate or question.

      • Um, the whole blog post was about crime in general, not just poaching. Simply because you’re restricted your comments to poaching doesn’t mean I am still not talking about crime in general. And courts would feel the same way – criminalizing something as innocent as driving down a street and looking at wildlife in the name of stopping poaching is not a lot different than criminalizing driving down a street and looking at a convenience store in the name of stopping robbery. If everyone should submit to a search of their vehicle any time they made a bad traffic decision (which is the case in most of the instances on Police Women of Broward County), then why shouldn’t everyone submit to tapping of their phones? They’re both illegal invasions of privacy and property, which the founding fathers found to be so important that they included it in the Fourth Amendment.

        Police cannot stop someone because they think they might be planning to commit a crime unless they have evidence to support that belief. In the comment I guess you deleted, you said “Everything you posted gave them probable cause. If you are ANYWHERE hunting is legally permitted then you are bound by the state laws there.” Looking at wildlife is NOT probable cause. It may very well be proper procedure to request a search, and as I said at the bottom of the original post – the very last paragraph, I’m assuming you read all the way to the end, right? – they are not in the wrong. Here, let me quote myself to save you the trouble of scrolling up: “I mean, I guess, in reality, the officers are all within their rights. They asked permission and in each case, the law abiding citizen gave it. So perhaps my ire might more properly be directed at the people in these scenarios. Why are you allowing officers to search your person or your property when you’ve done nothing wrong and they don’t even have probable cause??”

        I don’t understand why so many people consent to it. They are not required to. They are not required to consent even if the officer DOES have probable cause, unless he also has a warrant. (He can do it anyway.) Too many people (possibly including you) do not understand this.

        http://www.brianjgrossman.com/faq_arrestsearchseizure.htm This is an attorney’s website, and I picked it because the top question is about vehicle searches.

        re: your post number two. I’m not sure how trying to figure out my responses are a strawman. Color me confused. now that I understand that you thought I was confused and misinformed (which I am not, check out the 4th amendment sometime), I get it. I hope we’ve straightened that out.

  5. Friend of mine whose husband is in Federal Law Enforcement contributed this (via facebook):

    “My Dh tells me NOT to allow a search on my bag, person, car etc — ask for PC and / or a warrent. if they have PC for a judge, they’ll be able to search anyway. JUST BE KIND ABOUT IT — none of the fits you see on cops — that make good TV LOL — be professional and the police respect that. also — there are SOP — so you follow them like the cop does — no harm, no foul.”

    • You’re once again misconstruing what I’m saying. I will gladly unsubscribe now as your complete attempt at debating any issue seems to be that of a strawman argument and there is not debating that sort of stance as EVERYTHING I say will be twisted and compared to situations that don’t apply to it. I’ll show you a prime example of your strawman approach:

      “criminalizing something as innocent as driving down a street and looking at wildlife in the name of stopping poaching is not a lot different than criminalizing driving down a street and looking at a convenience store in the name of stopping robbery.”

      I’ll explain why this is strawman and completely twisting what I posted:

      First off the definition:
      “A straw man is a component of an argument and is an informal fallacy based on misrepresentation of an opponent’s position. To “attack a straw man” is to create the illusion of having refuted a proposition by replacing it with a superficially similar yet nonequivalent proposition (the “straw man”), and refuting it, without ever having actually refuted the original position.”

      At no point in a police officer requesting a search is it criminalizing the person being requested for search. EVERY STORY YOU POSTED were examples of someone PUTTING THEMSELVES in a situation where suspicious activity was taking place or a search was warranted.

      The example which you posted does NOT apply to this situation that you posted or the ones I posted in the least sense. Here’s the comparison’s failure: On hunting grounds people DAILY stop and shoot from their vehicles to kill the deer and game wardens usually only set up a sting like that in areas where it’s been reported people have been doing it. The only way the scenario you pointed out here would apply to what we were talking about would be if that convenient store had been robbed over and over (meaning that convenient store itself) and people did it by stopping near it and shooting into the store. Then yes of course when they see someone stopping in the exact spot people have been stopping when they shot into the convenient store over and over again that would constitute suspicious behavior. Let’s stick with this scenario for a second in comparison to the hunting or ANY OTHER SCENARIO WE HAVE DISCUSSED. If you know someone had been shooting up this convenient store and an officer pulled someone over because the did the exact M.O. of the shooters and didn’t search the vehicle to see if there were any firearms in the car and that person was let go because the officer was so overly concerned about stepping on someone’s toes then you would be the first to bash the officer because something else wasn’t done when it later became a problem.

      Like I said before. An officer is in a position of authority put in place by the government that runs the country you live in. You can CHOOSE TO IGNORE the scripture I posted about obeying authority and law all you want to but that doesn’t change what God has told you to do. A police officer ASKING FOR A SEARCH is in NO WAY violating your rights or religion so according to God you are to comply and do what the officer is asking of you. Ask yourself the cliche question of WHAT WOULD JESUS DO as God has given us the task to live our lives as close to Jesus as possible. I personally couldn’t care less if an officer wants to search my things because I did something that looks suspicious. I’m respectful to law enforcement and know they have a hard enough job as it is so I’m going to give consent NOT BECAUSE I have to because the law but simply because God has commanded as such and I want to see to it that at least SOMEONE out there who is tired of the crime that’s going on will at least try to do SOMETHING to help the officers feel more at peace and make their jobs a bit easier to catch the real criminals.

  6. I at no point have even TRIED to dispute the law or your rights in reference to the law. This once again proves your strawman approach. I simply stated that YOU AS A CHRISTIAN need to show more submissive obedience and respect to authority. The people in the stories you mentioned ALL PUT THEMSELVES in a position to warrant a request for a search. I know the 4th amendment quite well and I have NOT disputed it. This is a matter of simple respect especially when you know the person has done something or whether it be intentional or on accident put themselves in a situation where suspicious behavior was apparent. These officers have a job to do and if you do something that makes them eye you or makes them suspicious try a little respect and comply so the officers job which is 100 times more stressful than yours can be a bit easier. See I’ve NEVER had an officer request a search but ONE TIME and that was because I notified the officer I had a loaded firearm in the car and in compliance I let him look through the vehicle and check me out (which I appreciated) to make sure crime was being prevented and the public was safe. Other than that I have NEVER had an officer request to search anything of mine as I don’t put myself in situations where I look suspicious. Funny thing about that situation of me being searched, I was pulled over later by the same officer for speeding and he saw it was me and asked if I had my firearm in the car, which I proceeded to tell him yes; he asked where was it; I showed him, he simply looked around through my window in the car and gave me a warning and see be safe and let me go on my way. WHAT YOU SEW IS WHAT YOU REAP. I made this officer’s life a lot easier by simply being respectful and consenting to a search rather than be so defensive about it like I was being wronged and in turn he realized it and appreciated it and let me go on my way…Refusing a search especially when you know you’ve done something to warrant the officer to request it is disrespectful to the officer no matter how you word it or the tone in your voice.

  7. Well, a Christian Federal law enforcement officer disagrees with you. (Actually so does a Christian former State Patrol officer, a friend of my mom’s, with whom I actually discussed this several years ago during some bizarre conversation turns.)

    When dealing with law enforcement, I guess I’ll take the advice of the law enforcement officers over the advice of a random stranger on the internet. Call me crazy.

    I guess I don’t see anything I said as a strawman OR as twisting anything you’ve said. In fact, I have not twisted ANYTHING you’ve said, only extrapolated and taken statements to their logical conclusion.

    Anyway, I’ll agree to disagree. You can go be a good Christian in the way that you believe is best, and I’ll go be a good Christian and a good citizen in the way that I believe best. I seriously doubt God will be sending me to hell when I die if I by chance happen to stare at some wildlife and then refuse a search of my automoble. Something about, you know, being saved by Faith through Grace…

  8. I guess here’s where I’m still confused. You say:

    Romans 13:1 Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.
    Romans 13:2 Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.
    Romans 13:3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you.

    And that’s all there is to it. Bible says to obey authority.

    Here’s the crux of my argument with you:

    In my opinion, a police officer without probable cause (just stick with me, I realize you think it is probable cause, I don’t, let’s just agree to disagree) asking to enter my car or home or search my person is asking me to give up my Fourth Amendment rights.

    The HIGHEST authority (of the land, not of my life) has to rule. That’s actually what the Constitution says. It rules. So if the Constitution disagrees with a local law enforcement officer, then that might put the Christian (told in Romans to obey authority) in a quandary. Because I cannot in that situation obey ALL authority – I have to pick which authority to obey. The Constitution tells me one thing, the officer tells me another. So I have to turn to the HIGHEST authority, the Constitution, which tells me I am not subject to illegal search and seizure.

    That’s the crux of my difficulty with what you’re saying. I’ve said this a few times, but maybe not too clearly.

    (It’s not important, but I’ve never had a request to search anything other than by the TSA. When I get my permit to carry, I will carry in my car, but I am not required to disclose that fact to an officer.)

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