strange policeman - Fiberglass RV


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Old 11-13-2005, 08:52 AM   #1
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Last night at 7:30 a cop shows up at my door wanting to know the best access to the railroad tracks from my property. There is none. You have to cross the neighbors. It is very dark. Before giving him directions for a walk thru the woods on my neighbors property, I ask for ID. He said his uniform was his ID. I said anyone can buy a uniform. He said he had ID (10 feet away) in his car but the fact he was in uniform should be enough. Now I ask you, should he have shown me ID or not?
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Old 11-13-2005, 09:35 AM   #2
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Maggie... Was he in a marked car? If he was in full uniform and had a marked car, why would you think he wasn't legitimate?

Normally he should show ID if requested, but it's generally not required of uniformed officers (believe it or not) and his willingness to do so would probably depend on the seriousness and timeliness of whatever he was doing, and the significance of your participation in whatever he was involved with. However, before you let him in, it would certainly be appropriate to call to your local PD to see if they showed a unit out at your house. It may still be worth a call to whatever agency he belonged to and verify that he was legitimate.

I remember years ago I went to a residence to a call to that someone had something stolen. I hadn't had the most warm and fuzzy day and when I got to the address I rang the bell. I was in full uniform and my patrol car parked at the curb behind me. The lady asked me for ID. I looked at her and said... look, I'm here 'cause you called US for a report. I'm in uniform, my car's right there... if you don't want me here I'm leaving". She reconsidered.

I understand in your case that he just showed up though. I probably still would have called the pd. If he's legitimate, they won't mind. If he's not, you'd have the real cops out muy pronto looking for him.

Roger
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Old 11-13-2005, 09:57 AM   #3
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That's interesting. I don't know if he was in a marked car or not. It was very dark and we were on a lighted porch. The conversation did not go the way I expected. I was very surprised he wasn't more willing to show me ID. I only asked him because I was considering offering to show him the way. A few years ago there was a man impersonating an officer here. He did traffic stops for kicks. You would think they'd be happy to reassure people they are asking for help. Thanks for responding. I am surprised it is not required of a uniformed officer.
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Old 11-13-2005, 10:03 AM   #4
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Like Roger said.

We've had a rash of ''fake'' Policemen stopping, or trying to stop young people here in the Denver area. A couple of years ago, one actually pulled a college age girl over, took her and killed her.

You can't be too carefull anymore. At the least, I would have made him wait and called the Police for verification.

It ''ain't the same no mo''.

EKW
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Old 11-13-2005, 10:06 AM   #5
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Back in the day when I wore one of those blue uniforms...we were REQUIRED to carry our ID on our person. Uniform or not, if someone asked for ID, we were REQUIRED to provide it...immediately. We also carried business cards and when had contact with an individual who had requested the ID, we gave them a card too.

We're having a pretty big problem here in Oregon with phony cops. Especially the type that do traffic stops. Anyone can buy a uniform. And anyone can phony up a car enough that you might not recognize if it's legit in the dark.

Better to apologize later and stay safe now. If you didn't call for an officer and it's not a personal emergency, close and lock the door and call your local emergency service to find out if someone was dispatched to your location.
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Old 11-13-2005, 10:41 AM   #6
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WOW! It is scary out there! Thats much like a hacker right here! They come in all sizes and shapes. "Back to the boondocks or under the bridge"
Anyone can monitor police and other emergency type calls. If you know about something going on anywhere near you, keep the door closed until you receive a call from authorities that someone will arrive! The new "laws of the land" under Homeland Security gives all officers too many rights! You have to adjust yours to the incidence. "Adjust your sails" We don't have enough bridges or boondocks any more!
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Old 11-13-2005, 10:51 AM   #7
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Yes, Donna, that's what I thought and expected. Rules must vary from place to place. It is quite rural here. I thought it was one of my neighbors at the door. It never occurred to me to call the sheriffs department. I am not overly suspicious as a rule. When he wouldn't show me an ID I thought it is probably stupid to ask. He's either legitimate or not. The time to question is before you open the door. But who does that? I thought he would show me ID and we'd go for a walk thru the dark woods together. As it is I told him to drive to where the tracks crossed the road and walk in. Slightly longer walk but not by much.
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Old 11-13-2005, 11:12 AM   #8
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I'm sure practices vary place to place. Metropolitan cities vs rural areas especially. But, when you think about it...it took longer to argue with you why he couldn't show you his ID than it would be to walk to the car and get it. It's part of an officer's job to alleviate anxiety and problems, not to cause them.

It's within a person's right to question authority. Contrary to popular belief, no one has ever died from embarassment. As I said, better to apologize after the fact and stay safe now.

For instance, there are only a couple of legal methods any officer can use to gain entry into your home.

1. You invite them in.
2. Search warrant.
3. Exigent circumstances (emergency, or perceived emergency).

I wish I could say that everyone in a police uniform was one of the "good guys," but in this day and age, it's just not true.

You'd never go anywhere in the dark with someone you didn't know. Maggie your circumstance was no different.
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Old 11-13-2005, 11:17 AM   #9
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Maggie... and all...

first, local cops don't have a whit more authority under all of the homeland security acts than they did without them. the hoopla is over what the feds can do without a warrant. that's a whole different ballgame.

second, the rules on practically everything change radically from jurisdiction to juridiction. your local cops may be required to show id by policy, particularly if you've had problems with creeps impersonating cops in uniform.

third, and I know this comes as no great surprise, despite our best efforts to find and hire the best folks we can, there are people in the employ of law enforcement who choose to become crooks themselves... as difficult as it is to believe or understand. BUT, fortunately there is only one of those for every thousand or five thousand or ten thousand honest law enforcement folks out there. we DO have to trust SOMEONE to maintain order, and the overwhelming number of law enforcement officers we have are honest, and believe in what they do.

last, at least in the U.S., law enforcement and government itself has foisted the greatest fraud on the U.S. public ever done... and that's telling our citizens that government can protect any individual from harm. t'ain't so, and t'ain't so by statute. law enforcement has no ability to act on behalf of an individual until a crime has been committed. we act to protect the safety of society in general, but we cannot protect individuals. In fact, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled the the government has no duty to protect any individual from "criminals or madmen". So, what that means for each of us is that we are responsible for our own immediate safety.

Just something to think about as we go through our daily lives...

Roger
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Old 11-13-2005, 11:24 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by Roger H@Nov 13 2005, 10:17 AM
the overwhelming number of law enforcement officers we have are honest, and believe in what they do.
You've got that right Roger Along with everything else you said.
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Old 11-13-2005, 11:55 AM   #11
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Cops have a difficult job. I wouldn't want it. It would have taken my visitor no time at all to get his ID. He didn't want to. I'm guessing it was his version of an authority thing. He didn't have to do what I said, so there. OK sir have a nice walk. This was not an emergency situation. There was a report of someone throwing something at the train. Now of course it could be terrorists and not kids. But I'm guessing it was kids. Of course that's what the terrorists want me to think. Crazy world I know, but I still prefer to not expect violence.

Anyway... I am still surprised cops are not always required to show ID. I think they should be. So I learned something. It is wonderful to come here and have the benefit of this community. Thanks.
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Old 11-13-2005, 12:08 PM   #12
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You're right, Maggie... and in a perfect world cops wouldn't have an authority trip, or bring their fight with their wife or girlfriend to work... but unfortunately sometimes they do. Does that make them bad cops? No... I think they're just human and trying to survive doing a very difficult job.

I work hard with my people to draw that line for them and they clearly understand MY expectations of them... but they're still human. they still get offended, and they still occasionally (but seldom) come off as officious. I am ashamed to admit I'm sure I have been officious a time or two during my career for just those very reasons...

FWIW here in our small town of 3200 smack dab in the middle of the cornbelt, we've had, in the past four years: an anthrax scare at a local bulk-mail sorting buisness; a visit from Luke Helder, the smily-face bomber who left injuries here in his aftermath; and what we believe to be a couple of visits from some folks who may be involved in fraudulent fund raising activities for a well-known mid-east terrorist group (long, but interesting story). Amazing ain't it? <sigh> Not to mention the other domestic wackos who believe in their own special causes with whom we shop at the grocery store and call "neighbor".

It's definately not the same world we grew up in...

Roger

On Edit: Jack, I agree.
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Old 11-13-2005, 01:13 PM   #13
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Maggie, how would you know if his ID was legit anyway, unless you were overly familiar with the dept. ID format?

Just like unifirms, badges (we don't need no steenkeen badges) and cars, an ID would probably be the easiest and cheapest item to fake. I am sure the impersonators have them, it's part of the package since requests for ID are so common.

I agree, his 'tude was rude, but the actual showing of ID doesn't tell you a thing.
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Old 11-13-2005, 01:40 PM   #14
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Yes, Gina that's true. If it was a bad situation, it was a bad situation the second I opened the door. And quite frankly even with the door locked this house is not a fortress. I was and am still surprised that credentials are not a mandatory part of this picture
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Old 11-13-2005, 02:29 PM   #15
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As a result of recent Federal legislation, sworn peace officers nationally are now allowed to carry concealed weapons in any jurisdiction nation-wide with proper credentials. It's an excellent law, and one that was long-overdue. What's amazing is that Iowa has now determined that they, the "State of Iowa" no longer needs to issue those credentials, and it will be up to the local jurisdiction to provide their own.

Now the new question is since there is no longer a state-wide standard, how do I determine just by looking whether another officer from another jurisdiction IN the state of Iowa is legitimate or not without contacting the jurisdiction he claims to be from?

Your question, Maggie, is legitimate, and so Gina is your question... I'm afraid there are no answers.

Roger
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Old 11-13-2005, 03:14 PM   #16
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We recently had a local man arrested for the "false cop" scheme. He stopped young people, usually women, and sometimes engaged in petty larceny by "confiscating" various articles from the cars. I am aware of other problems in our region, which runs from highly urban to very rural. This is a greater problem than some may think and can pop up anywhere.

I am a state investigator. Part of my responsibility is to investigate economic frauds and schemes, such as home improvement, charity, and insurance. I occasionally lecture senior groups about schemes and frauds aimed at the elder population. I have developed a small chart on a postcard that I leave with the members of the groups I address. An entry on the chart for "Fraud at Your Door" instructs people to not open the door and immediately call 911 (or whatever the local police emergency number is). I tell people to request an officer to come to identify who the unknown person is going door to door in their commninity.

In the case of an "officer" at the door, the police dispatcher will certainly know if a real police officer is at that specific door.

Of course, one the other great door schemes is the "utility" employee who suddenly needs to get into your basement. We suffered a gang of transients pulling off home invasions this way. Don't open the door. Call the police. If it turns out to be legitimate, no harm, no foul. If it is an imposter, failing to take a simple precaution could be a disaster.

When you are on the road, if you are stopped at night, put on your four way emergency lights and drive slowly to a well lit, more public area. Keep your doors locked and your window only partially down. Insist on a full identification, with a picture and officer number. This may be a trying moment, but if you are not certain (especially if the car is unmarked and does not have overhead warning lights) take these precautions. A good police officer will understand.

By the way, I carry a relatively inexpensive scanner with which I can monitor most jurisdictions. A scanner is both "entertaining" and informative. Good to have on trips, too, for exacting weather reports and road conditions. On two occasions so far, I was able to pull into the breakdown lane when I knew a high speed pursuit was coming up behind me on the Interestate. It helps some on road closures and backups, too, but the old CB seems better suited for that.

Stay safe.
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Old 11-13-2005, 03:55 PM   #17
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Maggie, one more thing occurred to me. If I were you, I would STILL call the local's and tell them about this situation.

1.) If the guy were a fake, they sure as heck need to know.

2.) If he were real, I think they would also like to know in case the guy did not follow stated policy.

In any event, I think you should call and report it.

Love,

Dad
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Old 11-13-2005, 09:52 PM   #18
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If anyone comes to my door in police uniform I go and
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Old 11-28-2005, 03:48 PM   #19
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This is not correct!
"Maggie... and all...
first, local cops don't have a whit more authority under all of the homeland security acts than they did without them. the hoopla is over what the feds can do without a warrant. that's a whole different ballgame."
It's a sure thing that most Americans believed that Homeland Security and the Patriot Act were initiated in the best interest of citizens. Believe it or not, every policeman, sherriff, government security people and even some industrial security personel were given the right to use lethal force for the least of reasons, and not be questioned! This has already happened in some cases, and even the killing of one of their own because he had a gun and wasn't in uniform. Common sense and justice can not always be at the exit end of a weapon or we are all in trouble!
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Old 11-28-2005, 05:09 PM   #20
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I think there's a big difference between a blue uniform and a badge - the uniform could be obtained (with some difficulty) by anyone, while the badges are uniquely numbered (I assume in most places). I would be inclined to call the police dispatcher and ask if an officer of that badge number should be at my door. On the other hand, if this is a real cop, do you want to challenge him? "Uncooperative" and "troublemaker" are not labels I want with my name in the local police station; while Roger would understand the caution, others may be less tolerant.
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