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Old 03-05-2009, 09:48 PM   #21
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I was once stopped at a small border station in Northern Washington. I asked the border patrol guy if he was getting much traffic. He allowed that it was pretty quiet. He asked if I'd had the 13' Scamp long. I said "No", would he like to take a look inside. He said, "could I?"

We did the tour and all of a sudden he stopped and said "I'm sorry this isn't an inspection, my wife and I have been talking about getting a little trailer and this is the first of these I've seen."

We both laughed and I went off down the road.
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Old 03-05-2009, 11:29 PM   #22
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Just for the record, I believe there is a large difference between 'profiling', like stopping trailers or trucks, versus 'racial profiling'. I believe the former is legal and the latter may not be.

And if a topic pertains to hauling a trailer on the road, or parking one, it's grist for the mill here, IMHO! That would mean to me that we can discuss trailer-profiling here, but not racial-profiling.
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Old 03-06-2009, 01:08 AM   #23
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I had an officer ASK if anyone was riding in the trailer,
I was asked this question last week at some remote checkpoint between El Centro and Yuma. My answer was a dumb one.. but I did it anyway, with a smile.....

"Not anyone I like".

The officer laughed instead of scowling.. but a big old dog was sniffing my rig at the same time too.
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Old 03-06-2009, 02:38 AM   #24
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Hmm. That is a thought when buying a used trailer. You don't know those people from Adam. They could have forgotten a little baggy that would lose you the trailer and your car. Maybe the best would be to take a newly purchased trailer to the nearest police station and have it checked. At any rate, you should have a signed and dated receipt, and the title dated and signed over to you.

Just watch "Cops". They stop a suspicious vehicle and if permission is withheld, they detain the person until the K9 unit gets there, or they can get a warrant. It can change by state, county, or even police department how they handle this type of thing.

Thanks for a good subject. People, please don't use drugs. Hundreds of persons are killed because of the darn stuff in Ciudad Juarez alone.

http://www.elpasotimes.com/juarez/ci_11830672
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Old 03-06-2009, 12:19 PM   #25
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Hmm. That is a thought when buying a used trailer. You don't know those people from Adam. They could have forgotten a little baggy that would lose you the trailer and your car. Maybe the best would be to take a newly purchased trailer to the nearest police station and have it checked. At any rate, you should have a signed and dated receipt, and the title dated and signed over to you.

Just watch "Cops". They stop a suspicious vehicle and if permission is withheld, they detain the person until the K9 unit gets there, or they can get a warrant. It can change by state, county, or even police department how they handle this type of thing.

Thanks for a good subject. People, please don't use drugs. Hundreds of persons are killed because of the darn stuff in Ciudad Juarez alone.

http://www.elpasotimes.com/juarez/ci_11830672
My attorney, a long time ago, said that when you are asked the question, "can we look in your car or trailer?" The answer should be no. Reason being, you don't know if there is a hidden compartment if you bought the car/trailer used, or worse, if one of your kids use, or a guest who travelled with you and lost a small sample, you could be held liable.

Tough call... I think I would refuse. And I am a law-abiding citizen. But it qualifies as innocent until proven guilty. Very few of us own our vehicles all their lives. If by refusing we are acting suspicious, when they find nothing, then we are rectified, and if they find something, the answer can still be, "that is not mine!" Then the courts have to straighten out whether it was a justifiable search or not.
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Old 03-06-2009, 03:15 PM   #26
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I'll add to Donna's comments. It's no secret here that I am a 35 year law enforcement veteran and administrator. I have some experience in this area.

Search and seizure is a very complex area of law as evidenced by volumes of case law at both state and federal level. The search and seizure laws regarding vehicles are dramatically different from state to state, and dramatically different from search and seizure as applied to residences. Trailers are generally considered vehicles when attached and going down the road. They're not considered a "residence" until set up that way. There may not be a requirement that a warrant issue for a vehicle given the circumstances.

There is no such thing as an "illegal" search, only "unreasonable" searches. You may or may not have a right to refuse to allow an officer to search your vehicle (and your trailer when not occupied in a campsite) depending on the circumstances, statutory law, and case law in the jurisdiction where you are when the search occurs. If you choose to object, that's fine; just recognize that you don't have the "right" to prevent an officer from searching should he so choose. All you can do is protest the search as unreasonable in court. You may not like having your vehicle searched on the highway, but there may be nothing "unreasonable" about it.

If you choose not to allow a warrantless (consent search) of your vehicle, and the officer has developed probable cause to search the vehicle for evidence of a crime, or for "contraband per se", it is entirely probable that your entire rig will be impounded in a secure location until a warrant can be sought. That is the "usual and customary" way vehicle searches pursuant to a warrant are conducted.

"Profiling" as commonly defined in law involves members of a "specific class" of folks, and has nothing to do with vehicles.

Right, wrong, or indifferent... some of the "rules" of search and seizure have changed since 9/11/01.

Allow me to suggest that you don't get yourself into trouble trying to assert "rights" you may not actually have. I have found often that the pubic perception of law is substantially different from the interpretation of law by the courts and actual implementation of law by law enforcement.

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Old 03-06-2009, 08:04 PM   #27
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THANK YOU Roger.........for a most excellent answer to this question and for so many years of service.
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Old 03-06-2009, 08:28 PM   #28
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>> ... if you bought the car/trailer used ...

We bought a used Mazda Protege from Hertz. Several years later, while traveling thru Roswell, NM, the check engine light came on. It was a simple problem. While they were fixing it, I had them change the fuel filter, since it was located under the rear seat. They found a bunch of 14 gauge shotgun shells under the seat.

Living on the Mexican border, I have a different view on being searched. We live on a major smuggling route. The Border Patrol helicopter searches this area 2 or 3 times a week. Tomorrow, we will go thru the Border Patrol checkpoint on our way to Tucson. We have never been searched, but, we expect it will happen some day. About 1 in 4 times they have a drug dog. Last month, the tug & trailer got sniffed by the drug dog. Not interested.
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Old 03-07-2009, 12:01 PM   #29
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hmmmmmm, I don't know if I have this opinion cause I don't use any recreational drugs anymore or not, Yes I said anymore, heck I grew up in the 70's the era of sex, drugs, rock-n-roll. But my thoughts now as an older women is if they stop me cause they are looking for possible meth lab rolling down the highway, I have no problem with them searching! I have nothing to hide and I would rather be inconvenienced so they can get that stuff off the streets!

Now that being said, I have thought about what others have said about buying a used trailer etc and it having left over's from the previous owners. That would just suck! Robin
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Old 03-07-2009, 12:56 PM   #30
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I have no problem with them searching! I have nothing to hide and I would rather be inconvenienced so they can ...
Agreed Robin,
Let them do their job, they are there to protect. We don't always know what they are looking for or why. Who knows if we match the description of an escaped axe murderer reported to be seen travelling on the same route.

My question to Roger is what would his recommendations be on how to act?
Slow down and pull over ASAP, or a little further up the road if there is a safer location (e.g. on/off ramp or wider shoulder)
Stay in vehicle, roll down window, keep hands on wheels?
Turn off engine or wait for instructions?

Yes it might be an inconvenience, but I'd rather not act in a manner that might invoke a situation.
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Old 03-07-2009, 02:04 PM   #31
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... how to act?
Slow down and pull over ASAP, or a little further up the road if there is a safer location (e.g. on/off ramp or wider shoulder)
Stay in vehicle, roll down window, keep hands on wheels?
Turn off engine or wait for instructions?

Yes it might be an inconvenience, but I'd rather not act in a manner that might invoke a situation.
Several years ago we were van camping on a trip down east and were driving late into the night through New Brunswick. My van is basically a cargo van and at the time had no side windows. I had been sleeping when my GF pulled over so we could switch. I had just gotten back in the van after running for a few minutes to wake up and taking care of business in the bush when a police car stopped behind us with it's lights flashing. I figured he thought we were broken down and stopped to help, so I thought I'd save him the trouble of getting out of his car and hopped out to go tell him. I had longer hair at the time and probably looked pretty scruffy after hours on the road. I didn't make it more than a few yards when the officer jumped out of his car, dropped to one knee, put his hand on his gun and yelled "get back in the car!" Gave me more than a bit of a scare, certainly woke me up.

Turns out we were stopped right in the middle of an off ramp in the middle of nowhere that doesn't see much traffic and the officer thought it looked a bit suspicious. He was quite friendly afterwards and told me I gave him quite a fright coming towards him like that given the situation.

Needless to say I will now sit quietly in my vehicle with the radio off and my hands on the wheel... These guys have to be prepared for the worst and I certainly don't mind a slight inconvenience once in a while.

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Old 03-07-2009, 03:17 PM   #32
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Needless to say I will now sit quietly in my vehicle with the radio off and my hands on the wheel...
Yep, you know who they are, but they don't have a clue who you are, what you may have just done (robbed a convenience store), or getting ready to do (shoot them). Sitting quietly with your hands in plain view and no sudden movements is a very good idea.
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Old 03-07-2009, 04:01 PM   #33
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One again, Donna... you beat me to the punch!

Roy... the best advice I can offer is to act normally. Be conversational. Don't do anything that would cause an officer to be alarmed. Unfortunately, most folks don't like it very much when the on-duty officer they're talking to becomes alarmed.

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Old 03-07-2009, 06:35 PM   #34
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I think the discussion about used vehicles is a good one.

In my 'youth', a friend bought an old VW wagon and we went camping in Canada soon afterwards. Although he had cleaned it out very well, when coming back accross the border we were inspected pretty closely, looking a little rough around the edges after tent camping for a week. A small white pill, could of been anything, found in the door pocket resulted in our entire car and belongings being search........

And this was 35 years ago........

I think when buying a used trailer it would be very wise to go through it very carefully. I can't remember if our Burro has ever been inspected coming back from BC, but having done a pretty extensive renovation we're pretty sure we know every inch of it - unless something's hiding in the wall! Dogs patrol the ferry lines here in the NW and so far we've never gotten any attention.

Not to make light of an important subject, but maybe there should be a place to take a used trailer and have them canine inspected. Could be work for retired canine patrol dogs!
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Old 03-07-2009, 07:21 PM   #35
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I was brought up to respect authority long before I went to college and read "The Prince". Therefore I yield to authority no matter what Machiavelli haters have to say. If I get a bad cop he could maybe do me harm. That is the price I pay for a stable society... the norm is good.
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Old 03-08-2009, 12:50 AM   #36
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Not to make light of an important subject, but maybe there should be a place to take a used trailer and have them canine inspected. Could be work for retired canine patrol dogs!
Jeez, if you should happen to find something, don't touch it -- Read recently about someone finding sack of heroin or something, taking it to police station and getting arrested for possession! Dunno if true, but I can see it would be a technical violation... I'd be inclined to make appointment with local police to have used vehicle inspected by dog (might talk them into it as training or something), then one wouldn't have to wonder -- A nice, new registration should go a long way towards proving likelihood of non-drug ownership.

I know there are no bomb materials in my used truck because it's been sniffed many times by the bomb dogs supporting the ferry system -- Friend's wife was asked the other day to participate in dog exercise by them putting something in her vehicle (She's a good-looking blond, which is likely why they asked her) and she learned that they like to train ball-obsessed dogs because they are easy to reward. I hope her exercise didn't leave any residue for another dog to find.
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Old 03-08-2009, 12:59 AM   #37
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I hope her exercise didn't leave any residue for another dog to find.
Would that be a good reason for a body search? ;-)
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Old 03-08-2009, 06:21 AM   #38
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Gosh and here I always thought if I was buying a used trailer, it was my responsibility to check the trailer thoroughly to make certain it's in sound shape. No rot in the floor under the dinette seats etc. Am I the only one that would want to poke in every possible corner and cupboard to see what's what before I plunk the cash down? I THOROUGH inspection before buying should reassure someone the trailer they are buying doesn't have any hidey holes to stuff full of contraband. Purchasing a used tug... I doubt that I'd take door panels and interior cabin panels off however.
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Old 03-08-2009, 06:48 AM   #39
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Donna, I was carrying a .22 rifle for a few years and had a coffee can under the bench seat in the back where I kept a couple of boxes of cartridges -- The can spilled a couple of times, but I picked them all up, or so I thought.

Recently, the can and rifle long gone, I was cleaning up in that area and found *another* cartridge... No big deal but I'd hate for Mexican police to have found that if I were down there.

BTW, when I was being searched at a US/BC border near Skagway, I think it was, (This was the border guy with the rep for scoring lots of US handguns from ferry riders heading up the road to AK -- He was CONVINCED that I had just come off the ferry with a handgun, even though I had given him the paperwork for me and the .22 rifle, clearly showing entry near Blaine WA) -- He asked where I kept the ammo and lit up when he saw the coffee can, rooting through it looking for 9mm stuf or the like! Just .22! Should have seen him light up again when he asked what was in a plastic box, I said computer stuf, he picks up small heavy black zippered case -- His face looked like a kid at Christmas finding coal in stocking when he opened the case and found a computer battery -- We then went through much the same thing when he discovered the heavy toiletries case between the driver's seat and door which turned out to be full of quarters for laundry.
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Old 03-08-2009, 06:57 AM   #40
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I know those things happen firsthand Pete. I needed to travel for work... and I had a purse with a hidden compartment for weapons and stuff. Took out the weapon and stowed it, but there was a cartridge down in a seam that I didn't see. I had to go through a security checkpoint, and because of that one bullet... I had areas of my body checked that usually only a doctor would see. I couldn't/wouldn't complain, it was my own dang fault.
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