Suggestions for Dealing with a Law Enforcement Officer (LEO)

This guest post by Scott G and entry in our non-fiction writing contest.

This contest will end on February 16 2013  – prizes include:

Well what are you waiting for – email your entries today. But please read the rules that are listed below first… thumbs up Suggestions for Dealing with a Law Enforcement Officer (LEO)

DISCLAIMER: I am not an attorney (I’m not a liar), so what I’m telling you is based on my best understanding of the law and experience. For legal advice, you must see an attorney (although they don’t always know what they’re talking about – you may need a second opinion).

Speaking as a former LEO, the one thing we are always on guard against is for anyone armed with anything that can be used as a weapon, be it a knife, blunt instrument or a firearm. That said, without question, no person, let alone a LEO has anything to fear from an armed, responsible, person. Notice I didn’t say adult, since I don’t believe a responsible minor should be prohibited from carrying a firearm.

The mindset of a LEO is that anyone not a LEO or his/her spouse or personal friend is a potential threat. The reason for this is that a LEO has a target on his body. Anyone, no matter how seemingly innocent, can snap and turn on you. A couple weeks ago, in Portland, CT, two boys ages 7 and 11 tried to carjack and rob a woman at gunpoint. In September, in D.C., a group of boys ages 7-14 were panhandling and when a man said go away, one boy pulled a gun and fired it at the victim. During August, in Abilene, TX, a 91 year-old man was convicted of armed robbery.

I could go on and on, but the point is that in the eyes of a LEO anyone not in a uniform is a potential aggressor. A cop looks at everyone the same way, looking for any signs that fit certain profiles. Cops are big on body language and the better ones also listen to their gut. A potential suspect does subtle and not so subtle things that send up alarm signals. Things like constantly looking around in a certain manner or their way of dressing.

So many people (whining liberals specifically) scream that LEO’s only profile certain races. This is large a pile of male bovine fecal matter (I don’t swear, so figure it out). Most cops are not racists, they simply hate criminals. I once had a member of a minority race (not black) accuse me of being prejudiced. I told him, “That’s not true. I hate everybody.” The fact of the matter is that LEO’s target people who have a propensity to commit crime. It doesn’t matter the race of the person, it only matters if the suspect fits a certain profile that in the experience of the LEO, falls within a certain criminal profile.

LEO’s know that a legally armed citizen (LAC) doesn’t wear his pants with the crotch dragging on the ground. His hat isn’t on sideways and his underwear doesn’t show. The LAC doesn’t keep his weapon stuffed behind his waist band, but in a good holster. The vast majority of felons simply do not use a holster. Studies have shown that LAC’s use the same types of holsters as a LEO. Also, LAC’s usually wear the same style clothes and accessories as cops. Also, LEO’s know that the vast majority of LAC’s are pro law enforcement and would come to their aid in a heartbeat.

A person illegally carrying a weapon will always give off obvious and subtle clues in the presence of a cop. Things that a LEO are looking for are gang style clothing, aggression, challenging and belligerent behavior, looking away or avoiding the LEO altogether. The suspect will be evasive in his answers, fidgeting and nervous, has his hands on hips, arms folded, scowling, etc. The LAC usually does not put off these clues. Yeah, they will be anxious, but the majority of people are anxious when stopped by a cop. This is expected. Good behavior or demeanor is an intuitive characteristic. It is highly difficult to fake. You either have it or you don’t.

However, because everyone not in a uniform is a potential threat, even an off-duty LEO, they are often suspected to be an aggressor and proned out until identification can be made. This is also the case even when a LAC has a suspect at gunpoint, has informed the police and is waiting for a LEO to arrive.

There are a number of things you can do to alleviate the stress on both you and the LEO:

1. Be polite and respectful. Politeness and respect will get you a long way. In fact, sometimes it will get you out of a ticket (at least with me it did). Many criminals get nabbed during a traffic stop because they were an ignoramus toward the LEO.

2. Do not be aggressive or challenging. This will immediately send up red flags in the mind of a LEO. Ninety-nine times out of a hundred, a LEO believes you did something to warrant being stopped. If you did something wrong, you don’t have to admit to it, but don’t carry on as if you are innocent. If you don’t think you did something wrong, try to politely explain why you didn’t do what you are accused of. If that doesn’t work, take it to court.

3. Answer his questions honestly. If he wants to know what you were doing driving at 2 AM, tell him. Don’t lie because most people are lousy liars and a LEO will spot this. Do not sit there and argue. The LEO will dig deeper to understand your aggression. Most likely, he will ask you to get out of your car and then search you. This is legal. He also will probably ask to search your car. You don’t have to consent to this search, but then he might call in a K-9 unit to sniff your car. Personally, I would not consent to any search of my vehicle no matter the circumstances. It’s usually a fishing expedition.

Most people who are stopped by LEO’s comply with orders and answer questions willingly.

4. Don’t refuse to sign a ticket or identify yourself. SCOTUS has opined that while you are not required to carry identification, you are required to ID yourself. If you lie about it, that’s a crime and at the least you will be detained until your true identity is verified. More often than not, you will be arrested and jailed.

5. Don’t act like a lawyer. LEO’s have a very low opinion of lawyers. One of my favorite jokes is:

What’s the difference between a lawyer and a catfish?

One’s a scum sucking, bottom feeding scavenger and the other one’s a fish.

Don’t start spouting the law even if you are a lawyer. It will not get you anywhere. It will irritate the LEO and guarantee you at least a ticket and probably a deeper check into your background. Not all LEO’s are fully in tune with the law, but most are. If you come up against one like I was, he will know the law forwards and backwards.

Quite often, even if he’s wrong and it’s something minor, simply agree with him then take it up with his supervisor and chain of command at a later time.

Matt. 5:25 Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison.

6. No sudden moves. Don’t get out of your car. Stay put. Don’t reach under your seat and don’t open your glove box. If you are armed, tell the LEO immediately. Some states require you to immediately notify a LEO if you are packing. Know the laws of your state. Personally, I’d do it no matter what. A criminal will not do this. If you are stopped while driving, keep your hands on the steering wheel.

When reaching for your wallet, if your weapon is on your hip, let him know where it is and that you are getting out your wallet. He may stop you, he may not. It depends on the LEO. Some of them will ask to see your weapon and verify that it’s not stolen. Usually, only a rookie who doesn’t know any better will do this.

7. Follow all commands. Simply put, do what you’re told. A LEO doesn’t want to hurt you or for you to get hurt. If you argue or hesitate, you are begging for trouble.

Doing the above things will demonstrate to the LEO that you are cooperative and are not a threat. Remember, a LEO’s main goal is to go home in the same condition in which he went to work.

For more information, refer here: http://www.policeone.com/police-products/firearms/articles/2144601-Dealing-with-citizens-legally-carrying-a-concealed-weapon/ and http://www.legallyarmed.com/.

Now, on to if the worst happens.

If you are unfortunate enough to be involved in an incident involving the use of deadly force, be prepared to be treated with suspicion unless it is obvious that you had no other choice but to defend yourself. This brings up the issue of whether or not you should talk to the police or invoke your rights. Simply put, it depends on the circumstances surrounding the incident.

If you are forced into shooting someone, I’m assuming that you are justified in your use of force (UOF). In our society, UOF must be reasonable based on the totality of the circumstances. I’m a pretty big dude. At 6’1” and well over 200 pounds, I would not be justified in shooting an unarmed assailant who was 5’8” and 160 pounds. However, a 5’6”, 130 pound woman would be justified in shooting me. Also, it depends on the law of your particular state.

Some bleeding heart states require you to retreat if possible from an aggressor, even in your own home. Some laws allow you to use deadly force in your own home only if the person is armed or otherwise able to harm you. My favorite states are those with the “Castle Doctrine.” In these states you have no duty to retreat if you are in a place you are legally permitted to be.

So, if you do shoot someone and you decide to talk to the police, remember this one thing: tell the police that you shot to stop the suspect. You never, ever tell them that you shot to kill. In the eyes of most pshrinkologists, this makes you a dangerous, unstable person. You tell the police that you stopped shooting when your attacker was no longer a threat. This is nothing more than legal mumbo jumbo, but it is very important mumbo jumbo. It will keep you out of court.

Tell the officers that because of the threat, you were in fear of your life or the life of another person. Explain why you were in fear of your life, i.e., “It was dark; I didn’t know the person; my family was in the other room; he kept advancing on me,” etc. Let them know if you warned the suspect or if you attempted to retreat. Tell them everything. Do not lie. A LEO can smell a lie a mile away.

Be able to articulate the threat that made you feel that you had no other recourse but to use deadly force. If the suspect had something in his hand that made you believe it was capable of being used as a weapon, be able to describe it and why you thought it was a weapon. I.E., it was a shiny object that appeared to be a knife or a pipe, or a gun, etc.

Whatever you do, do not disturb the crime scene. Don’t move the body or remove anything from the room. The detectives are very, very good at reading a crime scene. A homicide detective is usually very experienced and if something is out of place, he will eventually discover it. If your story doesn’t match the scene, it will eventually be discovered. Maybe not right away, but sooner or later and you will be put to the Inquisition.

As to whether or not you should invoke your rights that depends on the circumstances. By law, if a LEO believes that you have committed a criminal act, he must advise you of your Constitutional rights. When you are being questioned after a shooting, the LEO will be asking questions to determine what happened. At this point, he is not required to advise you of your rights, but if you say something obviously incriminating, then he should read you your rights. There are some exceptions to this and I don’t know all of the most recent rulings.

Remember, cops are devious when it comes to finding out the truth. After a shooting, you will probably be interviewed two or three times even if you aren’t suspected of doing anything wrong. If a LEO does suspect you of lying, his questioning will become sharper and certain questions will be rephrased and repeated to see if your story changes. This is a tactic used in court and interrogations. If this happens, you’re in for a long night.

My personal advice is if you think you may have done something wrong, invoke your rights and talk to an attorney. If it’s obvious that your shooting was righteous, then talk away, but with great feelings of remorse. While sadly shaking your head, make sure to express regret and that you were forced into defending yourself. Possibly ask for referrals for counselling and most importantly, do not show the satisfaction of knowing that you defended you and yours from the devil. You can do that later with your close friends.

I’m sure I haven’t covered everything, but you get the gist.

Remember, generally local law enforcement is on your side. Most LEO’s are on the conservative side and believe in the 2nd Amendment. Most of them know that LAC’s are the good guys. However, there are bad apples in every barrel and there are exceptions to every rule. But as a general rule, the vast majority of LEO’s are honest you won’t screw you over. As for the feds…well, enough said.

Comments

  1. Scott G,
    Unfortunately what Obama and pals are doing is turning law abiding citizens into criminals, making it potentially open season on every law enforcement officer in the country! In fact they may be counting on it,just one more excuse for more laws and seizures. I hope the police see this for what it is, illegal, and don’t try to enforce these unconstitutional orders.
    Local LEO’s may be ok but last year Homeland Security ordered 1 billion rounds of ammo and have been practicing martial law scenarios for a ‘disaster’ on US soil. I hope locals have enough sense not to be the ones showing up at our doors.I also hope that we both use our heads to not let things get out of hand,peaceful protests and actions are what we must do. We must follow the actions of MLK,Ghandi, and Jesus.

  2. riverrider says:

    timely post, thanks. i think we tend to get wrapped around the axle with police because they are the closest arm of the regime that we have contact with. its hard to lash out at the politicos in their ivory towers, but the cop on the street is right there arms lenth away. i’m guilty myself, and i was a leo once apon a time. many feds are on our side too, but many are not. power corrupts weak minds. nicely done, scott.

    • Very well done and covered many things. Thank you. Yup, most LEOs are the good guys and my friends in time of need. And a few are friends anyway.

      They quite often have it tough enough, and we LAC’s need to remember to keep our hands on the wheel and out of the glove box for our registration/ins card. NJ State Police will generally wait for a second officer to arrive before walking up to a pulled-over vehicle. They, and I’m sure LEO’s everywhere can rattle off a list of incidents.

      Good reminders on defense situations.

  3. SurvivorDan says:

    Nice article and very informative.
    I disagree only slightly about talking if you are involved in a self-defense shooting. An experienced LEO like the author may have the training and presence of mind to be able to correctly articulate the events as they occurred. And so may elect to speak freely of the incident with the investigating officers.
    It is likely that you, the civilian, will be very distraught and out of sorts. Say the minimum about the incident, ie: ” It was dark; I did not know the person; my family was in the other room; he kept advancing on me,he had a gun, I had to shoot to stop him.” Minimal. That is reasonable as you are too upset.
    “Officers, My heart is racing and I’m too upset that I had to defend myself so I will come to the station first thing in the morning to give a full statement.” Something to that effect.
    Being a geezer, after a brief succinct statement my request to go to the hospital would seem reasonable as I WILL be feeling too faint and overwrought to continue any questioning until morning. By then I would have had the time to get my attorney at my side.
    Say as little as you can but avoid seeming evasive. Your memory will be ‘off’ do to the traumatic nature of the events so any misstatement may be used against you later. Typical – “I fired three, maybe four shots, officer”.
    They find out that you didn’t realize that you emptied a 15 shot magazine in the excitement of the moment. Now a DA may seize on that statement to label you a liar.
    Or you say that your attacker didn’t say a word and just kept coming up with his rifle. Witnesses heard him say, “OK dude I’m going now. Don’t want no trouble (as he was still raising the rifle).” Now you are a liar to the DA.
    Actually parasympathetic responses caused you to tunnel vision on the threat (him and the rifle) and auditory stimuli may have bee blocked out at that time. In other word say very little to the investigators until you have a chance to calm down and have your attorney present. Some self-defense gurus advocate making no statement at all. Your call…..but that silence will guarantee you a trip to the hoosegow until you get your attorney and make a proper statement.

    The statement below was good advice:

    “…… but with great feelings of remorse. While sadly shaking your head, make sure to express regret and that you were forced into defending yourself. Possibly ask for referrals for counselling and most importantly, do not show the satisfaction of knowing that you defended you and yours from the devil. You can do that later with your close friends.”

    I don’t care if you are a battled hardened combat sniper with 60 confirmed kills. You killed that murderous home invader and now feel like making a sandwich and having a couple of beers to celebrate!
    Take Scott’s advice. At least hang your head and sob a little.
    You can have the beers later…..

  4. “Don’t talk to the police” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6wXkI4t7nuc Long, but a great video IMO.

    If involved in a self-defense shooting, I’d suggest only telling the responding
    LEOs that you’re having chest pains and want to go to the hospital. Gives you
    time to calm down, and lawyer up.

    • This is a great video and accurate. Be respectful and ID yourself but no more. Do NOT talk to the police.

    • I’m neither a LEO nor an attorney; however, I’ve been teaching for many years, and our concealed carry classes generally have either a LEO, an attorney, or both lecturing the class on the legal obligations and the definition of self defense for our state. Most of what Scott says matches what I’ve heard for years; however, both attorney and LEOs tell the students to keep their information to a minimum. The fact that you shot someone will be evident, and as Scott said, the detectives will be able to determine what happened and corroborate it with your story, after you’ve had a discussion with your attorney.
      I have numerous friends who are LEOs, and to the man, will tell you what Scott said, that their primary goal while on duty is to get off duty and go home in one piece.

  5. Thanks for that. I always wondered what’s going on inside an officer’s mind and once I was stopped for doing nothing but being out late (about 11:30 pm). I didn’t like the way I was being grilled but answered politely and respectfully and when I didn’t understand the question, asked for clarification.
    I’m also acutely aware that being alone late at night, outside my car (I was asked to get out) and physically much smaller than what is PROBABLY a police officer, I am vulnerable.

  6. Tactical G-Ma says:

    Scott G.
    Good article. Isn’t it funny how lawyers are lower than whale poop…til you need one. We all have a job to do and law enforcement is awful because you are never called because of a joyous occasion and you always see people at their worst. Thank you to all law enforcement. My sheriff and his deputies are the best. I am always carrying and am always prepared to be handcuffed. Too many of LEOs have died from very benign looking citizens.

    I like Red’s heart attack hint.

  7. Scott G:

    Thanks for the post.

    I have a couple of friends that are ex-LEO. They have taught me a few things, and the LEO’s that I currently deal with it is always with mutual respect. They have a very hard job to do, for the most part do it very well, and they are humans.

    I know about the potential threat of others out there. The LEO profession is one that requires special judgmental skills to handle well. Since I now live in a more rural society, LEO is different than it is in the city.

    I know, especially in domestic violence cases, how things can turn on an LEO quickly. He can go in with the best of intentions and have the parties instantly turn on him/her.

    My biggest issue is with the young LEO’s. Interpersonal negotiations is a learned skill, and most don’t start with it. They seem to be taught that they are to be physically imposing, verbally demanding, and rigid. (Hence the propensity of shaved heads, dark glasses, goatees.) If ordered to “get down”, with my current physical impairments, it is going to take me a little longer than an athletic 20-something. I have witnessed incidents where the person was not complying quick enough for the young LEO, so they “assisted” them or screamed louder. Neither of which is truly helpful.

    My concerns is when they went from being “Peace Officers” to “Law Enforcement Officers” and the difference in mind set that goes with it. That plus the current trend for LEO’s to be more and more “tactically oriented”, using military style tactics. (Just this week there was another story of how LEO’s went to the wrong address and shot a guy’s dog.) Coupled with current court rulings that stated that LEO’s do NOT have a duty to respond, it leaves people to wonder, just who’s side some of these LEO’s are on.

  8. As you say , a few bad apples spoil the barrel . I dont trust LEOs or any authority for that matter . I would tell them what happened ONCE , the short version at that ……then ask for a lawyer . Oh yeah , they will ask you if you want a drink , and keep offering you coffee , soda , whatever …….this is not being polite ………this is to make you have to pee , and make you uncomfortable …….they dont have to allow you to go the the restroom , and wont during an “Interview ” PC for interrogation . When being stopped , the first thing they will ask you is if you know why they pulled you over ……..answer no , no matter what .

    • “When being stopped , the first thing they will ask you is if you know why they pulled you over ……..answer no , no matter what .”

      This is probably better advice than my stock answer.

      Ummmm you’re gay and you liked the way I looked when I drove by.

      • LOL

      • SW,
        That may not always be the case. On my way home once I got off of the freeway which is 65 MPH where I was probably going 72 MPH with the cruise control on. When I entered the 55 MPH highway I live on, I unthinkingly hit the cruise resume. As soon as I noticed that I was exceeding 65, I cancelled the cruise and started slowing down, but not before the oncoming deputy caught me on radar. I do not have a radar detector. When he asked me why I was stopped, I told him for speed. When he asked me why I was slowing down as I approached, I told him the truth. He laughed, told me to be careful, and got back into his car. Most times honesty can be your best tool, and if he had written me a ticket, I actually had it coming.

  9. Great article. I have know many who work with various law enforcement agencies. They are dedicated to their jobs and are great guys. Unfortunately, even in small towns or rural areas, the unknowns are huge. It helps to remember what they face daily in the wake of increasing gang and drug encroachment into what was once very peaceful communities. I am 69, female, 5’3″ and drive a very old station wagon which is usually loaded with groceries or items to be given away to those in need — no likely threat. I appreciated your reminding us that vigilance and discernment are required to keep them safe in many, many situations. Unfortunately, I have a very low tolerance for disrespect and bullying so if anyone was rude to me, I’d probably insist they apologize before I answered any more questions. I think we in America would have major problems with Storm Trooper tactics. I’ve read about and seen video recreations of recent IRS Gestapo business invasions. I just bought forever stamps that have the words EQUALITY, JUSTICE, FREEDOM, LIBERTY printed on them. I am concerned that America is only giving lipservce to the concepts. Keep on writing! We need to know what is going on and take action while we still can.

    • Patriot Dave says:

      Linda, It used to be that a person had to be dead to get on a stamp. (I don’t know if that is still the case) I guess that means the gov. thinks Equality, Justice, Freedom and Liberty are deceased.

      • Patriot Dave,
        Good point, LOL.
        It also used to be that you had to be dead to have a building, bridge, etc. named after you, except of course in West VA where every other thing seems to be named after former senator Robert Byrd.

  10. Maybe some of you LEO’s and ex-LEOs can answer a question I have. I have alot of respect for our law enforcement folks, they have a hard job and for the most part they do a really great job. However, what is it with them shooting dogs? If a police dog is shot, an officer is shot. He may be canine but he is an officer( as should be). Our canine companions and protectors are family members, and should be reconized as such. If someone shot my dog they would then have to shoot the mentally deranged person I would become. The dogs are in their home, doing the job they are trained to do. Are dog bites usually fatal? Are the LEO’s so certain that they have the right address. What right do they have to kill a canine who is doing their best to protect their family? They should show every canine the respect they want shown to their canine officers!!!!

    • i couldnt have said it better. my dogs are my children. i love them like i love my human kids. in a recent story i read on drudge, some cops knocked on the wrong house and the family dog slipped out the door while the homeowner was answering it, the man called the dog and it came back but one of the cops shot his dog and killed it,at the wrong address! i would be an insane dangerous and armed madman if someone ,cop or not, shot one of my 4 legged children.

  11. shepherdgirl says:

    Couldn’t read this…my husband is an attorney. I hate it when people lump all attorneys and lawyers into one big group and say awful things about them, Yes there are very bad people who are lawyers, but not all of them are bad people or liars. Some are just doing their jobs like everyone else and trying to earn a living. My husband tries very hard to help people, average everyday people with their financial problems. He is not a liar or a scumbag. I know you were trying to be funny, but I was not able to read your article.

    • Tactical G-Ma says:

      Shepherdgirl,
      My wonderful son and his lovely and loving wife are attorneys in private practice. Their profession is to uphold the laws of the land and to provide their clients with the best representation they can. LE hates defense attorneys because they use procedural errors and lack of evidence to free people who are “obviously” guilty.
      I do know that they have grieved over clients who were found guilty but were innocent as well as scumbags they got off because of procedural error. But it is not their job to judge; just to defend.
      But remember, we are all entitled to representation.

      • of all people,it was AL sharpton who said something i reluctantly had to agree with. this was back when OJ got off when we all know he murdered that women. al sharpton,when asked how he felt about OJ being found not guilty said” if you want the justice system to work for you when you need it,then you have to accept that it worked for OJ”. its a hard pill to swallow when someone gets off and you know they done it,but Al is right and it pains me to agree with anything that race card playing granstander says.

        • riverrider says:

          bc, roger that but…the cop peterson was convicted on absolutely zero evidence, other than he was an @ss. the other peterson guy that killed his wife should have gotten off as well. there was zero prima facia evidence, just a lot of weird activity. they both got convicted anyway for one reason, their skin color. oj got off for the same reason. people raised cain about stacey anthony, but the system got it right in that the evidence just wasn’t there and there were too many doubts. theres a case going to jury now where a girl allegedly cut her bf’s throat. her palm print is in the blood, but the jury came back asking questions about the roommates alibi. race and gender play a role and shouldn’t.

  12. the big advice is to answer questions without the presence of an attorney? really?

    i’m obligated by law to notify an officer that i have a legal gun. i am not obligated to incriminate myself. the information that hte officer gathers goes to the prosecuting attorney who may feel differnently about armed citizens defending themselves. as a person defending myself with a gun, i am supposed to hope that the information is transcribed by the officer correctly, and that the appropriate sentiment is forwarded in whatever reports are filed?

    what a joke!

    say this: “i am very traumatized right now. i will participate in your investigation with an attorney present because this is a serious situation. i am willing to sign a complaint as i was a victim of an attack.” then, assert your 5th ammendment rights and shut your face.

    this writer apparently would like to instruct you how to make LEO’s job easier. how to help them fill in all the boxes and lines on their various forms so they can go home quickly, while you wait for the hammer to fall. what horrible advice.

    • Agree, good advice. You just went through one of the most traumatic experiences in your life. You’re in no shape to answer questions. Watch the video recommend earlier about never talking to the police.

  13. Petticoat Prepper says:

    Yes, very good article with good advice and insight. Being an old bat I like the idea of; don’t feel good, need the hospital. I’ve not been pulled over since getting my CHL and I do worry about scaring me and the officer!

    I’d like to relay for those who’ve not heard; maybe it’s elsewhere and I’ve just not seen it.

    Across the nation pro 2nd admentment folks will be gathering at their state capital buildings at noon on Saturday. The effort is to show the ‘low information’ folks that we’re just normal people. Our local radio show host is asking for open carry as there is a TV news truck schedualed to be there. I’m sure they are hoping for lots of ‘military’ style outfits with ‘assult rifles’ and odd balls screaming with their hair on fire.

    So if you’re not a ‘screaming with your hair on fire’ person and if you can travel to your capital on Saturday it MAY help things.

    • “I’ve not been pulled over since getting my CHL and I do worry about scaring me and the officer!”

      Several years ago I was on vacation and ended up in a freaking Blizzard 30 minutes away from my destination. I lost control of my car and ended up in the ditch. No matter what I did I couldn’t get it out. I ended up having to call 911 for help. I told the lady on the phone to please let the responding officers know that Im a Federal LEO and I have a weapon.

      First thing the officers asked when they finally rolled up.
      You the officer? Yep!
      Where’s your weapon? In the car.
      Good… leave it there. You da boss!

      Then they thanked me for at least advising them before hand so they knew what they were getting into. An hour later, I was pulled out and on my way.

    • We could have a million people at each state cap this sat in support of the 2nd but you still will not hear a damn peep in the media about it.

  14. Patriot Dave says:

    Good Article. I have to concur with most of it. Have your wallet out and in your hands on top of the steering wheel before the Leo gets to your window. He/she will be watching you in your side mirror.
    Survivor Dan makes a good points. Don’t make statements about specifics. The more detailed you are, the more likely you will say something innaccurate. Everyone gets tunnel vision in an emergency.
    I would add: Don’t be evasive, If you don’t recall, say so. Don’t ever ever guess. It is the condition that we want to please someone in authority or who has something we need. But, Add the clause “…at this moment” or “right now I am not sure” or other qualifiers to your sentence. That gives you the opportunity to re-phrase something later on without looking like you are dishonest. First you don’t want to contradict yourself.
    Nor do you want to contradict any eye witness. The best thing is to not say anything because you are “too upset” or just repeat the phrase over and over “I thought I was going to die.” with a 1000 yard stare. Because, even if you tell the truth AND are completely accurate in your statement, the other eyewitness may not be. Now the Leo has a contradiction. who is going to jail? Not the eye witness.

  15. MENTALMATT says:

    Very nice article you hit alot of points, I have had to help a few citizens who defended themselfs, or loved ones, just remember the phrase ” I was scared for my life, or my loved ones life”. In reguards to defending yourself those statements along with others will set the tone for the investigation that has to be completed. Not saying anything after a deadly self defence incident would not look so good in your favor, you dont have to get into every detail just hit the major points, then have your attorney assist you with everything else. Oh and I agree with RED, I have watched the video, “Dont talk to the Police”, the attorney makes some great points and ideas, however he dosnt cover all aspects. Still good article here……

  16. Ohio Surveyor says:

    1) never trust the police
    2) the police are legally aloud to lie to you
    3) the police lie to people daily
    4) if you lie to the police, you have commited a crime
    5) never talk to the police
    6) at least a lawyer is not legally aloud to lie.
    7) only trust your lawyer
    remember when you become a felon for having those evil weapons. the cops will come for you. if you think they will ignore the new unjust laws….ask yourself why they wont ignore the old 1968 unjust laws?

  17. recoveringidiot says:

    Good advice Scott G.

    My hobbies (shooting) and my job have placed me in the company of lots of LE types. So many I can’t remember them all but I do remember one that was a genuine asshole. He was just going to have to take my legal handgun just because I was young and speeding. Said he was going to let me go but had to take the firearm. I told him to write the speeding ticket and he could have the gun but it would have to be noted on the citation or give me a receipt for it as I intended to get it back in court. That did not go well, he then starts telling me that I’m going to jail for not complying. I tell him to do what he had to do and would get no resistance from me but I would not just give him my pistol to get out of a speeding ticket. My soon to be first wife was in the vehicle with me at the time and she starts crying, not wailing and not saying a word just tears running down her cheeks. About that time the deputy decides that it is really ok for me to keep my pistol and gives me a warning ticket for speeding. I was as pissed off as I have ever been that a badge wearing officer tried to just steal my pistol and set out to complain about his actions. My father talked me out of it, he said that would only make the asshole remember me if I passed by him again and the next encounter might not go as well as the last. That was a great life lesson for me. Later on I made many friends in the law enforcement community even acquaintances in the secret service and never ran into another bad one that I knew of. I have great respect for the law and the officers as well but they are just people inside the uniform so there are bound to be bad ones once in a while.
    I told the bad story so I may as well tell a good one, I was stopped once on the way to a shooting match on Camp Lejeune NC. The cop asked what I was doing out so early and I tell him I’m on my way to a rifle match and I was late and sorry I was speeding. Turns out he was a former Marine and tells me to slow down and good luck in the match and lets me go without a ticket.

  18. Anothermom says:

    Nice article. The only thing I am always concerned about it being 5’4″ woman, I would not want to get out of my car with a single officer present. On rare occasion you do hear of someone imitating a police officer, and I would be concerned about leaving the relative safety of my vehicle.

    • Anothermom,

      If you do not feel comfortable then turn on your emergency flashers and use your cell to call the police station and tell them that you are going to drive to and stop at a public location. You can also have the station verify if the car attempting to pull you over is indeed a police officer.

  19. A former LEO. I can read why.

  20. A Superfluous Man says:

    A “Legally Armed Citizen”?

    As opposed to what?

    It looks like the author is trying to justify the violation of someone’s God given right to bear arms based on how they dress.

  21. Tinfoil Hat says:

    I’ve run afoul of LEO on this site before, so I’m a bit loathe to say this, but I will present the question as an honest, respectable contribution to a debate that i feel is worth having…

    I am not denigrating LEOs, I realize they have a difficult dangerous job and are only humans who do work that takes a lot of stones. My point is, I just don’t see any indication in recent history that leads me to have any reasonable expectation that they will not support a federal gun grab.

    “I know no way of judging the future but by the past”. -Patrick Henry

    Was there widespread revolt amongst LEO when the 1994 Ban went into effect? No
    Was there widespread refusal by LEO to enforce this unconstitutional ban? No
    Has the Chicago PD suffered widespread resignations over the cities unconstitutional stifling of the 2nd Amendment? No
    Has there been the slightest whimper from NYPD that Cuomos’ new legislation won’t be vigorously enforced? No
    Did LEO in Idaho seize and arrest ATF snipers after they started taking shots at Ruby Ridge? No
    Did Waco county sheriffs tell Janet Reno to go to hell when she came knocking with tanks and poison gas? No

    Yes, I have seen the article or two from Sheriffs informing DC they will not enforce any new bans (I believe it was a Wyoming Sheriff, and God bless him)

    My point is, at no time in recent history have any signifigant number of LEO stood up to the Feds and said no, we won’t help you enforce your tyrannical edicts or prevent your violations of Constitutional Rights. Why should we expect LEO to stand up and do so now?

    • Tactical G-Ma says:

      Tinfoil Hat,
      I agree that the LEOs will not stop the Feds. One may quit here and there and some may walk away. But we are talking about LE with families and mortgages and health insurance.

      But I do know that the LE refused to enforce the 55MPH during the 70s and the Feds withheld funds to states that did not enforce it. All the states finally did conform.

      Just saying, damned if you do and damned if you don’t. I no longer have any guns.

      • She lost her guns in my tragic boating mishap.By the way she looks better in person than her picture!

        • Tactical G-Ma says:

          Thanks Axelsteve, I think.

          Yep, what wasn’t on the boat I sold . Made me sick but I’m too old and weak to shoot anymore.
          I felt bad for you cause you didn’t have insurance. Cryin’ shame.

      • Tactical G-Ma,
        I don’t remember the state, but it was one of the wide open flat, go as fast as you can states, that did finally uphold the 55 limit. There was a $5.00 fine and you could purchase books of tickets to hand to the officer if you were occasionally stopped. I understand that if you drove a specific route on a daily basis and the LEOs got to know you, they would only stop you infrequently. This was civil disobedience at it’s best.

        • T-GM & OP:

          It was us, Montana. We had “reasonable and prudent”. The there was a court case where we had a Yeh-who that decided driving his old beater pick-up at 100+ on a secondary road in the winter was “prudent”. He and the LEO had a different opinion. The judge decided that we, as citizens, were not smart enough to decide what “reasonable and prudent” was. So they went with a posted speed limit. Now, it’s legal to go 70+ on our roads with your beater, pulling a trailer with 4-6 horses in it, on snow-packed and icy roads. Stupid!

    • riverrider says:

      tin, i beg to differ on one point. the idaho ag did issue a warrant for the sniper and others but the feds insisted idaho had no jurisdiction(bs) and spirited him out of the state. other than that i agree. a lot have said they wouldn’t, but where’s the outrage in ny?

    • Hunker-Down says:

      Tinfoil Hat,

      Your observations are troubling AND true. History will repeat itself.
      The gang running DC knows it.

      • Being from Louisiana ,I would be remiss in not reminding people how easily convinced the police were to literally kick in the doors of law abiding citizens in the Katrina aftermath and steal the guns from their homes and in several cases right from the hands of survivors who had made it through the storm. These people who were disarmed did nothing but lock their doors and wait in their homes until the police could gain some kind of control on the roving bands of gangs that were victimizing and looting survivors. Most and I repeat most of these guns that were stolen from the homes of survivors were never returned to their rightful owners and to this day,the disposition of these stolen weapons is unknown. There were people who were actually leaving the city and were stopped by police and had their legally owned and possessed firearms stolen from them by police,right from their cars and boats. I think It’s far safer and much more likely that the police are not your friend,and will gladly toe the line of unconstitutional gun grabs when and if that time comes. As a trucker of more than 35 years and nearly weekly interactions with police of every sort including city county and state,I can say without reservation,that my experience with them has left me with the belief that cops are mostly dishonest and opportunistic thugs who use their power and authority to deny others their freedom,money and possessions. I do my very best to give cops a wide berth and avoid any contact if at all possible.

        • Hunker-Down says:

          Bctruck,

          I know a company that manages about 400 apartments. The owner refuses to rent to cops, lawyers and judges. That group is not a ‘protected class’ so discriminating against them is legal.
          His position is: they consider themselves to be above the law and will not follow the rules in a lease. Warms my heart.

        • Bctruck,
          I do know that the famous case of the elderly woman who had her shotgun taken, was a result of the LEOs being from out of state (NYC IIRC) who were brought in for crowd control. As I understand it, the local LEOs were not a problem, but due to the situation, many from out of state were brought in and not properly “explained” the rights of the citizens.

    • Don`t forget the gun confiscation after Katrina. A pox to those bastards.

  22. GoneWithTheWind says:

    I only disagree with one of your points. Regardless of your physical size or skills a smaller person can indeed beat your ass and even kill you. You would be foolish to let a stranger physically attack you because they were smaller and because using deadly force to stop or prevent the attack might not meet some arbitrary standard. Further if you are armed and someone attacks you the risk then becomes that they will succeed in overpowering you and use your weapon against you. Anyone attacking me is threatening my life – period! I have no intention of going toe to toe or mano a mano with an attacker. I’ll walk away or try to ignore them or try to talk my way out of it but I won’t let someone attack me. If someone attacks me then everything is fair including shooting them or throwing them off the subway platform. What other choice is there???

    • GoneWithTheWind,
      While I agree with you, the simple fact is that a 5′ 2″ 100 pound women defending against a 6′ 2@ 280 pound man will be treated differently by the court system than vice versa. It may not be fair, but it is just a fact, and if you need to prove you were in fear of death or severe bodily harm, you have a different case to prove, justified or not.

      • GoneWithTheWind says:

        You are correct that the legal implications of using a knife can be serious even if you are using it in self defense. I assume that most people when attacked will not call for a time out to decide what can legally be justified and whether or not it might be smarter to just take a life threatening beating as opposed to trying to scare off an attacker by pulling a knife. Then too it should be considered that if you pull a knife or gun you must be willing to use it. But this all brings me to the main point; not getting hurt. The main point is NOT “not getting arrested or even going to trial. While I don’t want to go to trial or be arrested I would dearly love to live to experience that rather then die because I choose to not use a knife or other active defense. So it boils down to I will not accept any attack at all without responding in an all out 100% active defense to include anything and everything at my disposal. If I have a knife (and I do 100% of the time) why would I not use it??? I cannot afford to go toe to toe with an attacker and obey the marquis de queensbury rules while my attacker kicks my teeth out.

  23. I worked in Fire and EMS and was with our local LEO’s at most of the bad things that happened in our area. I NEVER saw a LEO act in any way than they should. I want to say Thank You to the poster. Now the other side I have been gone for ten years and things have changed. We started having problems with tagging and theft on our street. So I started driving around at night and the problems began. The young LEO’s are Jerks and have told me it is illegsl to drive around my street and I have no respect for them at all. I have people call me all the time and tell me they would never call the police again. It is sad but people do not respect LEO’s anymore.

  24. handyman96792 says:

    We should be doing everything in our power to endear ourselves with the police. They would be the most effective barrier to the coming tyranny. Unfortunately, I fear that the ranks have been carefully filled with a very certain profile that lends itself more to illegal behavior rather than supporting the citizens liberties. It’s sad but I don’t trust cops one little bit and I know they are our best defense.

  25. Tarheeltwice says:

    Thanks to everyone for very interesting and thought provoking comments. Can anyone advise on the best way to handle the next question after telling the LEO (with my hands on steering wheel) that I have a concealed carry permit and have a gun in the car. “Where is the gun?”. Assuming not in NY, do I have to say where exactly, show the gun or hand it over, even if only temporarily? Wouldnt a search warrant be required? Appreciate thoughts

    • Tarheeltwice,

      I don’t tell then anything – I’ve not been stopped by the police in 15 years LOL. Anyway, if I am stopped I will simply hand them both my drivers license and carry permit and let them ask me if I have a gun in the truck.

    • Tarheeltwice,
      It depends on the law in your state. Here in Ohio I am required to inform the LEO that I have a CHL and am carrying. Although I’ve not been stopped, I have two friends who have been. One said “in the center console” and the other said, “Paddle holster on right hip”. The LEO in both cases told them to keep their hands clear of the gun and the discussion continued with one getting a speeding ticket, and the other a warning.
      If your state has no requirement to inform then you may either do what MD suggests, or perhaps do nothing unless asked by the LEO if you are armed. In any case, do not make any movement in the direction of the firearm that could be construed as potentially threatening.

  26. The part about “If it’s obvious that your shooting was righteous, then talk away, but with great feelings of remorse” of course I do not agree with that statement.

    NEVER EVER EVER EVER just talk away…. Always …. always…. always invoke any and all rights you have. If you have to shoot some one in todays day and age depending on what state you live in… you may be portrayed as the bad guy so be prepared to be treated as such…..I am not saying that you certainly will be… but be prepared to be treated as such….have you ducks in a row regardless of when and how you run into a LEO and know your rights…. and it may get you a ticket or a stern talking to… but tell them to get bent if they disrespect you or your family in any way. Ask them when they are done if you are “free to go” when they say yes, kindly thank them and go on about your business!!!

    • GoneWithTheWind says:

      Say “I am too shaken up by the vicious attack I endured l wish to collect my thoughts and will talk with you after I consult my attorney”. Then say nothing and accept an offer to be taken to the hospital.

  27. Several posters have hinted at a phenomenon I believe to be the case especially with the younger LEOs. The problem is with a change in political philosophy.
    When I was a young boy my dad told me that if I ever got into trouble away from home to try and find a policeman. He is your friend and he will protect you Dad said. And that was the reality of the time. Not so much anymore.

    With the changes in political philosophy from individualism to collectivism, from respect for the rights of individuals to the worship of need, the role of the policeman has been morphing from that of a rights protector to that of a rule enforcer. There is a huge difference. Yes, LE is concerned with enforcing a community’s rules. That’s not what I’m getting at. Absent any loyalty to individual rights, communities will write rules that do not in fact protect any one’s rights and may very well violate them. Thus new police recruits will see themselves as rule enforcers, the keepers of order. But whose order? The government’s of course. Is it any wonder then that the government has been writing laws protecting not us from them but them from us? And exempting themselves from the laws they write for us?

    But according to what standard if individual rights is no longer it? The standard will have to be democracy, the tyranny of the majority which means its political leaders. Happily there are still many LEOs who see themselves as rights protectors. But the number who see themselves only as rule enforcers is growing. It is critical that our nation get back to the Declaration’s principle of individual rights so our policemen can again see themselves as rights protectors.

  28. Desert Fox says:

    What is the etiquette if you (a woman) is stopped at 2 a.m. by a male LEO and she doesn’t want to get out of the car?

  29. AntiZombie says:

    “I won’t be wronged. I won’t be insulted. I won’t be laid a-hand on. I don’t do these things to other people, and I require the same from them.”
    ― John Wayne

    One of the greatest lines in movie history by one of it’s greatest actors. Good words to live by.