Category: Reader Comments

No Knock Warrants….

As some follow up to last show here is some more information on No Knock Warrants:

No-knock warrant

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

In the US, a no knock warrant is a warrant issued by a judge that allows law enforcement officers to enter a property without immediate prior notification of the residents, such as by knocking or ringing a doorbell. In most cases, law enforcement will identify themselves just before they forcefully enter the property. It is issued under the belief that any evidence they hope to find can be destroyed during the time that police identify themselves and the time they secure the area, or in the event where there is a large perceived threat to officer safety during the execution of the warrant.

The Department of Justice writes:

Federal judges and magistrates may lawfully and constitutionally issue "no-knock" warrants where circumstances justify a no-knock entry, and federal law enforcement officers may lawfully apply for such warrants under such circumstances. Although officers need not take affirmative steps to make an independent re-verification of the circumstances already recognized by a magistrate in issuing a no-knock warrant, such a warrant does not entitle officers to disregard reliable information clearly negating the existence of exigent circumstances when they actually receive such information before execution of the warrant.

The number of no-knock raids has increased from 3,000 in 1981 to more than 50,000 in 2005, according to Peter Kraska, a criminologist at Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond, Kentucky [1]. Raids that lead to deaths of innocent people are increasingly common; since the early 1980s, 40 bystanders have been killed, according to the Cato Institute in Washington, DC.[1]

Controversy

No knock warrants have been controversial for various reasons. Some consider them to be unconstitutional. In addition, there have been cases where burglars have robbed homes by pretending to be officers with a no knock warrant. In many cases, armed homeowners, believing that they are being invaded, have shot at officers, resulting in deaths on both sides.

And one of the possible consequences:

Murder Charges for Man Who Defended His Home

By: Gerri L. Elder

Ryan Frederick is currently behind bars in Chesapeake City Jail in Virginia for the shooting death of a police officer on January 17, 2008. He is charged with first-degree murder.

Normally you’d think that a person who shoots and kills a police officer might deserve to spend time behind bars, but Frederick’s case is a bit different. The shooting happened in his own home during what Frederick believed to be a home invasion. Three days before police began breaking down Frederick’s door to enter his home on a drug warrant, Frederick’s home had been broken into and his belongings rifled through, according to an online Reason Magazine story. When Frederick’s dogs began barking and he heard someone breaking through his front door, he grabbed a gun that he kept for home protection. As an officer attempted to enter the home through one of the lower door panels, Frederick fatally shot him.

Frederick is 28 years old. He worked for a soft drink merchandiser before his arrest. Friends, neighbors and co-workers reportedly have nothing but kind words to say about him. He has no prior criminal record, although he has conceded that he and his friends have smoked marijuana recreationally. There is no evidence that he was ever growing or dealing marijuana or any other drug, according to Frederick’s criminal defense attorney.

Despite the lack of any criminal record and the fact that the shooting was a tragic accident, Paul Ebert, the special prosecutor assigned to the case, has indicated he may elevate the charge to capital murder so that the state may seek the death penalty against Frederick.

The drug warrant that brought the police to Frederick’s home was based on faulty information received from a confidential informant. The informant told police that Frederick was growing marijuana in his garage and that several marijuana plants, growing lights, irrigation equipment and other gardening supplies had been seen on his property. Frederick has been an avid gardener, so it is true that he had gardening supplies on his property. However, no evidence was ever collected to indicate that he was growing marijuana. The only marijuana found at Frederick’s home was a small useable amount that under any other circumstances may have resulted in a charge of misdemeanor drug possession.

One of the plants that Frederick owned was a Japanese maple tree. When the leaves of this tree are green, they may resemble marijuana leaves. This may have been something that confused the police informant. The Chesapeake Police Department apparently did not investigate the claims of their informant before obtaining the no-knock warrant to search Frederick’s home for drugs.

After the fact, the pieces seem to fall together. The police informant said that he had been inside Frederick’s home three days prior to the execution of the drug warrant. That seems to give every indication that the police informant is the person who broke into Frederick’s home. This person was likely arrested for some other crime and decided to strike a deal by supplying the police with faulty information.

As a result of this nightmarish situation, Ryan Frederick sits in jail while the prosecution attempts to find a way to elevate the charges against him.

Ask a Cop?: Traffic Stop Safety…Cop Perspective..

—–Original Message—–
Subject: Traffic Stops

I am a former police officer from Texas, now living in Las Vegas. I used to work a lot of TLE, and the Academy as well as my FTO always taught me to stop a violator off the street – a side street, parking lot, etc. – for two reasons (1) it was safer for the motorist and the officer, and (2) less chance of blocking traffic. But I see a lot of officers just stopping violators in the middle of busy streets – surely a huge safety hazard! Why don’t the officers order the motorists off the main streets before making the stop?


Ed:

Its actually safer in Vegas probably to do a stop right on the strip, as the perp is less likely to run, fight etc. I believe most area’s surrounding the strip are low income area’s where more trouble would rise as the "turds" gather around etc.

Spoken like a true X cop

And from Mark:

When I was in the police academy here in CA 20 yrs ago, the emphasis was mainly on the placement and positioning of the police vehicles and officers on traffic stops. It was recommended to try and make the stop where concealment and cover were available in case the stop went sideways. There wasn’t too much emphasis on getting off a busy street although officers were taught to use common sense. Stopping a car for a high-risk felony takedown presents problems on a busy street because of all the passing motorist and the fact that it takes extra officers to stop traffic in both directions. Also, as most people have seen especially on the freeways, a traffic stop on the side of the road often causes traffic slowdowns and at times rear-end accidents from all the rubber-neckers. But there’s also a risk to having a violator pull into a parking lot or isolated area; the suspect may be more tempted to resist the officer or pull a gun if there are not people around. Also, I’ve seen violators ordered to drive to the next side street but as they start to slowly drive again, it gives them an opportunity to re-think their options and flee.

When we turn on the lights we never know where the violator will stop; some stop immediately, some travel quite a distance. I too have seen stops where it is blocking a lane of traffic and it can get pretty risky standing next to a violators car as cars and trucks whiz by. I used to work motors and usually conducted my stops wherever the violator stopped as long as it didn’t present a hazard or block lanes of traffic. If I was in a hazardous area I’d have the violator pull around a corner to a side street but I felt a little more vulnerable if it was an isolated area. I think most officers conduct stops wherever the violators stop their vehicle. It would be interesting to hear what police academy’s in other states are teaching now. If we get replies we’ll post them.

Thanks for the great question!

Ask a Cop?: Turning right on red… and other issues..

—–Original Message—–
From: Carl
Sent: Tuesday November 09, 2010 12:33 PM
To: info@coptalk.info
Subject: Turning right on red

When coming to an intersection with two right turn only lanes, may I turn on red from the left right-turn lane?

Like your podcast but the banter does get old pretty fast. I do enjoy hearing stories about things you encounter in your day to day. Tips on how to interact with police would be nice.

Common calls you receive? That’s interesting.

Is it really like TV show Cops? Chips?

Do red cars appear faster?

Can I drive after drinking just 1 beer without getting in trouble?

Thx guys. Stay safe.


Answers below:

When coming to an intersection with two right turn only lanes, may I turn on red from the left right-turn lane? 

Unless it’s posted otherwise, it is legal to turn right at a red from either of the right turn lanes.

Like your podcast but the banter does get old pretty fast.

Easily happens when we all get together, it’s especially easy to pick on Brent but it’s all in good fun. We try to keep the show amusing as well as informative so it wont get too boring. 

I do enjoy hearing stories about things you encounter in your day to day. Tips on how to interact with police would be nice.  Common calls you receive?  That’s interesting.

We’ll try to get back to more cop stories and calls we’ve been on. Also interactions with police.

Is it really like TV show Cops?  Chips?

The show Chips from the 70’s and 80’s was entertaining but it was acting with only some similarities to cop work. Cops is filmed live and most of the calls they go to are the same ones we go to on a daily basis. If you watch Cops, your seeing what we do daily. But Cops mainly shows just the exciting calls and chases. Although we have those too, we have lots of boring calls we also go to. Another thing the Cops show doesn’t show is the hours and hours of report writing we have to do to document arrests and prosecutable cases. There’s another interesting reality show about jails (I think it’s filmed in Las Vegas) that shows what the deputies in the jails see and go through once we drop off our arrests.    

Do red cars appear faster?

Not sure they actually appear faster but they definitely draw ones attention to them. They tend to stick out from other colors.

Can I drive after drinking just 1 beer without getting in trouble?

It depends. One beer may not affect a lot of people but for others, one beer may make them feel the effects more. A 200 lb. man may not feel anything after a beer while a 105 lb. woman may have a buzz. People CAN be arrested for DUI if an officer feels their driving is impaired, even if they are below the legal limit. And if someone is on medication such as a painkiller, one beer can greatly enhance the effects of the medication. Keep in mind, if you go through a DUI checkpoint with beer on your breath (even if it was only one beer), you’ll more than likely be asked to perform some field sobriety tests to make sure you are not impaired. Almost everyone we stop for DUI say  they only had one or two beers but they end up being 2-3 times over the BAC limit (.08% here in CA).     

Thx guys. Stay safe.

Thanks for writing in!

Ask a Cop?: Possession of a Clip/Magazine…

—–Original Message—–
From: cece
Sent: Saturday, November 06, 2010 4:39 AM
To: info@coptalk.info
Subject: felony

if you get caught with a magazine but it is not yours and they don’t find a gun can you still get charged?? also if they were to give you back the clip what does that mean? also are police allowed to let you go after they are suppose to arrest you because you promise them something in return??

Answer:

Depends on what state you live in. In most states, possession of a clip is NOT a crime. That is unless your on probation, Parole etc etc or live in a state like California where I believe mere possession of anything more then a 10rd clip is a crime.

If they give the clip back, its not going into evidence nor apparently was it a "part" of a crime.

Depends on what you "promised" in return for not being arrested. I worked narcotics and we would allow people to go on scene of an arrest if they promised to give us dope dealers later in return. If they did not, we would file the case with the DA and prosecute them later..

Of course, if you had to promise something unethical, you might want to reveal that to the appropriate authorities.

Ed