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First Run-in With "da Law"


phox
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I was on my way home from visiting family in the hospital. armed only with my Vista C (which only contains pretty much the coords and the difficulty/terrain), I decided to hit one of the close ones.

 

Cruising the backroads, being a native of only 20 miles away, I never been to this area. I Pull into the "park", not even 200 feet into it, lights flashing, the whole deal. I get extremely nervous around cops, for some reason, even though I was not guilty of anything. I did not even get far enough into the park to see (or assume) it had closed at dusk.

 

He asks me what I am doing. I stuttered something about geocaching - was sooo nervous, wishing I had printed out those brochures - he looked at me like i was totally insane. He made me feel like I was lying! He took my information and checked it out, and came back and told me, "Go play your little game someplace else."

 

It is kinda sad, that most of us who are nocturnal have to worry about getting caught at night. But, I guess I would wonder too, if I saw someone creeping around with a flashlight! I just didn't even get that far! Either our cops are really on the ball, or really bored.

 

Just had to rant :unsure:

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Either our cops are really on the ball, or really bored.

My vote would go for the latter. :unsure:

 

I know what you mean about caching in the dark though.

I grabbed a FTF the first part of the week before sunrise and I felt like someone was watching me the whole time I was looking. :blink:

 

I've also done a few late at night that were hid in parks that were out of the metro area and didn't feel that way. But since this one was early in the morning, and in-town, it made me really uneasy for some reason.

 

I even had the page printout with me and one of the brochures from Geocaching-U, just in case.

(I always keep one of the brochures with me reguardless of the time of day or night or area that I'm caching in."JUST IN CASE!! ;) )

 

D-man ;)

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You must have some LEOs that are really wound up tight. I have been approached twice by LEOs while getting a couple of FTF at night, the first time I hade just finished replaicing a cache at 11M and as I got into my truck I heared a LEO mention she had arrived at my locatin on my police scanner. At that time I was lit up with a spot light. One I told her what I was doing she said "that story is so crazy it must be true" and she drove off.

 

The next week while crawling around in the rain and mud at 2AM another LEO in another city showed up. Once I told him what I was doing he said "You guys are crazy" and he drove away. In both cases I told the I had to be that at the hour to get the first to find.

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Well, if you think about it, it is a little nuts! SO WHAT?! Name one sport or game that isn't. Add to that, what kind of personality do you think it takes to be a cop these days? I'm not saying they're crazy, I'm saying that they have to crave some kind of 'adventure' or 'thrill' to be doing what THEY are doing. If you are not breaking the law, why are they bothering you? I don't get beligerant with the police (I have too many that are relatives through marriage) but if I'm stopped for frivolous reasons, I want to know why! I got pulled over once because a car 'similar' to mine was involved in a robbery. I wanted to know when and where the robbery was, did the officer run my plates and if so, why was I pulled over? He appoligized and left! Most LEOs are great people doing a tough job, but they, like every other profession, follow a normal distribution (bell curve.) You have absolutely terrible ones in a small minority on one end, the average ones in the vast majority and the fantastic ones in a small minority on the other end.

Go out, enjoy the sport, don't worry about the minority that may stop you (as long as you aren't doing anything unlawful.) If you are stopped, look very intense and act as though you can't even believe that they are asking and simply say "I'm geocaching." If they want more information than that, then explain it.

 

Doc

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I know how people can be toward our use of GPS units and this crazy game of geocaching. Not one of the people in my large business seem to like GPS units, and they think geocaching is weird. About 200 people in my place of business, which is a large grocery store with a sushi bar and a Starbucks in it.

 

I have never been stoped by police before when caching, and never cached much beyond sunset, except hiking in areas that allowed park use after sundown.

 

Geoff.

Edited by GOT GPS?
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We had some out-of-town cachers in our area recently. They told me they ran into our local police a few times during the 11p.m.-1a.m. time period. No problem with it though, apparently, the police just stopped to make sure that they were OK and left them to the hunt after finding out that they were geocaching.

 

I guess the local officers are becoming familiar with geocaching.

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I had a Ca. Hwy. Patrol officer pull over and ask me what I was doing one night. I explained geocaching to him, he actually got out and helped me look. I guess he was on a break and instead of harassing me so I'd leave the place he wanted to rest at he showed interest in what I was doing. It was neat! He used his high power flashlight to help me look for about 10 mins. We never did find it but I told him about one nearby if he wanted to see what one looked like. 10 mins after that, I drove by the other cache on my way home and there was a cruiser parked beside it. Hope he gets just as addicted! :unsure:

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I am reminded of my first caching encounter with da law.

 

Contrary to your demeanor, I tend to be very comfortable when confronted by the cops. My first time was colorful; it happened about 2:00 AM in another country to the north. The park was closed and I was sitting, alone on the stone wall with my GPSr in one hand and a BFL in the other, wearing a headlamp.

 

Across the street was a vehicle with it’s keys locked inside in the ignition. The nice officer suddenly appeared in his vehicle and immediately aimed his BFL at me. He dismounted and walked toward me, shining a small flashlight in my face and asked for my ID and what was I doing.

 

So, I handed him my Indiana ID and said I was geocaching. Of course, he had no knowledge of geocaching. While I was trying to explain caching in a nutshell, he pointed out that I was from a different country. He asked where this cache I was looking for is, exactly.

 

Well, because my host had discovered his keys were locked in his truck during our vocal transfer of the coordinates, I only had a few digits plugged into my unit. So I explained to the cop that I didn’t know exactly where the cache was because I didn’t have the complete coordinates.

 

So he excused himself and got on his radio.

 

A minute later I had the opportunity to explain that the vehicle parked across the road was my friend’s and that his keys were locked inside. So the friendly officer walked over to the truck and ran the plates and asked me where my friend lived.

 

I had only arrived in the country a few hours earlier and I was disoriented and I really didn’t know where my friend lived. Meanwhile, the second officer arrived.

 

Then I had to explain geocaching again, and the story of the locked truck and the fact that there was originally a third vehicle with us and the driver of that vehicle was driving the owner of the first (locked) vehicle home to retrieve his keys and that it was a long way from here and they wouldn’t be back for almost an hour so that’s why they left me here to guard the vehicle because he thought it might be a bad neighborhood.

 

Well, officers Friendly thought the whole thing was pretty funny and wanted to know more about geocaching. Finally, they explained that the park was not really safe after dark, and that when my friends returned we should all go someplace else and come back when the park is open. Then they both drove off (knowing more about geocaching than a newbie), leaving me sitting on that wall with my GPS in one hand and my BFL in the other, wearing a headlamp. :D:D

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'Wave' to GOT GPS?'s there avatar. My there account is DougS, although I havn't logged in for awhile.

 

Never had any trouble with police. But, i'm only 12 caches in. Have to wait and see I guess.. Thought I was being checked out at a cache the other day, as a couple of cops went by in a short period. Couple minutes later one goes past sirens blaring. Had me worried for a second, but he took off down the road after someone else.

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Often when caching in an unpleasant neighborhood, we drive our old clunker pickup. The cops never seem to check us out but when we come back to the truck after finding the cache, we find them checking out our "abandoned" vehicle and running the plates.

 

I didn't think our truck was that crusty looking, but I guess it is!

Edited by GrnXnham
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He took my information and checked it out, and came back and told me, "Go play your little game someplace else."

 

Why? Were you breaking a law by being there? If not, its none of his gosh darn business where you're playing your game.

Yes, he said the park closed at dusk.

Lots of places are off limits after dark. The LEO was just doing his job.

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I did not even get far enough into the park to see (or assume) it had closed at dusk.
He took my information and checked it out, and came back and told me, "Go play your little game someplace else."

 

#1 Did the park close at dusk? #2 Was it posted? #3 Did the officer tell him that?

 

#1 and #2 are in question. #3 does not appear to be in question. The officer seems to simply have been rude. It if was "off limits", all he had to do was say so, make disparaging comments to a tax paying, innocent citizen. Reading the way this is written (and I know that there are two sides to every story), the LEO simply didn't want phox there and he had an attitude about it.

You know what, when he's on duty, he doesn't have that right. His JOB is to protect the tax paying, innocent citizens. All he had to do was say, "The park is closed, please move along." Wow, that's hard. I don't care if he was having a bad day or if he just woke up from a nap, it was wrong.

 

Doc

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Yeah, maybe. but again, who knows what his day was like. been there done that and wish i had been more polite, but then again sometimes being more polite can get you hurt - goes with the territory. can't feel guilty over all the feelings you've hurt, ask my 4th wife. Just smile, answer politely, and all will be well, my liberal friend(s). Cops die because of innocent people in dark parks. :ph34r:

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Cops die because of innocent people in dark parks.

 

No, cops die because of guilty criminals in dark parks. Not people that they've already stopped, spoken to and run through their computers. Liberal? I don't think so. But, let me try to be rude to the next cop I see and I wonder what happens? As I said, they don't have that RIGHT and they don't. If they got reported for it, tell me that they wouldn't have a problem with their supervisor, especially if it has been reported before.

 

Doc

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I have been stopped by officers at least 3 times that I can remember. In each case the officer was courteous, and after I explained what I was doing let me continue. In one case the officer assisted in the search by keeping teenage muggles away from the area I was searching. In another the officer ended up asking me for suggestions as to what GPS he should purchase.

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And I'm willing to bet that 99.999% of the ones you run into will be polite, THAT goes with the territory. They really are out there trying to help people. So, this one didn't understand, or didn't care or whatever. The point I'm really trying to make is that you can't let the attitude of ONE guy dissuade you. You were NOT doing anything WRONG. If the park was closed, you made a MISTAKE, you did not commit a crime. If it wasn't closed, HE was making up his own laws and you still did nothing wrong.

 

Doc

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Cops die because of innocent people in dark parks.

 

No, cops die because of guilty criminals in dark parks. Not people that they've already stopped, spoken to and run through their computers. Liberal? I don't think so. But, let me try to be rude to the next cop I see and I wonder what happens? As I said, they don't have that RIGHT and they don't. If they got reported for it, tell me that they wouldn't have a problem with their supervisor, especially if it has been reported before.

 

Doc

I believe you're missing the point. When you go to work, is one of your greatest concerns that someone will feloniosly assault you as you go about your job? It's one of ours. You don't deal with the same "people" that we do. Cops do get killed and injured by assuming something is innocent when it isn't.

 

That said, sounds like the guy was at least somewhat rude. Big deal, move on, that's what I have to do...

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When you go to work, is one of your greatest concerns that someone will feloniosly assault you as you go about your job?

 

No, unfortunately when I go to work one of my biggest concerns is if someone is going to try to find a way to decimate our place...and I have to help secure it so that doesn't happen. But I also cannot be or allow our security officers (retired police officers all) to be rude to every truck driver, or visitor that comes to the gate. I probably HAVE dealt with some of the same people that you do. And anyone, not just cops, get hurt assuming people are innocent, yet THAT is the basis of our laws in this country...unless someone has rewritten the consititution and forgotten to let us all know (you know that pesky little thing about being innocent until proven guilty.) But you're right, when someone is rude, you DO have to simply move on, but you don't have to just accept that YOU were in the wrong which was my point in the first place. Phox was NOT in the wrong and has nothing to feel ANY guilt about, THAT is the point that I'm trying to make.

 

Doc

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We had our first run in today. We have a fairly new GPS that we were having some issues with as we got close to a cache. It was everywhere and we couldn't figure out why, so we pulled into a parking lot near the cache to read the manual. Thought we had it figured out so we got out of the truck just as a cop pulled up. We hunted for probably 30 seconds or so and we saw that he had some interest in us. We stopped hunting and walked toward him and said hello. He responed in kind. He then asked us what we were doing and we told him. He smiled and said Great! and then asked us if we had seen anybody behind the buisinesses near where we were parked. We said no (the truth). We showed him where we were parked and told him how long we had been there. He thanked us and wished us good luck. In the mean time 2 other patrol cars pulled up so we decided to let them do their jobs and stay out of their way. We said our goodbyes and we left. We were near Nashville, by the way, and we were impressed with the police officers. I hope if we ever have an encounter again we run upon as good a guys as these.

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When you go to work, is one of your greatest concerns that someone will feloniosly assault you as you go about your job?

 

No, unfortunately when I go to work one of my biggest concerns is if someone is going to try to find a way to decimate our place...and I have to help secure it so that doesn't happen. But I also cannot be or allow our security officers (retired police officers all) to be rude to every truck driver, or visitor that comes to the gate. I probably HAVE dealt with some of the same people that you do. And anyone, not just cops, get hurt assuming people are innocent, yet THAT is the basis of our laws in this country...unless someone has rewritten the consititution and forgotten to let us all know (you know that pesky little thing about being innocent until proven guilty.) But you're right, when someone is rude, you DO have to simply move on, but you don't have to just accept that YOU were in the wrong which was my point in the first place. Phox was NOT in the wrong and has nothing to feel ANY guilt about, THAT is the point that I'm trying to make.

 

Doc

Innocent until proven guilty? I think were talking about different things here. "Innocent until proven guilty" has nothing to do with the original post... Did the officer throw the poster in jail for a year without benefit of trial? That's what that "pesky innocent until proven guilty thing" is about.

 

And I didn't say that the officer was right in being rude to phox. The guy sounds like he was either just having a bad shift or is just generally a jerk. Whether phox was in the wrong makes no difference. The officer should have treated phox decently. We seem to agree on the "Golden Rule", which is how I try to treat people I contact.

 

I agree that phox shouldn't feel guilty. He went to the park, apparently not knowing it was closed. He was contacted by the man, found out he shouldn't be there, and left. He even states he can understand why he was contacted. So I'm left with what you're saying being that the cop can't contact you, when you are acting suspiciously, until you've been convicted in a court of law?!?

 

I think I'll go look for a cache, have a nice day... :blink:

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So I'm left with what you're saying being that the cop can't contact you, when you are acting suspiciously, until you've been convicted in a court of law?!?

 

If that's what you think I'm saying then you haven't read very closely. My point about the officer simply goes back to rudeness (the statement the office made), which may have lead to Phox feeling that he did something wrong.

 

Doc

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I guess the local officers are becoming familiar with geocaching.

If you ever want to cache where the LEO's won't bother you, go to Pike County, Ohio. One of our most active new cachers is a sheriff's deputy. And since our largest (only) city is only about 10,000 people, there are only a couple dozen LEO's in the whole county, so they ALL know about geocaching, now. And we're even up to 15 cache hides in the county! Woo hoo! We're big time now!

 

sorry....gettin' tired.

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Here is the post about what happened to me and my little girl while cacheing at a local park.

 

November 11, 2005 by TURK69 (34 found)

Thanks for the cache this was a nice one. Now let me tell you my story. I had just hit the micro on the north side of the park and drove over to the parking lot by the playground, my little four year old girl don’t like walking that far. Anyway, we park and head off across the field to the wood line and had a good time finding the cache, she actually found it (well I let her think that.) We signed the log, took a picture, and traded for a little pink bunny that she spotted. We hid it and headed out. As I was walking back to the car a Raymore patrol car rolls up to my car just as we were getting back. I start thinking “what the heck” these two cops jump out and ask what I am doing. I had a feeling somebody must have called them. I explain what we were doing and all is well, as I guessed some lady at the playground called because “GASP” a man was going into the woods with a little girl, who by the way was all smiles and skipping as we went. I did not think nothing much of it at the time, I guess people are concerned but dang a dad can’t take his daughter to the park on a nice sunny day without the cops asking questions. At least they were cool and might actually look into geocaching. Well, TFTC. SL took small toy and snapped picture.

BTW # 4 for the day in two states.

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docdigit

 

All I had with me was my GPS, which just had the name of the cache and the diff/terrain, it had no further notes. So, when I saw it was a couple miles away, I decided to try to hit it.

 

After finding my turn I realized that it was a park that had a name which I was familiar with. Also, had assumed it to be a state park. So, I know thats pretty much a no go being that they usually close at dusk. I was already getting pulled over before I even time to think.

 

One of the first things I did was apologize about being in there past dusk, because I thought it was a state park by the name, and there was a point where I had mentioned state park so many times that he just said, "MISS ... It's a County park." I'm not sure how the hours work on either, but I a** U ME they both close at dusk. He never did tell me, actually.

 

My husband was also there and agrees on how blantantly rude this man was.

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First I should say that I (and you) have the right to cache where we want, when we want as long as it is done legally and not trespassing. The attempt to keep us fearful of our own shadows thru color codes, false alarms and silly rules/laws has gone beyond ridiculous.

 

Having said this however, I think we have gone off track since I think the intent of the original post was to point out the rudeness. Along those lines, I can see the comment originally posted being sarcastic however I can also see it as accompanied by the thought "I came all the way back here for a geek with a electric compass looking for treasure. Geez!" Was he rude? Probably. Was he harrasing? Don't think that was the attempt here.

 

The rudeness that came across may have been because 1. you were nervous and 2. he was having thoughts like the above about the situation and you just happened to be in front of him. Also, as you pointed out, it was after hours and even when they do catch someone who was trying to break the rule, they get a "I didn't realize " type excuse.

 

Most LEOs are just checking you out and as long as your not breaking a law just move on. There are a percentage on a power trip that think like Judge Dredd (I AM the law). Be polite, move on. Want to hold your ground, great. However if it is legal, it is sometimes just better to step back and wait till they leave to avoid the hassle and be prodded into really breaking a law.

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While I agree that sometimes it IS better to just step back and go on, I also notice that everyone seems to agree that this guy was plain rude. I go back to my original intent (and by the way, I never used the word harrass), don't let the rudeness and obvious ignorance of one person spoil it for you. So far, no one that I've seen in this thread has even hinted that YOU did anything wrong, because you didn't. Woops, I'm in the park after dusk (and, at least where I live, county parks are open 24/7.) Yes, it's time to move on, but move on confident in the fact that YOU did nothing wrong, were doing nothing wrong and had no intent that could be construed as wrong. Cache on!

 

Doc

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