Jump to content

LEOs


TheVaultrons
Followers 0

Recommended Posts

Mr. Vaultron and I are newbies. I (the Mrs.) have been reading the forums and noticed quite a few posts mentioning encounters with LEOs. I'm a little concerned about this. I'm the type of person who's nervous around authority figures, even when I've done nothing wrong. How common is it to have a LEO question your activities? Is it something that a cacher brings on him/herself by lingering around too long in one spot? Any input is appreciated.

Edited by TheVaultrons
Link to comment

I've had maybe 15 law enforcement encounters out of more than 3100 cache hunts. Them's pretty good odds. To reduce those odds, consider the following tips:

 

1. Caching at night significantly increases your chances of a law enforcement encounter.

 

2. A male caching alone will attract more attention than a male with a kid and/or a dog.

 

3. Furtive movements, looking over your shoulder, hiding behind things, etc., all make you look suspicious. Either search confidently amongst the muggles, or come back another time when it's not so busy.

 

4. Law enforcement encounters are less likely to occur in parks, along bike trails, or in other places where people are expected to be engaged in recreational activities, like hiking. If you are nervous, avoid urban caches. When in the parks, follow all the rules, especially any posted closing time.

 

All of my law enforcement encounters have been pleasant, save for one episode involving mall security officers. If you are honest and friendly and explain what you're doing, the officer will either lose interest or will be curious and ask for more information about geocaching. I've had cops join in to help me find a cache on multiple occasions.

 

At least half the time, the officer's reason for approaching me was to be sure that everything was OK and I hadn't lost something or had a car breakdown (caches are often at random spots).

 

I hope that this information is helpful. Don't worry about it!

Link to comment

If you're doing drive-up caches on the sides of roads... expect to be visited. My caching buddy spends a lot of time on rural roads looking for caches. If the Highway Patrol happens by, there's a good chance they'll stop ,mostly to see if you're stuck. He says most of the time once he says "geocaching" and they see the GPSr they say "oh, you're one of those... have a nice day". He's also been questioned by the Dept. of Fish And Game as the areas he's searching frequently border on wetlands, sometimes used for hunting, and they're looking for unlicensed or "over-the-limit" hunters. We were off on some side road in a culvert one afternoon when an Officer pulled up. We just kept looking while he sat in the car and watched. When we came back up to the car, he finally got out and was curious, as we didn't seem to be doing anything wrong, but he couldn't figure out what we were doing. The tip about night-caching is absolutely true. No way to attract attention faster than poking around some urban area in the dark with a flashlight.

 

DCC

Link to comment

Welcome to geocaching. I’m new also with only around 35 finds, but I’ve never yet had an encounter with an LEO. Like you, I’m sure I’d be somewhat taken aback to be approached by one, but just remember that, although we’re trying to be stealthy, we’re not doing anything wrong! Just be prepared to explain geocaching and show them what you’re doing. What I’ve thought out a couple of times is what to do if I am approached. Sometimes just working it out in advance in your head will help you cope if it does happen. Don’t let the possibility put you off of the hobby! Good luck and enjoy!

Link to comment

out of 1400 finds I've encountered LEO's about half a dozen times. Four of those were to make sure there were no problems, one was just to check out what I was doing there, and one was to make sure I wasn't hunting animals. They were all friendly encounters and I was glad to see that the officers were doing what they were supposed to do. One time I got caught putting a lapmpost back by mall security and I'm pretty sure he took the cache right after I left. (Oh, yeah... one other time in AZ I returned to my truck parked off a major roadway to find a sticker that said I'd be towed if they found my truck there again. Not unreasonable at all...)

Link to comment

This is coming from an LEO who's looking to go caching himself. If an officer comes up, just be truthful and calm and you should have no problem. Don't take an attitude. Not saying any legitimate cacher would, but it only serves to inflame a situation. Officers by and large are only looking to make sure you are ok and with all of the Homeland Security issues since 9/11 it's gotten more intensive. Sometimes there are trespassing enforcements that a property has signed with law enforcement agencies that may be in play. Unless you are clearly violating a posted no trespassing type thing, you would typically just get a warning and be asked to leave. Offer to let the officer go with you if the cache is nearby. You may be surprised in that they may just go. Sometimes 12 hour shifts get long and boring if you know what I mean.

Link to comment

I was doing maintenance on a cache one day when an officer was patroling for speeders. I stopped in the park, waited for a bit, then walked right over to the car and told him what I was doing.

 

"This is going to look suspicious so I'm telling you now what I'm doing," was the angle of my explanation.

 

He had never heard of geocaching until then. So he knew what I was doing and I checked on my cache right in the view of an officer and all was okay.

Link to comment

My only encounter with LEO was while placing a cache. When the officer asked what I was doing, I explained, and then about a half hour later, I was leading her and 6 officers into the woods to find some coordinates to a suspected drug spot, that turned out to only be a homeless tent encampment.

Which was pretty cool and fun, two of the officers said they want to start geocaching now.

Link to comment

I've had a couple of encounters. While doing a Tacoma cache with my son, an officer came up to our vehicle, tapped on the window and informed us that there was a reported drug deal going down, then he saw our GPSers and replied, "Oh, you're one of those people". Yes, you May have an encounter But just be honest :anibad:

Link to comment

I've been caching for a year, now, and haven't had one encounter. I know a few people around this area that have had more than a couple enounters, though. One of those people started just about when I did, has more than double my finds, and does a lot of night caching.

 

You will, most likely, get stopped eventually. Don't sweat it. Have a copy of the informational flyer (see previous post for the link). I've heard a printout of a cache page or two helps, too. That way, the L.E.O. can see exactly what you're talking about.

 

Don't sweat it.

Link to comment

The LEO is most likely trying to HELP you - are you broken down, is something lost or missing? just tell the truth and they'll be fine.

 

Paid private security can be somewhat of a PITA, even if there is permission for the cache. Often they're not told about the cache. I've had that experience (being run off by private security) on a college campus, and in a large nature preserve. In both cases the caches were placed with permission but no one told security about them. Annoying encounters, but not terrible.

Link to comment

:blink: Hi, Here in Yuma I,ve been ask once by local PD, what I was doing........I gave a short explanation of what I was doing...ok-fine. Now in the rural areas it's a different story, one day while doing some caches along old hyw. 80 (Jacumba, CA) in a 2 hour period I was question by 4 different Boarder Patrol Officers, as to what I was doing, gave the same short explanation and once again ok-fine. Now I have printed Up a bunch of "What is Geocaching?" cards....(I think I found them on the Geocaching U page. they give a quick, short explanation.........saves a lot of talking (some folks just don't understand the whole concept of the sport)............... B)

 

LINK http://www.geocacher-u.com/resources/foldingcard.pdf

Edited by GIDEON-X
Link to comment

Being a police officer and fellow cacher I hope I can alleviate some of your concerns. If you are contacted by a police officer tell them what you are doing and answer the questions they might have. They are only doing their job and something you were doing caught their attention.

 

Don’t be “nervous around authority figures” because that only makes us nervous around you. Have a good conversation with the officer and go back to your caching.

 

Take care,

R.F.

Link to comment

Being a police officer and fellow cacher I hope I can alleviate some of your concerns. If you are contacted by a police officer tell them what you are doing and answer the questions they might have. They are only doing their job and something you were doing caught their attention.

 

Don’t be “nervous around authority figures” because that only makes us nervous around you. Have a good conversation with the officer and go back to your caching.

 

Take care,

R.F.

I was going to say, and i know it's easier said than done,,, try not to be nervous.

 

Geocaching is an activity that is perfectly legal so you are doing nothing wrong when enjoying it. Of course there have been caches placed in bad spots where problems were caused, but for the most part, they don't concern too many law enforcement individuals. We've been checked on several times when caching and have never had any issues. Most just shake their heads when we tell them about caching, some have heard of it and know what we are doing, and we've even had a couple who ran our driver's license's. Every occurence was pleasant and uneventful!!! :blink:

Link to comment

Thanks for all your responses. You have put my mind at ease a fair bit. Intellectually I know I have nothing to worry about, but there's that little tiny irrational fear in the back of my mind that wonders "what if."

 

I'm definitely going to print off some of those cards/brochures and add them to my kit. Thanks for the link.

 

Keep the responses coming.

Link to comment

...How common is it to have a LEO question your activities?...

 

I have far better luck than Lep. ZERO LEO encounters in 1000 caches*. I have had a couple of close calls where the folks in front of me or behind me were the ones who got noticed.

 

In my job I had to take a class in what to watch for to report suspicious folks as potential terrorists. It was a complete kick to go down the list and notice a near perfect match to 90% or more of the behaviors between what's considered suspicious and what caches do.

 

It's a simple fact that if the LEO's are awake at all in your community they are going to talk to you eventually when you are out caching. Tell them the truth. You are after all enjoying a family activity as you should be doing. If you would rather not do that, then specialize in caches that keep you out of the public eye. Find remote caches. Don't hang out on street corners at night. That sort of thing.

 

*I have to take that back. Night Stalker did get pulled over for not having a Front Liscence Plate once.

Link to comment

I'm a big fan of night caching, although I have not encountered any LEO during any of my adventures. Although I guarantee that they have been called on a number of occasions. I guess my keen geosenses have gotten me in and out fast enough to avoid getting caught :blink:

 

If walking around at night in the bushes in a public park with my 8 year old son doesn't generate some genuine interest from law enforcement, I'm not sure what will.

Link to comment

I've had one encounter with the law during my 5+ years of caching. When we parked in the country to walk on the levee to look for a cache, the person who lived nearby called the cops on us. We got pulled over soon after leaving the cache area, and the officer questioned us for a couple minutes. Despite the fact that we had no ID with us (hubby was driving and had forgotten his wallet-- I'd not brought mine along since he was driving) and the fact that my hubby sounded a bit irrational as he stumbled around giving a partial description of caching, the officer soon sent us along our way. I think he just had to come out to check us out since someone had called the cops reporting our behavior.

Link to comment

I haven't had any encounters with LEOs yet in any of the countries that I have been caching in.

 

The only thing I am semi worried about is how to explain geocaching to a LEO in a language that you have a little bit of difficulty with. A situation I always thought about but fortunately never ended up encountering.

Link to comment

A few over 600 caches and only two visits from the LEO.

 

One was a cacher who knew us and was having a bit of fun with us when he spotted us near a cache he knew was there. He actually didn't even stop, just blipped his siren for a second.

 

The other one heard what we had to say, then used his big big flashlight to help us find the cache.

Link to comment

OK Mapless, started partying early for New Year's Eve, huh?

<_<

LOL, well i don't drink so I can't claim that excuse.

I did get a concussion while caching yesterday. But I can't claim that either since it's been 24 hours.

 

On an off topic note, the fireworks at the Space Needle(Seattle, WA) didn't go off properly.

Guess that's what happens when you use Vista

Link to comment

What a shame we can't log a LEO like A TB.

I think I recall 3 incounters in my short time caching. Also an encounter with "alian intellegence", which I haven't spoken of in detail too often.

Actually in inverse order I was pulled over by a "townie" checking to make sure I wasn't "fly dumping"

On another ocasion I emurged from te woods to find a Forest Preserve District Squad behind the Municipal vehicle that I had qusetionably parked. The "alian intellegence" I encountered introduced him self as Chief Forester of the forest preserve district. I made the mistake of asking him about the district's policy on geocaching, he stated there is none, and gave a negative view of the sport and lamented about geo trails which I still don't believe in. My closing comment to him was I'm more interested in finding mushrooms than caches. I believe the first encounter I approached the LEO asking about closing time of the park and policy on caching. I just recalled the ocasion the owner of a chache was a park district employee and was either watching or made me, so we had a nice chat.

A little cooperation goes a long way with LEOs.

Link to comment

Just be aware that a gps is a small black object, and it may appear to be a gun to the officer if it's dark, so don't take it out of your pocket suddenly B)

 

I am afraid some cacher is gonna get shot one of these days.

(I wasn't going to mention this because I didn't want to really scare off the OP :) , but...)

 

One of the local cachers had a pretty harrowing situation a couple months back. He was on a FTF try, and as he was poking around the wood lot, a security guard saw him carrying "a gun" (60CSx). The police responded in force, and had guns drawn. I can't imagine how frightening that would be, but he followed all the officers' instructions to the letter, so the situation was resolved fairly quickly and to everyone's satisfaction (especially the cacher's!).

Linky bits:

The cache page (scroll down for the log)

Forum thread with comments from the cacher

Link to comment

Just be aware that a gps is a small black object, and it may appear to be a gun to the officer if it's dark, so don't take it out of your pocket suddenly :)

 

I am afraid some cacher is gonna get shot one of these days.

 

A suggestion..................

 

It would be a good thing to not make a move for your pocket to retrieve anything when confronted by an LEO!! Nothing makes an officer any more nervous than a person reaching for their pocket, or anything like a pocket, satchel, or pack, when the officer approaches. You stand an approximate 95% chance of seeing the business end of his weapon if you do!!! You never know about a person when you first approach them and by necessity must be ready for the worst and react accordingly.

Link to comment

Just to add my two cents as a LEO. The easiest and safest approach for contact w/ law enforcement is to simply tell the truth about what you are doing. I know it's fun to try and give different stories to muggles but we get lied to for a living and if we detect the most innocent of lies it immediatly makes us suspicious about anything you say. (sorry it's the job) There are alot of cachers who are in the LE field and alot more who have knowledge of it but you don't want to give the wrong impression to those whose first contact with it is a "suspicious" person who lies to them.

As to the GPSr looking like a weapon, unfortunately that is very true. An already nervous officer who comes up on someone at night with an unknown object in thier hand is likely to be confronted w/ a drawn weapon. So the best advice is to be aware of this and be very understanding and cooperative w/ whatever instructions the officer gives. Most officers will be very quick to realize that the threat is minimal and you will be alowed to continue your search momentarily. (or change your shorts :) ) Happy caching!

Link to comment

1379 caches found, 21 hidden, 716 benchmarks hunted for?

Once: Campus security at a college. The cache was hidden by the music director, with permission. Security did not know that.

Once: Watershed land without a hiking permit or parking permit. Looked like a public playground to me. Oh, well.

Benchmarks are trickier. They may not be on public land.

Once: Standing on a bridge. Hunh? Wasn't even close to his jurisdiction. Oh, well.

Once: Reported by an erratic driver for walking on a public street. They should have given that driver a breathalyzer test...

Once: An irate parent who didn't think I should be there. Okay, I shouldn't have been there, but that rule is seldom enforced. And the fact that such a caring parent would use such foul language in front of his infant children (whom he was not supervising) does not change that.

All in all, not a bad average.

Link to comment

WOW! Talk about fate. Read this this morning. Went to a cache and an officer pulled up and seemed to be observing me. I went over to his car and explained what I was doing. Showed him the gps and waypoint. He then wished me luck and drove off.

 

Thanks for the TIMELY advice. Probably would have been really nervous had I not read this first.

Link to comment

We've never found ourself in conversation with a LEO... However we figure that we'd just tell them the same thing that we tell any other muggles...

 

"We're using High-Tech Military Technology to find Tupperware in the Woods." That usually gets a smile and a "gimme more" motion asking for an explanation.

 

We have a different view of muggles than most people... most Cachers want to hide their actions from muggles and keep the sport to themselves... We have no problem sharing the sport with anyone who sees us poking around...

 

Don't get us wrong... we do practice stealth, but if we do find ourselves being watched despite our best efforts... which has happened a few times, we just fess up rather than make some hokey story up... the only exception is if its a child or someone who looks "shady" and we figure they're likely to steal the cache.

 

We just think that if someone was rooting around in our local park or neighbourhood and made up some hokey story as to why they were there, We'd be looking around to see what kind of drugs they'd hidden, call the police to come and remove the offending item once found without so much as touching it(assuming that we weren't cachers). On the other hand, if someone were to explain to us what they were doing and show us the cache, we'd be more apt to treat it appropriately.

 

One of our hidden caches has a muggle as its protector... He tells us, whenever we see him, how many people have been by and lets us know if anything suspicious happened at it. He found out because some of the cachers who found it made the mistake of taking us at our word and introduced themselves to the muggle (our cache has as a hint "Say Hi to Mr XXXX for us!" because it was in the boulevard right in front of the muggles house with a big sign with the muggles name on it.)

 

Neways... we have a predesigned answer for any muggle that is absolute truth and humourous, which will bring someone off their guard if they are even the least bit suspicious of us.

Link to comment

If we make it thru the weekend without a conversation with an Officer, then we've had a remarkably good weekend.

On average, we are questioned every 200 or so caches.

 

Perhaps you can reduce your conversations by following some guidelines.....

 

Park legally.

Drive legally.

Enter parks legally. (check the hours on the signs).

Avoid all caches where the cache page says "Avoid security".

Cache in the daytime.

Make it obvious that you are holding a device that makes you wander in circles, whenever you see an approaching Officer.

Link to comment

Mr. Vaultron and I are newbies. I (the Mrs.) have been reading the forums and noticed quite a few posts mentioning encounters with LEOs. I'm a little concerned about this. I'm the type of person who's nervous around authority figures, even when I've done nothing wrong. How common is it to have a LEO question your activities? Is it something that a cacher brings on him/herself by lingering around too long in one spot? Any input is appreciated.

 

The more urban micros that you hunt, the greater the risk of running into them. Filter out all micros. :(:(:laughing:

Link to comment

Mr. Vaultron and I are newbies. I (the Mrs.) have been reading the forums and noticed quite a few posts mentioning encounters with LEOs. I'm a little concerned about this. I'm the type of person who's nervous around authority figures, even when I've done nothing wrong. How common is it to have a LEO question your activities? Is it something that a cacher brings on him/herself by lingering around too long in one spot? Any input is appreciated.

 

Ask the officer to perform a thorough frisking - or maybe just a quick pat-down behind the car. Insist on being frisked. Tell the officer it's your right a citizen! :P

Edited by Tonka_Boy
Link to comment

The more urban micros that you hunt, the greater the risk of running into them. Filter out all micros. :D:):P

 

On the contrary, I've never had conversations with LEO on urban micros. Both instances were in the woods on regular size caches.

 

Well since I have had three interactions with LEOs, all urban. I win. :D:D:)

Link to comment

As a LEO I've only run into one group of geocachers. I immediately knew what they were doing when I saw the GPS. I had a pleasant conversation with them, I hadn't started geocaching at that time. I looked up the cache as soon as I got home!

 

We are definately more nervous at night, but as long as you do as asked and make no sudden movements you should be fine.

Link to comment

I havent run into one yet, but if I do, I am going to quickly tuck my GPSr under my long black trenchcoat, make abnormally fast head turning gestures as if checking over both shoulders, grin slightly, laugh maniacally and and tell him/her that there is nothing to worry about here.... then I will apply pressure to the wound and enjoy the ride to hospital ;)

Edited by kraushad
Link to comment

The more urban micros that you hunt, the greater the risk of running into them. Filter out all micros. :anicute::P:anibad:

 

On the contrary, I've never had conversations with LEO on urban micros. Both instances were in the woods on regular size caches.

 

Well since I have had three interactions with LEOs, all urban. I win. :anibad::P:anibad:

 

Ah. Hmm... Perhaps if you put a shirt on whilst geocaching in the winter, you might not attract as much attention???

Link to comment

Well my odds must be way off - I have been caching for two days now and out of 9 finds I have been observed and even help on all nine occasions by and employee of the local city police department. :anibad::P:P - Did I forget to mention that she is also an awesome cook, wonderful person and the greatest friend, partner, lover and soulmate that a man could ever dream for. :anicute::anibad::anibad:

Link to comment

Well my odds must be way off - I have been caching for two days now and out of 9 finds I have been observed and even help on all nine occasions by and employee of the local city police department. :blink::P:P - Did I forget to mention that she is also an awesome cook, wonderful person and the greatest friend, partner, lover and soulmate that a man could ever dream for. :yikes::unsure::smile:

 

All that in two days and nine finds???

 

Somebody sure is moving fast!!

Link to comment

I had 1 and 1/2 encounters out of about 800 cache hunts.

 

One was when we were walking in a salt marsh about 50 yards from a highway where pedestrians are not allowed. A state trooper stopped, called us over and warned us against walking along the highway. We assured him we had no intention, as our interest was in the marsh.

 

The second was at a rest area cache. My wife and I were searching when a state trooper pulled in and watched us closely for about 5 minutes, then drove away. Since he didn't question us, I only see it as half an encounter.

 

Generally I don't do the kinds of caches where encounters with the po-po are likely.

Link to comment

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Followers 0
×
×
  • Create New...