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angelsfan33

Cops called on on me while hiking with daughter!

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Hi everyone,

I am still pretty new to geocaching and have fully embraced it and I am having a great time. So are my 2 daughters, ages 8 and 12. Especially my 8 year old, she is addicted. She asked every minute of everyday if we can go!! We love to hide 'em and find 'em. Then an incident happened this past Saturday that is a real bummer to our geocaching experience. It makes me wonder if I can even go geocaching with my kids in areas that are not a muggle packed parking lot! My 8 year old and I decided to hit up some local caches for an afternoon since her older sister was at a birthday party and sleep over. We mapped out our route at home before leaving and even solved 2 puzzle caches together to grab. We were also going to get our first multi-cache. Who would have thought I would become a wanted man for going on a great nature trail hike with my own daughter next to en empty public park. We grabbed a few caches then headed out to the multi-cache "Pinecrest Wilderness Walk Multi". We arrived and parked about 5:45pm, still about 1.5 hours of light left. We proceeded to walk through the park to the first waypoint and noticed nobody playing on the nearby playground and the only people in the park were a man and a woman playing with a tennis ball with their Golden Retriever. My daughter and I talked about the dog and how fast he was as we crossed the park grass about 50 feet from this couple. We went to the side of the park and found the location of the first waypoint immediately. We stood there and talked about a rabbit skeleton that was there nearby. We then sat down on the bench nearby to punch in the next coords. We next headed over to the trailhead at the park and proceeded to walk along it having fun talking about the nature around us and laughing. Totally normal for a father and daughter! We even stopped at a few locations along this trail and were looking at some of the neat oak tree stumps and talking about how old they might be. The trail at the end opens up into a nice clearing area that has a large drainage tunnel and a stream flowing from it. It is surrounded by hills with homes on top on both sides and a road above. We proceeded to walk along the stream and look at crawdads and the birds bathing there. Completely innocent, and we had not even started looking for the cache! I then look over and see the couple standing behind some trees on the trail with their dog watching us? I didn't really give it any thought at that time. I then started to think they were acting very suspicious after about 2 minutes, and I started to think they must think WE are up to something. They then come out into the open in the clearing and walk around slowly at a distance with the dog about 100 feet from us. They then go back and go down the trail out of sight. I didn't give it another thought. We then grabbed the multi-cache and signed the log. My daughter traded some swag and we re-hid it. We then proceeded to hike up a trail nearby that goes up a hill to grab a few more caches on the ridgeline above. This ridge brings you all of the way back to the entrance of the park where my truck was at. We were approaching my truck when I spotted a police car behind it with no one inside. Hmmm? We had just grabbed the cache behind my truck called "Speed Trap" that is named that because there are always police on that corner busting speeders. I then am walking my daughter to the truck to head home and another police car drives by very slow looking at us. My daughter asks why all of the police are there, and I tell her it is probably because something happened nearby.

Now I am getting really suspicious the cops were called because of us! We drive home and meet my wife and some family friends at our house to get ready to all go out to dinner. That is when the cops arrive at my home. They ask to speak to me and my daughter separately! They ask what I was doing with a little girl in the park, and I explain that the little girl is my daughter and we were walking the nature trail for fun and finding local geocaches. They then say they were called because I looked suspicious with a little girl walking on the trail and ask me to wait while they talk to my daughter! She tells them the exact same things as me. They then ask some of the standard procedure questions and say they will be in touch with any further questions if needed!? This whole experience has been a total bummer on myself and my daughter. I was embarrased and upset in front of my wife and friends. I swear I look like my daughters father, and I am a normal looking 34 year old man (at least I think so). I was wearing a t-shirt, jeans, and hiking shoes. Now my daughter has said she is scared the cops are going to arrest us for geocaching together! I told her it is OK, and they were just making sure we were safe on the trail. She is smarter than that though, and she has already said "Yeah right Dad!" I looked up on our local police dispatch website and found the notes of the actual call about us (starts at the bottom)-

 

3/26/2011 19:23:41 : pos4 : KLOWE] [Cleared with unit 350] [03/26/2011 19:20:10 : 350 ] P/C`d the area and UTL any 925 [3/26/2011 19:12:53 : pos10 : CEValdivia] [3/26/2011 19:12:17 : pos10 : CEValdivia] JUST CALLED UP...SHE ADVISED THAT A GRY TOYOTA TUNDRA PLT# JUST LEFT THE PARKING LOT WHERE THE PATROL UNIT WAS PARKED AT...VEH IS OCCUPIED BY A MALE AND BELIEVES SHE SAW A CHILD IN THERE [3/26/2011 18:57:53 : pos4 : KLOWE] Unit : 350 C4 PC`D TO THE END OF THE TRAIL [3/26/2011 18:34:12 : pos4 : KLOWE] Unit : 350 OUT ON FOOT PINE CREST PARK [3/26/2011 18:14:38 : pos10 : CEValdivia] Cross streets: //PINECREST Landmark: PINECREST PARK NBH: 892E1 92692 33.65108,-117.639325 INF SAW A MALE SUBJ WALKING WITH A CHILD INTO THE REMOTE ARE THAT IS OFF THE TRAIL BEHIND THE SOCCER FIELD...INF NOT SURE IF THE CHILD BELONGS TO THE SUBJ...LS 10 AGO SUBJ IS MW, 30`s, DK BASEBALL HAT, DK SHIRT, DK PANTS CHILD IS FW WEARING ALL PINK

 

I still haven't even logged our 8 finds that day. I have been bummed out on the whole thing. I understand being suspicious of people, but come on!? Oh well, thanks for letting me write my story and feelings about it out. Anybody else ever have anything like this happen to them and their kids? :(

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Sorry to read your post and I do hope your daughter starts to enjoy the game again. I'm the dad of two girls ages 12 and 14. We started when they were 9 and 11 and the thought of what happened to you never crossed my mind.

 

There is both good and bad in your story though. It is good that there are people that are concerned enough to call the police in what they perceived as a suspicious situation. It would have been better if they had approached you and asked what was going on and then you could have had the opportunity to explain geocaching to them. The bad is what you, your daughter, and your family went through for this innocent adventure.

 

I am not going to change my caching trips with my daughters and I would not let this deter me from caching. Just use this event to explain to your daughter that it is good to see that people are concerned about others but there are better ways to address these issues.

 

Just think, when you and your daughter are older you will have a great story to tell about this misadventure.

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Really sad that you had to experience that!

I suppose it was good that the couple with the dog took the initiative in order to possibly protect a child that may have been in trouble - but when it turns out to be a false alarm - then the police should definitely handle these with more compassion.

 

I do trust that you continue - as it is a wonderful family experience and I know that both your daughters and you can have many more wonderful experiences.

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That sucks that you want through that.

On the other hand, you and she should feel safer knowing that folks in your area are looking out for the safety of little kids, even if they get it wrong sometimes.

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that's a terrible shame. penalize a father for spending time with his daughter? I'd have been pretty angry, personally. I'd have suggested that the cops go back and tell those nosey people that they just ruined a guy's evening and frightened his daughter.

 

I really can't see the good in the situation at all. those people jumped to conclusions based on what? they saw a guy with a little girl. is it that rare for fathers in that community to spend time with their kids? they called the cops because of a "might" situation. I MIGHT understand if they were suspicious of the cache containers in the woods containing drugs or bombs or something.

 

but a father going for a walk with his daughter? if the little girl screamed or he was being rough with her...okay, benefit of the doubt there.

 

those people shouldn't go outside their house! if they thought the OP "MIGHT" have molested the little girl, they must be terrified of the world!

Edited by mtbikernate

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that's a terrible shame. penalize a father for spending time with his daughter? I'd have been pretty angry, personally. I'd have suggested that the cops go back and tell those nosey people that they just ruined a guy's evening and frightened his daughter.

 

I dont think they should chastise the couple for calling about something that they thought was suspicious. They SHOULD though contact them and let them know it was a false alarm, so that if they see you again they will know.

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They wouldn't have talked to my daughter away from me. They wouldn't have been let in my house. Not without a lawyer present first. Sounds like very shady, suspect police work to me.

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They wouldn't have talked to my daughter away from me. They wouldn't have been let in my house. Not without a lawyer present first. Sounds like very shady, suspect police work to me.

And I agree and fully support your point of view.

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Ok this is very upsetting for me, I have met angelsfan several times and he is an awesome guy. I don't understand how someone could mistake him and his daughter as anything bad such as this? Although I am not surprised about the nosey couple that called on you. When Makahummel and I went on that same trail to grab the Multi-cache we ran into a similar issue. While grabbing the "speed trap" cache a lady driving by in her car stopped and starred at us for a really long time. The friendly guy that I am gave her a nice wave when she proceeded to call someone on her cell phone and speed off. Hmmmm I wonder what we were doing wrong? As we headed down to that first waypoint we saw some people playing with there dogs but they didn't pay attention to us. About 5 mins later we saw a cop pull up in front of that first cache where the lady spied on us! haha wow! the residence around here are paranoid jerks we thought as we walked down the trail to the next wp. Nothing ever happened after that.

 

This was the same exact park which was why I was not surprised about the cops showing up, but to come to your house and ask those kind of questions is absolutely unnecessary. I will say we live in a safe crime free area, but the police department here [profanity removed] with nothing better to do then to harrahs the innocent. I'm sorry, I have been through a lot with cops and geocaching, but I never let it get me down. This game is embedded deep in my blood and will never die.

 

Sorry to hear about this bro, hopefully this problem blows over and you and your daughter(s) can still go out to enjoy a nice day of caching.

Edited by Keystone
Potty language removed by moderator.

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Ok this is very upsetting for me, I have met angelsfan several times and he is an awesome guy. I don't understand how someone could mistake him and his daughter as anything bad such as this? Although I am not surprised about the nosey couple that called on you. When Makahummel and I went on that same trail to grab the Multi-cache we ran into a similar issue. While grabbing the "speed trap" cache a lady driving by in her car stopped and starred at us for a really long time. The friendly guy that I am gave her a nice wave when she proceeded to call someone on her cell phone and speed off. Hmmmm I wonder what we were doing wrong? As we headed down to that first waypoint we saw some people playing with there dogs but they didn't pay attention to us. About 5 mins later we saw a cop pull up in front of that first cache where the lady spied on us! haha wow! the residence around here are paranoid jerks we thought, as we left down the trail to the next wp. Nothing ever happened after that.

 

[Edited by moderator]

 

Sorry to hear about this bro, hopefully this problem blows over and you and your daughter(s) can still go out to enjoy a nice day of caching.

 

Thanks snapshot, it is nice to have a local from around here to back me up! snapshot is a great guy and a great asset to keeping geocaching alive and fresh around here! We both have been doing our part to place new caches and maintain some of the older forgotten caches! He knows the paranoia in some of these local residents and the overreaction from the police around here! The thing that gets me the most about this incident is that the woman watched us walk on an open trail, followed us and saw us enjoying the nature for at least 5 minutes and THEN called the cops. She then called AGAIN when I was leaving over an hour later!! She gave my license plate and everything. She didn't see me harming my child, and then saw us walking back to my truck still talking with smiles from the other direction an hour later and called AGAIN! This is not being helpful or protective, that is borderline paranoia! I do not blame the cops much, they have to respond. I blame this couple who are making up bad scenarios in their heads and reporting them! Then I am left to explain myself to police and my kids all over an afternoon walk on a local trail! I guess we should keep a watchful eye on all trails and woods for men walking with young girls taking in the nature! It could turn nasty at any second! Still a total bummer!

Edited by Keystone
Potty language removed from quoted post

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Don't let this event spoil your fun on geoacaching. As you said, you were only walking the trail, so this has nothing to do with geocaching itself. Just keep on spending time with your daugters the same way. Just look at it the positive way: other people care and watch over your kids as well.

 

Have fun on you future hikes, Moose61

 

BTW My wife always tells me she is waiting for the cops to show up and tell her I am caught doing suspicious things in the bushes...

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They wouldn't have talked to my daughter away from me. They wouldn't have been let in my house. Not without a lawyer present first. Sounds like very shady, suspect police work to me.

And I agree and fully support your point of view.

I also agree. Once the police found out it was his daughter it should have ended right there. The only reason I can see that the police questioned them more about the incident was they had molesting in their suspicious little minds, and who the hell is going to take his daughter to a public park or on a hiking trail to molest her. Sounds like the police in that town aren't the sharpest tacks in the box.

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As a single parent who also happens to be male I fully sympathise with you. I have an 11 year old daughter and I am all to familiar with getting the odd suspicious look from strangers as I pass them by whilst out walking with my daughter. It's a sad indictment of our modern world that I am often left feeling guilty for spending time with my child. On the other hand however I know that I would feel devastated if I saw someone with a young child and later found out that the child was molested or worse and that I could potentially have done something to save them.

 

It's a difficult one to call, and I would tend to go easy on the members of the public who raise the call. The police on the other hand should very definitely apologise as soon as it becomes obvious that there is nothing untoward going on.

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As a single parent who also happens to be male I fully sympathise with you. I have an 11 year old daughter and I am all to familiar with getting the odd suspicious look from strangers as I pass them by whilst out walking with my daughter. It's a sad indictment of our modern world that I am often left feeling guilty for spending time with my child. On the other hand however I know that I would feel devastated if I saw someone with a young child and later found out that the child was molested or worse and that I could potentially have done something to save them.

 

It's a difficult one to call, and I would tend to go easy on the members of the public who raise the call. The police on the other hand should very definitely apologise as soon as it becomes obvious that there is nothing untoward going on.

So you are going to call the police every time you see someone with a young child? Gonna be some busy cops in your area.

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I'm amazed at how our society has gotten so paranoid.

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They wouldn't have talked to my daughter away from me. They wouldn't have been let in my house. Not without a lawyer present first. Sounds like very shady, suspect police work to me.

 

There is *no* circumstance in which I would let me kids talk to the police separately in this situation. There is no telling what these cops have been told and whether or not they are on a witch hunt. If you feel you must, at least tell the police you are not going to let them talk to your kid without a video camera recording the whole conversation.

 

I am, in fact, a lawyer and no good can ever come of letting police talk to your kids if the police are suspicious about you.

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This would probably only make sense if the OP matched the description of someone on a watch list in the area or there was an amber alert, etc.

 

If this occurred in a residential area with plenty of busybody neighbors, unfortunately, I could believe it. Some people have nothing better to do with their time than start false alarms and drama. Possibly the same types who call the fire department because the neighbors are having a cookout in their backyard.

 

Some types just take the whole neighborhood watch thing a little TOO seriously...

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They wouldn't have talked to my daughter away from me. They wouldn't have been let in my house. Not without a lawyer present first. Sounds like very shady, suspect police work to me.

And I agree and fully support your point of view.

 

Add one more to that pile.

 

I think that it was a good thing that neighbors were concerned enough about an adult male taking a young girl into the woods (assuming they don't know you). That was showing concern. I think its great that the cops responded to that (although why they didn't stop you on your way back to your car, I don't know). But once they knew that you were father and daughter, and had no probable cause that a crime had been committed, the should have dropped it right there.

 

This has nothing to do with geocaching, though.

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I hate that this happened. I've seem fathers and daughters on trails and never gave it a thought. And I don't think I will even now unless there is some sign of trouble. Talking, laughing and walking is not a sign of trouble.

 

The worst part is what has happened to your daughter to make her leery of caching and of spending time alone with you for fear of being questioned.

 

I think the cops owe you both an apology and should talk with both of you explaining why they came out and that is OKAY to go for walks together.

 

There is no way I'd leave it where it is, you need to get to the end with the apology and put it behind you. I'd call them today and have them meet with both of you.

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Had a somewhat similar situation with the wife a few weeks ago (full story here). Someone mistook her getting out of the car to grab a cache as a 'domestic situation'. A concerned citizen followed us and called the police. Eventually we were pulled over by two police cars and questioned. It rattled my wife and it was upsetting for me to see my wife upset.

 

I'm glad there are still people who look out for one another, but...wish they hadn't in this case.

 

It's a shame, in your case, that a man and a girl walking is considered a concern these days. But it's real and it's why I really don't like hides next to playgrounds. I dnf'd on one just a few feet from a children's pool because of the concern about it would look.

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It's a shame, in your case, that a man and a girl walking is considered a concern these days. But it's real and it's why I really don't like hides next to playgrounds. I dnf'd on one just a few feet from a children's pool because of the concern about it would look.

This is the reason I almost never look for caches in playgrounds anymore. As a 61-year-old single male, I just don't feel comfortable looking around and "acting suspicious" in an area like that.

 

If I can tell from the cache page or an aerial photo that a cache is hidden in a playground, the cache immediately goes on my Ignore List. If I approach an area that turns out to be a playground, I walk away from it, with very few exceptions.

 

It's really sad that we live in such a paranoid world; and it's really sad that there are people who inspire that sort of paranoia.

 

--Larry

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It really sucks that this happened.

 

It's kind of like the film cans getting blown up by the bomb squad: once that couple called the police, they HAD to respond. Questioning the girl away from her dad is, I think, standard procedure. Sure, you could have refused... you'd have likely ended up downtown, with a lawyer. She would still have been questioned out of your presence, but with your lawyer there. She would have probably been much more traumatized. The end result would have been the same, but with lawyer's fees thrown in.

 

The real problem is that this couple thought there was something suspicious about a man walking with his daughter on a nature trail. Isn't that why we have nature trails in the first place? The mindset that sees a man with a girl and immediately thinks "pevert" is sick.

 

But you did nothing wrong. I know you were embarrassed and inconvenienced, but please don't let it stop you from doing things that you enjoy. You have nothing to be ashamed of; the people who thought you were up to no good, THEY are the ones who should be ashamed.

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They wouldn't have talked to my daughter away from me. They wouldn't have been let in my house. Not without a lawyer present first. Sounds like very shady, suspect police work to me.

And I agree and fully support your point of view.

I also agree. Once the police found out it was his daughter it should have ended right there. The only reason I can see that the police questioned them more about the incident was they had molesting in their suspicious little minds, and who the hell is going to take his daughter to a public park or on a hiking trail to molest her. Sounds like the police in that town aren't the sharpest tacks in the box.

Yet one more voice in agreement.

 

It wouldn't bother me that someone called the police. It wouldn't bother me that they showed up at my door. However, once they learned that I was the dad, they should have went on their merry way. They would not have questioned my daughter in that situation.

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They wouldn't have talked to my daughter away from me. They wouldn't have been let in my house. Not without a lawyer present first. Sounds like very shady, suspect police work to me.

And I agree and fully support your point of view.

 

Add one more to that pile.

 

I think that it was a good thing that neighbors were concerned enough about an adult male taking a young girl into the woods (assuming they don't know you). That was showing concern. I think its great that the cops responded to that (although why they didn't stop you on your way back to your car, I don't know). But once they knew that you were father and daughter, and had no probable cause that a crime had been committed, the should have dropped it right there.

 

This has nothing to do with geocaching, though.

 

Agreed.

I generally am very pro LEO, unfortunately a lot of people are not. I think that that attitude frequently comes from situations like this. The most unfortunate thing in this is that your daughter was traumatized by the police. I would seriously consider contacting the chief of police and his superior about the officers over the top actions and attitudes and to meet with your family to give your daughter a tour of the police station and a different, more positive, view of the police. I don't think I would just let this go.

At the other end of that spectrum, I think I would make it a point of 'bumping into' that couple in the park again, this time without my daughter, and letting them know they did more harm than good.

Just my .02

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It really sucks that this happened.

 

It's kind of like the film cans getting blown up by the bomb squad: once that couple called the police, they HAD to respond. Questioning the girl away from her dad is, I think, standard procedure. Sure, you could have refused... you'd have likely ended up downtown, with a lawyer. She would still have been questioned out of your presence, but with your lawyer there. She would have probably been much more traumatized. The end result would have been the same, but with lawyer's fees thrown in.

The police at that point would have no probable cause to detain/question the father and daughter. As such, I seriously doubt that they would have forced them to go anywhere.

 

It should also be noted that since I never would have given permission for the police to even enter my home and since after they learned that I was the father there would be no exigent circumstances for them to enter without a warrant nor any facts to take to a judge to obtain same, I believe that they would not be able to compel me to go anywhere.

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So you are going to call the police every time you see someone with a young child? Gonna be some busy cops in your area.

 

No, I didn't say that, nor did I suggest it. I'm simply saying that I can understand how if someone perceives something wrong like that that they should call the cops, and the cops should investigate as a matter of urgency. But they should back off immediately they realise there is nothing wrong.

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It really sucks that this happened.

 

It's kind of like the film cans getting blown up by the bomb squad: once that couple called the police, they HAD to respond.

The police at that point would have no probable cause to detain/question the father and daughter. As such, I seriously doubt that they would have forced them to go anywhere.

 

I am neither an attorney nor a police officer, but I think you are wrong. They had a phone call from an informant who said that they thought a child was being molested. That is probable cause, and at that point, they have a duty to investigate. I suspect that refusing them entry to your home, and refusing to allow them to speak to your daughter, is NOT going to convince them that everything is ok. In fact, I suspect that if one did that, one would find the police quickly returning with a social worker and a warrant.

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"As a single parent who also happens to be male I fully sympathise with you. I have an 11 year old daughter and I am all to familiar with getting the odd suspicious look from strangers as I pass them by whilst out walking with my daughter"

 

As a married father I have gotten the same treatment. It seems everyone is really ready to believe the molester or dead beat dad stuff but very few can actually believe there are those of us out there trying to be good dads.

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Questioning the girl away from her dad is, I think, standard procedure. Sure, you could have refused... you'd have likely ended up downtown, with a lawyer.

I sure hope that you are wrong about that. It was a father with his daughter. They live in the same house, fer cryin' out loud! There was no probable cause here whatsoever.

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It really sucks that this happened.

 

It's kind of like the film cans getting blown up by the bomb squad: once that couple called the police, they HAD to respond.

The police at that point would have no probable cause to detain/question the father and daughter. As such, I seriously doubt that they would have forced them to go anywhere.

 

I am neither an attorney nor a police officer, but I think you are wrong. They had a phone call from an informant who said that they thought a child was being molested. That is probable cause, and at that point, they have a duty to investigate. I suspect that refusing them entry to your home, and refusing to allow them to speak to your daughter, is NOT going to convince them that everything is ok. In fact, I suspect that if one did that, one would find the police quickly returning with a social worker and a warrant.

 

Asserting your rights is often a serious inconvenience. LEOs know that. They rely on that to get people to give up their rights. But getting a warrant and social work is also a serious inconvenience, so it's not all stacked in their favor. That said, if it comes down to it and they bring a social worker and a warrant, it's going to cost you a lot of money and time to clear things up. But you are going to be able to prevail. The downside of letting the police talk to your kid separately is that the kid may well be pressured into saying something or confirming something that could open up some big can of worms. These kids were a little older it sounds like, but I can't imagine what things could come out of a kids mouth if you were helping them take a leak in the woods and the police start asking leading questions.

 

And, importantly here, there is no LEGAL upside to letting your kids talk to the police separately. At *most* you are going to be where you were to begin with -- innocent, with the police going on their merry way.

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Questioning the girl away from her dad is, I think, standard procedure. Sure, you could have refused... you'd have likely ended up downtown, with a lawyer.

I sure hope that you are wrong about that. It was a father with his daughter. They live in the same house, fer cryin' out loud! There was no probable cause here whatsoever.

Like I said, I'm neither a lawyer nor a cop. I know we have both reading the board, I hope one will pop in and enlighten us on probable cause. I suspect the phone call would be enough probable cause to convince a judge to issue a warrant.

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Questioning the girl away from her dad is, I think, standard procedure. Sure, you could have refused... you'd have likely ended up downtown, with a lawyer.

I sure hope that you are wrong about that. It was a father with his daughter. They live in the same house, fer cryin' out loud! There was no probable cause here whatsoever.

 

I hear what you're saying and I don't know the legal ins and outs of the situation, but the reality is that the majority of abusers of children are a relatives or close friends of the family. Honestly, I don't know how I would have reacted in the same situation but I can see the validity of talking to the child and getting their story without the influence of parent nearby. It seems like they would have had a child advocate on-hand so the cops weren't completely alone with the daughter, however.

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So you are going to call the police every time you see someone with a young child? Gonna be some busy cops in your area.

 

No, I didn't say that, nor did I suggest it. I'm simply saying that I can understand how if someone perceives something wrong like that that they should call the cops, and the cops should investigate as a matter of urgency. But they should back off immediately they realise there is nothing wrong.

What is wrong with a father walking with his daughter?

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Questioning the girl away from her dad is, I think, standard procedure. Sure, you could have refused... you'd have likely ended up downtown, with a lawyer.

I sure hope that you are wrong about that. It was a father with his daughter. They live in the same house, fer cryin' out loud! There was no probable cause here whatsoever.

Like I said, I'm neither a lawyer nor a cop. I know we have both reading the board, I hope one will pop in and enlighten us on probable cause. I suspect the phone call would be enough probable cause to convince a judge to issue a warrant.

What we don't know here is what the couple that called the cops claimed to have seen. I suspect that any claim of probable cause would be dependent on what they said that they had witnessed. But they also are not trained or professional witnesses, and the cops know how unreliable eye-witnesses can be, so even if they said that they had witnessed something specific, and not just the vague generality of a man with a child in the woods, it would have to be taken seriously, but with a serious grain of salt as well.

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Asserting your rights is often a serious inconvenience. LEOs know that. They rely on that to get people to give up their rights. But getting a warrant and social work is also a serious inconvenience, so it's not all stacked in their favor.

Except that at least the LEOs get paid for being inconvenienced.

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Questioning the girl away from her dad is, I think, standard procedure. Sure, you could have refused... you'd have likely ended up downtown, with a lawyer.

I sure hope that you are wrong about that. It was a father with his daughter. They live in the same house, fer cryin' out loud! There was no probable cause here whatsoever.

Like I said, I'm neither a lawyer nor a cop. I know we have both reading the board, I hope one will pop in and enlighten us on probable cause. I suspect the phone call would be enough probable cause to convince a judge to issue a warrant.

In order for the police to detain someone for questioning, They must have reasonable suspicion that 1) a crime has been committed and 2) the person being questioned committed the crime.

 

From the dispatch log, we know exactly what the officers knew prior to knocking on the door: Someone called to report that a man and girl was walking off the trail in a local park. They then left in a grey toyota tundra. The person supplied the plate number and a general description of what both people were wearing.

 

Given this, they don't have reasonable suspicion that a crime even happened. They certainly don't have enough to compel a judge to issue a warrant.

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Questioning the girl away from her dad is, I think, standard procedure. Sure, you could have refused... you'd have likely ended up downtown, with a lawyer.

I sure hope that you are wrong about that. It was a father with his daughter. They live in the same house, fer cryin' out loud! There was no probable cause here whatsoever.

Like I said, I'm neither a lawyer nor a cop. I know we have both reading the board, I hope one will pop in and enlighten us on probable cause. I suspect the phone call would be enough probable cause to convince a judge to issue a warrant.

What we don't know here is what the couple that called the cops claimed to have seen. I suspect that any claim of probable cause would be dependent on what they said that they had witnessed. But they also are not trained or professional witnesses, and the cops know how unreliable eye-witnesses can be, so even if they said that they had witnessed something specific, and not just the vague generality of a man with a child in the woods, it would have to be taken seriously, but with a serious grain of salt as well.

We actually do know what they claim to have seen as it was in the dispatch report posted by the OP. Mrs. Kravitz made two calls to the police. The first advised of a man and girl walking off trail behind the soccer field. He was thirties, dark clothes, baseball cap. She all in pink. The second call advised that he, and possibly the girl, drove off together in grey Tundra and the plate number. The second call also offered that the girl might 'belong to' the man.

 

That's everything the police knew at the time that they knocked on the door.

Edited by sbell111

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It really sucks that this happened.

 

It's kind of like the film cans getting blown up by the bomb squad: once that couple called the police, they HAD to respond.

The police at that point would have no probable cause to detain/question the father and daughter. As such, I seriously doubt that they would have forced them to go anywhere.

 

I am neither an attorney nor a police officer, but I think you are wrong. They had a phone call from an informant who said that they thought a child was being molested.

No they didn't. Read the police report in the OP.

 

SHE ADVISED THAT A GRY TOYOTA TUNDRA PLT# JUST LEFT THE PARKING LOT WHERE THE PATROL UNIT WAS PARKED AT...VEH IS OCCUPIED BY A MALE AND BELIEVES SHE SAW A CHILD IN THERE [3/26/2011 18:57:53 : pos4 : KLOWE] Unit : 350 C4 PC`D TO THE END OF THE TRAIL [3/26/2011 18:34:12 : pos4 : KLOWE] Unit : 350 OUT ON FOOT PINE CREST PARK [3/26/2011 18:14:38 : pos10 : CEValdivia] Cross streets: //PINECREST Landmark: PINECREST PARK NBH: 892E1 92692 33.65108,-117.639325 INF SAW A MALE SUBJ WALKING WITH A CHILD INTO THE REMOTE ARE THAT IS OFF THE TRAIL BEHIND THE SOCCER FIELD...INF NOT SURE IF THE CHILD BELONGS TO THE SUBJ
Nowhere in there is there any suggestion of molestation, abduction, or anything else - just "I saw a guy walking around and getting into his truck with a little girl. It may be his kid, it may not be."

 

That this can so quickly be turned into an accusation & investigation is scary. Society disappoints me. This shouldn't even be cause for a call to the police - some nosy busybody out there with nothing better than to follow people & report on any wrongdoing they might perceive.

 

That is probable cause, and at that point, they have a duty to investigate.
Debatable. If there was no apparent struggle, and no outstanding report of an abducted child, the officer doesn't need to approach the subjects, nor separate them to interview independently. LEOs and DAs get coerced confessions often by asking people leading questions & wearing them down to the point that they get the answers they want, regardless of the truth.

 

I suspect that refusing them entry to your home, and refusing to allow them to speak to your daughter, is NOT going to convince them that everything is ok. In fact, I suspect that if one did that, one would find the police quickly returning with a social worker and a warrant.
Let them get a warrant if they want to come into my home without my consent. And if they want to question me, they can officially detain me & speak with my lawyer. The more people let their rights get taken away, the faster we all lose them.

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...I then look over and see the couple standing behind some trees on the trail with their dog watching us? I didn't really give it any thought at that time. I then started to think they were acting very suspicious after about 2 minutes, and I started to think they must think WE are up to something. They then come out into the open in the clearing and walk around slowly at a distance with the dog about 100 feet from us. They then go back and go down the trail out of sight...
Ok, so if these people really thought that you were a child molester, the question in my mind is why did they let you out of their sight? Why didn't they come close enough to talk? This would have served two purposes: first, and most importantly, it would prevent you from doing what they suspected you were up to; second, it would allow them to ascertain what you were up to.

 

To call the police on a father and daughter enjoying time in a park? Ridiculous! To leave a suspected child molester alone with a child? Unconscionable!

 

In either case these people did the absolute wrong thing.

Edited by Too Tall John

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I'm amazed at how our society has gotten so paranoid.

Tell me about it.

 

A couple years ago, I was walking along a very popular path on a weekend and came upon a 6ish-year-old girl. She was alone, apparently lost, and crying loudly. Dozens of people walked by. I knelt beside her, calmed her a bit, and tried to figure out the situation.

 

Before too long, her parents came running up, grabbed her, glared at me, and led her away. I guess I should be thankful that they didn't call the police.

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"Ok, so if these people really thought that you were a child molester, the question in my mind is why did they let you out of their sight? Why didn't they come close enough to talk? This would have served two purposes: first, and most importantly, it would prevent you from doing what they suspected you were up to; second, it would allow them to ascertain what you were up to."

 

I've worked in government for many years and if there is one true thing in the world it is that the public would much reather contact some agency and get it to do XYZ than talk to another human. Sometimes that is good, wouldn't want some little old lady going to talk to the local meth cook. Sometimes it is a pain like when you get used as a weapon in a neighborhood spat.

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It's kinda funny - my wife had just the opposite happen.

 

She was at a small playground with our young daughter, and there was a creepy looking guy hanging around (he didn't have a child with him). She left, and called the local police. "What do you want us to do, arrest him?" was their annoyed response. No, maybe send a car around and see what is up? Just the precense of an officer might have had him "move along."

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They wouldn't have talked to my daughter away from me. They wouldn't have been let in my house. Not without a lawyer present first. Sounds like very shady, suspect police work to me.

 

This.

 

While "investigating" police will do whatever you let them get away with. . As they clearly had no RAS(reasonable articulable suspicion) they could not legally enter your house unless you let them in.

They can ask whatever they want, like asking to talk to your daughter alone, but that doesn't mean you have to comply. Know your rights.

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It's kinda funny - my wife had just the opposite happen.

 

She was at a small playground with our young daughter, and there was a creepy looking guy hanging around (he didn't have a child with him). She left, and called the local police. "What do you want us to do, arrest him?" was their annoyed response. No, maybe send a car around and see what is up? Just the precense of an officer might have had him "move along."

Define "creepy looking"

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It's kinda funny - my wife had just the opposite happen.

 

She was at a small playground with our young daughter, and there was a creepy looking guy hanging around (he didn't have a child with him). She left, and called the local police. "What do you want us to do, arrest him?" was their annoyed response. No, maybe send a car around and see what is up? Just the precense of an officer might have had him "move along."

Define "creepy looking"

I'm sure that very question went through the 911 operator's mind. Turns out being a single male is not illegal, nor is being 'creepy looking', so they did not get in a rush to send the police to the park.

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]Define "creepy looking"

See my profile photo. :ph34r::blink::P

 

Seriously, herein lies one of the difficulties with our increasingly paranoid society. Too many people these days consider almost any lone male over the age of (what, 40? 50? 60, certainly) to be "creepy looking" or at least prima facie suspicious. I fall into that category, and I'm all too sensitive to that fact. Since I cache alone the majority of the time, there are places I simply don't feel comfortable visiting because of the prevailing attitudes.

 

And yes, I'm fully aware that I have the legal right to be anywhere I want to be as long as I'm not breaking any laws. On the other hand, I am not a confrontational type of person, and I feel it's just not worth the potential harassment to insist on exercising that right by clambering around on a playground slide loking for a nano cache. That smilie simply isn't worth the potential grief.

 

Besides, I'm terrible at finding nanos on slides.

 

--Larry

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It's kinda funny - my wife had just the opposite happen.

 

She was at a small playground with our young daughter, and there was a creepy looking guy hanging around (he didn't have a child with him). She left, and called the local police. "What do you want us to do, arrest him?" was their annoyed response. No, maybe send a car around and see what is up? Just the precense of an officer might have had him "move along."

Define "creepy looking"

I'm sure that very question went through the 911 operator's mind. Turns out being a single male is not illegal, nor is being 'creepy looking', so they did not get in a rush to send the police to the park.

 

You may be right, but the officer on the line (my wife called the local police department's non-emergency number and got the desk officer) nearly bit off my wife's head. He could have calmly said "we'll send a car around but can't do much else."

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"Ok, so if these people really thought that you were a child molester, the question in my mind is why did they let you out of their sight? Why didn't they come close enough to talk? This would have served two purposes: first, and most importantly, it would prevent you from doing what they suspected you were up to; second, it would allow them to ascertain what you were up to."

 

I totally agree with this statement. What exactly have you given the cops to go on with those phone calls? A big fat nothing, since nothing was up...all you did was freak out a little girl and her father. BUT if you REALLY thought something was up, maybe you could ACTUALLY FIND OUT first! Happen past the 2 with your dog...follow them for a while until you know what's up...actually INVEST something of yourself before you force the investment of others. (I'm not suggesting to do this if it would put you in danger, of course...but maybe if you peeked at these people when they were not suspecting you could actually SEE some activity to give the cops something real to hold the guy for if he WAS guilty...or maybe find out you were way off-base.)

 

I may get blasted for this, but in my experience people are very quick to point the finger at you for potential wrong-doing, but very few actually take the initiative to find out the whole story. And as I've seen in my own experiences, when it comes to sexual allegations these days if you're male you'd better watch out! You'd better be ready to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that you're innocent, and even then it's a roll of the dice (unless you're rich and famous)...and this is being written by the female half of the team.

 

But back to the main topic...I am soooo horribly sorry that you and your daughter have had this traumatic experience! I hope you're able to shake it off, but what makes it really scary is not what DID happen, but what could have happened...and that's harder to shake off. You have my sympathies, and I totally agree with your point of view!

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It's kinda funny - my wife had just the opposite happen.

 

She was at a small playground with our young daughter, and there was a creepy looking guy hanging around (he didn't have a child with him). She left, and called the local police. "What do you want us to do, arrest him?" was their annoyed response. No, maybe send a car around and see what is up? Just the precense of an officer might have had him "move along."

Sounds like he could have been a geocacher. :o

 

Seriously, another option could have been to have a friendly chat with the fellow. If he was up to no good, I suspect that would have been enough to get him to "move along."

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One good tip I have heard is always carry a family photo of you & your kids in your wallet. Pretty dang sad when you have to prove yours are your own, but I guess that is the world we live in these days.

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