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Cachers & cops


El Fartero
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Fortunately I've yet to meet a police officer who was unreasonable, though it sounds as if several cachers have.

Ah, yes... the single-side-of-the-coin-story.....

 

Although I am sure that there certainly are incidents that the pure truth has been told, but human nature, as it is, usually has one telling their side of the story wearing glasses of a different tint than does the other side (which we almost never get to hear...) -- and yes, it does go both ways.

 

It's really too bad, 'cuz that's where the real drama is (both stories, side-by-side)! :o:P

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Handcuffed for 1h? Wow, I would file some sort of complained.

How would you feel about 12 days in JAIL? I was ARRESTED because an area* the city purchased was deemed a zero tolerance area due to high crime/prostitution/drugs and there weren't any no trespassing signs up!

 

*the cache had permission from the land owner at the time however the glendale police officers hands were tied as it was deemed a "zero tolerance area"

 

I spent that much time in jail because i had nobody to bail me out.

want to lose weight? 12 days courtesy of joe arpaio is a good way to lose weight!

 

Zero tolerance for what? I assume you were not committing any crime.

the parking lot was a hotbed for drug deals and prostitution. my crime: being there.

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Handcuffed for 1h? Wow, I would file some sort of complained.

How would you feel about 12 days in JAIL? I was ARRESTED because an area* the city purchased was deemed a zero tolerance area due to high crime/prostitution/drugs and there weren't any no trespassing signs up!

 

*the cache had permission from the land owner at the time however the glendale police officers hands were tied as it was deemed a "zero tolerance area"

 

I spent that much time in jail because i had nobody to bail me out.

want to lose weight? 12 days courtesy of joe arpaio is a good way to lose weight!

 

Not a fan of Arpaio's green bologna? Did you have to sleep outside and get pink boxers?

 

arpaio is definitely a zero tolerance kind of guy...

Tent city is for DUI, I got a indoor cell. Green bologna would have been a 5 star meal.

I don't know where they get their slop but its barely edible. my diet consisted of water and an orange[thats all i would eat]

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I don't really care for playground hides, either, but tell me, please... what are the similarities between a pervert hanging out in a park, looking for a child to abduct, and a geocacher or a group of geocachers on their hands and knees, searching under the equipment, wandering around looking helplessly at a GPS device?

Anybody on thier hands and knees in a playground is kind of creepy in my book! :ph34r:

 

Humor aside, yeah, playground hides rank right up there with cememtary hides, I generally don't do either. I suppose if I had children with me at the playground, it wouldn't seem so weird.

equipment hides go on my ignore list

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Handcuffed for 1h? Wow, I would file some sort of complained.

How would you feel about 12 days in JAIL? I was ARRESTED because an area* the city purchased was deemed a zero tolerance area due to high crime/prostitution/drugs and there weren't any no trespassing signs up!

 

*the cache had permission from the land owner at the time however the glendale police officers hands were tied as it was deemed a "zero tolerance area"

 

I spent that much time in jail because i had nobody to bail me out.

want to lose weight? 12 days courtesy of joe arpaio is a good way to lose weight!

 

Not a fan of Arpaio's green bologna? Did you have to sleep outside and get pink boxers?

 

arpaio is definitely a zero tolerance kind of guy...

Tent city is for DUI, I got a indoor cell. Green bologna would have been a 5 star meal.

I don't know where they get their slop but its barely edible. my diet consisted of water and an orange[thats all i would eat]

 

Aww, heck. I didn't know it was specifically for DUI.

 

I've been questioned by the cops a few times too. They all heard about geocaching. I had to show the cache to one officer, which already had my name on the log, thankfully.

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I am not a LEO but I am a security guard at a high security area. We do have limited arrest powers for certain crimes. I heard about geocaching about two years ago. I patrol our site and do a lot of checks in the local city. Our site is intermingled with parts of the city and alot of our secured areas are next to public streets and highways. If I saw someone checking out a cache near our facilities (Before my knowledge of geocaching) I would have been very CURIOUS about what they were doing. Think about it...Someone crawling, stooped over, lifting things near the ground etc (what we do all the time) looks very unusual and something I would definetly check out. Our Use of force rules guide us and one of the things we can do is cuff someone for our safety, safety of others, or if we think they are a flight risk (looking nervous and acts like they may bolt). We are a rather large force and I would guess that 90% of our guys do not know about geocaching. There are probably about 30 caches that are right against our boundries or are near to our buildings in the city. I talk to alot of the guys on my shift about geocaching and a few of them are interested and a couple are former cachers. Coming from a person who loves geocaching I can tell you that what we do is inherently suspicous, LEO will always side on the edge of caution until they know what you are doing. On a side note I have told some of our local cachers (in our get togethers) that I will be looking for them and I wouldn't mind having a little fun if they don't recognize me right away.

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Handcuffed for 1h? Wow, I would file some sort of complained.

How would you feel about 12 days in JAIL? I was ARRESTED because an area* the city purchased was deemed a zero tolerance area due to high crime/prostitution/drugs and there weren't any no trespassing signs up!

 

*the cache had permission from the land owner at the time however the glendale police officers hands were tied as it was deemed a "zero tolerance area"

 

I spent that much time in jail because i had nobody to bail me out.

want to lose weight? 12 days courtesy of joe arpaio is a good way to lose weight!

 

Zero tolerance for what? I assume you were not committing any crime.

the parking lot was a hotbed for drug deals and prostitution. my crime: being there.

 

So were you Provided with counsel? Given a phone call? Given a hearing? 12 days is nearly two weeks, courts don't stay closed that long. I'm sorry I find this very hard to believe. If you were on private property with the owners permisssion and thrown in jail just because they said so then you were falsely arrested and denied due process. There must be something more to the story...

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My Dad lives in White Plains, NY - a fairly cosmopolitan area. In the not too distant past, a police officer (or perhaps a park ranger) saw something 'suspicious' in a tree, evacuated the area, called in the bomb squad, etc. Yes, it was a cache. And yes, most law enforcement types are not agile thinkers.

Edited by pairofdocs
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I am not a LEO but I am a security guard at a high security area. We do have limited arrest powers for certain crimes.....

 

On a side note I have told some of our local cachers (in our get togethers) that I will be looking for them and I wouldn't mind having a little fun if they don't recognize me right away.

 

If you're planning to use your specifically limited powers to harass unsuspecting cachers (who don't need the stress and unpleasantness of you amusing yourself by trying to scare them), you need to find a new job.

 

Seriously.

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I don't plan on HARASSING unsuspecting cachers. If I know them I would only let my presence be known and let them wonder if it is me. I don't plan on using any of my powers as the powers I have do not apply to non site employees unless they are in an area they should not be (which happens quite a lot). If one of my fellow officers (there are more of us than the LEO in the surrounding towns) saw a cacher around our areas/sites they would do pretty much what I would do...The difference being that some of us would not be suspicious of what they are doing around that tree/lamppost. Seriously get e grip.

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I don't plan on HARASSING unsuspecting cachers. If I know them I would only let my presence be known and let them wonder if it is me. I don't plan on using any of my powers as the powers I have do not apply to non site employees unless they are in an area they should not be (which happens quite a lot). If one of my fellow officers (there are more of us than the LEO in the surrounding towns) saw a cacher around our areas/sites they would do pretty much what I would do...The difference being that some of us would not be suspicious of what they are doing around that tree/lamppost. Seriously get e grip.

 

Making your presence known is obviously just doing your job. That's not what you intimated that you were doing -- it sounded like you were planning to try to scare anyone you could by using your security guard status to make them think they were in trouble.

 

Whenever someone in a position of power over others uses that power in an innappropriate way (as in scaring a cacher for your own amusement), it's harrassment, and out of line.

 

Before you tell me to get a grip, perhaps you need to examine your motives for wanting to scare cachers who come near your patrol area.

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Handcuffed for 1h? Wow, I would file some sort of complained.

How would you feel about 12 days in JAIL? I was ARRESTED because an area* the city purchased was deemed a zero tolerance area due to high crime/prostitution/drugs and there weren't any no trespassing signs up!

 

*the cache had permission from the land owner at the time however the glendale police officers hands were tied as it was deemed a "zero tolerance area"

 

I spent that much time in jail because i had nobody to bail me out.

want to lose weight? 12 days courtesy of joe arpaio is a good way to lose weight!

 

Sometimes friends are a good thing.

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Below is a log entry I made after an encounter with a LEO while caching.

 

Well this one was certainly interesting. Pulled up just in front of the fence and got out of my truck. Found myself face to face with a herd of whitetail deer. We just stood there for staring at each other for a while. The deer bolted when the MTA Police car pulled up behind me. One of the most unpleasant people I've ever dealt with proceeded to get out of the car.

 

Blah blah blah private property. Blah blah blah trespassing (even though there are zero signs posted anywhere). Blah blah blah Patriot Act (seriously), Blah blah blah railroad tracks. Blah blah blah trespassing (again). Blah blah blah arrested.

 

So.... I left.

 

MTA is the Maryland Transit Administration. Cache was near some light rail tracks.

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Below is a log entry I made after an encounter with a LEO while caching.

 

Well this one was certainly interesting. Pulled up just in front of the fence and got out of my truck. Found myself face to face with a herd of whitetail deer. We just stood there for staring at each other for a while. The deer bolted when the MTA Police car pulled up behind me. One of the most unpleasant people I've ever dealt with proceeded to get out of the car.

 

Blah blah blah private property. Blah blah blah trespassing (even though there are zero signs posted anywhere). Blah blah blah Patriot Act (seriously), Blah blah blah railroad tracks. Blah blah blah trespassing (again). Blah blah blah arrested.

 

So.... I left.

 

MTA is the Maryland Transit Administration. Cache was near some light rail tracks.

Meh... you found a hard-nosed Railroad Cop. Rail ROW's (along with some other things) are their major concern.

 

No trespassing signs have little bearing on this issue, as ALL Rail ROW property (in the U.S., anyway) is private (even the highway crossing). It's been like that since the inception of rail systems, probably as a result of of being bedroom partners with the gov't. It seems to be assumed that everybody would know that.

 

Of course, you did not say whether or not you were on the ROW -- I guess that we need to assume that, also. :ph34r:

 

EDIT to add: Leaving was probably a good choice, from the sounds of it. :)

Edited by Gitchee-Gummee
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And yes, most law enforcement types are not agile thinkers.

And you are the one that makes split-second life and death decisions, I bet!

 

I do not agree with either statement. Many LEO's are geocachers beleive it or not. And most others are pretty reasonable people given the nature of their job. Sadly, they DO have to treat ever aspect of their job and encounters with suspect especially in this day and age. We have to expect these encounters as part of the sport and educate ourselves how to handle the situation if/when it occurs. First thing to do is stay calm and let the LEo see your hands. Keep a non threatening posture - again, they have no idea who you are and what you are doing. Secondly, you do as they instruct you. Don't mouth off to them. Especially do not pull the "i know my rights" In 99.9% of these types of encounters, it is going to go very well if you understand his/her side of what is going on.

 

However, there is a degree of "impulse" that officers do have - and have to have. And not every situation is split second life and death. And not every situation calls for opening up the adrenal gland and testostarone pack and raise the hair up like an angry dog. This does happen however. Aggression on either side in unacceptable. Officer are human beings too. They have bad saysm bad situations, etc. So you never know what you will get. But again both sides need to recongize flaws. No officer is perfect and alwasy right and no cacher should think what they are doing LOOKS perfectly harmless.

Edited by nthacker66
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I don't plan on HARASSING unsuspecting cachers.

You would just "badger" them a bit, right? :lol:

Only if in Wisconsin AND while wearing red/white. :ph34r:

I lived for awhile in Wisconsin. That is not why I chose that name. I am considered a very nice guy ( I sure fooled them) until you back me into a corner. As the saying goes "you wouldn't want to see me mad".

The Badgers is also the name of a Rugby team I belonged to when I first joined Patrol.

Edited by badger10
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I don't plan on HARASSING unsuspecting cachers. If I know them I would only let my presence be known and let them wonder if it is me. I don't plan on using any of my powers as the powers I have do not apply to non site employees unless they are in an area they should not be (which happens quite a lot). If one of my fellow officers (there are more of us than the LEO in the surrounding towns) saw a cacher around our areas/sites they would do pretty much what I would do...The difference being that some of us would not be suspicious of what they are doing around that tree/lamppost. Seriously get e grip.

 

Making your presence known is obviously just doing your job. That's not what you intimated that you were doing -- it sounded like you were planning to try to scare anyone you could by using your security guard status to make them think they were in trouble.

 

Whenever someone in a position of power over others uses that power in an innappropriate way (as in scaring a cacher for your own amusement), it's harrassment, and out of line.

As I said in my first post the people I would have fun with (not harass) are people who know me as a cacher and know where and what I do for a living. If they saw a patrolman they would wonder if it is me or not. If I made it sound like I would harass/scare someone that is not what I said and it is not what I would do. I would not have any FUN with anyone if I didn't already know them.

 

Before you tell me to get a grip, perhaps you need to examine your motives for wanting to scare cachers who come near your patrol area.

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While it is true that an officer can handcuff you for "officer safety", he better have a really good reason for the stop in the first place.

 

A "Terry Stop" requires a "Reasonable Suspicion that a crime it taking place". Absent that, you are free to go.

 

Ask the question: Am I being detained?

 

If the answer is no... walk away

If the answer is YES... Ask what crime you are suspected of and then say NOTHING...

In some states you may be required to provide ID. In most states you do not even need to identify yourself unless you are being arrested or cited.

 

You may say... but I'm not doing anything wrong, I have nothing to hide. While that might be true, anything you say can be used against you, even if you don't think you are doing anything wrong. A lot of people end up talking themselves into jail.

 

However realize that People have been known to end up in jail for what is known as "Contempt of Cop". If you're lucky the city could then be providing you the funds you need to buy you a new house... depending on how good your lawyer is. :blink:

 

BTW.. the obligitory: IANAL

Edited by Right Wing Wacko
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While it is true that an officer can handcuff you for "officer safety", he better have a really good reason for the stop in the first place.

 

A "Terry Stop" requires a "Reasonable Suspicion that a crime it taking place". Absent that, you are free to go.

 

Ask the question: Am I being detained?

 

If the answer is no... walk away

If the answer is YES... Ask what crime you are suspected of and then say NOTHING...

In some states you may be required to provide ID. In most states you do not even need to identify yourself unless you are being arrested or cited.

 

You may say... but I'm not doing anything wrong, I have nothing to hide. While that might be true, anything you say can be used against you, even if you don't think you are doing anything wrong. A lot of people end up talking themselves into jail.

 

However realize that People have been known to end up in jail for what is known as "Contempt of Cop". If you're lucky the city could then be providing you the funds you need to buy you a new house... depending on how good your lawyer is. :blink:

 

BTW.. the obligitory: IANAL

We could probably format this into a lesson plan.

Maybe teach a course called "How to end up in jail 101" :unsure::rolleyes:<_<

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While it is true that an officer can handcuff you for "officer safety", he better have a really good reason for the stop in the first place.

 

A "Terry Stop" requires a "Reasonable Suspicion that a crime it taking place". Absent that, you are free to go.

 

Ask the question: Am I being detained?

 

If the answer is no... walk away

If the answer is YES... Ask what crime you are suspected of and then say NOTHING...

In some states you may be required to provide ID. In most states you do not even need to identify yourself unless you are being arrested or cited.

 

You may say... but I'm not doing anything wrong, I have nothing to hide. While that might be true, anything you say can be used against you, even if you don't think you are doing anything wrong. A lot of people end up talking themselves into jail.

 

However realize that People have been known to end up in jail for what is known as "Contempt of Cop". If you're lucky the city could then be providing you the funds you need to buy you a new house... depending on how good your lawyer is. :blink:

 

BTW.. the obligitory: IANAL

 

Shouldn't that be, "BTW.. the obligitory: IANAL but I watched the video"? :ph34r: (not saying that its all bad advice, necessarily)

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I had my second run-in with a copper yesterday, and it was not pleasant. It was a Statie and he spotted me from the freeway, me having pulled off onto the wrong side of the road off the exit, and then backing up. Told him what I was doing, explained the cache and offered to show him, and he had no clue. Took my license, registration and insurance card, came back and questioned me some more. Went back to the cruiser with my info, came back and said "step out of the Jeep". Had already asked if I had been drinking or on drugs. Then, gave me the "follow the finger" routine for probably 2 minutes. That is very nerve wracking after a little bit. Finally said what I had done was illegal and could be ticketed, but let me go. This will probably irritate some, but it's just one more reason why I don't like cops. I'm 62 years old, had my dog with me, and he treated me like I had committed a heinous crime. I must say it was quite funny to see him put on his Smokey hat each time before he got out of the cruiser.

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I'm 62 years old, had my dog with me, and he treated me like I had committed a heinous crime.

You'd think, after 62 years, you would know that cops, when dealing with heinous criminals, don't usually ask them to spend two minutes following a finger. Generally, heinous criminals experience things like handguns pointed at them from multiple directions, shouted commands, handcuffs, jail cells, etc. Getting "let go with a verbal warning" is also something that is not often done with heinous criminals. Just sayin'. <_<

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While it is true that an officer can handcuff you for "officer safety", he better have a really good reason for the stop in the first place.

 

A "Terry Stop" requires a "Reasonable Suspicion that a crime it taking place". Absent that, you are free to go.

 

Ask the question: Am I being detained?

 

If the answer is no... walk away

If the answer is YES... Ask what crime you are suspected of and then say NOTHING...

In some states you may be required to provide ID. In most states you do not even need to identify yourself unless you are being arrested or cited.

 

You may say... but I'm not doing anything wrong, I have nothing to hide. While that might be true, anything you say can be used against you, even if you don't think you are doing anything wrong. A lot of people end up talking themselves into jail.

 

However realize that People have been known to end up in jail for what is known as "Contempt of Cop". If you're lucky the city could then be providing you the funds you need to buy you a new house... depending on how good your lawyer is. :blink:

 

BTW.. the obligitory: IANAL

We could probably format this into a lesson plan.

Maybe teach a course called "How to end up in jail 101" :unsure::rolleyes:<_<

 

Since you're in law enforcement, and are clearly impugning the validity of this post, perhaps you could explain how this post is wrong. Are you saying that we should never question an officer? Or that we don't have a right to ask what's going on when being detained?

 

I can see how just walking off when being questioned wouldn't be a very prudent thing to do, but if an officer says I'm not being detained, why would I be obligated to hang around?

 

For those interested in some definitive information on the best way to act during an encounter with the law, the ACLU offers some good advice.

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Mountainman - While in theory I agree with you, we are not operating in a petri dish. As I said in my post, both cahcer and cop are human beings. And let us be brutally honest - what we do as cachers looks very suspicious to an unknowing eye. So, I cannot blame the LEO's for being apprehensive. Can they be a little more cordial? Yes. Should they tone down the "everyone is a murderous suspect" attitude when approaching a situation? I think so. But should they let their own gaurd down? Never.

 

They do have every right to question what you are doing, just as any citizen can do so as well. When they are asking what you are doing and you answer with "Am I being detained" and they answer "No" it is even more suspect looking for you to say "then I see no reason for me to be here" and walk off - all because you think you have every right to be snooping around a public place looking for something and don't want to answer the cop.

 

Think of it like this - if small time drug dealers ever grew 2 brain cells and saw the opportunity to hide drugs and deal drugs in plain site using GPS technology, wouldnt you want a LEO to questioning what they were doing feeling under a park bench?

 

Sorry, I just do not agree with your logic that when someone as acting suspicious they shouldn't be questions because it isn't blatently wrong....

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...perhaps you could explain how this post is wrong.

I think "wrong" is not a word I would choose. I will say there are many, many scenarios where dealing with the officer while you have a chip on your shoulder could have a negative impact on you. It doesn't surprise me that the ACLU, (a bunch of lawyers), would parrot your suggested approach. After all, if no one goes to jail, defense attorneys don't make any money. :lol:

 

But on a serious note, let me relate what is, to me, an average encounter:

 

My patrol area, (called CSA-42, in Seminole County Florida), includes about 30,000 acres of natural land in the form of the Little Big Econ State Forest, the Charles Bronson State Forest, the Geneva Wilderness Area and a big honkin' chunk of St John's River Water Management District property. It is quite a lovely place, and I consider it my duty to ensure it stays that way for future generations. The University of Central Florida is fairly close, as are a few more colleges, and many of the kids who go to these schools like to go out in the woods to party. This area of Seminole County, (natural lands aside), is largely rural, and many of the locals also like to spend their off time hanging out in these woods at night.

 

Being on these properties at night, without a valid camping permit, is an arrestable offense. Possessing alcohol on these properties, at any time, regardless of age, is also an arrestable offense. Of the persons I encounter out there, at night, maybe 1% have a camping permit. The other 99% are subject to immediate arrest. Roughly 75% of the people I encounter have alcohol in their possession. A while back I had to compile some statistics for an interview, and the numbers I crunched showed that I had made 530 of these types of arrests over the given time period. During the interview, I was asked, "Were there really 530 violators out there?" My answer was, "No. There were probably closer to 5,000 violators out there. Most of the violators I encounter don't get arrested".

 

The reason for such a glaring discrepancy is discretion. I believe that these natural areas should be enjoyed. It's why they exist, in my mind. Now, imagine two groups of violators. College kids, without camping permits, sitting around a campfire, drinking beer. One group is blasting whatever the latest crap kids listen to out of their battery powered boom box, hooping and hollering loud enough to be heard for miles, and tossing their empties into the woods or into the river. The other group is quietly enjoying what Momma Nature has to offer, and maintaining a tidy campsite, respecting the environment. If cops were automatons, both groups would be arrested, as they are both breaking the law. That's not how I roll.

 

For the 90% of violators that are not being ignorant, I will introduce myself, explain the rules of the area, and tell them how to go about getting a permit for next time, leaving them to enjoy the rest of their night. I do not subscribe to the notion that just because someone is breaking the law, they need to go to jail. I prefer education over legislation. For those few who are being stupid, their night is a bit less pleasant.

 

Having been in this field of work since 1982, I know a whole lot of cops. Contrary to what Hollywood would have you believe, most cops share my attitude. All things being equal, they would rather not have to take some goober to jail. Sure, there will always be young guns in my business, who feel they need to "prove" themselves, (and unfortunately, these are the cops folks tend to remember), but they are the minority. The overwhelming majority of cops practice discretion, which is often flavored by their personal biases and preferences. For instance, I am a self proclaimed tree hugger. I am particularly bothered by those folks who blatantly disrespect Nature. Other cops I know are passionate about DUIs, arresting every drunk driver they encounter. Other cops go after speeders. Other cops react strongly to people acting like jerks. The list goes on, and on.

 

The response you are suggesting, (play lawyer/walk away/say nothing), could easily be viewed by many cops as being jerkish. If you assume that, by this point in the encounter, you are breaking some trivial little law that you may not even be aware of, (but which the cop does know about), acting like a jerk might cause the cop to choose a path other than that of discretion. In that hypothetical scenario you've gone from going home following a conversation with an officer, to going to jail, just because of your attitude.

 

Based on all that, I wouldn't say your advice is wrong.

 

But it may not be in your best interest. :unsure:

 

Though I'm sure your ACLU lawyer wold say otherwise. <_<

 

That is, if he wants a pay day. :P

 

 

Are you saying that we should never question an officer?

Nope. Not at all. One of the greatest things about this Nation is our ability to succesfully question our authority figures. There are times when doing so is appropriate, and there are methods for doing so which result in minimum repercusions. I don't see the methods you are suggesting as benefiting you, in the long run. The image you display is that of some goober with a chip on their shoulder.

 

(Not saying that's the type of person you are. Just saying that's the image your suggested course of action projects)

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Now all that being said, if I am stopped and the officer wants to be a raving a-hole with me, then I will have words with his/her supervisor and excalate it up. We arent a military state.

Agreed. There are cops out there who are jerks. The worst thing you can do when meeting a jerk with a badge is ignoring them. That just empowers them. The faster they go from being cops to being unemployed the better for everyone involved.

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...perhaps you could explain how this post is wrong.

I think "wrong" is not a word I would choose. I will say there are many, many scenarios where dealing with the officer while you have a chip on your shoulder could have a negative impact on you. It doesn't surprise me that the ACLU, (a bunch of lawyers), would parrot your suggested approach. After all, if no one goes to jail, defense attorneys don't make any money. :lol:

 

But on a serious note, let me relate what is, to me, an average encounter:

 

My patrol area, (called CSA-42, in Seminole County Florida), includes about 30,000 acres of natural land in the form of the Little Big Econ State Forest, the Charles Bronson State Forest, the Geneva Wilderness Area and a big honkin' chunk of St John's River Water Management District property. It is quite a lovely place, and I consider it my duty to ensure it stays that way for future generations. The University of Central Florida is fairly close, as are a few more colleges, and many of the kids who go to these schools like to go out in the woods to party. This area of Seminole County, (natural lands aside), is largely rural, and many of the locals also like to spend their off time hanging out in these woods at night.

 

Being on these properties at night, without a valid camping permit, is an arrestable offense. Possessing alcohol on these properties, at any time, regardless of age, is also an arrestable offense. Of the persons I encounter out there, at night, maybe 1% have a camping permit. The other 99% are subject to immediate arrest. Roughly 75% of the people I encounter have alcohol in their possession. A while back I had to compile some statistics for an interview, and the numbers I crunched showed that I had made 530 of these types of arrests over the given time period. During the interview, I was asked, "Were there really 530 violators out there?" My answer was, "No. There were probably closer to 5,000 violators out there. Most of the violators I encounter don't get arrested".

 

The reason for such a glaring discrepancy is discretion. I believe that these natural areas should be enjoyed. It's why they exist, in my mind. Now, imagine two groups of violators. College kids, without camping permits, sitting around a campfire, drinking beer. One group is blasting whatever the latest crap kids listen to out of their battery powered boom box, hooping and hollering loud enough to be heard for miles, and tossing their empties into the woods or into the river. The other group is quietly enjoying what Momma Nature has to offer, and maintaining a tidy campsite, respecting the environment. If cops were automatons, both groups would be arrested, as they are both breaking the law. That's not how I roll.

 

For the 90% of violators that are not being ignorant, I will introduce myself, explain the rules of the area, and tell them how to go about getting a permit for next time, leaving them to enjoy the rest of their night. I do not subscribe to the notion that just because someone is breaking the law, they need to go to jail. I prefer education over legislation. For those few who are being stupid, their night is a bit less pleasant.

 

Having been in this field of work since 1982, I know a whole lot of cops. Contrary to what Hollywood would have you believe, most cops share my attitude. All things being equal, they would rather not have to take some goober to jail. Sure, there will always be young guns in my business, who feel they need to "prove" themselves, (and unfortunately, these are the cops folks tend to remember), but they are the minority. The overwhelming majority of cops practice discretion, which is often flavored by their personal biases and preferences. For instance, I am a self proclaimed tree hugger. I am particularly bothered by those folks who blatantly disrespect Nature. Other cops I know are passionate about DUIs, arresting every drunk driver they encounter. Other cops go after speeders. Other cops react strongly to people acting like jerks. The list goes on, and on.

 

The response you are suggesting, (play lawyer/walk away/say nothing), could easily be viewed by many cops as being jerkish. If you assume that, by this point in the encounter, you are breaking some trivial little law that you may not even be aware of, (but which the cop does know about), acting like a jerk might cause the cop to choose a path other than that of discretion. In that hypothetical scenario you've gone from going home following a conversation with an officer, to going to jail, just because of your attitude.

 

Based on all that, I wouldn't say your advice is wrong.

 

But it may not be in your best interest. :unsure:

 

Though I'm sure your ACLU lawyer wold say otherwise. <_<

 

That is, if he wants a pay day. :P

 

 

Are you saying that we should never question an officer?

Nope. Not at all. One of the greatest things about this Nation is our ability to succesfully question our authority figures. There are times when doing so is appropriate, and there are methods for doing so which result in minimum repercusions. I don't see the methods you are suggesting as benefiting you, in the long run. The image you display is that of some goober with a chip on their shoulder.

 

(Not saying that's the type of person you are. Just saying that's the image your suggested course of action projects)

 

I appreciate your attitude, and taking the time to explain your method of policing. Of the not very numerous encounters I've had with law enforcement over the years, by far the majority have been with officers such as yourself who know the difference between the spirit of the law, and the letter (a direct quote from a sheriff's officer who could have probably taken me to jail at 3:00 AM for the rate of speed at which I was traveling, but instead gave me a warning. I didn't speed like that again.)

 

I understand the need to speak to an officer with respect and courtesy (the same way I speak to anyone), and I understand that an officer has a lot of discretion about hauling me in for a law I may not be aware I'm breaking. However, it seems like a slippery slope to assume that I should never question an officer, just in case he has justification for hauling me in.

 

I don't think that's what you were intimating, but that's how a lot of "interviews" with law enforcement officers go -- "I'd better bend over backwards to be nice and not annoy this officer in any way, or he/she will give me a ticket/haul me to jail for something". I've been there myself (every time I get pulled over), and it annoys me that a lot of cops (not saying you, but a lot I've seen in the news, and a few I've met in person) have a sort of god complex where no one better EVER question or annoy them, or that sucker's gonna pay!

 

I think you have me rather confused with the person who you said should start a course on "How to go to Jail 101". I asked you to explain why their advice was bad, and linked to the ACLU's website for people interested in what the law says. You seem to take exception to the ACLU, since they're just a bunch of money grubbing lawyers. To me, this sounds sort of like poisoning the well -- you haven't said why they're wrong, simply that they can't be trusted because they're lawyers. I have to say, this sounds a bit like "I'm a cop, so don't question me" -- an attitude I've encountered that's really unattractive.

 

The problem with being on this side of the law enforcement spectrum is that if you enforce a law improperly, I can appeal it, get a lawyer, go to court, pay lots of money, and the best that will happen is that the charges will eventually be dropped. On the law enforcement side, it seems that VERY little is done to an officer who is in the wrong -- they just go out and enforce the same laws. An example: I had two sherriffs officers show up at my house because my neighbor was complaining about my shooting in my backyard (which is perfectly legal where I live -- I checked). Man with a gun calls tend to make officers nervous, and resulted in two cars being dispatched. I explained the situation, and the officers were satisfied that I hadn't done anything wrong. I then asked them about the law regarding children in the back of a Jeep, as far as seat belts go. One officer said it was fine, and the other officer said he'd ticket me for doing that. They then proceeded to argue with each other, even going so far as to pull out their code books and look up relevant laws. They never came to a conclusion, and I still don't know what the law is. Would I get a ticket from the one officer? You bet! Is that right? It sure isn't -- I have done everything I can to find out the law, but still don't know what is legal.

 

So while I appreciate that you give people a break, please don't use the "don't make the officer mad, or he'll go ahead and cite you for breaking a law" when it seems officers often don't know the laws themselves. Another case in point -- open carry. Perfectly legal here in Washington, yet police officers have over and over again harrassed/intimidated people for doing it. I don't think it's a good idea, but it IS legal.

 

Dunno if much of that made sense, as I'm in a hurry to get some things done tonight. Hopefully it was at least somewhat coherent.

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Mountainman - While in theory I agree with you, we are not operating in a petri dish. As I said in my post, both cahcer and cop are human beings. And let us be brutally honest - what we do as cachers looks very suspicious to an unknowing eye. So, I cannot blame the LEO's for being apprehensive. Can they be a little more cordial? Yes. Should they tone down the "everyone is a murderous suspect" attitude when approaching a situation? I think so. But should they let their own gaurd down? Never.

 

They do have every right to question what you are doing, just as any citizen can do so as well. When they are asking what you are doing and you answer with "Am I being detained" and they answer "No" it is even more suspect looking for you to say "then I see no reason for me to be here" and walk off - all because you think you have every right to be snooping around a public place looking for something and don't want to answer the cop.

 

Think of it like this - if small time drug dealers ever grew 2 brain cells and saw the opportunity to hide drugs and deal drugs in plain site using GPS technology, wouldnt you want a LEO to questioning what they were doing feeling under a park bench?

 

Sorry, I just do not agree with your logic that when someone as acting suspicious they shouldn't be questions because it isn't blatently wrong....

 

You agree with me about what? What petri dish are you talking about? I have said nothing about our activity not looking a bit weird -- it certainly does at times. I certainly didn't say that cops shouldn't be able to question what I'm doing -- you need to work on your reading comprehension, it seems. As for asking if I'm being detained -- why shouldn't I leave if a cop says I'm not being detained? Just because someone wants to ask a question, does not mean it's appropriate or one I have to answer. People incriminate themselves all the time because they're so eager to talk -- and cops count on that.

 

Most cops (like Clan Riffster, it sounds like) are honorable and trying to do a good job, and I'll do everything I can to cooperate with them. Others are there to show their muscle and be jerks, and those are the ones I'll only do what I legally have to.

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There's a whole lot here, most of which I agree with wholeheartedly, so I'll parse it down to a few relevant talking points:

 

I understand the need to speak to an officer with respect and courtesy

That's all I ask. By treating me with courtesy, you ensure a courteous response from me. I have been known to act like a putz, on rare occasions, but those events were always precipitated by the subject acting like a putz first, and continuing to be a putz after I ask that they speak in a civil tone. If I were perfect, I could reply politely to everyone, regardless of any provocation, but I can assure you, I am not perfect. :lol: The last guy I was discourteous to was a gentleman who had gotten so drunk, he didn't know what city he was in. He went to a stranger's house, thinking it was his friend's house, (which was a few dozen miles away), and demanded entry at a God forsaken hour. The homeowner refused his demands, not wanting a drunken stranger in his house, so the guy proceeded to smash out the front windows of the house with stuff he found in the front yard. When I arrived, I approached him and asked him to walk with me over to my car. I can't post his verbal response, but his physical response was to spit on me and push me away from him. I kept my cool, handcuffed him, placed him in my car, and a bit later he asked what he had been arrested for. My reply was unprofessional, along the lines of, "For being a jerk", though I used a slightly stronger word than "Jerk".

 

"I'd better bend over backwards to be nice and not annoy this officer in any way, or he/she will give me a ticket/haul me to jail for something".

I do see people who have that attitude, and while I don't quite understand it, it does give me cause to chuckle from time to time. The advice I give to those who ask about interacting with cops, is to treat them as you would any stranger. Be polite. Both on or off duty, if I'm hiking a trail and meet another hiker, I am polite. If I walk in a convenience store and make contact with the clerk, I am polite. Being polite costs me nothing, and often reaps great rewards. Yes, there are cops out there who are on power trips. I know a few personally. Of every ego driven cop I know, none require more than common courtesy to satisfy their ego. Bending over backwards is going way too far. No butt kissing is required when interacting with cops.

 

...but a lot I've seen in the news...

Something to keep in mind is that the polite cops don't make the news. My patrol car is equipped with a forward facing camera, and a back seat camera. I carry a wireless microphone on my person. Every single encounter I have with citizens, (assuming I am in range of my car), is captured on video and uploaded digitally to our servers. Each of these videos is a matter of public record. The media has direct access to them. Yet they've never published a single encounter of mine. Why? Because they are not sensational enough. The media wants videos showing cops being overtly aggressive, not being polite. If the numbers given by the Police Benevolent Association are accurate, there are roughly 3 million police / civilian contacts every day, nation wide. When we consider that media stories about cops acting in a negative light only pop up about once a week, with significant over reactions by cops popping up about once a month, I'd say those numbers are pretty good. My math really sucks, but I think that's like a ninety million to one ratio?

 

...and a few I've met in person...

Unfortunately, it is always the jerks we remember most. I am just as guilty as anyone with this. When I've been treated in a discourteous manner by law enforcement, that memory sticks in my brain for decades, because, both emotionally and logically, I know that this should never happen. One improper encounter with a cop can poison a person's biases against future encounters. The whole "first impression" thing.

 

I asked you to explain why their advice was bad

Again, I'm not sure I'd call it "bad".

But as I demonstrated, acting like that might lead to negative consequences.

 

...and linked to the ACLU's website for people interested in what the law says.

Just a technical clarification: The ACLU website does not tell you what the law says. It tells you how the ACLU interpreted what law says. I have both good friends and loved ones who are practicing lawyers. I have used lawyers several times in my life, each time to my advantage. As an occupation, I have no qualms against lawyers, though I do poke fun at some of them, (and suffer getting poked back), when we are both off duty, enjoying each others company. Something that folks should understand about the ACLU, versus other similar firms, is that the ACLU loses almost every single suit they file. Their success rate is perfectly abysmal. And judging by their current activities, they really don't care that they usually lose. For them, it's not about protecting their clients. Rather, for them, it's all about making money. The ACLU learned a valuable financial lesson from PeTA: If you make enough noise, regardless of how much substance you have, folks will send you gobs of money. Granted, they have done some really great things over the years. But I would not consider them the "go to" firm when wanting to find out what my rights were. I would, however, choose them if I just wanted to make a big fuss about something, since that is what they excel at.

 

I have to say, this sounds a bit like "I'm a cop, so don't question me" -- an attitude I've encountered that's really unattractive.

If you interpreted anything I've said to read like that, I apologize. That was never my intention. I don't see what I posted as carrying that hidden message, but from the inside looking out, perhaps I am blind to my own verbal faults? Please feel free to question anything I say in these forums, at any time. I have been proved wrong so many times in here that I've lost count. I don't hold it against the ones who proved me wrong, and I won't hold it against you, either. I value the opinions of others, even when I don't share that opinion.

 

Because this forum's format leads toward discussions covering a huge range of subjects, (mostly) encouraging input from all participants, I tend to post my thoughts on a lot of things. Sometimes I speak from direct, personal experience. Other times I speak from an evaluative position, addressing how I think I would react to something I have little or no experience in. When I remember, I try to qualify my statements, so folks will know if it's just my opinion, or if it carries some weight.

 

For instance:

Say someone posts a question, asking if Altoids tins make good cache containers in Idaho.

I've never been to Idaho, so I really have no idea. I can offer my opinion, based on facts obtained on the Internet, such as average humidity, temperature range, etc, and comparing these mentally to geographic regions I have been to which are similar to Idaho, but these will still be only opinions. If the query were about Central Florida, I could offer a more definitive answer. I would welcome your questioning of either answer, as I enjoy conversing about this hobby, even with those I disagree with.

 

...it seems that VERY little is done to an officer who is in the wrong -- they just go out and enforce the same laws.

This I have to disagree with. There are two ways in which I, as a cop, could be wrong; intentional and unintentional, I'd like to address unintentional first.

 

The process involved from arrest to the Jury's findings is quite educational, for all parties involved. When I arrest someone, my report is initially read by a Judge, who determines if probable cause existed for the arrest. If no probable cause existed, the Judge will explain to me where I went wrong. I learn from this, as I don't like to make the same mistake twice. From there, the report goes to the State Attorney's Office. They have roughly twenty times the case load that they can resolve in a trial, so their first attempt to reduce the volume of cases given to them is to carefully scrutinize the report to see if it matches current case law, (which changes almost daily), dismissing the case if it does not. Like the aforementioned Judge, the SAO will explain to me why any particular arrest I make does not match current case law, so I learn from them as well. Their next step is more political. They evaluate the case to see the likelihood of winning. One of the standards the SAO guys are measured by is their prosecution ratio. If they want to rise in the ranks, they need to demonstrate success. If the SAO determines that they are unlikely to win a case, regardless of whether or not the arrestee committed the crime he is accused of, they will drop the case. This is most common in battery cases, where the victim decides later they don't want to be bothered by having to go to court, and tell the SAO they will not testify. If the case meets current case law, and the SAO believes they can win, their next step is to offer a plea bargain, to keep it from tying up the Courts. If the plea bargain is rejected, it goes to trial. Prior to going to trial, the report is subjected to extreme scrutiny by the defense, who argues each aspect of the report in front of a Judge, in an attempt to suppress anything they can. This includes having me testify about the incident, at great length. If the defense can trip me up with a bit of verbal Judo, they can get the whole case thrown out. The last time this happened to me, I was being grilled pretty hard about a head on traffic crash, and I got my directions reversed. My report said something to the effect of, "The blue Toyota Camry was travelling southbound on..." My testimony at a suppression hearing switched the directions the cars were travelling. Even though I corrected myself, this led to questions of, "Deputy, were you lying when you typed your report, or are you lying now?". That case got thrown out, not because the subject did not commit the offense, but because I screwed up. Whatever is left after this dissection is what goes to a Jury. At that point, the SAO and the defense put forth their versions of the incident, and the Jury decides which one to believe. At every point in this process, I am learning.

 

Now, for intentional.

 

This is a whole different critter. If I deliberately do a wrong, I should be removed from my position. If my wrongdoing is severe enough, I should be arrested. I can't think of many cops who would debate this. The investigators in our Internal Affairs Division, (called Professional Standards in my agency), are quite possibly the best investigators we have. These folks are, quite simply, amazing at what they do, and they have my absolute respect. They will discover the truth behind any incident they investigate. Of this I have no doubt. One thing I was told when I got hired was, "If you screw up, own it. The Sheriff might not fire you for making a mistake. He most certainly will fire you for lying about it". I took that to heart, which could be why I've remained in good standing for almost twenty years. But I should point out that this axiom mostly addresses honest mistakes. If I were to intentionally violate someones rights, I would be immediately fired, my law enforcement certificate would be revoked so I couldn't be hired as a cop anywhere else, and I would likely be arrested.

 

Either way, intentional or unintentional, I will not be making the same mistake twice.

 

I then asked them about the law regarding children in the back of a Jeep, as far as seat belts go. One officer said it was fine, and the other officer said he'd ticket me for doing that.

The law can be a confusing, and often contradictory thing. For the most part, the verbiage of any particular law changes, often drastically, from the time it was written, depending on how many challenges it gets over the years. Each Judge that rules on each violation of a particular law has the ability to change the wording of that law to satisfy his individual preferences. Since those rulings usually only affect that specific law, the text of another, similar law might end up directly conflicting with the one that was altered. This is especially true with traffic laws, as they don't usually get argued above a local level. If you have a hundred Circuit Court judges in your state, you've got a hundred different opinions regarding how a law should be interpreted. As you go further up the chain, the number of Judges drops, as does the number of opinions. The Supreme Court acts as a mediator for all those opinions, having the final say.

 

...please don't use the "don't make the officer mad, or he'll go ahead and cite you for breaking a law" when it seems officers often don't know the laws themselves.

I'm still thinking that's a legitimate statement. The cops you mentioned are a good example of this. They both knew the law, and could even demonstrate their side of the debate by pointing out the relevant statute. Because of the inherent contradictions in that field of the law, both officers could have been right, or wrong. A Judge would have to make a determination. Resulting in yet another change. In the case of a cop arresting you because of your attitude, the actual arrest will be for a law violation for which he will be familiar. That much I can guarantee. If you act polite, you eliminate that possibility. Since not being cited/arrested would be in your best interest, being polite really seems like a no-brainer.

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I'm 62 years old, had my dog with me, and he treated me like I had committed a heinous crime.

You'd think, after 62 years, you would know that cops, when dealing with heinous criminals, don't usually ask them to spend two minutes following a finger. Generally, heinous criminals experience things like handguns pointed at them from multiple directions, shouted commands, handcuffs, jail cells, etc. Getting "let go with a verbal warning" is also something that is not often done with heinous criminals. Just sayin'. <_<

Well, if you lived in Idaho, you would find that the coppers have very little to do, so they like you to "Respect My Authoritah", which I do. But, at night, they delight in stopping people for such crimes as "failing to signal when leaving a parking lot". Always on the hunt for their next DUI. Traffic offenses are a heinous crime in these parts. :blink:

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Unfortunately, it is always the jerks we remember most. I am just as guilty as anyone with this. When I've been treated in a discourteous manner by law enforcement, that memory sticks in my brain for decades, because, both emotionally and logically, I know that this should never happen. One improper encounter with a cop can poison a person's biases against future encounters. The whole "first impression" thing.

 

Took me a few decades myself. I have the utmost respect these days, I realize there are millions for good ones then the bad few. I also realize the good ones detest the bad as much as I.

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Always on the hunt for their next DUI. Traffic offenses are a heinous crime in these parts. :blink:

 

I question the enforcement of subjective offenses such as following too close, when there's no accident involved. I have a fair working knowledge of the Ontario Highway Traffic Act after driving cab for many years and I always enjoy attending traffic court as an agent for friends of mine who have not employed my current system of guaranteed ticket avoidance (DONT speed, STOP at the stop signs and amber lights, etc).

 

I am flabbergasted, however, that there are jurisdictions that allow any legal blood alcohol level other than zero. You'd think the body count would quickly lead to a re-thinking of these policies. :blink:

 

On topic, I have had one LEO encounter and one of the two of them was geoaware so it was routine and short-lived.

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the Charles Bronson State Forest

 

Really is such a thing, cool - I like Charles Bronson.

 

entrance_sign.jpg

 

Chuck Norris State Park would be even cooler :ph34r::laughing:

 

That aside, I've never had a bad experience with LE...ever. (Ok, there was that one time, we'll come back to that) Everytime we have run into LE geocaching they have been very friendly. The only one I've come across that wasn't geo-aware was in Wheatland CA, while GWVI was going on. He appeared to be about 24 years old and dumber than a sack of hammers. I mean no disrespect, but the boy was pretty dense. I'm sorry but an event that more than doubled the population of your city, you'd think you'd have been informed. :blink: Later that day we came across a Yuba County Sherriff that was sitting in his car doing paperwork. We were on foot and he completely knew what we were up to, stood and had a nice chat for a while with him. Last weekend we were questioned by University Police, he was also geo-aware as he'd worked on the bomb squad when they blew up Hoofocker. The only bad LE experience I'd ever had was when Air Force One landed in Reno a few years back (Bush years, when we was a swing state). We have an industrial park on the backside of our airport and decided to take my neighbor and his 4 year old to go watch the plane land. We parked behind a warehouse with a good view of the runway. There were no signs, no nothing stating that we couldn't park there. We had a motorcycle cop, show up and off the bat started screaming at us, yes screaming, that we needed to leave. Of course this made the 4 year old hysterical. We questioned why we were supposed to leave as there were no signs stating other wise. He continued to scream at us that we were a national security threat and at that moment we could be charged with a fedral offense. This wasn't a last minute decision for AF1 to land, we'd known about it for days. They should have put signs up or at least notified people on the news/radio, etc..Maybe set up a LEO at the entrance of the industrial park telling them not to enter for a while? There are many resources that don't cost a lot of money they could have used. Regardless my neighbor called RPD with the gentleman's badge number explaining that you try to instill in your children that police are "good" and then something like this happens. The LEO was an a**, there really was no reason to scream especially at a small child.

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Chuck Norris State Park would be even cooler :ph34r::laughing:

I can see the advertisement now:

"You don't visit Chuck Norris State Park"

"Chuck Norris State Park Visits You..."

"At night..."

"And Beats You Up..."

"Then steals your girlfriend"

:lol::ph34r:B)

 

...and dumber than a sack of hammers.

Hey! I resemble... uh... I mean, "resent" that remark! :lol::P

 

The LEO was an a**

Agreed. Sorry you had to encounter one of the mooks. :(

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...and dumber than a sack of hammers.

Hey! I resemble... uh... I mean, "resent" that remark! :lol::P

Picture of police car in question...he had no clue! (funny how officers just don't like their pictures taken)

d56badc7-a5d4-4b62-bf55-395f3f129b4e.jpg

Funnier part is we are looking at this sign...no we had nothing to do with the vandalism...but there was a cache there! :lol:

a3e2227f-3f7b-4a23-9047-7cee63752b68.jpg

 

Wish I had a picture of the screaming motorcycle cop, we were waiting for the vein in his forehead to explode. :mad:

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Just got back from a business trip in Paris. I have never been really worried about LEOs coming up on me caching in the US... but just had the "pleasure" of having 4 armed French soldiers stare at me for about 5 minutes as I was digging around the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. I had seen them walking around airport with automatic weapons, but never thought they patrolled the streets of Paris at 10pm. Luckly, I pretended to find my pen and then started writing something on a scrap of paper as I held my GPS to my ear like a phone. For that brief second, I was thinking of how to try to explain Geocaching to french speaking soldiers when all I know how to say is "merci" lol

Edited by Mr_Toads
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