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Wpowell99

New Cacher - how do you deal with police?

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Hail fellow Geocachers!

 

I am a relatively new Geocacher and have only been at it for 3-4 weeks. I love it so far, and don't know where its been all my life :-)

 

I typically do the majority of my caching at night because my Caching buddy works until 9pm, and with a very small child (who gets bored easily), and a wife who isn't much into it, caching alone or with my late working friend is the best bet.

 

So last night we went to do a multi-cache(my first one). The final coordinates took us to a small piece of national (and local) history, complete with picnic benches, cool plaques, signs, and statues. There were NO signs stating that the park closes at dusk or a note in the "attributes" section stating that it couldn't be done at night (yes, I know use common sense Bill, but we figured we'd find it relatively quickly).

 

It was later, around midnight when we parked our car in the lot and walked deep into the gully area. There were houses at the top of the gully, but we made sure not to shine our small flashlights upward to wake or frighten anyone, and kept our noise to low talk.

 

After an hour, we gave up our search wanting to come back during the day. We walked back to the car, and turned a dome light on to do a little logging in the app, clean our hands with some wipes, etc and head back home. A police officer pulls up behind us out of nowhere and puts his spotlight on (not the red/blue flashers).

 

He asked what we were doing, we told him we were Geocaching, and I had asked him if he knew what it was. With a "no", I gave him a quick explanation and showed him the (already open) app on my phone. He took our credentials, and went back to the car for a LONG time, and cleared us to leave, no citations, no warnings, just told us to leave.

 

I used to belong to a Paranormal investigation group YEARS ago when we had a similar run in, but we had badges, equipment, etc. The police officer was kind enough to tell us neighbors saw the flashes and were worried. He told us we were doing nothing wrong, but to just keep it down and not stay much longer.

 

Last night, the officer gave us no reason why were being stopped, or that someone called in a complaint, or anything.

 

I know he was just doing his job, but i'm curious to find out how others have handled police stops before, as i'm sure we've all had them at one time or another. The "What Is Geocaching" letter that goes into containers may be a great thing to edit to hand to people/officers as an information sheet/white paper in case you need it and keep a few in the car.

 

Since this was my first stop (and im sure ill be stopped at some point again), i'm wondering what everyone else does, or if you have anything prepared for them?

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The truth and nuttin' but the truth.

 

You aren't doing anything wrong... so, why make up a story?

Stories can be disproved and that usually leads to deeper digging and delays.

 

Print off some of these and carry them with you. They can work wonders. They also 3-fold perfectly: http://www.geocaching.com/articles/Brochures/EN/EN_Geocaching_BROCHURE_online_bw.pdf

 

EDIT to add: They work well at border crossings, too!

Edited by Gitchee-Gummee

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Depends. You want to go get in trouble? Lie.

 

Or you could do the right thing and tell the truth. The cop may already know there's a cache there and pretend to not know about geocaching- then by lying you got in trouble when you could have just walked away.

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The truth and nuttin' but the truth.

^ ^ ^

 

This.

 

I've been "confronted" by police three times since I began caching. In all three cases, I simply explained that I was geocaching. In one case, the officer had heard about it, rolled his eyes, and told me to have a nice day. In another case, the officer hadn't heard about it, so I gave him a brief explanation and handed him one of the flyers Gitchee-Gummee mentioned. He rolled his eyes and told me to have a nice day. In the third case, he basically said, "You mean there's a cache here? Cool! Want me to help you look?" :lol:

 

--Larry

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I just stay friendly and respectful, answer their questions, an dtell the truth and I am on my way in no time. Well, except once. That time the cop helped me look for the cache and then wanted to talk more about the game.

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Thanks all. I'm always respectful to authority (lot of family in the service & law enforcement, and I respect the hell out of what they do), and wasn't planning on lying. I was curious about how everyone handles it.

 

I LOVE the brochure idea, i'll print off half a dozen and keep them in the car. Since I cache mostly at night, I assume i'll have a few more run ins than the day cachers will.

 

Thanks all!

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Thanks all. I'm always respectful to authority (lot of family in the service & law enforcement, and I respect the hell out of what they do), and wasn't planning on lying. I was curious about how everyone handles it.

 

I LOVE the brochure idea, i'll print off half a dozen and keep them in the car. Since I cache mostly at night, I assume i'll have a few more run ins than the day cachers will.

 

Thanks all!

Agreed, you didn't mention anything about lying so I was confused about the slant towards denigrating that behavior. Your interest is how to best provide the truth and so the most effective way to get the point across while creating the least amount of tension.

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Thanks all. I'm always respectful to authority (lot of family in the service & law enforcement, and I respect the hell out of what they do), and wasn't planning on lying. I was curious about how everyone handles it.

 

I LOVE the brochure idea, i'll print off half a dozen and keep them in the car. Since I cache mostly at night, I assume i'll have a few more run ins than the day cachers will.

 

Thanks all!

Agreed, you didn't mention anything about lying so I was confused about the slant towards denigrating that behavior. Your interest is how to best provide the truth and so the most effective way to get the point across while creating the least amount of tension.

 

I have ran into caches placed by stores and banks,,Why even try ,especially at night.Always use GOOD judgment.The cache owners with common sense would say in the description that they are Daytime ONLY.

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Also, if a cop is questioning you, never ever go to grab something out of your pocket or bag without telling them what you are doing.

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How I deal with run ins with the police when I havent broken a law is I ask if I am being detained if they say no then I saw thank you have a nice day. WI (where I live)is not a stop and identify state so they cant walk up to you and ask for ID without RAS. If they say yes I ask why I m being detained and we go from there. This is how I deal with the authorities. I am by no means saying you should try this. You need to research the laws for yourself and act on that accordingly.

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Might also be a good idea to inform the police about geocaching. After a "bomb" that was quickly identified as a cache by a cacher who happened to be on duty, we now have more officers that know about geocaching. I have also set up a an account (which Groundspeak has made into a premium member, for no charge) for the PD. As far as I know now, everytime a cop finds a cacher the seem to have at least heard about it.

 

How I deal with run ins with the police when I havent broken a law is I ask if I am being detained if they say no then I saw thank you have a nice day. WI (where I live)is not a stop and identify state so they cant walk up to you and ask for ID without RAS. If they say yes I ask why I m being detained and we go from there. This is how I deal with the authorities. I am by no means saying you should try this. You need to research the laws for yourself and act on that accordingly.

 

While I probably wouldn't do that while caching-something about being defensive while "looking suspicious, or creeping around" It's good to know your rights. I think you're the first person that will exercise those rights, that doesn't try to force others to do so as well(last 2 sentences). Or at least the first I've seen anyway.

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Yep we have been stopped 4 times. Just be honest. We had one almost about to pull his gun. Then he was cool after we explained it all. Part of the fun of geocaching!

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My son IS a police officer and he knows about Geocaching through us. I asked him once if the PD had ever mentioned Geocaching in any meetings, briefings, procedures, etc... so that officer's would have a basic understanding of what it is; and what to do if they run into any geocachers while out on patrol. He said no. But he told us, if approached, just to explain what we were doing, show the officer your geo device, etc...and everything should be fine.

 

Two nights ago, while looking for a cache out of town, we were approached by an officer. He pulled up and asked us if we needed any help. Hubby said, "we are Geocaching, do you know what that is?" He said, "yes." "You folks have a good night" and drove on. I'm sure he had more to do than watch a couple of geeks examining a fence post in the dark and...in the rain!

 

I think it's mostly just luck of the draw...some police know about it and have no issues. Others have no clue what it is and since you may look suspicious roaming around (especially in the dark) they HAVE to at least investigate. Just be honest.

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Sometimes, the truth doesn't make a bit of difference. The first time, it was a local cop, told him what I was doing, and he said "thought so, have a good day". Second time it was a Statie--told him, he made me get out of the car (he stopped me as I drove away from a cache), questioned me for several minutes, then gave me the "sobriety test". Are you kidding me? It was 11 a.m., Sunday morning, had the dog with me, way out in the boonies just off the freeway. Just another one that gives a warm and fuzzy feeling--not.

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then gave me the "sobriety test". Are you kidding me? It was 11 a.m., Sunday morning, had the dog with me, way out in the boonies just off the freeway. Just another one that gives a warm and fuzzy feeling--not.

Sunday mornings are a great time to find DUI drivers. You'd be surprised, and probably a bit scared, if you knew just how many people driving on a Sunday morning as still drunk from the night before.

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I had my car surrounded by a few cops who thought I must be doing a drug drop (lived in Az at the time); it was a trucker who called me in as suspicious.

 

I was 1000% honest! I showed him the app, my TB on my car, the cache, and even the log where my name was (which matched my name on the app!)

 

They had never heard of geocaching before but I remember one thinking it was cool (it's was a fish inside a fence post)

 

http://coord.info/GL4042AY

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The truth and nuttin' but the truth.

^ ^ ^

 

This.

 

I've been "confronted" by police three times since I began caching. In all three cases, I simply explained that I was geocaching. In one case, the officer had heard about it, rolled his eyes, and told me to have a nice day. In another case, the officer hadn't heard about it, so I gave him a brief explanation and handed him one of the flyers Gitchee-Gummee mentioned. He rolled his eyes and told me to have a nice day. In the third case, he basically said, "You mean there's a cache here? Cool! Want me to help you look?" :lol:

 

--Larry

 

Like the OP, I tend to do most of my caching at night as well, and like the quoted poster, I have had a few run ins myself... and since I told the truth from the get go, and had basically the same out come each time. Now when I cache, I make it part of the game... evading the police while at GZ... adds a new side to the already fun game... and if I get spotted, well I was doing nothing wrong, so I ignore them till they make themselves known. We have a conversation, they leave, and I go back to finding the cache.

 

I have yet to be detained, but then again, I dont give them a reason. As to the OP, they really dont need a reason to check to see what you are doing. They just need something out of the ordinary to show up in their usual rounds to stop and investigate. For example, they drive by a park, lot is empty, then next round there is a car in that same lot... now they want to know what is going on and make sure everything is fine.

 

I have resorted to leaving a note in my windshield saying that I am geocaching and to call my cell (number on paper). I tend to leave it out when I am parked somewhere questionable or will be out of site of my vehicle... I have gotten a few calls from both police and civilians. We have a small chat about what I am doing and what geocaching is while I continue the hunt, sign log and make my way back... all in all I just have fun and educate those that I can when the opportunity pops up. I also carry the mentioned flyers with me for the in person encounters.

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In addition to the brochure you may also want one of these...

 

http://geocacher-u.com/?page_id=75

 

Got it, I will use this in place of my 8x11 sheet on a 3 ring binder...

 

Also, if a cop is questioning you, never ever go to grab something out of your pocket or bag without telling them what you are doing.

 

Agreed 100%... as former military trained as an MP, I always announce what I am about to do in the form of a question, then wait for the officer to give the go ahead or not... then my actions follow... but what never changes is the verbal end of it, I try to not get frustrated and start yelling at the officer, it just never ends well for you. I keep calm, remember they are only doing their job and that I did something to draw the attention to me. I will always tell the truth, cuz 1. they either know what you are doing, or 2. have no clue so why not inform them with positive and correct information so they can better handle the situation that will arise again.

 

I dont care if it is one cop or a hundred surrounding me, I act the same each and every time. I have also gotten out of more tickets this way too than I care to count. With cops, and people in general, its not always what you say, but how you say it that determines if you get into trouble or not.

 

Disclaimer: In no way am I suggesting that you can talk your way out of anything or everything. I am not a lawyer and this is not meant to be legal advice in anyway shape or form. By reading this post in whole or in part you agree to not hold me accountable for your actions as a result of what you have read here and how you interpreted it.

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I've had plenty of police run ins while geocaching. Most have been quite pleasant, however I've found it normally depends on where you're caching and how the local community had prepared their law enforcement for geocaching. I've been night caching in areas and stopped by cops who would routinely swing by gz asking cachers if they've found it.

 

I've also gotten out of a ticket because of geocaching. Myself and a friend were somewhere on the PA turnpike heading back to Jersey. Of course he was running late and it was my fault so I was speeding. So a friendly PA trooper stops me and goes through the motions. At first I didn't bother to mention caching. My buddy leaned over me and started talking caching with the cop. You should've seen his face light up when he heard "geocaching" . Turns out he was very well educated on it and was kind enough to tell us to get home safely with no citations.

 

On the other hand, even I first started I was a "night cacher" as well. Mainly because I had more important things to do during my days off and of course work during the day. Well one night a few cachers and I were in my ride and pulled into a parking lot in a park real quick to grab some numbers off of a sign for a multi. I wasn't familiar with the area, so how was I supposed to know there was a police k9 training facility right next door? LOL.

 

Silly me, forgot to tell them right away about my service pistol on the trunk (I'm in logistics and security). One of the dogs went ballistic and they had to do an all out search. Not to mention the police were not happy that I failed to mention the gun originally. Either way, really persuaded me to start making time for caching on my days off.

 

Either way, dealing with the police while geocaching can be pretty easy if they know what's go ing on, or if you spend the extra time to explain.

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Often when a police officer questions you when you're caching, it's either because they spotted you acting out of the ordinary or have gotten a report of suspicious behavior. Be polite, be honest (just tell them you're geocaching and explain if necessary), and keep your hands where they can see 'em.

 

Dealing with the cache police is, of course, something completely different...but that activity is normally limited to email or the forums. :anibad:

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Reading these responses about keeping your hands in sight, not making sudden moves etc makes me even more glad I live in the UK. Good general advice though, I was wandering around a park in Cardiff the other evening with my other half and was getting increasingly worried about looking suspicious, particularly with kids around.

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Reading these responses about keeping your hands in sight, not making sudden moves etc makes me even more glad I live in the UK. Good general advice though, I was wandering around a park in Cardiff the other evening with my other half and was getting increasingly worried about looking suspicious, particularly with kids around.

 

Why? Do people not try to kill other in the UK? Are there not things people want to hide? I don't care where you are, but doing anything that might make a cop think you have a weapon is a bad idea. So is making any movement that looks like you are trying to run.

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I was grabbing a cache at night it was in a parking lot light fixture. I looked for a min and didn't find it, as I was grabbing my phone to check the recent logs a cop came into the parking lot with lights flashing, pulls up quick to me and says,"hey what you doing here". I was startled at first, didn't know what to say so I said looking at my phone,"texting sir, light helps see better." His response ,"that's not what I just seen, what did you do to this light?" So I smiled and said," geocaching". "Oh that's it?, my wife geocaches, is there one here?" And sure enough I showed him the cache and he said," hey great find, ill let my wife know, have fun caching" and just like that he left. I got a signed log and he gets to brag of a cache to his wife, win win

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I've only been caching for about 2 months but I've been stopped a few times. Twice in one day with my sons onboard. I just told them I was geocaching and they said have a good day. I try to be stealth and think like a muggle when I'm lurking for a cache in public...lol

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In addition to the brochure you may also want one of these...

 

http://geocacher-u.com/?page_id=75

 

Got it, I will use this in place of my 8x11 sheet on a 3 ring binder...

 

Also, if a cop is questioning you, never ever go to grab something out of your pocket or bag without telling them what you are doing.

 

Agreed 100%... as former military trained as an MP, I always announce what I am about to do in the form of a question, then wait for the officer to give the go ahead or not... then my actions follow... but what never changes is the verbal end of it, I try to not get frustrated and start yelling at the officer, it just never ends well for you. I keep calm, remember they are only doing their job and that I did something to draw the attention to me. I will always tell the truth, cuz 1. they either know what you are doing, or 2. have no clue so why not inform them with positive and correct information so they can better handle the situation that will arise again.

 

I dont care if it is one cop or a hundred surrounding me, I act the same each and every time. I have also gotten out of more tickets this way too than I care to count. With cops, and people in general, its not always what you say, but how you say it that determines if you get into trouble or not.

 

Disclaimer: In no way am I suggesting that you can talk your way out of anything or everything. I am not a lawyer and this is not meant to be legal advice in anyway shape or form. By reading this post in whole or in part you agree to not hold me accountable for your actions as a result of what you have read here and how you interpreted it.

However, with the well-crafted caveat you made, you are honorary counsel for the day! :D

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I've only been caching for about 2 months but I've been stopped a few times. Twice in one day with my sons onboard. I just told them I was geocaching and they said have a good day. I try to be stealth and think like a muggle when I'm lurking for a cache in public...lol

Surprising. I don't know the age of your sons, but having young kids present while caching makes everything look normal and safe. (Kids exploring everyday things doesn't look out-of-the-ordinary.) On the other hands, I guess dad and two rough-looking teenagers could look like trouble!

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In addition to the brochure you may also want one of these...

 

http://geocacher-u.com/?page_id=75

 

Got it, I will use this in place of my 8x11 sheet on a 3 ring binder...

 

Also, if a cop is questioning you, never ever go to grab something out of your pocket or bag without telling them what you are doing.

 

Agreed 100%... as former military trained as an MP, I always announce what I am about to do in the form of a question, then wait for the officer to give the go ahead or not... then my actions follow... but what never changes is the verbal end of it, I try to not get frustrated and start yelling at the officer, it just never ends well for you. I keep calm, remember they are only doing their job and that I did something to draw the attention to me. I will always tell the truth, cuz 1. they either know what you are doing, or 2. have no clue so why not inform them with positive and correct information so they can better handle the situation that will arise again.

 

I dont care if it is one cop or a hundred surrounding me, I act the same each and every time. I have also gotten out of more tickets this way too than I care to count. With cops, and people in general, its not always what you say, but how you say it that determines if you get into trouble or not.

 

Disclaimer: In no way am I suggesting that you can talk your way out of anything or everything. I am not a lawyer and this is not meant to be legal advice in anyway shape or form. By reading this post in whole or in part you agree to not hold me accountable for your actions as a result of what you have read here and how you interpreted it.

However, with the well-crafted caveat you made, you are honorary counsel for the day! :D

 

Thank you, but I must respectfully decline... for reasons stated in my disclaimer.

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... having young kids present while caching makes everything look normal and safe.

I think having my dog with me serves the same purpose. Who takes their dog on a leash while up to some nefarious purpose? Besides, if a muggle heads our way, I can pretend to be fussing over the dog's collar or pulling burrs off her fur instead of looking in the bushes.

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Had that issue happen to me twice. Was asked to pop the trunk once. lol The truth definitely is best.

 

You didn't comply, did you?

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True story. I was caching in Tennessee and stopped to grab what I thought would be a quick one. It had been a long day, and I had nearly fallen off a 70+ foot cliff trying to get to a nearby cache. So, I was tired and ready to be done. As I got out of my car, which I parked in an odd place, a police officer pulled up and asked what I was doing. He seemed pissed to me. I said "geocaching," and gave him my standard boilerplate explanation. He gruffly said something about parking near heavy traffic, and being careful, etc. I apologized and started to get back in to my car. He said "Well, hurry up and go get it. It's on the telephone pole, 3 feet up, on the other side. It's a micro." Then he laughed, told me to have fun, and drove away.

 

Honesty is always the best policy.

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Reading these responses about keeping your hands in sight, not making sudden moves etc makes me even more glad I live in the UK. Good general advice though, I was wandering around a park in Cardiff the other evening with my other half and was getting increasingly worried about looking suspicious, particularly with kids around.

 

Why? Do people not try to kill other in the UK? Are there not things people want to hide? I don't care where you are, but doing anything that might make a cop think you have a weapon is a bad idea. So is making any movement that looks like you are trying to run.

 

Because police in the US are far more quick to pull out a taser, baton, pepper spray, or a gun and then use it than in Europe or the UK. Sorry to say it, but that's from lots of experience living and traveling abroad. I've sat in a car in Peru watching a companion berate a police officer for pulling us over for an inspection. Screaming, shouting, cursing and the cop, who just watched, waited, and walked away. I was terrified. You'd never get away with that in the US. It was hard to explain to the Peruvian, afterwards, what freedom of speech means in the US.

 

When geocaching, calmly explain things and tell the truth. If you aren't trespassing you've got nothing to worry about.

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I have both bad and good memories regarding Mitchell, Oregon. I won't bore you with the bad... here's a good story from our 4 day geocaching run last September, as reported in the log for the only cache we located in Mitchell:

Bruce has both bad and good memories surrounding Mitchell, we got to add yet another memory. While B and Steve was looking things over trying to figure out how to approach GZ, we were parking across the highway. A State patrol circled around and rolled up behind the geo-Motorhome... and proceeded to check with N if all was Ok. By that time B and Steve had walked back to the MH, we chatted about geocaching and our GPS units, and wondered where the cemetery was located. He asked us to swing around the "block", and he'd go ask the coffee shop owner... by the time we were around to the stop sign, he swung up beside us and pointed out where the entrance road was.. it was right in front of us! We thanked him profusely, and he headed on.

After making our way up to the parking area at the cemetery, we found GZ, and Steve fetching the prize. We swapped swag, and signed, the put it back. We paid our respects and attempted to leave quietly when a car comes up the road and stops in front of us... it was the coffee shop person, she was asking if we'd found the cache! Yes, Thank you!! Down she went, then we pulled out... and stopped at the coffee shop.

And Steve had a fresh made maple bar (yum yum!) and we ordered iced coffees. Coffee in hand, and a generous tip in gratitude for all the help!

 

Talk about making memories!!!!!

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I got stopped over the lunch hour downtown by 3 cops on bike patrol. They said I looked pretty suspicious crouched over like I was with the cache container. I showed them what I found, they had several questions (being curious more than authoritative).

 

I think they are more than happy to be able to do their job (investigate something suspicious), and find people doing strange things that isn't criminal. :)

 

I have yet to meet one that didn't know what geocaching is.

 

Shaun

Edited by ShaunEM

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The truth and nuttin' but the truth.

 

Can't argue with that...and to elaborate on that:

 

Be totally honest. Because, if you lie....they will have suspicions to haul your a** in.

 

Police are PEOPLE. Buck up...and talk to them like you would anyone else. It's even better if you can show them the container and log book.

 

If you have a dark history and a reason for them to haul you in...then, maybe you shouldn't be caching at night!!!

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Reading these responses about keeping your hands in sight, not making sudden moves etc makes me even more glad I live in the UK.

Why? Do police in the UK prefer that you make sudden, erratic movements and lie to them?

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Thanks for this thread & the ideas. I have never been stopped by the police, but was curious what one should do (besides the obvious, tell the truth). I've had to talk to a firefighter about one because the cache was hidden (with permission) next to the fire station. He laughed and gave me a clue.

 

My town is littered with a good 400 caches, and the police have been called on at least one that was thought to be a bomb. I'm sure most of them have heard of geocaching, but better safe than sorry.

 

I'll be printing out the flyers and posting a note on my car if I have to park at a distant area.

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Hail fellow Geocachers!

 

I am a relatively new Geocacher and have only been at it for 3-4 weeks. I love it so far, and don't know where its been all my life :-)

 

I typically do the majority of my caching at night because my Caching buddy works until 9pm, and with a very small child (who gets bored easily), and a wife who isn't much into it, caching alone or with my late working friend is the best bet.

 

So last night we went to do a multi-cache(my first one). The final coordinates took us to a small piece of national (and local) history, complete with picnic benches, cool plaques, signs, and statues. There were NO signs stating that the park closes at dusk or a note in the "attributes" section stating that it couldn't be done at night (yes, I know use common sense Bill, but we figured we'd find it relatively quickly).

 

It was later, around midnight when we parked our car in the lot and walked deep into the gully area. There were houses at the top of the gully, but we made sure not to shine our small flashlights upward to wake or frighten anyone, and kept our noise to low talk.

 

After an hour, we gave up our search wanting to come back during the day. We walked back to the car, and turned a dome light on to do a little logging in the app, clean our hands with some wipes, etc and head back home. A police officer pulls up behind us out of nowhere and puts his spotlight on (not the red/blue flashers).

 

He asked what we were doing, we told him we were Geocaching, and I had asked him if he knew what it was. With a "no", I gave him a quick explanation and showed him the (already open) app on my phone. He took our credentials, and went back to the car for a LONG time, and cleared us to leave, no citations, no warnings, just told us to leave.

 

I used to belong to a Paranormal investigation group YEARS ago when we had a similar run in, but we had badges, equipment, etc. The police officer was kind enough to tell us neighbors saw the flashes and were worried. He told us we were doing nothing wrong, but to just keep it down and not stay much longer.

 

Last night, the officer gave us no reason why were being stopped, or that someone called in a complaint, or anything.

 

I know he was just doing his job, but i'm curious to find out how others have handled police stops before, as i'm sure we've all had them at one time or another. The "What Is Geocaching" letter that goes into containers may be a great thing to edit to hand to people/officers as an information sheet/white paper in case you need it and keep a few in the car.

 

Since this was my first stop (and im sure ill be stopped at some point again), i'm wondering what everyone else does, or if you have anything prepared for them?

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I have been questioned by various law officers and never had a problem. I simply tell them what I am doing and that is usually the end of it. One time a deputy game warden got real interested and helped me look for the cache. He figured it would make a great family hobby.

 

That said, I have taken a pass on a lot of caches just because I did not like the location, too close to private homes, businesses, etc. There are enough caches out there that I don't need every one.

 

One good trick, I have the names of two law officers who are also geocachers. I figure they will make good references if ever needed.

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Hail fellow Geocachers!

 

I am a relatively new Geocacher and have only been at it for 3-4 weeks. I love it so far, and don't know where its been all my life :-)

 

I typically do the majority of my caching at night because my Caching buddy works until 9pm, and with a very small child (who gets bored easily), and a wife who isn't much into it, caching alone or with my late working friend is the best bet.

 

So last night we went to do a multi-cache(my first one). The final coordinates took us to a small piece of national (and local) history, complete with picnic benches, cool plaques, signs, and statues. There were NO signs stating that the park closes at dusk or a note in the "attributes" section stating that it couldn't be done at night (yes, I know use common sense Bill, but we figured we'd find it relatively quickly).

 

It was later, around midnight when we parked our car in the lot and walked deep into the gully area. There were houses at the top of the gully, but we made sure not to shine our small flashlights upward to wake or frighten anyone, and kept our noise to low talk.

 

After an hour, we gave up our search wanting to come back during the day. We walked back to the car, and turned a dome light on to do a little logging in the app, clean our hands with some wipes, etc and head back home. A police officer pulls up behind us out of nowhere and puts his spotlight on (not the red/blue flashers).

 

He asked what we were doing, we told him we were Geocaching, and I had asked him if he knew what it was. With a "no", I gave him a quick explanation and showed him the (already open) app on my phone. He took our credentials, and went back to the car for a LONG time, and cleared us to leave, no citations, no warnings, just told us to leave.

 

I used to belong to a Paranormal investigation group YEARS ago when we had a similar run in, but we had badges, equipment, etc. The police officer was kind enough to tell us neighbors saw the flashes and were worried. He told us we were doing nothing wrong, but to just keep it down and not stay much longer.

 

Last night, the officer gave us no reason why were being stopped, or that someone called in a complaint, or anything.

 

I know he was just doing his job, but i'm curious to find out how others have handled police stops before, as i'm sure we've all had them at one time or another. The "What Is Geocaching" letter that goes into containers may be a great thing to edit to hand to people/officers as an information sheet/white paper in case you need it and keep a few in the car.

 

Since this was my first stop (and im sure ill be stopped at some point again), i'm wondering what everyone else does, or if you have anything prepared for them?

 

I was lucky enough that the cop was a geocacher. And he actually took to opportunity to mess with me a bit. Lol. But yes as mentioned tell the truth and explain to the muggle very politely what you are doing. I too am a night owl. But have never had an issue with the law at night. I'm almost convinced that the police don't come out at night.

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Tell the truth is key. Made me think of this story.

 

I'd pulled off at a legal spot on the shoulder of a road that goes through a popular park in my town. it's a big park bordered by Chugach State park, and has many wild animals, I never go there without a sidearm. I darted off into the woods on a bee line for a FTF. Got my FTF and headed back. As I got back to the car what should I see but a trooper with patrol car lights flashing, peeking in my rig. You could imagine the questions he had for me.

 

Luckily the truth, even while packing, can keep you outta trouble.

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Just tell them what you are doing.

 

I think there are 2 important things to remember here:

1. You aren't doing anything wrong.

2. The police officer isn't doing anything wrong either.

The fact is, geocachers when observed by bypassers, look suspicious. When observed by police officers, doubly so. We are attempting to be stealthy in public places. Which of course is even more suspicious to a trained observer. In this age of terrorists, child abductions and drug trafficking, law enforcement is highly sensitive to any suspicious behavior.

It is very common to get nervous when stopped by a police officer. The officer knows that. When he/she stops you, they would much prefer a simple "I'm out geocaching" answer, to most alternatives. They don't WANT to harass you. They are just doing their job.

Regarding the posts about "knowing your rights" and "you didn't comply did you?":

You can go ahead and try to prove a point about being "harassed by the man" and how you know your rights but, it's going to effect your day (negatively I might add) much more than the officer's. That's just a silly thing to do when you are out trying to enjoy a day of geocaching.

If that officer came over after your car broke down and you accidentally dropped your phone down the embankment while calling for a tow, you would be thrilled to see him.

 

The truth is always best.

Edited by Sway_xx

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Honesty is the best policy. Now, if I were younger and single, I'd maybe mess with the LEO and most likely wind up in jail or somethin' (this is because I was not the smartest youngster out there). But now that I've gotten older, married and have kids, I've learned to mellow out and help the LEO's. They are just doing their jobs and are actually looking out for the good guys. In fact, I'm sometimes kind of surprised when a LEO doesn't show up and question me due to my behavior.

 

A true story:

 

I normally go and scout out a location or geocache before bringing my kids there. Too make sure it is safe and that the neighborhood isn't too rough. Well, the one I was at had a murder happen within a block of it recently, so I was there making sure the area was good for young kids. Next thing I knew, there were 3 cars blocking me in (one in front, one in back and one to the side. The other side was blocked by a light pole). A plain clothes policeman approached and demanded to know my business being there. There were 6 people facing me from all sides. I SLOWLY explained what I was doing and SLOWLY showed them my maps and geo-junk (I didn't use a GPS at that time). They were in the area due to a 'person of interest' (me) was seen in the area. An area that had recently had a violent crime happen. So, they and the neighbors took quick notice of me. I was told to leave the area. I complied even though I could of been an idiot and demanded my rights as a US Citizen that I had every right to be there, blah, blah, blah. I used common sense. I then went home (after finding another cache for the day) and posted the log on that cache page. Within an hour or two, the CO or one of their team had e-mailed me, deleted my log and basically chewed me out for saying that their cache was in a bad area. I might have worded the note strongly but it was 100% true. Oh well, at that point I gave up on attempting to let people know my bad experiences at a cache site. I now try to only tell the good or funny things that happened.

 

Since that incident, I went to Geo-University or whatever it is called and downloaded their little cache thingy you hang on the mirror to let people know what you are doing and all the little hand-outs that you can get there. I've even created a little notebook that I've placed all my geo-junk in to show any LEO's who stop me, just what it is that I am doing. One kind Gentleman even wanted to take my notebook to show his co-workers.

 

A little knowledge and a little bit of decency go a long way when dealing with strangers and people in authority positions. I've had 6 officers of the law help me find caches in the last 3 years. Most likely 6 new cachers added to the ranks.

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