My Encounter with the Colorado State Patrol


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pith43
March 27, 2011, 11:56 AM
Just wanted to share an experience I had yesterday with a LEO from the Colorado State Patrol.

We were traveling home from my son's wrestling tournament, and we were traveling on a two lane highway with a 65 mph speed limit. We got to a section in the road with a passing lane, and I sped up to over 80 mph to get past the car in front of me. I looked back and noticed an unmarked CSP car right behind me. Oops.

The lights come on, so I pull over. I do everything my cop friends have told me:
1) Pull over far enough to get car well out of traffic.
2) Shut engine off.
3) Roll down window and keep hands on steering wheel untill cop contacts me.

He asks me how fast I thought I was going, and I tell him, "I don't know, 70 or 75". He tells me it was 80, but he got a lock at 76.

He asks for my license, registration, and proof of insurance. I say "yes sir" and hand him my all my information, plus my CCW card.

The next thing he asks is if the gun is on me. I say "yes sir, at 3 o'clock".

The very next thing he says is that he appreciates the heads up he is just going to give me a warning. Slow down next time and get my family home safe.

I never made it out to be a big deal that I was carrying, and he didn't either, he just appreciated me letting him know.

The background to this story is that a couple of weeks ago, a member of our police force was shot and killed in a felony warrant arrest. We live in a very small town with only 5 members on the force. There were over 1,500 leo's from all over the state and country that attended his funeral. It has been an very emotional couple of weeks for our town and the entire states leo community.

The Trooper has polite and professional thoughout the whole incident, but when we were finished, my wife thanked him for all that he did for us. I could see the tears well up in his eyes and he said "be safe", and headed back to his car.

I gleaned a couple of things out of this incident: I'm glad I live in a state where it's not a huge deal to be carrying a firearm, and I'm glad I don't have a job where the next guy I pull over may be trying to kill me. Courtesy and politeness go a long way.

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Jon Coppenbarger
March 27, 2011, 12:06 PM
same thing happened to me about 5 years ago here in colorado.

12131
March 27, 2011, 12:12 PM
Every situation is different. I've been stopped by cops before, and I always acted politely, and gave them the same things each time (DL, proof of insurance, CHL). Sometimes I got a warning, other times I got the ticket. Who knows what mood the officer was in at each time.:confused:

glock36
March 27, 2011, 12:14 PM
Quite a touching story, thanks for sharing. A little courtesy indeed goes a long way.
Good luck
God speed

SharpsDressedMan
March 27, 2011, 03:08 PM
God speed, but everyone else should go the limit lest ye be stopped by the cops.....:)

Black Knight
March 27, 2011, 03:09 PM
I may be wrong but didn't they start out as the Colorado Courtesy Patrol. Instead of making arrests their main mission was highway safety and road assistance. If that was their original name or close to it I'm glad to see that they have not forgotten their roots.

Wishoot
March 27, 2011, 04:04 PM
Good story. I have nothing but the utmost respect for LEO's. They have an impossible and dangerous job.

longknife12
March 27, 2011, 04:09 PM
Colorado Trooper are a good bunch of folks. I've never been asked abot a firearm!
Dan

I've had the same expierencies in Wyoming and New Mexico....guess westwern pistol packers are a different breed!

Larry Ashcraft
March 27, 2011, 04:14 PM
I'm old enough to remember when the CSP was known as the "Courtesy Patrol".

I deal with the Pueblo CSP office through my business and I went to school with the (now retired) commander of this area.

Most of the CSP is a class act. (I guess I shouldn't say "most". I haven't run into any yet who are not.)

LawScholar
March 27, 2011, 04:39 PM
My dad was Wyoming Highway Patrol, and I go into Colorado a lot. I think CSP is one of the classiest outfits out there. The few times I've had interactions (mostly not through violations, through my dad, Broncos/Rockies games, traffic control, etc.) I have found them to be very courteous and professional.

Iggy
March 27, 2011, 04:47 PM
I too remember the Courtesy Patrol. If a feller is straight and honest with them or the WHP they will most often get treated the same way.

LawScholar, Please to meetcha. I'm bettin' we know some of the same people. I spent 10 years on the WHP. The present Colonel did his ride along training with me.. :)

THE DARK KNIGHT
March 27, 2011, 04:54 PM
I think it's a bit disconcerting that a positive encounter with an LEO is considered news at all.

This exactly what should happen. You're not a wanted felon or doing anything ridiculously dangerous. Just a regular law abiding guy who went a little too fast on the highway. And the cop treated you accordingly.

LawScholar
March 27, 2011, 05:36 PM
Iggy, check your PM! Nice to meet you as well.

ColdDeadHand
March 28, 2011, 04:00 PM
My mom, dad and sis live out in Colorado. They say most of the local cops don't want to hear about your gun in the car because if you tell them about it they have to run the serial numbers and do paperwork and it's a hassle.

Maybe the state guys are better at doing the paperwork?

Robert
March 28, 2011, 04:07 PM
They say most of the local cops don't want to hear about your gun in the car because if you tell them about it they have to run the serial numbers and do paperwork and it's a hassle.
As a former CSP Trooper, what? My FTO and I just took them back to the car, placed it on the dash and ran the DL like normal. Once it cleared we returned the firearm. And if I remember correctly there is no requirement to inform, but it is nice.

rcmodel
March 28, 2011, 04:27 PM
I must say all Colorado HP officers are not the same, and your results could vary.

While stationed at Ft. Carson CO, one CHP stopped my wife on HW-115 and made her get out in a snow storm and wash her KS license plate off with spit on her fingers.
Because he couldn't read it through the road slop covering it!

I figured then it was an aberration, and I didn't condemn the whole Colorado HP for one A-hole CHP out of hundreds of good ones.

rc

PcolaDawg
March 28, 2011, 04:31 PM
Good story. Thanks for sharing it.

NavyLCDR
March 28, 2011, 04:45 PM
I was on a county road and when the speed limit changed from 50 to 40, I forgot to reset my cruise control which was set at 52. I came around the curve and at the gas station the 40 mph speed limit was for was the sheriff running radar. As soon as I saw him, I turned on my hazard lights, pulled off on the road across the main road from the gas station and waited.

He came up to me, I handed him my driver's license, registration and insurance card and told him I forgot to reset my cruise control when the speed limit changed.

He said, "Thanks for stopping, I'll check your driver's license, and if it's good, you can be on your way." Came back and handed my stuff to me and said, "Thanks again for stopping, have a good day."

My CPL was never mentioned, nor was the gun I was openly carrying in a holster on my belt.

They say most of the local cops don't want to hear about your gun in the car because if you tell them about it they have to run the serial numbers and do paperwork and it's a hassle.

Somebody lied to your mom, dad and sis, or that police department has policies that completely violate the 4th amendment.

AK103K
March 28, 2011, 04:54 PM
Do you have to advise them in CO?

Here we dont have to, and I never do, I dont see the point. If he asked me to get out, then I might bring it up, depending on the reason why.

Robert
March 28, 2011, 04:56 PM
Do you have to advise them in CO?
Unless something has changed, no. But it has been a while since I looked at the law in detail.

HorseSoldier
March 28, 2011, 05:15 PM
Somebody lied to your mom, dad and sis, or that police department has policies that completely violate the 4th amendment.

I'm not aware of a test case that challenged charging/conviction based on possession of a stolen handgun determined by running the serial number after it was given to an LEO during a traffic stop . . . but I'm pretty sure that would be a losing proposition for the accused. Serial numbers are in plain view on a weapon -- and attempts to obscure them would justify the reasonable suspicion that that something criminal involving the gun were going on (even if the obscuration did not rise to the level of criminally trying to obliterate/remove it).

Might be a good one to see, and may go a ways on appeal, maybe even SCOTUS, but regardless of the hypotheticals lawfully surrendered firearms have their serial numbers run all over this country every day during traffic stops. That's discretion of the officer(s) involved, and not everyone does it, but it does happen -- and, as I say, I'm not aware of any case law that prohibits it even if they gun was obtained under a legal obligation to inform and surrender the weapon.

788Ham
March 28, 2011, 05:26 PM
Gus,

No, I don't believe you have to tell them, but as the other gentleman did, you hand it to him, let him make the decision! Most times they'll ask if its on your person, if you answer yes, they'll thank you and hand documents back an you're on your way. NOW, I've only been pulled over one time in the last 25 years, don't want you to think its a daily affair! LOL

AK103K
March 28, 2011, 05:30 PM
....let him make the decision!
Hes got enough on his mind, dont make it any harder for him. :)

luigi
March 28, 2011, 05:39 PM
Do you have to advise them in CO?
NO you do not

pith43
March 28, 2011, 05:41 PM
My mom, dad and sis live out in Colorado. They say most of the local cops don't want to hear about your gun in the car because if you tell them about it they have to run the serial numbers and do paperwork and it's a hassle.


Must be a city ordinance, there is no state law that you have to tell them you are carrying. I just do it as a courtesy. The thing I always try to remember is that they don't know if you are a risk or not.

I have several friends on the local pd, and CSP stationed in our small town. All of them I've talked to would rather deal with a ccw, because there is less of chance of something going wrong. Someone with bad intentions isn't going to show them a ccw.

I know there are a few on here that don't feel they need to tell a LEO they are carrying. I don't have a problem with it. The few times its come up, I've never had a single cop that had a problem with it. In fact most of the cops I know think its a very good idea for law abiding citizens to have a ccw.

Btw, you would be amazed at the amount of ccw's in our area, men and women. Might be a small town thing.;)

Enco
March 28, 2011, 05:55 PM
Why the hell would you give him your ccw licenses or whatever if he didn't ask for it.?
JMHO

Bob

NavyLCDR
March 28, 2011, 06:03 PM
I'm not aware of a test case that challenged charging/conviction based on possession of a stolen handgun determined by running the serial number after it was given to an LEO during a traffic stop . . . but I'm pretty sure that would be a losing proposition for the accused. Serial numbers are in plain view on a weapon -- and attempts to obscure them would justify the reasonable suspicion that that something criminal involving the gun were going on (even if the obscuration did not rise to the level of criminally trying to obliterate/remove it).

Might be a good one to see, and may go a ways on appeal, maybe even SCOTUS, but regardless of the hypotheticals lawfully surrendered firearms have their serial numbers run all over this country every day during traffic stops. That's discretion of the officer(s) involved, and not everyone does it, but it does happen -- and, as I say, I'm not aware of any case law that prohibits it even if they gun was obtained under a legal obligation to inform and surrender the weapon.

You are right, there has not been a court case yet, but I would sure like to see one. On most firearms, the serial number is not in plain sight when the firearm is holstered or stored. During a Terry stop or a traffic stop the police are only allowed to lawfully conduct searches without consent when they believe the subject is armed and dangerous AND that search MUST be limited to the Terry frisk of the outside of the clothing and the immediate area in a vehicle from which a firearm can readily be obtained "FOR OFFICER SAFETY".

If a weapon is discovered, the officer has the right to disarm the subject and seize the weapon for the duration of the stop only "FOR OFFICER SAFETY". The courts have ruled that searches without warrant can only be conducted when the officer's MUST do so for the protection of evidence of a crime FOR WHICH THE STOP OR ARREST WAS ORIGINALLY MADE.

For example: speeding. The subject shows his CPL and tells the officer he possess a firearm. There is not a court yet that has separated the two elements of armed and dangerous. This gives police the ability to perform a Terry frisk of the individual and to search the vehicle in the immediate area from which the firearm may be obtained "FOR OFFICER SAFETY." During the traffic stop for speeding the officers have no lawful reason to search the trunk of the vehicle, without consent, because there is no possible way they could obtain evidence of the infraction of speeding from anything they may find in the trunk.

Likewise, when the gun was holstered or stored, the serial number was NOT in plain sight. It only came into plain sight when the gun was seized under the Terry rules "FOR OFFICER SAFETY." Checking the serial number of the gun has nothing to do with OFFICER SAFETY, and can lead to no further evidence of whatever the reason was for the traffic stop: speeding, running a stop sign, burned out lights. Therefore, if it went to court, I do not see how running the serial number could even remotely be upheld on the basis that the serial number came into plain sight only because of a seizure of the firearm FOR OFFICER SAFETY only.

Unfortunately, I cannot be the test case because on the gun I carry the dang serial number is in white letters on the back strap, plainly visible when the gun is holstered :-<

Why the hell would you give him your ccw licenses or whatever if he didn't ask for it.?
JMHO

Bob

Oh boy... here we go..... While I completely agree with you Bob.... still.... oh boy, here we go....

HorseSoldier
March 28, 2011, 06:58 PM
Likewise, when the gun was holstered or stored, the serial number was NOT in plain sight.

That would be the crux of the debate, I think. And agree a test case would be interesting to see.

Black Knight
March 28, 2011, 09:06 PM
HorseSoldier: The serial numbers on a gun are not always in plain view. I have several S&W revolvers that the factory target grips or after market grips cover the serial number. The other serial number location is under the the cylinder crane also hidden from plain view (by the manufacturer). The only ways to see the serial numbers are to open the cylinder or take off the grips.

makarovnik
March 29, 2011, 01:05 AM
Since I've got my CPL, I have been followed but not pulled over, go figure.

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