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Middle-aged lady disarmed during traffic stop--SOP???

Discussion in 'Legal' started by TamThompson, Jul 8, 2004.

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  1. TamThompson

    TamThompson Member

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    Yesterday, I was pulled over by Austin Police motorcycle cop for speeding. (And yes, I was speeding, but nothing bigtime--we're talking 10 over the limit.)

    I pulled over onto a quiet neighborhood street and rolled down my driver's side window, but the officer came instead to my passenger-side window. I rolled it down.

    Without so much as a word of greeting, he thrust his radar detector into my car, and then told me how fast I was going in what zone. He then asked for my license and registration.

    I handed him my Texas driver's license, Texas concealed handgun license, and proof of insurance, then placed both hands atop the steering wheel and said in a pleasant, non-threatening tone, "Officer, I am legally armed, and I'm going to keep my hands right up here where you can see them."

    "Where are your guns?" the officer asked.

    "One is in my purse and the other is in my left front pocket," I answered, keeping my hands on top of the steering wheel and not moving them.

    He said, "Ma'am, I need you to step out of the car."

    I got out.

    "Come back here," the officer said, motioning me to the back of my vehicle, a Ford Explorer.

    I went to the back of the car.

    "Put your hands against the car," the officer ordered.

    I complied, wondering what on earth I, a 46-year-old Caucasian female who stands 5'3" tall, could have possibly done to provoke this.

    "I'm going to reach into your pocket and take out your gun," he told me. He then reached his hand into my left front shorts pocket and tried to remove my gun and the holster, which fit rather tightly into the pocket. He struggled with it for a while, his hand in my pocket the entire time. Finally, he gave up on getting the holster out and just pulled out my gun.

    This cop was about 6'4, mid-twenties, bald-headed, and very big and strong-looking. I wasn't OK with being disarmed, but also didn't want to start anything by trying to resist and make a poor situation much, much worse.

    "I'm going to lay this on your front seat," he told me.

    After he wrote me a ticket, he told me I could go, so I got back in the car. I looked over at my handgun laying in full public view on my passenger seat, then looked up and saw the officer standing there beside my passenger window.

    I was very confused: my handgun was unconcealed, thus breaking the law, but I was afraid to pick it up for fear the officer might think I was threatening him. An awkward moment passed.

    Finally, he said, "Ma'am, I'd appreciate it if you'd just drive on down the road a bit before you pick up that gun."

    I nodded, and complied, and was thus forced to break the law by driving down the road with an unconcealed handgun.

    After I'd gone about a quarter mile, I wondered how to pick up my gun without scaring other drivers or brandishing a firearm. Finally, I pulled into a dead-end road and concealed my handgun.

    I want to be very clear: I have no complaints about the cop's friendliness or courteousness--he was polite, courteous, and friendly.

    What I have a big problem with was his ordering me out of my car, making my put my hands against my vehicle like I was some criminal (which embarrassed and humiliated me), his putting his hand in my pocket (I am female), his disarming me when there was no reason to do so (please check the demographics on how many short, 46-year-old Caucasian women who hold CHL's commit violent crimes against police officers), and his forcing me to break the concealed-carry law by driving away with a pistol in plain view.

    CHL's should not be disarmed during routine traffic stops unless they exhibit threatening behavior, and I was doing all I could to demonstrate that I was no threat.

    Does anyone know if this is standard operating procedure for the Austin, Texas, Police Department? If so, I need to raise some cain.
     
  2. Josey

    Josey member

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    Sorry, deal with it. That is academy procedure. If you advise the officer you ARE armed, they are taught to secure the weapon. Officer safety. You would have a lawsuit IF there had been a ND. The officer probably never saw a pocket holster. This is not unusual.
     
  3. Diggler

    Diggler Member

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    Hmmm...

    "The officer probably never saw a pocket holster. This is not unusual."

    Unknown gun, in an unfamiliar holster, in a front pocket on another individual. So... protocol is to reach in and fumble with a LOADED GUN in someone's pocket, who has given no reason for alarm?? Sounds like Tam was the one who was endangered in this situation.

    Remind me if I'm pulled over with a gun in my pocket to simply drop my pants.
     
  4. Andrew Rothman

    Andrew Rothman Member

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    Abalone.

    It is NOT standard procedure, most places. From everything I've read, it is much more common for the cop to politely ask that you leave it right where it is.

    I take a very dim view of being told, "Deal with it" by authority figures who condone such bad behavior.

    As I wrote here...
     
  5. Hawkmoon

    Hawkmoon Member

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    Where is this written? My understanding is that it is standard procedure to disarm any one or to separate them from the weapon during all stops. I am not an LEO and I don't know how widely SOP varies from one department or jurisdiction to another, but personally I would fully expect to be disarmed for the duration of a traffic stop.
     
  6. CentralTexas

    CentralTexas Member

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    Not typical

    In Texas for the most part they may cut you a break with a concealed carry license. I'm sure it's an officer discretion thing but I would call and complain as I have never heard of this happening and I've heard from numerous folks their experiences here in Texas.
    What if you were disabled? Why put you in harms way outside the vehicle anyway? I'd complain...
    CT
     
  7. R.H. Lee

    R.H. Lee Member

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    Can't be too careful......"officer safety" 'ya know :rolleyes:

    Sounds like something that might happen in California.
     
  8. answerguy

    answerguy Member

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    I suggest that you go have a talk with his superior. Describe the situation as calmly as you did with us and see what they have to say.
     
  9. jnojr

    jnojr Member

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    I agree with answerguy. I just don't see how it's safe or prudent for someone to reach into another persons pocket or whatever and start fumbling for an unfamiliar weapon. The officer saw the CCW, so he knows this isn't someone who's going to start shooting it out with him. I think he's probably a city guy who has "learned" that guns are for cops, and that a gun that isn't in a cops hand is a danger. I strongly feel this should be addressed with the department, so they can have a uniform policy to deal with CCW holders.
     
  10. Alex

    Alex Member

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    I had a similar occurance happen to me about 6 years ago in North Dakota. I was also stopped for speeding (also about 10 miles over the limit on a lonely stretch of rural Dakota highway). In that instance the officer saw a holster in the back seat of my car (a junker that was given to me and tossed in the backseat of my car and forgotten) which prompted an inquiry about whether I was armed. I told him I had a concealed weapon permit and a handgun under my coat in the front passengers. I gave him the permit and the drivers license that he hadn't yet asked for. He asked me first if it was loaded, when I said it was loaded, but the chamber was empty, he asked me to hand it to him. I politely declined and he asked me to step out of the vehicle. After watching him reach into the vechicle and fumble with my 1911 for a few minutes I found myself wondering if he was going to end up shooting himself in the foot, about all he suceeded in doing was chambering a round, I had to direct him how to clear the weapon, which only suceeded in getting him embarassed and angry at the same time. He directed me to the back seat of the patrol car where I was locked in (without a search and or handcuffs) and than he attempted to do a check on my concealed carry permit. I found out the state of North Dakota did not have a quick way of checking these permits and all the dispatcher told him was that If I had one it was likely genuine. I got a lecture from the officer about how I should have kept my gun in the glove box instead of on the seat next to me (why??) I told him that I didn't keep it there because most times they ask for registration and proof of insurance (this guy didn't) and I didn't want to have to reach around it to get those documents. He also made comments to the effect that there wasn't much need in rural North Dakota to be carrying a gun like mine, but he figured there were lots of people like me where I came from (another rural North Dakota community) In the end he gave me my ticket, and my gun and sent me on my way. My father has been a North Dakota judge for over 20 years and I have lots of recollections of law enforcement around my farm growing up, all of the of the ones I have met have respected second amendment rights, this one apparently is in the minority.
     
  11. ProGlock

    ProGlock Member

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    No sorry, in this case I have to side with the officer. Texas state law indicates that an officer can disarm you if he/she sees fit to do so.

    Now if that ruffles your feathers in the manner he did it or the fact that he left a gun in open view, deal with it.

    Your argument against the police department...sorry the PD will win every time. They have the law on their side in this case that the officer can disarm anyone who is carrying.
     
  12. cropcirclewalker

    cropcirclewalker member

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    He was copping a feel. One of his bennies.
     
  13. answerguy

    answerguy Member

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    If this had been a Glock (did the LEO inquire as to what type of gun it was) in the pocket how easy would it have been for a ND? And if there had been a ND what are the odds our lady with the CCW would have been hit?
     
  14. flatrock

    flatrock Member

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    Why? What threat is a law abiding CCW holder? If the person was a felon, they wouldn't have a CCW permit. We have a right to keep and bear arms, yet we are sometimes treated like a criminal for doing so, even after jumping through the hoops of permit processes.

    Why is it reasonable for a Police officer to assume that you are going to attempt to use your gun against them when you have a permit, and have already notified them that you have a gun. If you were going to do the officer harm, you wouldn't be announcing to the officer that you were armed first.

    Unless the person who has been stopped is acting aggressive, or there is suspicion of a crime, the officer has no reason to disarm them.

    Many Officers, despite the fact that they carry a firearm every day are not very experienced with gun handling. There are a lot of accidental (really negligent) discharges by police officers which shows this. In the interest of officer and citizen safety, the gun should remain holstered. Reasonable officers that have been around gun owners and are familiar with handling guns understand this.

    I would suggest calmly and politely talking with the supervisor. The officer in this case seems like a nice guy that needs a bit more training and experience in dealing with CCW holders.
     
  15. Wildalaska

    Wildalaska member

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    Sort of figgered youd chime in :barf:

    WildletsstartthecopbashingAlaska
     
  16. answerguy

    answerguy Member

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    On a second reading....

    ...this is starting to sound like a romance novel.

    I need a smoke.
     
  17. pinblaster

    pinblaster Member

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    When you get pulled over by the cops, do what you are told, speak only to answear thier questions and don't say anything else. If they don't ask if you are armed don't tell them you are. If they don't ask for your carry permit don't give it to them.
     
  18. Correia

    Correia Moderator Emeritus

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    This is something that we as CCW instructors are pushing for in this state. We are trying to get it so that there is at least a small bit of mandatory instruction in the academy on this topic. Right now nothing is taught about CCW. We are on the same side and want to avoid stupid accidents.

    Officer's reactions depend greatly on the experience of the cop, and the SOP of the department. Having some training on this for new officers would really benefit both us and them. Us because it will minimize stupid problems like the above, and secondly it will spare the department from some multi million dollar lawsuits when a CCW holder gets shot accidently while the officer is fiddling with an unfamiliar firearm.
     
  19. auschip

    auschip Member

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    Congrats! You just broke the law in TX!

    :D
     
  20. answerguy

    answerguy Member

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    Careful with your advice. In Michigan, and other states, this will get you in trouble. In Micigan we are required to tell a LEO that we are packing when we are stopped.
     
  21. El Tejon

    El Tejon Member

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    That silly law down there is an accident waiting to happen.:eek:

    Sounds like a letter to the Captain of Patrol and Chief and Mayor and a copy to the city attorney with an emphasis on the risk of negligent discharge to the public.
     
  22. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Member

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    The officer is an idiot, SOP or no. He risked a ND by groping around for a loaded firearm. Stupid stupid stupid
     
  23. bamawrx

    bamawrx Member

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    Tam,

    Write a nice letter to the chief describing the event. The officer was fully within his rights to disarm you due to officer safety rules. However, it sounds like the actions did not make either of you any safer. Politely suggest that better familiarization with weapon systems and carry systems might be in order, and ask if it is the department policy to disarm ALL legally armed motorists or just when the officer feels threatened.

    The chief relies on the public to let him know what is going on, so do your part and write the letter. A similar thing happened recently to a friend of mine with an officer that was not familiar with the 1911. He had his finger on the trigger while attempting to remove the safety. Yes, there was a round chambered, and his back was to the motorist the whole time. The officer thought the safety was a de-cocker!

    My friend wrote a nice letter to the chief, and he was very appreciative.
    .
     
  24. TamThompson

    TamThompson Member

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    Hawkmoon said:
    Where is this written? My understanding is that it is standard procedure to disarm any one or to separate them from the weapon during all stops. I am not an LEO and I don't know how widely SOP varies from one department or jurisdiction to another, but personally I would fully expect to be disarmed for the duration of a traffic stop.

    It's written right here on The High Road because it's my opinion.

    And to those who think I should just shut up and submit...I did that yesterday, to avoid going to jail or getting shot. I will most certainly not shut up and submit to this. I have a First Amendment right to complain when I feel my Second Amendment rights AND Fourth Amendment rights are being violated. And they were. I pay that cops salary through a ton of taxes that we pay.

    I am a professional writer, it's my fulltime business. I already have an assignment from a local mag to write an article for their October issue concerning the erosion of civil liberties in America and how we are moving towards a police state. APD just handed me some new material yesterday. They picked on the wrong lady.

    You can bet I'll publicize this--my pen (or keyboard) has even more power than all my mightiest guns combined.

    I'll be writing some letters.

    Thanks for the feedback, y'all!
     
  25. csmkersh

    csmkersh Member

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    I'm 70 miles South of Tam in San Antonio. I've had numerous occasions where I've shown both my TDL and CHL to an officer. I've never been disarmed. Lately. they don't even ask where my pistol is - just glance at the CHL and hand it back and get the pertinent info off the CHL.

    I do know that Austin, TX has far too many people with NYC or California attitudes in policy making positions for APD. There was policy that if you failed to show your CHL, you were going to jail even if you weren't armed. Then Austin illegally allowed concert promoters to ban legal CCW on/in public facilities/parks.

    Other than suggesting Tam move to either Killeen or San Antonio, the only other suggestion is just hand the officer the TDL and CHL and keep your mouth shut unless asked if you are carrying. Don't volunteer any information.
     
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