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Satisfactory but unnecessary LEO interaction today...

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by Gottahaveone, Sep 25, 2008.

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  1. Gottahaveone

    Gottahaveone Member

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    I guess I'm fortunate in that the guy that runs the company I work for is an exceptionally intelligent and enlightened person. (OK, It's really me :neener:) Not only is CCW allowed at work, I have built a small (25yrd) range behind the office. The company sits on 10 acres in a business park. There is maybe 300 feet between our building and the next closest business. The range is off the back of the empty lot that separates us, extending down into the trees and ending with a 5' berm. There is a chain across the road with a "Posted-No Trespassing" sign on it. Remember that point. Because on workdays I usually have the courtesy to wait until after hours to cut loose with big stuff, I went out about 5:45 this afternoon and let the SMLE I just finished cleaning up talk a little bit. I loosed my 20 rounds of destruction upon the plastic bottles I brought in short order. I policed up my litter and pulled back out, stopping to lock the chain on the way out. As I'm leaving I see an employee from next door standing out at the road at the end of their driveway talking on a cell phone and looking to his left at the two approaching Sheriff's vehicles. I would normally turn right and go home. I put two and two together and turned left instead and pulled into our main parking lot. I got out and unlocked the building and went in and sat at my desk. After 15 minutes when nothing happened, I was on the verge of leaving when I heard the door chimes announce a visitor. A deputy stuck his head in my office door and asked if I could come out and speak with them. I replied "Sure" and followed him down the hall to the glass lobby door. He stepped outside the door, then still holding the door open turned to talk to me. His first words were "Were you just back there shooting?" He was a young guy and fortunately his demeanor was friendly so I didn't make any crude suggestions in reply. I said "You mean a few minutes ago at our range on our lot out back?" He said "Yes, and let me start off with saying that you aren't in any trouble, I just wanted to touch base with you because we had a complaint." I told him that I had put the guy on the cell phone together with two cruisers driving down the street and came to the conclusion that he had called me in, and that's why I stuck around rather than heading home. Then he told me that they had gone back there and checked out the area I was shooting in and they were pleasantly surprised at what a good job we had done from a safety aspect and that it was a perfectly acceptable place to shoot and that it violated no county ordinances. He told me that he informed the complainant that it was perfectly safe and that there was nothing that either he or the deputy could do about us shooting there. I thanked them for their time and turned around and walked back down the hall. Then it occurred to me....the ONLY way they could have checked out the range was to have stepped over the chain across the road with the "NO TRESPASSING" sign to walk down there and basically, trespassed. All ended well and I'm not going to raise a stink, but my question is, is it allowable for them to trespass onto clearly unoccupied (they watched me pull out of that driveway) posted property to "check things out"? As a side note, SC requires notification of carry status if you are actually asked for ID. Because they didn't even ask my name, much less for ID, I felt no need to mention the .40 I was carrying. That's why I despise the concept of disarming a CCW holder for "officer safety" during a traffic stop. The kinds of people who lead the kinds of lives that allow for CCW aren't the kinds of people who will shoot you over a speeding ticket, you know? If I were of such a mind I could have easily gotten impolite when he turned around and walked down the hallway with his back to me. I considered saying "Bang" just to reinforce his lack of tactical common sense...I mean, if I'm responding to a shots fired kind of call, I'm not turning MY back on the very person I have reason to suspect FIRED those shots. But discretion won out :D
     
  2. Poor East Texan

    Poor East Texan Member

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    Glad everything turned out ok. Betcha ain't seen the last of the next door guy though.
     
  3. stolivar

    stolivar Member

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    Sorry,

    There is no such thing as trespassing on a LEO. He can go anywhere he pleases if he thinks there has been a crime committed. It is called reasonable suspicion.



    steve
     
  4. Code3GT

    Code3GT Member

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    time to get a .50 BMG :D

    EDIT: Ok, not really the HighRoad thing to do...how about inviting the guy down for some "group therapy"?
     
  5. Gottahaveone

    Gottahaveone Member

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    I think I'll try calling next door first. They've only been in that building for about 6 months. The last company in there called us in on so many saturdays that the SD send a patrol sgt out to tell them in as polite a way as possible to stop calling them, there was nothing they could/would do. I guess these guys just need to learn too. I'm not unreasonable, I understand their concern if they don't know what we are shooting or in what direction. But after being told by the deputy that it was a legal, and more importantly, safe area then I really don't want to hear a whole lot more out of them. One of my shop guys has a BFR 45-70. I guess if they keep calling, I'll invite him out for a little plinking session every day after lunch. Oh, Ain't I a stinker?
     
  6. Gottahaveone

    Gottahaveone Member

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    I guessed as much. I assume the same goes for entering the office uninvited. That I can see, it's a place of public access. But it wouldn't do for me to see somebody crawling around my back forty, badge or not. You don't have enough "reasonable suspicion" to get a warrant, you have no legitimate business on my property unless I called and invited you there.
     
  7. Aguila Blanca

    Aguila Blanca Member

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    Wrong.

    First, "reasonable suspicion" does not generate any right to enter private property without the owner's consent, or to conduct a warrantless search. Secondly, "reasonable suspicion" is generally not even sufficient grounds to GET a warrant. To get a warrant usually requires "probable cause," which means the officer(s) have to (a) believe a crime has been committed, (b) believe they know who may have committed it or who may have evidence relating to it, and (c) have at least a vague idea what that evidence might be.

    Since the officers had no indication that the reported shooting was illegal, there was no indication that any crime had been committed so technically they did not have any right to go onto the private property. Since they ultimately told the complainant to take a hike, I concur with the OP in thinking it's not worth making a stink over, but I do believe they acted unlawfully. Had they found anything they considered illegal, a half-decent attorney would probably get it tossed out of court as inadmissible "fruits of a poisoned tree."
     
  8. bogie

    bogie Member

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    If I could make a suggestion...

    Make yourself a detached suppressor - either a box, or a few tires stuffed with something non-flammable (and cheap, because you're going to want to pull it out and throw it away occasionally). Put it on a little cart, and move it in front of the bench.

    That way you're happy, and the neighbor is happy.

    And go say hi to 'em...
     
  9. jonmerritt

    jonmerritt Member.

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    If they did enter the property, it was probably to get your neighbor to shut up and quit calling.
     
  10. Dgreno

    Dgreno Member

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    Glad everything turned out ok. May I suggest paragraph breaks in such a long post? Makes it a lot easier for tired eyes to read.;)
     
  11. stolivar

    stolivar Member

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    Sorry, typo. I meant PC

    :banghead:


    steve
     
  12. Erik

    Erik Member

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    "...is it allowable for them to trespass onto clearly unoccupied (they watched me pull out of that driveway) posted property to "check things out"?"

    It isn't trespassing. Yes, they may enter onto, remain on for short durations, and move through private property, posted against trespassing or not. It's called the Open Fields Doctrine.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_fields_doctrine

    http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/data/constitution/amendment04/04.html (third down)

    Which makes is legal for law enforcement to enter onto private property up until they reach the curtilege:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Curtilage

    http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m2194/is_n4_v67/ai_20576402
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2008
  13. Gottahaveone

    Gottahaveone Member

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    There is no bench, usually it's handguns and I shoot them standing up on my hind legs. It's really just set up for casual plinking and stress relief. I'll certainly go say Hi, I would hope that if they understand that there is no danger to them, they won't care. I believe their second shift does shipping/receiving only, so those guys on their loading dock can just get over it. I have the courtesy to not go out and shoot during business hours when they could possible be entertaining client meetings. And I suspect that whoever called did it on their own initiative. Perhaps their powers that be can discourage that type of action.
     
  14. COMPNOR

    COMPNOR Member

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    While I'd agree that most people who CC wouldn't, its silly to assume that all would. People who CC can still act stupid and rashly.
     
  15. Gottahaveone

    Gottahaveone Member

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    You're right...sorry about that. I got to typing and didn't really realize it ran to half a page. I have verbose fingers :D
     
  16. DeathByCactus

    DeathByCactus Member

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    My father has a co-worker, whose husband was a detective. During his time as a patrol officer a man with a CCW who he pulled over for a broken tail light ended up opening fire on him. The man apparently wanted death by police officer because he found his wife having sex with another man and had killed both of them, then fled the scene. Thankfully the second round jammed and the man threw the gun and tried to flee.

    *It was at that point he "had" to step up to being a detective...(wife)*

    Officers need to think about these sort of things, you do not. I would also like to add that I find it an acceptable stop. Seems like the man was nice and had a decent grasp on what had happened. If anything he might just be less experienced but...
     
  17. Steve in PA

    Steve in PA Member

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    Sorry, the officers were investigating a complaint. They do NOT need a warrant to see if your range was wihtout a problem.

    Just what do you think the warrant would be for?? To check things out?? Way too many people on here have no idea what warrants are for.

    The officer checked things out, told the OP he was not in violation of anything and that will be the end of it.

    My town has a "no open burning" ordinance. Which means no burn barrels. However, those metal backyard patio heaters are legal. We often get complaints that someone is open burning. I do not need a warrant to walk into the backyard to check out the complaint.
     
  18. Officers'Wife

    Officers'Wife Member

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    Sorry my friend, search warrents have been done away with by something called 'reasonable suspicion.' In short, one call from any source no matter how unreliable negates any and all Constitutional restrictions of power. Just be glad you didn't have cattle back there. Had one attacked the officer you would have been criminally liable.

    Selena
     
  19. Jeff White

    Jeff White Moderator Staff Member

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    Please post the link to the Supreme Court decision that eliminated the need for search warrants? If you can't you should edit your post to reflect the truth.

    I just love the way everyone who has never had any involvement in the criminal justice system is an expert on Constitutional law.

    It takes a lot more then an anonymous call to get a search warrant. There are volumes of case law on that issue. Of course the truth isn't near as dramatic as hyperbole :rolleyes:

    Jeff
     
  20. jfdavis58

    jfdavis58 Member

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    ...all this talk about the law and the cops--my, my aren't we a self-serving smug bunch. About as 'High Road' as the sewer!

    Gottahaveone, where is your down home friendliness, your neighborliness?

    They've been there six months and all you know him by is 'guy with cell phone'?

    Did you ever introduce yourself? Tell him about your little range? Offer to take him out and show him around? Give him a chance to see that it's safe, that you're responsible, that you might be friendly?

    NO

    You cranked it up, plan on doing it some more and to hell with what he thinks or feels.:neener:


    Well that's certainly one way to make friends and influence people!:cuss:
     
  21. Treo

    Treo member

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    I'm W/ Aquila on this one, The police can't just wander onto your private property uninvited. I worked at a company once that had two cops trying to set up a speed trap in the parking lot, the manager told the cops they weren't welcome on company property. The cops left.
     
  22. Jeff White

    Jeff White Moderator Staff Member

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    They were invited. The complainant invited them when he called in the complaint. There is a big difference between parking on someone's parking lot to run radar and investigating a complaint.

    Jeff
     
  23. scrat

    scrat Member

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    Yep Jeff is correct. When ever you or someone invites them. Then they get there they are pretty much obligated to check things out.
     
  24. Gottahaveone

    Gottahaveone Member

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    Ummm....It's a business. There are probably 125 employees. I should know them all?

    I think that if you reread all my post on this topic, you will find that I have consistently expressed my understanding of their running a business and my willingness to limit my shooting to off business hours. I feel that as long as they have been there, they HAVE heard gunfire before and if there were concerns, they have had ample time for whoever is in a position of authority there to call over to my plant and discuss it. Keep in mind this is a business park, not a neighborhood and these are workers there, not people trying to live peacefully in their own homes.
     
  25. VPLthrneck

    VPLthrneck Member

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    IMHO I feel you're being a good neighbor by waiting until latter in the day to do your shooting. However, being the owner go out and talk to the other business owners around there and inform them that you have a private range and go shooting in the early evenings. Leave it up to them to spread the word to their employees as to prevent this from happening in the future.
    Although, after the deputy complimented you on the way your range is built, you should have suggested that you and your friends could build one for them over at the police/sheriffs office. You might have found another line of work. :)
     
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