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  1. #1
    andysz28
    Guest

    Are off-duty cops in civilian clothes allowed to...

    give citations or arrest people?

  2. #2
    Niteshift
    Guest
    The answer will vary from state to state. In mine, the answer is yes, as long as they are in their jurisdiction.

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    Niteshift-
    Perseverate In Pugna

  3. #3
    FLLawdog
    Guest
    It also depends on department policy. Outside of exigent circumstances, we're urged not to. Exigent meaning an obvious and flagrant violation that could be dangerous, not a simple headlight out.

    ------------------
    FLLawdog
    "Never try to teach a pig to sing...it wastes your time and it annoys the pig."

  4. #4
    Bob A
    Guest
    Hence the need for mature officers who can exercise discretion.

    ------------------
    In God we trust. All others we run through NCIC.

  5. #5
    John from Maryland
    Guest
    In general, officers may make arrests while off duty and in civilian clothes. Some jurisdictions go so far as to require that an officer be armed within jurisdiction so that he or she can always take police action. Officers with takehome cruisers are generally expected to make arrests and issue citations.

    Because offenders, witnesses, and responding officers may not recognize the off-duty officer as law enforcement, many agencies discourage taking action except in serious incidents. We developed a lesson plan on off-duty confrontations that strongly urges waiting for the uniformed officers. Off-duty incidents tend to be dangerous and attract problems.

    Off-duty officers usually can issue citations. If your driving behavior is such that it attracts notice by an off-duty cop, however, you should be more concerned about being punched out at the next red light by a truck driver.

  6. #6
    Buddingnovelist
    Guest
    In our state, Michigan, we can perform law enforcment if we are within jurisdiction (talking geographical jurisdiction) where you have police powers.


    Exceptions:

    Departmental policy

    All citizens can arrest for felonies at any time anywhere

    May not make traffic stops unless in a fully marked car and in uniform

    If given authority by an officer who has jurisdiction. BTW so can any citizen. E.g., "Hey you: grab that man!"

    May go outside jurisdiction if making a lawful arrest (or traffic stop) for a crime (or infraction) you have jurisdiction over.

  7. #7
    Glockarmorer
    Guest
    Originally posted by Buddingnovelist:
    May not make traffic stops unless in a fully marked car and in uniform
    Does this mean that none of your narcotics or criminal investigator types ever make traffic stops?? Holy crap, you just cut my arrest stats in half!!

    In my state an off duty officer has just as much authority as an on duty officer and all the same rules apply. My agency does not require that officers carry a weapon off duty but does ENCOURAGE it.

    Also, officers are authorized to use their take home vehicle for personal business but must be armed, have their credentials, be dressed appropriately, and have the radio on (No, not Rock 106, the DISPATCH radio silly!) And yes, I have made traffic stops and written tickets while off duty. We have some really bad drivers here, especially those #$%&! minivans from OHIO!!!

    G.A.




    ------------------
    No cops, know anarchy.

    "He aint finna come all up in my house and act a fool and be gettin away with it cause I will go smooth off." -Movista

  8. #8
    Godside
    Guest
    Originally posted by John from Maryland:
    Because offenders, witnesses, and responding officers may not recognize the off-duty officer as law enforcement, many agencies discourage taking action except in serious incidents.
    Detective William Wilkins Jr.
    of the Oakland Police Department was accidentally shot and killed by other officers while on an undercover narcotics stakeout. Detective Wilkins noticed a stolen car speeding by and gave chase. He caught the vehicle and was arresting the suspect at gunpoint. Other uniformed patrolmen arrived on the scene and shot and killed Detective Wilkins, who was in plainclothes. He was transported to a local hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.
    Detective Wilkins had been with the agency for seven years and is survived by his wife and 10-month-old son.

    This information was used from the Officer Down Memorial Page at: http://www.odmp.org/officer.php?oid=15494


    Point made?

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    -----------------------------------------------
    Psalms 118:6 - "The Lord is on my side, whom shall I fear? What can man do to me?"

    Questions/Comments?Contact me on AIM/AOL, at "GodsideJCC".
    -----------------------------------------------

  9. #9
    Glock
    Guest
    Anyone know the current law or where to check about an off duty officer in an unmarked car making a traffic stop in Iowa?

  10. #10
    Michael J Pannell
    Guest
    Here in England a 'off duty cop' has all the powers and priviledges he/she has on duty when it comes to making arrests... there are acceptions to citations.... off duty it is against force policy to do things like 'ticket people for parking violations etc' as you must be in uniform to issue them

    Whatsmore Off duty cops and even plain clothes officers on duty cannot stop moving vehicles in my force because of the safety implications.


    Arresting people is considered a last resort however as the force prefers you to alert control to the situation if possible and watch as a 'professional witness' until units arrive - eg for criminal damage etc and only to get involved if a member of the public is being put at risk... eg stopping an assault/preventing a shoplifter from making off etc.


  11. #11
    Dave Cohen
    Guest
    Regarding the item posted by Godside...one of our officers -- Bob Clark -- may have had that incident in his mind when he responded to the recent Santana High School shooting outside San Diego.

    Bob was on campus to enroll his daughter in the school for next year. Dressed in civilian clothes, Bob worked his way to the boy's bathroom where the shooter was hiding. He had his hand on his gun, which was inside a fanny pack, but he did not pull it out for fear that responding sheriff's deputies might mistake him for the shooter.

    As he kept his hand on the gun and his eye on the bathroom door, he held out his badge so that people approaching would know that he was a peace officer. He and the deputies took the shooter into custody.

    One training tip that helped Bob...one that we've passed on to all of our people: right after Columbine, Bob began to run scenarios through his mind ("What if I was the first person on the scene? What would I do?"). He would re-think those scenarios on a regular basis. When Santana happened, said Bob, he was calm and knew exactly how to respond. Being a SWAT officer, with all of that specialized training, didn't hurt...but it was the mental preparation that he said helped him the most.

  12. #12
    Don
    Guest
    Another of these tragic shootings occurred several years ago in Riverside County. A deputy had transfered out from Riverside to one of the substations. He had just moved into his apartment, had not even reported in for work.

    He heard shots fired in the parking lot. He went out with his gun in his hand and was shot and killed by uniformed deputies who were just arriving.

    The shooters description had been given as a Mexican Male Adult, wearing a white "T" shirt and blue jeans. The deputy happened to be a MMA wearing a white "T" shirt and blue jeans.

    When the responding deputy called out for him to drop his gun, he turned toward them. . .

    When you are not in uniform, particularly in an area where you are not known, you had best use one hell of a lot of common sense if you are going to involve yourself in something!

    I think one of the worst *** chewings I ever got was as a reserve trainee. I had just got home from my regular job. I observed my TO in the apartment complex approaching the building across the courtyard with a shotgun. With my HUA, I grabbed my duty weapon and stepped outside. He saw me and motioned for me to get back in the apartment.

    Once the burglar was in custody, he came to my place and just climbed all over me. I thank him for that, and for all the other good advice and chewing out that he gave me!

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    **Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be bent out of shape.**
    6P1 (retired)

    [This message has been edited by Don (edited 05-09-2001).]

  13. #13
    Buddingnovelist
    Guest
    Originally posted by Glockarmorer:
    Does this mean that none of your narcotics or criminal investigator types ever make traffic stops??
    Right. They have to call for a marked car. I've on occasion been that marked car.


  14. #14
    Shinobi
    Guest
    Don,,, Where you a LEO in Riverside County?

  15. #15
    Don
    Guest
    Shinobi,

    No, Imperial county for a time.

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    **Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be bent out of shape.**
    6P1 (retired)

  16. #16
    Glockarmorer
    Guest
    Originally posted by Buddingnovelist:
    Right. They have to call for a marked car. I've on occasion been that marked car.

    I couldn't imagine having to wait for a uniform to clear up from a stoopid barking dog call to come make a traffic stop while I was following a bad guy with a load of dope!! To each their own I guess!!

    G.A.



    ------------------
    No cops, know anarchy.

    "He aint finna come all up in my house and act a fool and be gettin away with it cause I will go smooth off." -Movista

  17. #17
    cajuncop
    Guest
    Andy, for the PD I work for in Louisiana, we are only allowed to issue a citation off duty in civilian clothes if we are in a "marked" unit. If you are in your personally owned vehicle, stay away or that might spell trouble.

    For misdemeanor acts, I would report it and possibly act depending on if again I was in a "marked" unit.

    For a felony, keeping officer safety in mind, yes I would attempt to solve the problem if feasible.

    ------------------
    Without the support of our fellow officers, sometimes we have no support at all.

  18. #18
    Red5
    Guest
    Generally in the Commonwealth of Virginia, you can enforce the law in your jurisdiction as long as you have proper ID. However, my departmenr discourages it unless its a life and death situation.

    Scott

  19. #19
    shooter1201
    Guest
    I just had this conversation with my Chief. Apparently, HE doesn't want ANY off-duty officers getting involved in ANYthing, unless it is a felony.

    That is interpretted by yours truly to include, advising folks that it REALLY IS in their best interest NOT to park in a Fire Lane, handicapped spot, drive 20+ over the posted speed limit, etc, etc.

    Upon doing a little research, apparently, there is NO TCA-code in TN that prohibits an off-duty cop from performing a traffic stop. However, as earlier indicated, it's STOOPID when you think about it. Dispatch PROBABLY doesn't know where you are, have a description of the vehicle, tag info, etc.

    However, MY inclination is that my town's mayor had a bit to do with my Chief's stance.

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    HEARTS and MINDS

    [This message has been edited by shooter1201 (edited 05-13-2001).]

  20. #20
    D. Ridley
    Guest
    In Alabama, I have the same authority on and off duty. For example, a car was riding my POV's bumper today (******ed me off!). If I had my ticket book with me, I would have been well within my legal authority to stop and write that person a $128.00 ticket.

    From an officer safety standpoint, I do not routinely perform law enforcement actions off duty. My department also "frowns" on off duty enforcement.

    Y'all be safe!

  21. #21
    PeteBroccolo
    Guest
    My Detachment is like a lot of other ones across Canada (except our Detachments in Ontario and Quebec, or the big ones in Lower Mainland BC) where we do not have members on duty 24 hours a day and often are on-call. While on-call, the member is authorized to have her/his firearm (properly secured) and the Police vehicle so they are ready to respond. Its not unusual to go to Church with the Police car loaded with your gear - in the old days, you hoped the dispatcher could somehow find you by land line, but now cell phones make it easy to call you out.
    I personally do not want to have to work while on-call, so it had better be pretty important whatever happens in front of me.
    Usually chewing the kid who was slightly erratically driving will suffice, but we certainly can, and do, enforce the law even during on-call. The biggest question then is - will the boss pay the overtime!
    Kind of embarrassing in the middle of Mass, though, when the cell phone rings!

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    P. D. (Pete) Broccolo, Constable
    #32936 - RCMP Weyburn, Saskatchewan

  22. #22
    spurlock
    Guest
    As a fellow officer put it, it varies from state to state. As well, in my state, the answer is yes. People see officers out when they're off duty and then, they think that it's payback time and they can say or do whatever they wish in front of the officer. I've seen this happen on more that one occassion. People need to realize that we are "sworn" officers and that it means we are officers 24/7.



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  23. #23
    ME AGAIN
    Guest
    Asked by andysz28:
    Are off-duty cops in civilian clothes allowed to give citations or arrest people?
    Yes and yes (in my jurisdiction). I've ticketed people while off-duty (in either a marked or unmarked cop car -- never in my civilian car) and I've arrested people while off-duty in civilian clothes.

    Once while I was off-duty and dressed in a colorful Hawaiian shirt and while driving a marked car, a lady pulled in front of me. I was on the highway and she was entering the highway from a side street. I slammed on my brakes and slowed from 45 mph to about 15-20 mph to avoid crashing into the side of her van and I immediately pulled her over and ticketed her.

    She challenged the ticket and took it to court. Her defense was, "Judge, he was off-duty and I don't believe he has the authority to give me a ticket while he is off-duty." The judge slapped the gavel down and said, "That is not a defense. I find you committed the violation." He found her guilty. Some motorists!!!


  24. #24
    jellybean40
    Guest
    for quite a while in PA there was a police impersonator pulling over women and attacking them. women were instructed not to pull over for any unmarked cars, but to drive to a safe spot or police facility. i wondered how much of a problem that caused.

  25. #25
    raw188
    Guest
    It'd be stupid for anyone to pull over for an unmarked car. Just too easy to rig up a blue light. Not so easy to drive around in a marked car without being legit. Only way to know the car pulling you over is in fact a LEO is if it is marked.

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