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Thread: Knowing when to arrest and being confident..

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    Knowing when to arrest and being confident..

    Sometimes I find myself questioning myself when an arrest is made (the grey areas). Did it take a while for you to build your confidence after an arrest. Is this just a rookie feeling that goes away?

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    It will pass. Go with your gut.

    Anyhow, always remember, unless you self initiated it, the police, we.. Are the middle men and are the in between the courts and prosecution.

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    NYCTNT hit the nail on the head. We don't determine guilt and we don't do the sentencing.
    In Texas it's pretty simple. We have a list of arrest authorities and if it's on that list we arrest. If it's not, we write a report and send it to a detective who decides whether to ask for a warrant. People will try to tell you that being arrested will ruin their life. If that's true then they have already made prior bad choices that put them in this situation.
    If ever in doubt, talk it over with a partner or call a supervisor even.

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    This is also when you brush up on your state laws and local ordinances. If you let a guy go because you can't think of what to arrest for. Look up statutes that would cover that situation and become familiar with the elements of the statute/ordinance, so next time you know, and are comfortable with making the arrest. Like an old timer told me when I was a young, new copper, "Once you know what you can do, that's half the battle." Go over the stop in your head and see if there was a violation you may have missed. If in doubt, call another car over and tell him what you got, see what he says.

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    Thank you all for your advice. Ill definitely ask for help if need be.

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    ASK FOR HELP... I dont say that to be insulting, but when in doubt as the others guys have said always ask for advice. I find its great to have what I call the swiss army powers on standby too....

    Drunken idiot in public= Public intoxication= so I can arrest you for your safety and the public safety, thus I can search you and Id you.

    Drunken idiot creating a ruckus in his house= Breach of the peace until I can establish other offences, plus I can search you and Id you= what else can I discover.

    Obviously that's in Canada, Im sure there's a local version. Remember also if you lay hands on someone, strike,tackle, spray, etc you own them, and articulate your arrests...Most of all have a slurpee, wear cool sunglasses and flirt relentlessly with anything in a skirt.
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    "Well, I never had an invisible friend when I was young, but I'm sure that if I did, it would be Constable Smiley."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Eastside View Post
    Most of all have a slurpee, wear cool sunglasses and flirt relentlessly with anything in a skirt.
    You must not have many transsexuals in Canada.

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    There have been some dark days....some dark days.....
    "Well, I never had an invisible friend when I was young, but I'm sure that if I did, it would be Constable Smiley."

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    One other point that has not been made- discretion .
    Some rooks want to arrest everyone, but the best officers use discretion, because not everyone needs to go to jail.
    If you arrest an elderly woman for disorderly because she cussed you, you will never live it down.
    If you fail to arrest a mildly intoxicated 24 year old who dissed your mom in front of others, you will never live it down.
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    I'm sure most of this has been covered already, but FWIW:

    Some thoughts that may help you make confident arrest decisions:

    1.) Know your statutes, and what your arrestable offenses are...this equals job knowledge.
    2.) Use discretion/act judiciously. Just because someone CAN be arrested, does not always mean they HAVE to be, or SHOULD be. If you make an error in judgement, and don't arrest someone on scene, and later determine you choose to, bang out a quick arrest warrant after the fact, and go arrest them.
    3.) Seek out a knowledgeable mentor in your agency who knows the ropes, and observe and learn. This person is sometimes not a supervisor or FTO...sometimes it is a veteran officer that you can learn from, and later emulate.
    4.) Like most things in law enforcement, and life in general, there is often no substitute for experience and seasoning, which allows future decisions to be based on past experiences and their respective successful/not so successful outcomes.

    Remember: Probable Cause to make arrests is black and white in it's textbook definition. It is often not clearly delineated in a fluid, field environment. Eventually, it becomes seamless as it develops, and as one of my mentors put it years ago: "Sometimes Probable Cause is hard to put a label on...but you know it when you see it".
    Last edited by Tim Connell NH; 04-25-2012 at 08:53 AM.

  11. #11
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    I agree with everybody else. The more criminal codes and elements of crime that you know - the more knowledge and power you have during your initial contacts. Be confident in your abilities and use your teammates for any assistance that you might need. Look at seasoned veterans during traffic stops and watch their interview techniques... With more experience you learn more about people (their eye movement, body language, speech, hand movement etc.) and you can start calling out their fluffs after you get some time on the road... which will build your confidence and will get those handcuffs loosen''''''''' up a bit...so they are not so stiff

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