1. #1
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    Question Probation Officers Unarmed???

    Hello,

    I posted the following reply to a question about the arming of probation officers and off-duty carry in the California forum. Wanted to find out what other Probation and Parole agencies throughout the nation are doing. As I state below...I'm a Probation Officer in Northern California. I can't imagine stepping out of my house unarmed, considering who we deal with every day (felons and parolees). Officer Safety is number one, I'm far from a gung-ho, cowboy officer...I just like to go home to my family at night. Wondering if other states are arming their Probation Officers. It amazes me that it's actually a debate!!!

    I'm a Probation Officer in Northern California. Our entire department is armed, Glock 22 .40's. I'm simply amazed that there is still a debate whether Probation Officers should be armed or not. Are you kidding me?? Last time I checked, EVERY PERSON I COME IN CONTACT WITH IS A CONVICTED FELON...many are past parolee's that have re-offended and for some ridiculous reason have been placed on probation again. Every home I visit I've come across what we call here the "3 for 1" deal. I come across two unknown probationers or parolee's that I had no idea were in the home. Who knows if they're a parolee at large looking at going back for a long time. They have no idea I might be doing just a routine, "how are things going?" visit with my probationer. How many of our clients haven't slept for 7 days when we visit due to their current "tweak" run with meth?? Any danger there??
    Anyway, I'll stop ranting and raving. I'm just amazed that departments are choosing to send their officers out in the field unarmed. I'm armed from the moment I step out my front door to the moment I get home...and off-duty. I'm not a gung-ho, cowboy officer either...I carry concealed, I treat my probationers with respect...I just want to go home to my family every night. Regarding off-duty carry, it's up to your department Chief. Considering Probation Officers have the power and repsonsibility to recommend and send defendants to prison, I'm a firm believer in off-duty carry as well. I don't want to be out for dinner with my wife and run into a parolee that has had 10 years to think about the Probation Officer that sent him to prison...if you know what I mean. I can walk without eyes behind my back in my community due to how I treat probationers...but the reality is we work with the worst of the worst...ALL THE TIME.

    Be safe out there. Sorry for the long response. I just think the arming of P.O.'s is a no-brainer.

    jdlong

  2. #2
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    In VT our probation officers carry nothing but handcuffs, and are NOT considered LEO's...
    "My give a damn's busted"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vtfuzz
    In VT our probation officers carry nothing but handcuffs, and are NOT considered LEO's...
    Thanks for the reply. Amazing that their unarmed and not considered LEO's!! As I said, our searches, warrants, arrests, and routine daily field work is with the worst....felons and parolees (nobody else). I would say that makes for a pretty high officer safety risk. We have statewide jurisdiction in California in regards to any probationer and parolee. We can arrest for any Penal Code violation as well, probationer or not. I can't imagine conducting a search of a felon or parolee's home with the possibility of going 10-15 (or knowing I'm going to hook him) unarmed. Like I said...I like going home at night. We work with our S.O. Deputies and local City Officers on searches and arrests regularly as well. My fellow officers would certainly question my sanity for carrying a set of cuffs for safety (in fact, they wouldn't make entry with me!!!) Tell me they at least wear vests and carry OC?? Be safe. Thanks!

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    as far as i know, the bad guy is a state prisoner coming under
    dept of correction supervision, any aggressive action he takes, your justafied for what ever reasonable force is needed.

    however is any chance you can youanother agency to assist
    if a arrest is expected, call the police tohelp ya out.


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    Quote Originally Posted by ftlaudcop
    as far as i know, the bad guy is a state prisoner coming under
    dept of correction supervision, any aggressive action he takes, your justafied for what ever reasonable force is needed.

    however is any chance you can youanother agency to assist
    if a arrest is expected, call the police tohelp ya out.


    www.schackdady.com
    No doubt. I work with our S.O. Deputies and local City Officers on a daily basis...in addition to my fellow armed P.O's. Wouldn't consider conducting a high-risk warrant execution or probation search without plenty of brothers with me. I'm just amazed that there are actually agencies out there NOT arming their Probation Officers. Can't think of a higher risk situation than conducting a warrant execution or probation search of a known convicted felon. As I said, every minute we spend in the field is with the worst of the worst...no other calls we deal with. In California, we don't work for Corrections...we're a county agency with the S.O.'s Our primary role is the supervision of county felons. Of course, we always run across the surprise parolee that doesn't feel like going back to prison.

    Thanks for the response. Be safe!

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    Our probation officers are state corrections employees. I have not seen any of them carrying OC, and none of them have vests.
    "My give a damn's busted"

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    Exclamation

    Quote Originally Posted by Vtfuzz
    Our probation officers are state corrections employees. I have not seen any of them carrying OC, and none of them have vests.
    Wow. Very scary stuff. Then again, they might not recieve full academy training as we do...or they never leave the department. Entering a convicted felons home to serve a warrant and go 10-15 with no vest, no weapon, and no OC?? There's not a dollar figure that would get me to volunteer. Hell, they probably don't have radio contact with dispatch either. I hope they at least do a head count at the end of each shift!! Where's Bob?? Oh, I think he went out this morning to conduct a search and arrest his felon that has a history of 242's on LEO's (Battery here in Calif.)!!!

    Truly unbelieveable. I'll say a prayer and keep them in my officer safety thoughts. I wonder how many patrol officers, narc unit officers, fugitive apprehension officers, and critical incident officers would be willing to conduct high risk entry's UNARMED...NO VEST...NO OC...just a nice set of cuffs???

    CRAZY. Be safe. Thanks again for the reply.

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    Well here in Harris County, TX (The biggest County in Texas) our P.O's don't carry. I use to be a P.O. before I became an officer and was never allowed to carry. The legislature has past the law allowing P.O's to carry, but it is up to the discreation of the director to allow officers to carry. I can only think of 2 counties that allow officers to carry (Bexar, and Bell Counties). Even more absurd is that Juvenile P.O. officers are not allowed to carry and are expected to make their own arrests by administartion. My girlfriend has a case load of strictly sex offenders and murders. She is allowed to carry handcuffs and nothing else.

  9. #9
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    Probation officers in NJ are not armed. There was a law passed recently allowing an armed unit to be formed, but the courts said no:

    Law arming probation officers again judged illegal


    Published by the Gannett State Bureau 2/19/04


    By TOM BALDWIN
    GANNETT STATE BUREAU
    TRENTON -- A state appeals court Friday ruled probation officers, who argue their lives are imperiled by criminals, cannot carry firearms.

    The decision overturned a state law signed in 2002 creating a unit of at least 200 probation officers authorized to carry guns. A three-judge appellate panel said the law violates the separation of powers and is unconstitutional.

    The head of the 3,800 probation officers' and supervisors' union sounded angry.

    "I thought at least one of those judges would say this law was not unconstitutional," said George Christie, president of the Probation Association of New Jersey, based in Brielle.

    "I am not sure where we take the case now. . . . It's an outrage," Christie said. "There are 100,000 probationers out there and 30,000 of them are missing. These people on probation have become increasingly more dangerous."

    Christie said federal probation officers carry firearms. "They deal with the same people we do. They go into the same places we do."

    Cynthia M. Jacob, the private lawyer who filed the lawsuit for the judiciary, which oversees probation officers, did not respond to calls for comment.

    "We are pleased with the decision," said judiciary spokeswoman Winnie Comfort.

    Probation officers supervise just-released inmates. Often the officers have to seek out their clients if they do not report in, as ordered by the courts.

    Hardened criminals, said Christie, dwell in dangerous neighborhoods, where unarmed officers won't enter, "So these guys get a free ride."

    The state Department of Law and Public Safety argued alongside the probation officers against the judiciary. Probation officers wanted the case heard in U.S. District Court, but a federal judge sent it back to state court.

    "They sued us in their own court," Christie said. "That is very strange. We asked for a neutral third party. A neutral third party was rejected. We tried to get it into the federal courts, and the federal judge sent it back to the state."

    The union's lawyer, David Fox, said, "It's a terrible curiosity. It's almost a travesty that the courts would hear a case which they themselves had decided. . . . There is a perception of unfairness," Fox said.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by five0211
    Well here in Harris County, TX (The biggest County in Texas) our P.O's don't carry. I use to be a P.O. before I became an officer and was never allowed to carry. The legislature has past the law allowing P.O's to carry, but it is up to the discreation of the director to allow officers to carry. I can only think of 2 counties that allow officers to carry (Bexar, and Bell Counties). Even more absurd is that Juvenile P.O. officers are not allowed to carry and are expected to make their own arrests by administartion. My girlfriend has a case load of strictly sex offenders and murders. She is allowed to carry handcuffs and nothing else.
    Thanks for the response. Yeah, it's truly amazing that a debate even exists whether Probation Officers should armed. Are they insane?? Every contact I make is with a convicted felon, a parolee, sex offender, etc. There's not a home I enter (or should I say trailer) that doesn't belong to the worst of the worst. 100% of our "calls" are with the bad guy...nothing else. It blows me away. I'm armed from the moment I leave my house to the moment I get home...and off-duty. As I said in prior posts...I like to go home to my wife at night. I also don't like coming across felons on the street that I've sent to prison...they've had plenty of time to think of me. At the same time, I treat everyone with respect and I'm far from a gung-ho, cowboy officer. In fact, I'm in plain clothes, vest, and concealed carry.

    Anyway scary stuff. I hope your girlfriend is AT LEAST allowed to partner with local LEO's on her arrests and searches?? Do they help her out?? Tell her to be safe!!!

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    I served 5 years in the largest county (Maricopa which is the Phoenix valley area) in your neighbor state of Arizona with the Adult Probation Dept. We have seperate Dept's for Juvenile and Parole is a state run program. The last three years in the dept for me was spent in the Fugitive Unit. Over the course of my five years I made about 1200 arrests of felons (and some misd) all without a gun. They did not get armed untill I was in the academy for another agency. Our union fought long and hard to get the change in mind set with our top brass. Warrants was the best gig I have done so far and it was all rush chasing around fugitives with nothing but my wits to get the job done. We worked very close with our local police agencies but they could not knock on every door with you and I personally hate to have to beg another cop from another dept to do my job.

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    Quote Originally Posted by aznachocheze
    I served 5 years in the largest county (Maricopa which is the Phoenix valley area) in your neighbor state of Arizona with the Adult Probation Dept. We have seperate Dept's for Juvenile and Parole is a state run program. The last three years in the dept for me was spent in the Fugitive Unit. Over the course of my five years I made about 1200 arrests of felons (and some misd) all without a gun. They did not get armed untill I was in the academy for another agency. Our union fought long and hard to get the change in mind set with our top brass. Warrants was the best gig I have done so far and it was all rush chasing around fugitives with nothing but my wits to get the job done. We worked very close with our local police agencies but they could not knock on every door with you and I personally hate to have to beg another cop from another dept to do my job.
    Congrats on doing a great job and staying safe brother. I'm just amazed to hear that there is ANY QUESTION why a Probation Officer should be authorized to carry with the world we work in. As I said, 100% of our field work is with convicted felons...no other calls to deal with (citizen complaints, etc.) I would say that puts our "officer safety risk" about as high as it can get. Can't imagine executing a high risk warrant or probation search unarmed and without the assistance of our S.O. and City Officers. We work very well together. We open many doors for them as well without the need to establish PC and write entry paper. You've got to love full search and seizure 24-7, no PC needed!!

    Thanks for the response. Glad to hear your prior Probation agency figured out their P.O.'s work with a pretty nasty crowd. I wonder how many patrol , narc, fugitive apprehension, or special ops officers would be willing to serve warrants on convicted felons or parolees at large UNARMED?????

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    Georgia Probation Officers work for the Georgia Dept. of Corrections. They are fully armed and have arrest powers.
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    Quote Originally Posted by AtlCop
    Georgia Probation Officers work for the Georgia Dept. of Corrections. They are fully armed and have arrest powers.
    Thanks for the reply. Glad to hear P.O.'s in Georgia are provided with the appropriate tools of the trade. As I've said in my original and many follow-up posts, I'm simply amazed that some Departments ARE NOT arming their P.O.'s!! Hell, our only contact and field work is with convicted felons and parolees!! There's not a dollar figure in the world that would get me to make entry on a high-risk warrant service UNARMED in the home (a.k.a. trailer) of one of my felons!!! I guess those Chiefs that are deciding not to arm thier P.O.'s have been behind a desk way too long...or they've never been in the field. Can't count how many "surprises" we encounter on our regular probation visits/searches as well...there's ALWAYS additional probationers and or parolees you didn't expect. I'd say our officer safety risk is about as high as it can get. We're county Probation Officers here in California. Our Parole Agents work for the Department of Corrections.

    Be safe.
    Jdlong

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    10-15, felon, convicted

    JD, below is one line from each of your responses. You will find a common theme (must contain the words: 10-15, felon, convicted (or combination of those 3). We get the point. You deal with felons everyday. You shouldnt be unarmed; i agree. Its just a little over the top. Its almost wannabeish.

    EVERY PERSON I COME IN CONTACT WITH IS A CONVICTED FELON

    As I said, our searches, warrants, arrests, and routine daily field work is with the worst....felons and parolees (nobody else)

    As I said, every minute we spend in the field is with the worst of the worst...no other calls we deal with.

    Entering a convicted felons home to serve a warrant and go 10-15 with no vest, no weapon, and no OC??

    Are they insane?? Every contact I make is with a convicted felon, a parolee, sex offender, etc.

    As I said, 100% of our field work is with convicted felons...no other calls to deal with (citizen complaints, etc.)

    Hell, our only contact and field work is with convicted felons and parolees!!


    Also, in FL, PO's are armed and are LEO. They do not carry in plain view. Good bunch of bros. Stay safe JD and all.
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    In Saskatchewan, and I **believe** that this is true throughout Canada, Probation Officers **are** Peace Officers, but do NOT carry handcuffs, firearms, impact or chemical defensive weapons, and are NOT expected to affect arrests or searches. "Clients" are expected to visit the Probation Officers at their offices. Failure of the "clients" to attend such visits, or if the "clients" display symptoms of probation-condition violations, then the Probation Officer writes up a report and sends it to the Police Service that investigated the original offence for which the "client" was given probation, and that PS then proceeds with charges.

    In Saskatchewan, Probation Officers operate under the Provincial Justice Department.

    Probation Orders are entered onto CPIC (our version of NCIC) and only street enforceable conditions are to be shown on the entry. If a "client" commits any violation of the Criminal Code or of a Federal Statute, they are then failing to "keep the peace and be of good behaviour", which is the usual condition of ALL probation orders, and ANY Police Service investigator may lay a charge of Breach against the "client" in addition to whatever other offence has been committed.

    Paroles are granted under Federal legislation, as is Probation, but unlike persons under probation orders, parolees are monitored by the Federal Correctional Service of Canada. If any parolee is found committing a CC or FS violation, the Police Service investigator contacts CSC, who will then issue a Warrant to Arrest the "client" and they are returned to complete their original sentence IN ADDITION TO whatever punishment they receive on their latest offence.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ufresdave
    JD, below is one line from each of your responses. You will find a common theme (must contain the words: 10-15, felon, convicted (or combination of those 3). We get the point. You deal with felons everyday. You shouldnt be unarmed; i agree. Its just a little over the top. Its almost wannabeish.

    EVERY PERSON I COME IN CONTACT WITH IS A CONVICTED FELON

    As I said, our searches, warrants, arrests, and routine daily field work is with the worst....felons and parolees (nobody else)

    As I said, every minute we spend in the field is with the worst of the worst...no other calls we deal with.

    Entering a convicted felons home to serve a warrant and go 10-15 with no vest, no weapon, and no OC??

    Are they insane?? Every contact I make is with a convicted felon, a parolee, sex offender, etc.

    As I said, 100% of our field work is with convicted felons...no other calls to deal with (citizen complaints, etc.)

    Hell, our only contact and field work is with convicted felons and parolees!!


    Also, in FL, PO's are armed and are LEO. They do not carry in plain view. Good bunch of bros. Stay safe JD and all.
    Ouch, a little sting from a stranger across the nation to start my Tuesday morning!

    Yeah, you're right. I did repeat myself in all of my responses. I'm new to the forum. I did so in case a new reader didn't go back and follow my original question and follow-up responses...so they got my points. I obviously expressed my point huh?...over and over. I was just curious to see what's going on across the nation. I simply feel and pray for fellow officers that do what we do unarmed. It's obviously looked at differently in every state.

    Didn't intend to appear "over the top"...and I'm far from a "wanna be". Would that be..."wanna be cop"? Sorry a fellow brother feels that way. Take care...be safe. Glad to hear P.O.'s in Florida are equipped with the appropriate tools of the trade. We carry concealed as well. Thanks for the reply.

    jdlong

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    No, i didnt mean to say you were a wanna be cop. Any person that carries a weapon and makes arrests is a cop to me. In fact, it sounds like u arrest more people than many road cops. I think youre just very motivated, like me. Its just you express it differently. A lot of officers on this board (and in this profession) dog the sh*t out of this job on a daily basis (justified and not). In retrospect, its nice to see someone who really has a passion for what he does every day (JDlong). So stay safe and sorry if i offended you.

    On another note, im curious to see how effective carrying concealed really is. I mean, ive only really drawn down on somebody with my firearm once since i hit the road (Taser, o let me count the ways). During that situation, if my weapon was concealed, I dont think I would have been able to get it in time. Anythoughts?
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  19. #19
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    Talking Probation Officers Unarmed??

    I am a Parole & Probation Agent in Maryland. We are unarmed. We are issued a bullet proof vest, after 1 year I haven't received it; a cell phone, I got that after 8 months; and a can of mace. We had a training on how to spray mace outside and we sprayed it in the air and the contents was water-for practice. I am in a CPS office. That is an intensive office in which there are only 5 in the state of Maryland where the Agents are expected to stay in the field visiting with their Offenders in their homes and their Communities. Most of the Offenders are Felons who live in high crime areas. We usually go to these homes alone, unarmed. There have been much complaint about Agents working in the field with bullet proof vests and mace for protection. No we can not make arrests or conduct searches. Some of my Offenders live in my area. This is an unsafe situation and that is why I have accepted a Probation Officer position in Florida. I start my training 9-9-05.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ufresdave
    No, i didnt mean to say you were a wanna be cop. Any person that carries a weapon and makes arrests is a cop to me. In fact, it sounds like u arrest more people than many road cops. I think youre just very motivated, like me. Its just you express it differently. A lot of officers on this board (and in this profession) dog the sh*t out of this job on a daily basis (justified and not). In retrospect, its nice to see someone who really has a passion for what he does every day (JDlong). So stay safe and sorry if i offended you.

    On another note, im curious to see how effective carrying concealed really is. I mean, ive only really drawn down on somebody with my firearm once since i hit the road (Taser, o let me count the ways). During that situation, if my weapon was concealed, I dont think I would have been able to get it in time. Anythoughts?
    No offense taken. I'm new to the forum. I've certainly noticed a lot of dogging and competition between fellow officers and agencies. Too bad, hell, we're all fighting the same battle. We all deal with the same dirtbags. We're all doing it for the right reason (making this great country a better place to live)...at least I hope.

    Just checking around to see what other probation agencies are doing across the nation. Yeah, I do get passionate and "****ed off" when I see fellow officers forced into the field unarmed...no vest...no OC...hell, sometimes no contact with dispatch...just a nice shiny set of cuffs. Insane in my book.

    I'm nothing special, I don't have a huge number of felony arrests, I'm just concerned for my fellow officers. I've been attempting to make a difference in my beautiful county for six years...far from a seasoned vet. It sounds like most agencies are more than willing to help out their local probation officers (armed or not) on conducting searches and making arrests. I'm very fortunate to work closely with my S.O. Deputies and City Officers on a daily basis. Then again, probation departments in California are county agencies. We don't work for the Department of Corrections. Our Parole Agents do. They're obviously armed and we assist them regularly as well.

    Concealed carry has a few advantages and disadvantages. In regards to being in plain clothes and carrying concealed (vest on of course), we remain very low profile. Our element of surprise is nice. My hat goes off to my brothers in full uniform. You have NO IDEA where the next threat is coming from. That's about as dangerous as it gets. You're right, our HUGE disadvantage is response time to a threat. I carry with a loose hawaiin style shirt over my weapon. Having to lift my shirt to unholster my weapon definitely costs me critical seconds in regards to engaging a threat, sight picture, and finding my nearest cover (a.k.a. getting my *** out of there!!). Thank the power up above that the only lead I've thrown in my six years has been at paper!! When we're conducting high-risk searches and warrants, I'm carrying exposed with agency identified raid attire.

    Thanks for the reply. Be safe out there!

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    Quote Originally Posted by PO in MD
    I am a Parole & Probation Agent in Maryland. We are unarmed. We are issued a bullet proof vest, after 1 year I haven't received it; a cell phone, I got that after 8 months; and a can of mace. We had a training on how to spray mace outside and we sprayed it in the air and the contents was water-for practice. I am in a CPS office. That is an intensive office in which there are only 5 in the state of Maryland where the Agents are expected to stay in the field visiting with their Offenders in their homes and their Communities. Most of the Offenders are Felons who live in high crime areas. We usually go to these homes alone, unarmed. There have been much complaint about Agents working in the field with bullet proof vests and mace for protection. No we can not make arrests or conduct searches. Some of my Offenders live in my area. This is an unsafe situation and that is why I have accepted a Probation Officer position in Florida. I start my training 9-9-05.
    God bless you doing what you do unarmed brother!! I'm glad to hear you've accepted a position in Florida!! It sounds like they supply the necessary tools to go home at night...and other agencies provide support with enthusiasm. I can relate to the "non-urgent" attitude of your agency NOT supplying you with your vest and OC. Nice huh?? "Oh relax...go make that home visit...give your felon a hug...your vest and OC will be here next year!"

    I was stupid enough to make what I thought was a "totally harmless" home visit my first week on the job six years ago (prior to my academy...and any tools of the trade). I decided to see why a kid wasn't in school...without my supervisor knowing. Found the kid, harmless little guy. Brought him back to school. Met his "surprise uncle" that came out of the back of the trailer..nice guy. Shared my visit with veteran P.O.'s when I returned...all excited (a rookie moron move no doubt) Mentioned the name of the uncle...they put two and two together and shared with me the uncle had a warrant for a parole violation. I quickly realized the officer safety risk of our job. They made the arrest later that day (uncle was dumb enough to stay...or knew I was too dumb to know what I was doing!) Needless to say, I wasn't allowed to go in the field again prior to training and supplies...and fellow officers.

    Anyway, be safe!! Good to see that they're are a few Probation Officers and Parole Agents in the forum. Take care.

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    Armed

    If you know how to use them, it is just plain stupid to be without arms.

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    Quote Originally Posted by marshaldan
    If you know how to use them, it is just plain stupid to be without arms.
    Unless, of course, by both law and Departmental policy, you are barred from carrying, which would make it even more foolhardy to do so, as one could find oneself out of a job at best, or as a "client" of the next Probation/Parole Officer at worst.

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