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T O P I C    R E V I E W
Evan Posted - December 11 2008 : 1:33:28 PM
without consciously thinking about it, I've developed this habit since I retired. whenever I see an officer engage their emergency lights or I come upon a vehicle stop, I slow down and several times I've gone around the block and occasionally will stop down the street.

I remember vehicle stops going down the toilet quickly and we worked either two or three man units. locally officers ride alone.

This is a horrible time of the year for losing coppers, but I do this year round.

Even if you've never been a copper you could atleast call for help on your cell. In 20yrs I only had one citizen "drop a dime for me".
25   L A T E S T    R E P L I E S    (Newest First)
mac7mac Posted - December 16 2008 : 11:47:29 PM
I'll always slow down and look, too. After all these years, can't help but do it - Malcolm phrased it well: a moral imperative to become involved, if necessary (which is a big reason a lot of us became LEOs).

As Evan, Ayoob, and others have written, plainclothes intervention/assistance is very risky, so the manner of approach is essential. In addition to always being armed, I always have at hand in my POV a ball cap with POLICE in large letters on the front, and a badge on a badge holder with neck chain.

perrodelucha Posted - December 16 2008 : 6:31:00 PM
i just give them a questioning thumbs up. thats generally enough to get a reply as to whether i need to hang out or go on about my business.
elsullo Posted - December 15 2008 : 5:17:50 PM
Regarding the POPO issue, it really IS easy to annoy a working officer by being too inquisitive. They DON'T need vigilantes interfering in something that is under control. Self-appointed journalists seeking to document police misconduct are in the back of an officer's mind too. Of course, if they are in a fight they might think you are backing up the bad guy, unless you can shout otherwise, so don't get too close unless they say to!

This said, I always slow down and look too, to make sure that all is OK. If they look at me skeptically I give three bits of "sign-language:" I point at them, give the "OK" hand sign, and lift my chin. This is universally understood (except in South America!) as asking if they are all right. I always get a thumbs-up sign in return, and a little wave.

But I have to check that they are all right----I AM a human being.................elsullo

revjen45 Posted - December 14 2008 : 11:12:46 AM
When I attended the Citizens' Academy (one of the most enjoyable of all my educational experiences) put on by the Snohomish County Sheriff's Office I asked one of the instructors about getting involved in a LE situation in which it looks like cops are getting the worst of it. He said that an unknown person approaching would first occur to him as the BG's associates intervening, and would be dangerous for the good samaritan for that reason. I would be worried about the legions of cops on the way who don't know who's who when they get there. Exception would be like the stop shown on some reality show of the illegal aliens jumping the cop on a lonely road at night and subsequently killing him. Unless the incident is a long way from "civilization" I figure I have to pay attention to driving, since everyone else is rubber necking (this phenomenon occurs even if someone is just changing a tire) and watch the road rather than whatever is occurring next to it. Please do not interpret this as saying I would leave the police to an awful fate, but in all probability help is on the way in force and I would just be in the way. Obviously retired LE are better equipped to get involved than I am and are aware of how to make themselves known.
Malcolm Posted - December 13 2008 : 1:22:41 PM
Ace how right you are!
My wife remarked to me yesterday, that one of our local police officers looked, "younger then OUR kids do!"
The officer was younger, WE got older.
Ace Posted - December 12 2008 : 9:46:58 PM
I've been retired now for just a couple of years less than I was working for a living, and I still slow down and look. Only once have I been able to be of any assistance, and that was when a big tree had fallen across the traffic lane in a storm. I hooked it up with my tow rope and drug it off the road. Got a nice thank-you letter from the young deputy a few days later.
Early in my retirement, when there were more of my former co-workers out there, I'd often pull off to the side, out of the way, while they did their business, then they'd come over when they were finished and we'd get in a nice chat. I wasn't trying to intervene, but could have if needed.
D'jever notice how, after you retire, the cops get younger all the time? Some of them look like they haven't graduated Junior High. Ace
Malcolm Posted - December 12 2008 : 4:18:14 PM
I have "joined in" on two separate occassions. BOTH incidents involved California Highway Patrol officers in very remote and rural areas.
IN one, a CHP officer was fighting with two subjects as my wife and I drove up on them, she called 911(finally got a connection) and I assisted.
In the other, the CHP officer was literally backing up on four suspects one of who was armed with sawed-off .22 rifle.
In both cases, the CHP brass was MORE than thankful. The officers were also incredibly grateful.
Once the call for help went out, the cavalry arrived in about 20 minutes on both cases.( it seemed like two hours to me)
I'm a grandfather, in the first case, the CHP officer was the same exact age as our son. I felt it a moral imperative to become involved.
I always slow down and LOOK to see what is going on, then move along if the situation is well in hand.
Especially if it's in a more lengthy response time area.
I am NOT looking for chances to "intervene", I've screwed up before as a very young rookie in that regard.
Only if the situation has gone wrong.
I have had several people in the past stop and help me. Most of the time, just more bodies made the idiots think twice about continuing the fight.
That could be , my son, my daughter, (in in-laws), niece, nephew, cousin, brother, sister, father mother out there.
It's the ONLY way we "citizens" can actively get involved to help the good people fight back, esepcally in this current despicable political climate.
mspears Posted - December 12 2008 : 3:14:59 PM
I think what we're talking about here is a traffic stop gone bad, REAL BAD, where the officer's authoritive posture has been compromised and his life is in jeopardy or the threat of imminent serious bodily injury IS taking place. You have a choice, you can help or not. At least call 911 to get him some help. The officer may not be in a position to 'request' your assistance. IF you decide to help (after giving 911 a description of yourself and the officers situation) I would make every effort possible to vocalize my intent as I approached so the officer doesn't think you've come to help the wrong guy. I would also plan on using the minimum amount of force necessary to allow the officer to regain control of the situation from verbal to physical to drawing your handgun. ANYTIME you intervene to help another person, LEO or not, you're taking a chance. Evan has clearly pointed that out in his commentary on the Dangers of Intervention. If you haven't read it, you need to. The most obvious difference in this situation is that the good guy and the BG are very well defined. Ive had too many LEO friends in the past not to help in some way. On the other side of the coin, if I ran across a civil altercation, Id be more inclined to draw my cell phone, call 911 and be a good witness.
pcsd200 Posted - December 12 2008 : 1:23:31 PM
While I celebrate the exchange of ideas we have here, I'm afraid pistolero only wants to believe his view..
To give an absolute like "All cops do this" is truly closed minded.
For example "All politicians are corrupt" would be a .....ok maybe that is not a good example.
But you know what I mean.
I cannot get my crew to agree an lunch much less anything else.
pistolero Posted - December 12 2008 : 12:47:34 PM
P=releasing fluid from the bladder. OPO=off a police officer. When you see red lights from far away, you don't know if it is an ambulance, fire truck, or coppers. If you have to slow down to 1 mph to drive by due to emergency vehicles parked all over, coppers might get suspicious at what you are doing there.
Glenn Posted - December 12 2008 : 12:30:05 PM
It's a good way to get shot for sure ... but I would give Central a description of myself and my vehicle then do what I could to help the Officer or Trooper if he or she requested my assistance if not then I'd back off and give Central a description of the suspect and the suspect's vehicle and LPN#. Either way with in minutes every available Officer , Deputy and Trooper would be heading that way code 3 and there would be more cops then the world ever saw.
jamie Posted - December 12 2008 : 03:34:35 AM
For an average citizen what is the best way to approach a situation like the ones described? Chances are if the LEO sees my license plate ( big purple heart) he or she will understand I'm a good guy. But how do I inquire as to if a " routine" traffic stop is going well? Please also note I follow Evan's rules on intervention to a tee, but if I'm in a position to offer assistance I am qualified and also sworn in.

edited: to add thank you all whom put your lives in danger for our greater good. may god bless you all!
TimM Posted - December 11 2008 : 10:41:58 PM
Two different times in my career I've had John Q. Citizen, help me when I really needed it. Both times these two people were given sincere thank you's, firm handshakes and I saw to it that they were recognized by the bosses.

I would never have charges filed against anyone for doing the right thing.

Tim
enidpd804 Posted - December 11 2008 : 9:54:05 PM
I think he is erroneously stating that officers can file interfering charges without basis just because they are the police.
Todd Posted - December 11 2008 : 9:47:51 PM
Popo is street slang for Police.
CO Posted - December 11 2008 : 9:34:22 PM
quote:

Please explain what you are talking about--POPO??



I hear that from inmates when my staff goes down a run.
Arvinator Posted - December 11 2008 : 7:49:38 PM
I was once on the road going to a funeral with my wife and brother when we saw a deputy fighting a large woman handcuffed to the front. I also saw a store clerk trying to help. I got out with my slapper in my left hand keeping my right hand to draw if needed (concealed) and I told him in a loud tone "I am a cop". We quickly got her back under control and they we were all on our seperate ways.
I did park putting my wife out of view, in case things went sour. In a fight that looked worse from the start, I'd do things a little different.
Good points from others on always describe you, your vehicle, and try to stay on the phone, or set it down so the dispatcher can hear things.
GLV Posted - December 11 2008 : 7:34:37 PM
quote:
Originally posted by pistolero

The coppers can file on you for interfering just because you POPO. If the DA or the judge throws the case out, you cannot sue them for false arrest. I usually turn off when I see red lights unless I know for sure that I can get by without drawing attention to myself.



Please explain what you are talking about--POPO??
CO Posted - December 11 2008 : 7:18:27 PM
mspears, I have slowed down for DPS and other AZ cops doing traffic stops, seeing what is going on, and noting any people/vehicles in the area, if I can. I am not a street cop, but I will do what I can for my brothers outside the wire. And I am armed. We are specifically ordered not to interfere with street LE operations, and I would lose my job, but if I can help keep one safe, i will.
Lennis Posted - December 11 2008 : 5:27:17 PM
THANKS--PISTOLERO
Todd Posted - December 11 2008 : 5:09:41 PM
what?
pistolero Posted - December 11 2008 : 4:51:28 PM
The coppers can file on you for interfering just because you POPO. If the DA or the judge throws the case out, you cannot sue them for false arrest. I usually turn off when I see red lights unless I know for sure that I can get by without drawing attention to myself.
Evan Posted - December 11 2008 : 4:24:45 PM
describe yourself first because once you tell them a copper needs help, sirens will down out the rest.
mspears Posted - December 11 2008 : 4:07:39 PM
I always slow down and take a careful look at the officer and who and what is around him or her on my way by. I can at least dial 911 and if they're really in trouble and behind the 8 ball I can give 911 a description of what's happening, a description of myself and then do what I can.
nightlighter12 Posted - December 11 2008 : 3:06:59 PM
I do it more when I'm in my old home territory. PSP patrols there. I won't go into some things I know about how they work, but it was in the local papers some years back and I used to talk to a number of troopers when I was with a couple rural VFDs a while back. I have two nephews who're AZ DPS troopers, their last names aren't the same as mine, I'd like to think someone would do it for them. Not being contentious but anytime is a bad time for a good person to die.

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