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LEO's on TS.com - Can You Comment

Discussion in 'Uncategorized Threads' started by EXFDX, Apr 5, 2008.

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  1. EXFDX

    EXFDX Member

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    I've read/heard a couple of things on the web lately that I can't confirm or deny just because I don't have any knowledge or experience but if you do, could you comment on these questions/issues? These are sort of related so, in no particular order:

    1. Police have no absolute duty to respond to a citizen request for assistance.

    I have read this was ruled by some court somewhere, and that a lawsuit was filed by a citizen for failure to respond to "serve and protect" - "protect" being the operant word here.

    2. That as a result of this case (lost, I believe, by the particular department named in the suit), many jurisdictions have removed those words from their vehicles and other marketing/advertising materials.

    I know those words no longer appear on any of my city's emergency response vehicles, and I was a little surprised. I also haven't asked any local LEOs about this yet so I thought I would turn to my trapshooting brethren and sistren first.

    3. The duty of law enforcement is to apprehend, not prevent crime (necessarily), or to protect citizens from harm.

    This stuff is all just trying to get through my head these days and I don't know how much of it is just web BS and how much should have been obvious to me. I'm certainly not making any judgments about this, but I would like some clarification. I'm afraid I've grown up with the Hollywood view of law enforcement as miraculous, just-in-time crime preventers but probably that's ridiculous except by pure luck. Certainly a police presence can deter, but is there a duty to prevent?

    And if there is no duty to prevent, is the responsibility to apprehend the only contractual responsibility between the citizens and law enforcement? I have an idea it is and if so, it's time for many of us to wake up, maybe. I know it's my time.

    I decided to carry several years ago after a lot of thought when it became obvious to me that no police officer had a responsibility to protect me - personally - from bad people. Now I'm just wondering how deeply that understanding should really go.

    Thanks, everyone, for your thoughts on this. I really look forward to hearing what you all have to say.

    Steve
     
  2. jakearoo

    jakearoo Active Member

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    Hoosier is right. In fact, they have even less "duty" than that. They don't even have a "duty" to lift a finger. Jake
     
  3. whiz white

    whiz white Strong Supporter of Trapshooting Banned

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    Maybe not a "duty," but like most other good and common folks, they do it because they know it's the right thing to do.

    It's kinda like that Christian thing...

    IMHO

    WW
     
  4. alpine

    alpine TS Member

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    1. True. Lawsuits have lead to a determination by the courts that they do not have that duty. However most departments have a policy that says that a police office must respond (time indeterminate) when a citizen calls.

    2.True.

    3. Crime prevention prevents criminal apprehension. In other words if crime prevention is done the police have less crimes to solve. Prevention is less costly that prosecution and jail. But most departments are just reduced to apprehending crooks, as that is all the resources they have.
     
  5. EXFDX

    EXFDX Member

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    Okay. I understand the difference between duty and legal responsibility. In my line of work, I do things every day from my own personal sense of duty to the kids that you won't find in the job description or any of the Ethics Guidelines for the licenses I hold. But what I hear most of you saying is that, yes, there there may be no legal responsibility to respond - regardless of the situation - but there is an expectation you have of yourself to put yourself in harm's way in order to defend the community. Also, less paperwork involved in prevention than apprehension. I can certainly get that.

    But, boy! That's still a huge eye-opener! The public may be relying on a particular LEO's sense of discretionary effort - what a person is willing to give of their own free will above and beyond the minimum requirements - for their protection. That really is very interesting - am I understanding you correctly?

    Anyone point me to where I can read up on a court case about this?

    Steve
     
  6. pyrdek

    pyrdek Well-Known Member

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    NOT an LEO here but I can provide a reference for anyone to follow up.

    The highlight and URL to the full web cite is listed below:

    http://www.mcrkba.org/w19.html

    Reference: Warren v. District of Columbia, 444 A.2d 1 (D.C. App.181)

    "In this case three rape victims sued the city and its police department under the following facts: Two of the victims were upstairs when they heard the other being attacked by men who had broken in downstairs. Half an hour having passed and their roommate's screams having ceased, they assumed the police must have arrived in response to their repeated phone calls. In fact their calls had somehow been lost in the shuffle while the roommate was being beaten into silent acquiescence. So when the roommates went downstairs to see to her, as the court's opinion graphically describes it, "For the next fourteen hours the women were held captive, raped, robbed, beaten, forced to commit sexual acts upon each other, and made to submit to the sexual demands" of their attackers.

    "Having set out these facts, the court promptly exonerated the District of Columbia and its police, as was clearly required by the fundamental principle of American law that a government and its agents are under no general duty to provide public services, such as police protection, to any individual citizen."

    Additional info is posted at the URL given above.
     
  7. EXFDX

    EXFDX Member

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    Hoosier Daddy - no, I' m really just pretty slow, I guess. This is just all beginning to dawn on me. I am in no way suggesting any officer ignore any call for citizen assistance - ever! I live in a "bedroom" community just outside of Memphis and in the 26 years I have lived here, I have had three occasions to call the police. Out of curiosity, each time I timed the response (these were neither crisis nor 911 calls, but in each case, it would have been far better for a law enforcement official to handle it than me. And I can be prone to jump in to things.) Quickest time from hang-up to blue lights in the driveway: 38 seconds. Slowest time: 45 seconds. We don't get a lot of crime here because it's just not the smartest place to try anything. Police reports in the local paper talk bout someone shooting a BB through a garage window. I swear, it's Mayberry around here. I expect to see Barney helping the kids across the street at school.

    But of course, in the end we're really no safer than anyone else, and i understand and accept that. That's why I accept the responsibility for the ultimate safety of myself and my family.

    So to me police officers, firefighters and teachers of every stripe share at least one thing in common: Who in their right mind would do any of those jobs?!? And also similarly, since you can't pay any of these folks for what their service is really worth, you might as well pay them nothing. There is no doubt that you must be "called", if you will, to any one of these careers. If you're in it for the "pay and bennies", you won't last long and you'll be very unhappy.

    So no, absolutely no disparagement intended or (hopefully) implied to any LEO. Each and every one of you is a hero in my book. I guess I was just astonished to hear of the court case referenced by PYRDEK, above. I haven't read it yet, but I think that's the one I'd asked about.

    Thanks for your response, and believe me, I thank you for your service!

    Best Regards,

    Steve
     
  8. superxjeff

    superxjeff Active Member

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    This is exactly what I brought up recently and it is a big concern. There seems to be an ever increasing number of dirt bags and less money for cops and the courts and more importantly the jails! It is just not an option to rely on LE any longer. The way I see it the courts are so darn screwey that individual departments look at things as intepreted by their HR people. In my town if you call 911 with a Non-emergency Issue they tell you ( curtly I might add) you need to call the non-emergency number! Click.... Next town over they transfer you to 911 instead. Next town over if you request a cop you will get one. Our town only if their is a NEED for one. I am not saying that I disagree with their policy just noting the diffrences on some very basic things. Now we want to talk about the LEo's response to a situation involving putting his own life in REAL danger? I think you can see why there is no real answer and that when it comes down to it the LEO might just very well be damned if he does and damnded id he doesn't. It is very frustrating situation. I take care of myself but put the call in to 911. Whatever happens is anybodys guess. Jeff
     
  9. EXFDX

    EXFDX Member

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    Thanks pyrdek, I read your reference and the one that is cited in the URL above which makes it abundantly clear enforcement agencies are under no obligation (other than perceived moral responsibility) to protect the citizenry from harm. The author of that piece clearly is upset about this and seems to have it in for enforcement in general, but he builds s compelling legal case for self-defense even as he appears to wish it weren't necessary.

    Quite a wake-up call!! It's more than our right to protect ourselves; it's our responsibility individually and ours alone. Wonder why this line of reasoning hasn't been brought up more often in defense of the second amendment and so forth?

    Steve
     
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