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  1. #1
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    Search Incident to Arrest-Report Question

    So long story short while working mids on 11-22 I was on a foot patrol and saw a drunk idiot smash a window of a Hotel across the street. I made contact and was taking the guy into custody when I saw a knife in his pocket near his right hand. I had control of his right arm so I confiscated the knife and performed a brief search of his waist area. My report read like this:

    "As the subject approached... I observed a knife in plain view attached to his right pocket in the immediate vicinity of his right hand. I took control of the subject's arm and directed him to turn away from me. I then took custody of the knife and performed a brief pat down search of his waist area for further weapons and found none..."


    My report got kicked back because according to the FPS Inspector I didn't articulate my justification of the search. Now there are three separate avenues that I believe I covered. 1)Search incident to arrest- I was taking the subject into custody and conducted a brief search for weapons; 2)Terry Frisk- I had reasonable suspicion that the subject had weapons based on the fact I had already found one (in plain view); and 3) The plain view doctrine- The knife was in plain view (as stated in my report).

    What is it that I should have done differently? Does it sound from my report that I successfully articulated at least one of these three options?

    I appreciate any and all input...
    RIP Sarah Noll~11-8-87 to 4-17-08

  2. #2
    irishmick's Avatar
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    It sounds like it covered at least part of it! Mine probably would have read something like this:

    I approached the subject with the intent to take him into custody. Upon reaching him, I saw a knife in plain view, attached to his right front pants pocket. I then secured the subject, took the knife from the pocket area, and continued to search his person in areas that he could have immediately reached before having him transported to the jail (or wherever you were transporting him) for holding. I found no additional weapons and he was arrested without incident.
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  3. #3
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    Why would you even have to justify the reason for the search, he was a collar for breaking the window, in NY he would be charged with Criminal Mishchief and the hotel would be the complainant. Even if he smashed the window by accident, he still could be collared for Disorderly Conduct.

    Search incident to arrest, even stopping and frisking you see a bulge that you (reasonably believe) may be a weapon you can search that area. Your safety.

    Did the inspector provide any explanation? Maybe he did not realize the perp was collared.

  4. #4
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    So what does this 'FPS Inspector' want, case law citations?

    If so, you did miss one... inevitable discovery.

    Being as you did not locate any further weapons or contraband on the ensuing search, there would be nothing to supress, anyway, soooo... justification of the search is MOOT.

    Your FPS Inspector is a moron. I'd like to know who he blew to get his job. You can quote me on that, if you wish.

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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by irishmick View Post
    I approached Smith in order to take him into custody for the damage to property. Upon contacting him, I noticed a knife in plain view sticking out of his right front pants pocket. I secured the weapon by removing it from his pocket and continued with a search of Smith's person incidental to arrest. I located no other weapons on Smith's person.
    b/c as I understand it - you were arresting him from the get go... so what's the problem - maybe just stick "incidental to arrest" somewhere in the report to spell it out for them =/
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2 Blue 4 U View Post
    Why would you even have to justify the reason for the search, he was a collar for breaking the window, in NY he would be charged with Criminal Mishchief and the hotel would be the complainant. Even if he smashed the window by accident, he still could be collared for Disorderly Conduct.

    Search incident to arrest, even stopping and frisking you see a bulge that you (reasonably believe) may be a weapon you can search that area. Your safety.

    Did the inspector provide any explanation? Maybe he did not realize the perp was collared.
    Lol, the Inspector conveniently left for vacation and just left the report with a little note in my box saying that I "Did not articulate my justification for the search." The report did state later on that he had been charged by Anchorage Police, so I'm not sure what had him confused...
    RIP Sarah Noll~11-8-87 to 4-17-08

  7. #7
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    I articulate right in the report what the search is for. It looks like you secured the knife right away because it was in plain view, prior to making the arrest. You already articulated that part. Unless you did a terry frisk prior to the arrest though (and I wouldn't if I had PC to take the person into custody - I'd put the cuffs on right away) I would just state that a search incidental to arrest yielded no additional contraband. I suppose the best way to answer the question about articulating it is, did you arrest him and search him? Or did you frisk him while he was detained and waiting for the Anchorage PD to come arrest?
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    Quote Originally Posted by countybear View Post
    So what does this 'FPS Inspector' want, case law citations?

    If so, you did miss one... inevitable discovery.

    Being as you did not locate any further weapons or contraband on the ensuing search, there would be nothing to supress, anyway, soooo... justification of the search is MOOT.

    Your FPS Inspector is a moron. I'd like to know who he blew to get his job. You can quote me on that, if you wish.
    This really made me laugh, so you do know him then?
    RIP Sarah Noll~11-8-87 to 4-17-08

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by vengeance05 View Post
    I articulate right in the report what the search is for. It looks like you secured the knife right away because it was in plain view, prior to making the arrest. You already articulated that part. Unless you did a terry frisk prior to the arrest though (and I wouldn't if I had PC to take the person into custody - I'd put the cuffs on right away) I would just state that a search incidental to arrest yielded no additional contraband. I suppose the best way to answer the question about articulating it is, did you arrest him and search him? Or did you frisk him while he was detained and waiting for the Anchorage PD to come arrest?
    Basically I frisked him as I was detaining him, APD was on scene in approx 15 seconds...
    RIP Sarah Noll~11-8-87 to 4-17-08

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ace View Post
    This really made me laugh, so you do know him then?
    No, but quite a few very much like him, unfortunately. Most of the ones similar that I know are lawyers though.

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  11. #11
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    Shoot him, take the knife , drop it by his hand then ask the inspector if you did it right. and watch him mess his drawers.


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  12. #12
    Jks9199 is offline The Reason People Hate Cops & Causer of War
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    Do you get listed as the arresting officer? Do you have arrest authority? If not -- you probably don't have authority for a search incident to arrest, though the Anchorage PD would. (Hence inevitable discovery...)

    What you did sounds like it amounts to a Terry stop; you observed probably criminal behavior, and detained the person long enough to identify what they were up to. Given that the knife was in plain view, and they were involved in destroying hotel property -- and could easily have turned on you -- you had plenty of reason to take control of that visible weapon. Personally -- I'd have had him cuffed before I even played with the knife, given my druthers. So, your search was justified by your safety; you didn't want a person involved in a violent sort of offense to direct that violence against you, especially with a weapon that was plainly visible. (Which also gives you plain view...) It's also arguably an instrumentality of either burglary (burglarious tools, so it's evidence) or destruction of property (also evidence).

    I would probably have written something along the lines of:
    While on foot patrol, I observed Suspect smashing the window of the Quik Stay Motel. As I approached, I observed a silver clip knife at his right front pocket. Suspect was cuffed for officer safety, and I took custody of the knife. I conducted a pat down of Suspect's waist for other weapons. Suspect was arrested for being a dumbass in public.
    Personally, I'd say your report justified your actions, as you describe it here. Get someone to clarify what this FPS supervisor is looking for; it may simply be that you need to justify your involvement in the situation more clearly in the first place. (Is it illegal to carry the knife at all?)
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jks9199 View Post
    Do you get listed as the arresting officer? Do you have arrest authority? If not -- you probably don't have authority for a search incident to arrest, though the Anchorage PD would. (Hence inevitable discovery...)

    What you did sounds like it amounts to a Terry stop; you observed probably criminal behavior, and detained the person long enough to identify what they were up to. Given that the knife was in plain view, and they were involved in destroying hotel property -- and could easily have turned on you -- you had plenty of reason to take control of that visible weapon. Personally -- I'd have had him cuffed before I even played with the knife, given my druthers. So, your search was justified by your safety; you didn't want a person involved in a violent sort of offense to direct that violence against you, especially with a weapon that was plainly visible. (Which also gives you plain view...) It's also arguably an instrumentality of either burglary (burglarious tools, so it's evidence) or destruction of property (also evidence).

    I would probably have written something along the lines of:
    While on foot patrol, I observed Suspect smashing the window of the Quik Stay Motel. As I approached, I observed a silver clip knife at his right front pocket. Suspect was cuffed for officer safety, and I took custody of the knife. I conducted a pat down of Suspect's waist for other weapons. Suspect was arrested for being a dumbass in public.
    Personally, I'd say your report justified your actions, as you describe it here. Get someone to clarify what this FPS supervisor is looking for; it may simply be that you need to justify your involvement in the situation more clearly in the first place. (Is it illegal to carry the knife at all?)
    Yes we do have arrest powers to an extent. FPS however prefers us to just detain suspects until APD arrives to actually place the person under arrest. It gets more complicated when there is an incident that occurs off of Federal property such as this, however I did take custody of the suspect after he had crossed onto Federal property. I didn't cuff him at the time, though thinking back on it afterwards it was one of the things that I should have done but didn't. At the time I felt I had sufficient control of the suspect with an arm bar, but that if I went to cuff him I would have to go to the ground with him. I wanted to avoid doing that since his buddy was there, and I had no back up at the time. Again there were several things that afterwards I decided I would have done differently. As far as the legality of the knife goes, it was not big enough to violate state laws and may have been just barely over the limit for the feds...
    RIP Sarah Noll~11-8-87 to 4-17-08

  14. #14
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    By the way Ace, Solo Foot Patrol on a Midnight, that has to be one of the longest tours of duty to get thru. We only have footpost on the midnight as a punishment, either grounded from RMP accident or you really pissed off the boss. (that does not include Manhattan they do have foot detail overnight, but usually a modified midnight tour, like 2100X0435, clubs close at 0400)

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    Sounded good to me. Me report would have read...
    "I advised the suspect he was under arrest. I placed him in handcuffs and searched his person incident to arrest. I discovered a knife clipped to his right pocket, which I removed for officer safety reasons. When the search of the suspect was completed, I placed him in the rear of my patrol vehicle and transported him to jail, where he was booked and processed on the municipal charges of....."
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    Quote Originally Posted by countybear View Post
    So what does this 'FPS Inspector' want, case law citations?

    If so, you did miss one... inevitable discovery.

    Being as you did not locate any further weapons or contraband on the ensuing search, there would be nothing to supress, anyway, soooo... justification of the search is MOOT.

    Your FPS Inspector is a moron. I'd like to know who he blew to get his job. You can quote me on that, if you wish.
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2 Blue 4 U View Post
    By the way Ace, Solo Foot Patrol on a Midnight, that has to be one of the longest tours of duty to get thru. We only have footpost on the midnight as a punishment, either grounded from RMP accident or you really pissed off the boss. (that does not include Manhattan they do have foot detail overnight, but usually a modified midnight tour, like 2100X0435, clubs close at 0400)
    We cover about 4 blocks area, but I do have a partner. He just happened to be using the john at the time. Ther is one beat that is a solo foot patrol, and its in the heart of downtown. Too bad the guy who gets sent there is the biggest chicken sh!t pu$$y out there...
    RIP Sarah Noll~11-8-87 to 4-17-08

  18. #18
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    Walking a foot beat in Anchorage, Alaska in late November sounds like fun. I agree with all the previous posts. Your search and seizure of the knife was legit for all of the above stated reasons. Tell Inspector Closeau to get a clue.
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Captain America View Post
    Walking a foot beat in Anchorage, Alaska in late November sounds like fun. I agree with all the previous posts. Your search and seizure of the knife was legit for all of the above stated reasons. Tell Inspector Closeau to get a clue.
    Yeah, wool socks and good boots are a must. We had our first cold night the other day, tem was 4 with a wind chill below zero. I almost needed a coat...
    RIP Sarah Noll~11-8-87 to 4-17-08

  20. #20
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    You're golden. Does the "Inspector" understand what happened?

 

 

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