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"The Citizen's Guide to Surviving Police Encounters"


New member
Jun 6, 2013
Vidalia, LA
Having recently joined the forum, I notice that many of the threads involve police encounters. As a lawyer, yes, one of those, I strongly advise every citizen to search the web for "The Citizen's Guide to Surviving Police Encounters" and spend 45 minutes watching this excellent video. It explains your basic rights and can turn a potentially disastrous situation into a survivable incident.

I am old enough to remember when a police encounter was no different than running into a friend at the grocery store and I so wish for a return to those days. I have a fair understanding of my rights and I am unwilling to forego any of them. I do look at a police encounter as an opportunity to educate the officer concerning the effects of his behavior upon the general public, his employers. I applaud good police work and I deplore poor police activity. I especially deplore what I consider the exploitation of the consent exception to the 4th Amendment. There is only one answer to the question "you don't mind if I search your car (or person), do you?" The answer is, Why, yes I do mind". Not because you do or don't have contraband, but because you have the right to be free from unreasonable searches.

Stay safe and stay legal. Carry your weapon not as a statement but as it is a normal way of behavior, which it is. Don't take every police encounter as a threat, but be prepared in case it is. Your attitude will go a long way in determining the outcome of most police encounters. If you have the green light and see a car obviously running the red, you would let him proceed even though you have the right. You are not going to win today with the rogue cop. Know your rights, insist upon your rights, but do not become aggressive with the rogue cop. Your victory may have to come another day.

If you believe your rights have been violated, take it up with the Chief or whomever the officer's superior is. That person is usually receptive to the public's perception and your complaint may be the straw that broke the camel's back if the officer has received previous complaints. If the officer's behavior warrants such, letters to the editor or, if serious enough, legal action may be in order.

One thing seems important to me and that is that one who chooses to carry should develop a thick skin. I am willing to suffer a high level of abuse from anyone when I am carrying so long as the abuser is willing to accept the consequences of the encounter rising to the level of placing me in reasonable fear of death or great bodily injury. That is a place where I don't want to go and I will retreat, rights be damned, to avoid going there.

Some have suggested the use of a small digital recorder for use in police encounters. That is a great idea, but be careful. Digging around in your pocket or car console as the officer is approaching or pulling your vehicle over will lead to the officer claiming that you were making "furtive" movements, a claim that courts have unfortunately used to allow otherwise unlawful searches.


Founder's Club Member
Nov 15, 2006
Fairfax Co., VA
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