Stop the insanity — please. I am not old; in fact, I feel pretty young. Heck, I have a little 9-year-old girl at home. I am in pretty good health, but my blood pressure spikes when I hear about some of the false training LVMPD officers receive from a single person. To be clear, I am not pointing the finger at Academy TAC officers. However, I have been told that the flawed training has originated with a person who has trained field training officers.
Here is an example: I am told the trainer poses a hypothetical in which an officer has legally detained a suspect and has reasonable suspicion to conduct a pat-down. Before executing the pat-down, the officer in the example asks the suspect whether he has any contraband in his pocket. The suspect responds that he possesses methamphetamine.
The answer should be clear. The officer should arrest the suspect for possession of a controlled substance and pull the drugs out of the suspect’s pocket. The search is known as a search incident to arrest.
Instead, as the trainer explains, the officer may not arrest the suspect and, instead, must do more before conducting the search. At this point, my head explodes. When I asked one officer whether K-9 should be called to sniff the suspect, the new officer advised that he would simply ask the suspect to stick his hands in his pocket and remove the drugs for the officer. The same officer said he would also consider getting a search warrant.
I have heard this story from numerous officers. When asked what the officer is supposed to do, the trainer explains that the officer should manipulate the outside of the suspect’s pants to confirm that the item is packaged like drugs.
This, of course, violates the “plain feel” doctrine and LVMPD policy. That is because the plain feel doctrine prohibits grabbing or probing the suspect’s pants. Thus, the trainer compounds the bad education by telling officers to grab the suspected contraband to confirm it is drugs.
This is just one example of poor training that has permeated LVMPD, which leads me to the purpose of this article. Laws are supposed to be based on reason. While we may not always agree with a statute or court decision, the lawmakers try to enact laws based on common sense. If your training doesn’t make sense — it’s probably wrong. Call me, text me, email me or send me a note by carrier pigeon. I will do the research to give you the right answer.
If you want to conduct your own research, my website includes links to various legal search engines. Check out www.davidroger.us. We also have a YouTube channel (“LVPPA Metro”) that includes numerous videos on legal issues.
And of course, you may always email me at DRoger@lvppa.com with any legal question, criminal or civil. I promise you that I will respond to your email within 24 hours, if I am in the office. If I can’t give you an immediate answer, I will research the issue and get back to you in a timely manner. Stop the craziness, just call me!