Can Volunteers Protect Communities?

The shooting death of unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman has opened a nation-wide discussion about the role of citizen law enforcement.

But as the town of Redlands, Calif. can attest, a properly run volunteer police program can be efficient, cost effective and safe.

"If you want to volunteer with the Redlands Police Department, we'll find a place for you," says Sergeant Travis Martinez.

Redlands volunteers now outnumber paid officers five to one and, even with a 25 percent reduction to their police force in 2007, their violent crime rates have decreased steadily.

And it doesn't cost tax payers a dime.

"Our volunteer program is completely self-sustainable," Martinez says. "They raise their own money, they buy their own cars. None of the money comes out of the general fund.

The program even includes an air support unit, complete with 30 volunteer pilots and a prop plane.

Produced by Tracy Oppenheimer. Camera by Zach Weissmueller and Oppenheimer.

About 4 minutes.

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  • Fist of Etiquette||

    The shooting death of unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman has opened a nation-wide discussion about the role of citizen law enforcement.

    Race-specific citizen law enforcement.

  • ||

    These shark mother-fuckers don't give a shit about violence or justice. Guns suck, crackers suck, WHITE GUILT HURRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR. That's all that there is to these people.

  • Shirley Temple of Doom||

    When a kid in Brooklyn disappeared last summer, it was the Shomrim volunteer patrol who cracked the case.

    (maybe not found alive, but found nonetheless. Great sleuthing, Shomrim!-- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M.....by_Kletzky)

  • Tonio||

    Yeah, but they're very selective about what crime reports they pass on to police, the article to which you linked implies that they're shielding child molesters. Classy.

  • Shirley Temple of Doom||

    What can I tell you? In the case I linked to, Shomrim were instrumental in cracking a case where the victim and the perpetrator were both Jewish.

    (What- you think "real" cops haven't been similarly accused of "protecting their own"?)

  • Tonio||

    WTF? To criticize Shomrim is not to excuse NYPD. Don't know how you got that out of what I wrote.

    Dunphy has labelled me an anti-cop bigot because of my postings here on the breaks cops get, so again, WTF?

  • ||

    speaking of volunteers, mark fuhrman , through some good "citizen investigation" helped protect communities by forcing cops etc. to take another look at some cold murder cases.

  • ||

    The program even includes an air support unit, complete with 30 volunteer pilots and a prop plane.

    How many cops or pilots--even volunteer ones--does a single town need? I grew up in a town with zero cops. We were fine, and it was great.

  • jacob||

    Did you grow up on Luna?

  • ||

    Unfortunately, no, but I did go to Luna Pizza.

  • Abdul||

    No cop air force? Your town must have been the aircraft theft capital of the world!

  • ||

    Oh, it was. The local airfield was filled with planes that were from somewhere else. I can only assume they were stolen.

  • sarcasmic||

    Where I live there is no local police force. The state troopers set up speed traps here and there on the main roads, but that's it.
    People just get along. It's weird.

  • sarcasmic||

    I should also add that there is no state assistance here at all. None. No low income housing at all. And there is no need for any town cops.
    Correlation or causation? You decide.

  • jacob||

    Well....I hate to point out the obvious, but an area with no low-income housing probably doesn't need a significant law enforcement presence because the populace isn't as desperate for finances.

    So, my vote is causation.

  • jacob||

    I've never been to Sanford, but I've been to Redlands and can say it is a fairly upscale place. I wonder if this has anything to do with the success of their citizen law enforcement.

  • sarcasmic||

    I've never been to Sanford Florida, but I can tell you that Sanford Maine is a shithole.

  • BakedPenguin||

    I've been to Sanford, FL. I have no idea why anyone would live there if they could live somewhere else.

  • D.D. Driver||

    I've never been to Sanford, Florida or Sanford, Maine, but I can tell you that Sanford & Son is awesome.

    Off topic: you make me register AND force me to put a numerical character in my password. Uncool, Reason-Nannies.

  • Rich||

    "If you want to volunteer with the Redlands Police Department, we'll find a place for you," says Sergeant Travis Martinez.

    Hmm. But think twice about joining a "militia".

  • Anacreon||

    Threadjack:

    Good news! East Bay "Patch" branch comes out strongly against California Central Planning and Transit Villages, with great comments:
    http://lamorinda.patch.com//ar.....ed-species

  • Anacreon||

    But meanwhile, California middle-schoolers are being force-fed dystopian "sustainability" garbage from none other than disgraced "Population Bomb" author Paul Ehrlich:

    http://mahb.stanford.edu/wp-co.....-Haves.pdf

  • Fluffy||

    Since I don't want to watch the video, can someone tell me if these guys are unpaid employees of the local police force, or people playing dress up and calling themselves the police?

  • John||

    They seem to be unpaid employees. Like a volunteer fire department only with cops.

    I would like to hear how you reconcile your understandable dislike of government and police and faith in people doing things for themselves and your dislike of neighborhood watch exhibited in the Martin case. On the one hand, Libertarians make a pretty interesting case for private law enforcement. But then the first time some gated community's neighborhood watch confronts someone they didn't know cutting through yards, the response is "he deserved to get beat down by even daring to confront the person". I can't reconcile those two positions without endorsing anarchy.

  • Abdul||

    Awesome analogy, John. Only a genius level intellect would think of the firefighter-thing.

  • John||

    Make that super genius.

  • sarcasmic||

    By creating a false equivalency between untrained volunteer and private law enforcement (which would no doubt consist of well trained professionals), you are able to equate libertarianism with anarchy!

    Bravo!

    Are you sure you're not Tony? You reek of fallacies.

  • John||

    No. You can't endorse private security and then get pissed off when people engage in private security. Security means walking around an area and asking people you don't know what they are doing there. That seems to be what Zimmerman did.

    In all of the Martin threads the beef, most forcefully put forth by Fluffy, is that Zimmerman was in the wrong for even following Martin or asking him who he was and what he was doing there. If you can't do that, you really can't do much security.

    And you totally miss the point about anarchy. I am not saying Libertarians are anarchists. I am saying they are not. And for that reason their outrage over Zimmerman's actions and position is completely misplaced.

  • Fluffy||

    The power to engage in private security should only exist on private property.

    On public streets, no one possesses the rightful authority to provide that kind of security but the police.

    On private property held in common, that authority belongs to all the owners or leasors of that property, but can only be applied to non-owners and non-leasors. (Tenant A can do that to a vagrant, but not to Tenant B.)

    To say otherwise, you have to give one citizen a greater right to the public streets than another citizen, and that is intolerable to me.

  • John||

    That is what you don't get fluffy. It is a public street. You can walk on it sure. But so can I. I can follow you. I can ask you who you are and where you are going. If you don't like it, tough shit, it is a public place. I have a right to be there too.

    That is where you go off the rails. Sorry but just because someone follows you or asks you a question you don't like, doesn't mean they acted illegally or gives you the right to attack them.

  • ||

    I have the right to say "Fuck you" if you ask me who I am and what I'm doing while following me. And if you were following me and asking me those questions and you continued to follow me after I said that, I'd be perfectly within my rights to call the cops and tell them you are harassing me.

    And you ARE acting illegally if you attempt to stop or detain me "until police arrive" (at least in some states).

  • John||

    For sure Designate. But you do not have a right to beat them down. And if you do, they have a right to defend themselves. And I have little sympathy for you if you end up getting shot in the episode.

  • Fluffy||

    John, if you agree that they're acting illegally if they attempt to stop or detain me, how the fuck would I not have the "right to beat them down"?

    I'd have the right to resist their illegal action with violence until I could safely retreat. In SYG states, I wouldn't even have to retreat, but could resist their illegal action with violence until they retreated.

  • Ministry of Sophistry||

    Amateurs manage to shoot fewer innocent people and dogs then the nations doughnut patrols.

  • sarcasmic||

    Security means walking around an area and asking people you don't know what they are doing there.

    Security means being trained and able to respond appropriately.

    Shooting someone because you're not trained to respond to physical violence, or shooting someone because they don't bow down to your authority, doesn't exactly qualify.

    Comparing Zimmer to private security is a false equivocation, a false premise, and any argument that is based upon a false premise is a fallacy.

    You sure you're not Tony?

  • John||

    How do you know he didn't respond properly? He says he was on the ground getting his head beat in and had no choice. If he was, then he did act properly. You assume he is lying because you don't like him. Maybe he is. But maybe he is not.

  • sarcasmic||

    If he was properly trained, as I assume a private security professional would be, then I doubt he would have ended up on his back being punched by a teenage boy. And even if he had, he likely would have been trained to get out of the situation without using deadly force.
    Lacking such training he panicked and used his pistol.

    Comparing him to private security only serves to fuel your fallacies.

    You sure you're not Tony?

  • John||

    Oh yeah, mall cops are real ninjas there sarcasmic. And you don't know what happened. Martin was not a "teenage boy". He was a grown person over six feet tall and in good shape. He could have probably kicked a lot of people's asses, especially if he got the initiative by attacking Zimmerman.

    Has it ever occurred to you that it is possible the Martin bears some blame here? Maybe it is a really bad idea to get into fights with people you don't know because they may have a gun.

  • sarcasmic||

    Keep flailing at your straw man, there, John Boy.

    You're making assumptions about my opinion of what happened. False ones.

    All I'm saying is that your comparing Zimmer to private security is a false equivocation, and any argument that follows is a fallacy.

    That is all.

    You sure you're not Tony?

    He sure likes fallacies.

  • John||

    There is nothing false about it. All you can say "well he wasn't trained". So what? A lot of private security is not trained that well. And even if he had been trained, there is no guarantee that training would have caused the situation to turn out differently.

  • sarcasmic||

    A lot of private security is not trained that well.

    I find that hard to believe. They're at least trained on how to legally restrain someone while waiting for the cops to arrive, and that's likely more than Zimmer's got. Any private security that would be used to replace the cops would indeed need to be trained. For their own safety.

    Face it. Your equating Zimmer to libertarian private professional security to replace police is bunk.

    I expect you to cling to it bitterly, but it's bunk.

    Bunk dee bunkity bunk.

  • John||

    Face it. Your equating Zimmer to libertarian private professional security to replace police is bunk.

    Yeah all professional security would be elite teams of highly trained professional. No private security firm would accept anything less. Got it

    And beyond that sarcasmic, you don't know what happened much less if any training would have prevented this.

  • sarcasmic||

    Yeah all professional security would be elite teams of highly trained professional.

    There you go creating straw men again. I guess that should be expected. It's the only way you can "win" an argument.

    And beyond that sarcasmic, you don't know what happened much less if any training would have prevented this.

    True, but I believe it is a reasonable assumption.

    Again, comparing Zimmer to a libertarian private security professional (remember that we're talking about a competitive market here with incentive to have trained employees) is a false equivalency.

    Cling away you bitter clinger.

    You're like a turn caught in the short hairs.

  • Ron||

    Police are highly trained yet they are forced to use deadly force all the time. Life is not like the movies, no matter how well trained someone is there's always somebody better or just a lucky shot and thats all it takes to require a response with deadly force.

  • Harvard||

    You have a rather high opinion of the "high skills" these police possess. I was a cop for a time, until I became embarrassed for myself. Training in shooting accuracy at 25 feet, and in self defense and agression, and in corroberating court testimony with one's partner I received. There was zero class time on the Constitution or even state and local law. Whatever you got you got by osmosis, on the job, from whomever you were partnered with. I came to know the average policeman knows only slightly more than you do about actual law, but rather assumes he knows a lot.

  • Fluffy||

    I'm perfectly happy with people acting in defense of themselves or their property.

    And I'm also perfectly happy with people participating in neighborhood watch. If people see something suspicious in their neighborhood and want to call the police, that's fine.

    But I do not endorse prowling around on public property, other people's private property, looking for crimes to stop. Because if you do that, you better always be absolutely 100% correct. You don't ever get to make a mistake.

    Let's not make it about Zimmerman, since we don't agree on what the most likely sequence of events was in that case. Let's say we have a mutual friend named Bill, and one day Bill decides he wants to appoint himself patroller of the neighborhood. And Bill sees somebody he thinks is a burglar jiggling at the window of a house that is not his. And he decides he's a superhero and he's going to run over and grab that burglar and stop his crime.

    That's all well and good if it's actually a burglar. But if Bill is wrong and it's the homeowner trying to fix his window, if the homeowner regards Bill's actions as an attack and beats the shit out of Bill, I don't want to hear Bill's fucking complaints.

  • John||

    That is not an analogous situation. This was a neighborhood watch in a gated community. The whole place was private property. And the owners of said property agreed to have a watch.

    Second, even to your example, Bill may or may not be wrong. It depends on the situation. If the homeowner just immediately attacks him and never bothers to explain who he is, then I would say the homeowner is wrong.

    You add the unlikely situation that Bill immediately tackles and assaults the homeowner. That is clearly wrong even if it was the police doing it. So yeah, neighborhood watch, like anyone else can engage in misconduct. So what?

    What you don't seem to get is that anyone at any time can ask you who you are and where you are going. You don't have to like it or answer it. But them asking you that or even following you doesn't give you the right to attack them.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    What you don't seem to get is that anyone at any time can ask you who you are and where you are going. You don't have to like it or answer it. But them asking you that or even following you doesn't give you the right to attack them.

    And do you, sir, have any evidence to support that's what actually happened?

  • John||

    It may have happened that way. It may not have. We don't know and may never know. But I am just as entitled to assume it happened that way as you and fluffy are entitled to assume that Zimmerman is lying and yelled "get the nigger" as he tackled him to start the fight.

  • Fluffy||

    But I am just as entitled to assume it happened that way as you

    Yes, you are. That's why I deliberately chose a different example and gave you explicit details.

    You're accusing me of hating neighborhood watch because I'm not on Zimmerman's side. But I see the most likely series of events in the Zimmerman case differently than you do. That's why we reach different conclusions about it.

  • John||

    I find it very unlikely that Zimmerman started the fight. But we will never know since Martin is dead. All I have ever said is that there is not enough evidence to charge Martin and this case ought to die. And that it is just as likely Martin was in the wrong as Zimmerman.

  • ||

    Watch does not entail engaging. All Bill had to do was call the cops and sit and watch the house.

  • Ron||

    If you don't mind waiting 45 minutes for the cops to arrive,which has happend in my neighborhood, sometimes you have to take action.

  • Tonio||

    Volunteer fire and EMS personnel have to train to the same standards as pros, at least in every organization I've encountered (YMMV, of course).

    I'm assuming, if only from a liability standpoint, that the volunteer cops are also trained. Happy to be proved wrong, here.

  • sarcasmic||

    And Zimmer was not trained.

    So John is engaging in the fallacy of false equivocation.

    He loves is fallacies.

    *slurp slurp*

    Just like Tony.

    *slurp slurp*

  • Abdul||

    They are volunteer firefighters, only instead of being firefighters, they are police officers.

    You know, like Shaq http://reason.com/archives/2007/02/01/shaq-attack

    and Steven Segal. http://reason.com/blog/2011/03.....ess-lawman

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    The shooting death of unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman has opened a nation-wide discussion about the role of citizen law enforcement.

    The problem was never neighborhood watches, in and of themselves, but that a particular neighborhood watchman, George Zimmerman, was a dumbass whose over-zealousness led to an unnecessary confrontation that ended up being well beyond his "pay grade".

  • John||

    Really? You know that for sure. The problem couldn't have been that Martin was an asshole who got pissed because someone disrespected him and made the mistake of jumping the wrong person? It couldn't be that could it?

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    The problem couldn't have been that Martin was an asshole who got pissed because someone disrespected him and made the mistake of jumping the wrong person? It couldn't be that could it?

    Looking past your sarcasm, you actually reinforce my point. Police are the ones who, presumably, are trained and paid to be the ones confronting the potential powder kegs wandering the streets.

    At least that's why I assume we make such a big deal out of graduating police academy.

  • John||

    So people must leave everything to the government trained and endorsed professionals? That seems an odd position for a libertarian to take.

    And given the record of police, I am failing to see how their training would have made any difference other than maybe they would have tazed Martin and beat him into a coma rather than shooting him.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    So people must leave everything to the government trained and endorsed professionals? That seems an odd position for a libertarian to take.

    No, it doesn't have to be government trained....but a certain level of training would have prevented the situation from esclating as it did.

    And given the record of police, I am failing to see how their training would have made any difference other than maybe they would have tazed Martin and beat him into a coma rather than shooting him.

    And Zimmerman wouldn't be having any of the problems he has now, would he?

  • John||

    You don't know that lack of training is what caused this. You are assuming facts that we just don't know.

    And saying "if only he had had a badge and a union to protect him" doesn't really answer the question.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    You don't know that lack of training is what caused this.

    Actually, I do. Every bit of training I've ever received concerning confronting potentially dangerous individuals boils down to "You're not Batman".

  • John||

    You don't know that he confronted him. Zimmerman says he walked away and was walking back to his car when Martin attacked him. That doesn't sound like playing batman to me.

    You guys assume Zimmerman is in the wrong because you don't like him not because you know what happened.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    You guys assume Zimmerman is in the wrong because you don't like him

    I don't know him from Adam. That's such a silly thing to say.

    But you know, if you like him so much, I hear he's looking for a new lawyer. Perhaps you can defend him pro bono, since you obviously consider him to have an air-tight defense.

  • sarcasmic||

    I don't know him from Adam. That's such a silly thing to say.

    It's just his straw man de-jour.

  • John||

    Then why are you so convinced he is lying if you don't know him from Adam? I don't know if Zimmerman is lying. But I don't know that he is not telling the truth either.

    You guys assume you know he is lying. And I just don't see how.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Then why are you so convinced he is lying if you don't know him from Adam? I don't know if Zimmerman is lying. But I don't know that he is not telling the truth either.

    I'm not saying he's lying. I'm saying he was a dumbass for getting out of his car.

  • jacob||

    I don't know him from Adam. That's such a silly thing to say.

    I'm going to give this (and the rest of your post) +1000.

    I actually agree with John's take on the issue - there is no clear evidence Zimmerman committed a crime-but there's enough doubt that I fully believe this ought to be decided by a jury of his peers.

  • Soc Indv Sparky||

    Zimmerman says he walked away and was walking back to his car when Martin attacked him.

    The problem with that statement is Zimmerman is the only person still alive who has firsthand knowledge of what happened. Maybe he's telling the truth, but maybe he's not.

  • John||

    That is right sparky.

  • ||

    and the "problem" is that in our CJ system, it's not his burden to prove that. if that establishes self defense, it's the state's job to DISPROVE it

    and of course our system operates under the principle better to let 10 guilty men go free than convict an innocent.

    what is key to me, is that OF the physical evidence discovered, it matches zimmerman's AT THE SCENE account. that's huge

    he volunteered a statement post cuffing and miranda (that i have said numerous times is not necessarily a bad idea despite the meme here) that matches physical evidence, and the witness statement from the neighbor witness

    that's hyoooge.

    and certainly consistent with what innocent, not guilty people do

    and reminiscent of the duke case

  • ||

    Is it some kind of fallacy to assume that people are arguing out feelings than out of a reasoned opinion based on the information they have?

  • ||

    well, it's certainly par for the course for reasonoid to argue feeling not reason when it comes to cop uses of force, so at least many are being consistent vis a vis zimmerman

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    But if Martin was a "powder keg", and attacked a citizen, and got shot for it, what's the problem? Powder kegs should get treated with kid gloves because Al "I have Don King issues" Sharpton doesn't like it if they get hurt? I'm sorry, but the presence of that fat bastard on the Martin side of the issue makes me deeply suspicious. Given Sharpton's record of carefully vetting his causes, Martin will probably turn out to have been a vampire.

  • ||

    hey, he HAS lost a lot of weight!

  • Bruce Majors||

    Who shoots more innocent parties? Government security forces or neighborhood watch peeps?

    I think I already know who breaks down more doors at the wrong address.

  • Tonio||

    Haven't WTFV, but it sounds like the volunteer cops in Redlands are not the same as a neighborhood watch. NW are only supposed to observe and report.

  • Fluffy||

    What you don't seem to get is that anyone at any time can ask you who you are and where you are going. You don't have to like it or answer it. But them asking you that or even following you doesn't give you the right to attack them.

    It doesn't give me the right to attack them, but it does make them presumptuous scum.

    I get the right to attack them if I say, "Go fuck yourself!" and keep walking, and they make any effort at all to stop me or slow me down.

    I'll account for myself to you if I'm on your property. If not, not.

  • John||

    Maybe it does make you presumptuous scum. But it doesn't make you the aggressor.

  • Fluffy||

    You become the aggressor the moment you say "Stop" if there's any way for the person hearing you to believe that your demand that he stop is backed up by the threat of force.

  • John||

    No you don't. Aggressor means you threw the first punch. Yelling stop at someone does not make you the aggressor. And you know it.

    what gives you the right to assume that is aggressive? Maybe your wallet dropped out of your pocket and the person is trying to give it back to you. Maybe they know you or think they know you. You don't know. To assume that they are being aggressive is just being a paranoid nut. And there is no way you would actually assume that in real life. You have just argued yourself into a corner on this.

  • Fluffy||

    No you don't. Aggressor means you threw the first punch. Yelling stop at someone does not make you the aggressor. And you know it.

    John, that's just stupid and comically false.

    If someone runs up to you on the street and threateningly says, "Give me your wallet, fucker!" and I punch them, they're the aggressor.

    If no one was allowed to take cognizance of implicit threats, all muggers would have to do to be free of prosecution is never explicitly say what they'll do if you don't comply.

    "But your honor, I was just asking for a charitable donation when I said 'Give me your wallet!' People are so paranoid!"

  • John||

    Sure there are implicit threats. But you go from this

    You become the aggressor the moment you say "Stop" if there's any way for the person hearing you to believe that your demand that he stop is backed up by the threat of force.

    to this

    If someone runs up to you on the street and threateningly says, "Give me your wallet, fucker!"

    Two different situations. What do you mean any way it is backed up by force? That is bullshit. There has to be a reasonable threat of force. And I don't even think in the second situation there is a reasonable threat of force. I said give me your wallet. I didn't say I was going to assault you. Maybe if I pointed a weapon at you or something. But merely saying that probably doesn't get you there.

    Beyond that, that situation is nothing like the Zimmerman case. "Hey give me your wallet" is not the same as "hey what are you doing here". The two statements are in no way analogous.

  • Fluffy||

    I don't think Zimmerman said, "Hey what are you doing here".

    I think Zimmerman said, "Stop! You aren't going anywhere, punk."

    Zimmerman left the car fully intending to make sure Martin was still there when the police arrived. You'll never convince me otherwise.

  • ||

    this is refreshing. a reasonoid who admits his mind is closed, and evidence won't change it

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    No. You don't think. You FANTASIZE that Zimmerman said "Stop, you aren't going anywhere, punk." You emote it. If you thought, you wouldn't post something that is obviously based on your deciding before judgement that Zimmerman is guilty.

    Zimmerman may well be an overzealous jerk who deserves to be charged. But the evidence is equivocal at best. A lot has been said against him, much of which has proved to be wrong. A lot has been said for Martin, much of which has proved to be, at best, carefully colored. We. Don't. Know.

    We may never know.

    What we CAN say is that there are forces driving the "Zimmerman is guilty" narrative that have been deliberately dishonest. Maybe that merely puts them on all fours with Zimmerman. Maybe.

  • ||

    the forces that drive the zimmerman is guilty narrative, are JUST like the forces that drove the duke boys are guilty narrative.

    i agree. he MAY be guilty. i'm STILL agnostic, although leaning towards the "it appears a solid case for self defense is starting to emerge" camp

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    "the forces that drive the zimmerman is guilty narrative, are JUST like the forces that drove the duke boys are guilty narrative."

    I disagree, on several levels. A young man is dead. There is very little evidence that ANYTHING happened to Crystal Mangum. There is little or no evidence that a large social institution (like a University) has systematically worked to violate the Civil Rights of Zimmerman. The local law has not entered into a rush to convict Zimmerman, and damn all ethical considerations.

    There are some parallels. Saying that the forces are JUST LIKE is going too far.

  • Diomasach||

    There is a HUGE difference between a volunteer cop and a nieghborhood watch. Volunteer police go through the same training as a full-time cop and are commissioned law enforcement officers.
    I used to be a reserve officer.

  • D.D. Driver||

    This was also the plot of Police Academy IV: Citizens on Patrol.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uWPDn-MrTYk

    RIP Tackleberry.

  • Fluffy||

    That is what you don't get fluffy. It is a public street. You can walk on it sure. But so can I. I can follow you. I can ask you who you are and where you are going. If you don't like it, tough shit, it is a public place. I have a right to be there too.

    John, your initial question was "What's your problem with private security?" That question allows both a legal answer and a personal answer.

    My personal answer is that if you run up to me on a public street to demand that I account for my presence, your implicit assertion there is that you're more of a citizen than me, with a greater right to the street than me, and I have to answer to you and justify myself to you. And if you do that, I will hate you for it, and think you're scum, and I will never give you the benefit of the doubt in any situation after that, ever.

    The legal answer, of course, is that people are entitled to speak to others on public streets, whether it's to panhandle or hand out religious pamphlets or do any number of annoying things, including saying "Who are you? Where are you going? What are you doing?" But if the context of your questions includes a threat, then you actually did commit a crime. If you say "Stop right there!" in a context where the person hearing you knows you mean "Stop right there or I'll hit you!" you have committed a crime, in the same way saying "Give me your wallet!" is a crime if the context makes it clear that you'll attack the listener if they don't obey.

  • John||

    Of course the Zimmerman case was in a gated community. So it wasn't really a public street. Suppose you come to my house. And I live in one of these communities. And part of living there is putting up with the rent a cops on golf carts patrolling around asking anyone they don't know what they are doing there. I am a paranoid type. I love that. I don't mind it at all and that is why I live there.

    You come to my house and take a walk and sure enough they confront you. And you are mortally offended. My response is, tough shit, don't come to my house anymore. They haven't committed a crime. It is our neighborhood, we built it and we agreed to live under the rules of it.

    But beyond that, even in a public street. You can ask me where I am going. I haven't made myself more of a citizen than you. And as long as I don't assault you, I am free to ask you what I like. You have a right to walk down the street and not be harassed by the government. You don't have a right to walk down the street and never be confronted by other citizens.

  • Fluffy||

    But beyond that, even in a public street. You can ask me where I am going. I haven't made myself more of a citizen than you.

    If you're George Zimmerman, sure you have.

    The inescapable subtext of doing that is that some people are "supposed to" be there (and therefore won't be questioned), and some people aren't (and therefore will be).

    Of course the Zimmerman case was in a gated community. So it wasn't really a public street. Suppose you come to my house. And I live in one of these communities. And part of living there is putting up with the rent a cops on golf carts patrolling around asking anyone they don't know what they are doing there.

    That would also be fine with me. It would not be fine with me if it was another tenant.

    If I lived in a large apartment building, and another tenant acting on their own took it upon themselves to interrogate me about my comings and goings, I would:

    1. Tell them to go fuck themselves.

    2. Complain to the management.

    3. Try to find a way to initiate a harassment or stalking complaint.

    If you aren't the doorman, you aren't the doorman.

  • T||

    Funny, I live in a gated community. And the POA board took it upon themselves to contract a private security firm to enforce traffic rules. Good luck with that, since I ain't stopping for them. In my reading of the POA rules, they had no authority to subcontract something they have no authority to enforce in the first place.

    I hope the house sells before this becomes an issue, because otherwise it's going to get ugly.

  • ||

    i work with a guy who insisted that he could stop for traffic infractions in a local apartment complex (very large, lots of roads etc.) that had private roads...

    um, no

    he ended up making a stop, seizing a bunch of stolen property, etc. and of course our legal advisor had to issue a prompt "do not do this" advisory. of course, anybody with a brain already knew that.

  • rho||

    If you say "Stop right there!" in a context where the person hearing you knows you mean "Stop right there or I'll hit you!" you have committed a crime, in the same way saying "Give me your wallet!" is a crime if the context makes it clear that you'll attack the listener if they don't obey.

    What? I think you skipped a few steps in making that logical conclusion.

  • Fluffy||

    If me and my bank-robbing team burst into the local Citibank wearing masks and carrying Uzis and say, "Nobody move or leave," we have taken the bank customers and employees hostage.

    We don't have to explicitly say, "Just so you'll know what we mean, we're trying to tell you that if you move or leave we'll shoot you."

    False Imprisonment includes imprisonment by threat. And that includes implicit threats.

    If I stroll up to some 13 year old on the street at night and say, "Get your ass in my van. Right now. And don't scream," there's no explicit threat, no brandishment of a weapon. But if my behavior and tone and the overall context of the event is threatening, that's attempted kidnapping.

  • ||

    this legal analysis is correct.

    which i find refreshing... like being on a cool mountaintop, with the wind blowing through my hair

  • Suki||

    says Sergeant Travis Martinez

    Everybody knows you cannot take the word of a White Hispanic on anything.

  • ||

    volunteers DO protect communities. we work with volunteers. people are ultimately responsible for protecting themselves and their communities. our communities are, on the whole, armed, and keep an eye out for their neighbors and their neighborhoods

    sure, some of the suspicious persons/cars they call in are bullshit.

    but many of the burglars, car thieves, etc. we catch are because of these volunteers' work

    like i said, the other day, some homeowner caught one member of our prolific burglar crew in his garage and held her at gunpoint until we got there

    awesome

    SHE called 911 and asked us to hurry up. she knew not be afraid of the cops (we've arrested her a dozen times with no force) but she was afraid he was going to shoot her

    and he could have - legally. but he didn't. that's because most armed homeowners and CCW'ers exercise remakrable restraint, just like cops

    i'd estimate we have scores of citizens using guns for every incident where they actually fire one.

    we share intel with neighborhood watch groups, and they disseminate it via email

    the fact that most people now have cellphones with video capability also means they have a way to record stuff for evidence, etc. and i have taught several people the ins and outs and they have provided great video of what they thought were suspicious persons and in some cases that, in addition to other stuff gave us PC for warrants, etc

    the job of protecting each other, and ourselves is ultimately everybody's job.

  • ||

    Who needs volunteers and citizen's arrest and guns and shit when you have professional organizations like the great and noble NY/P/LA/NOPD to pro-motherfucking-tect and serve, eh?

  • Harvard||

    You're walking down a deserted street with your wife
    and two small children.
    Suddenly, a Terrorist with a huge knife comes around the corner, screams obscenities and charges at you.
    You are carrying a Kimber 45 ACP.
    What do you do?
    Democrat's Answer:
    Well, that's not enough information to answer the question!
    What is a Kimber 45 ACP? Does the man look poor or oppressed? Am I guilty of profiling?
    Have I ever done anything to him that would inspire him to attack?
    Could we run away? What does my wife think? Could I possibly swing the gun and knock the knife out of his hand? What does the law say about this situation? Why am I carrying a loaded gun anyway, and what kind of message does this send to society and to my children? Does he definitely want to kill me, or would he be content just to wound me?
    Should I call 9-1-1?
    Why is this street so deserted?
    We need to raise taxes, have a paint & weed day. I need to debate this with some friends for a few days and try to come to a consensus.
    This is all so confusing!

    Republican's Answer:

    BANG!

    Southerner's Answer:

    BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG!
    BANG ! BANG! BANG! BANG!
    Click..... (Sounds of reloading)
    BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG!
    BANG!
    BANG!
    BANG!
    Click

    Daughter Jamie: 'Were those the Winchester Silver Tips or Hollow Points?!

    Son: Charles 'Can I shoot the next one?!'

    Wife Marilyn: 'You are NOT taking that to a Taxidermist

  • LarryA||

    Texas answer:

    BangPowBoom!

    Dad: "Marilyn, I've got him covered. Can you holster your Glock and call the cops?"

    Jamie: "Ouch! Mom, take my Ruger! A shell out of Dad's Colt went down my blouse."

    Marilyn: "See? I told you so. Wear a top like that and you end up doing the Brass Dance."

    Charles: "I was checking our six. Cool. I don't have to clean my M&P."

    Jamie: "And who's this Harvard dude. Doesn't he know that Silvertips are a brand of hollowpoint?"

  • Harvard||

    Nonsense. In Texas your neighbor shoots him for you.

  • LarryA||

    One question that should be answered before the discussion* is whether Mr. Zimmerman was actually part of a real Neighborhood Watch program, or a lone wantabe.

    Before I could participate in our local Citizens Police Academy Alumni Association I had to take the training, buy the equipment, and read and follow the policies. One of which is no concealed carry on duty.

    Another factor is just what do the volunteers do? Are they sworn reserve officers? Are they volunteers who help staff an information booth? Do they assist officers in directing traffic at events? Do they digitize old reports into the new computer system? Do they conduct equipment checks and inventories?

    There are a wide range of volunteer opportunities, and most of them don't require law enforcement training.

    * Somehow I'm thinking that the "nation-wide discussion" will be more of a diatribe than a dialogue.

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