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Arrested in Texas for Geocaching Arrested in Texas for Geocaching

#1 User is offline   condor1 

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Posted 26 January 2010 - 06:50 PM

This is a general letter that was sent by a fellow Geocacher (caleb.osborn) The following is his story up to the 26th of Jan 2010. The incident took place in Midland, Texas

Here is a link.....

Bomb Scare in Midland, TX

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Fellow Geocachers
On Friday, January 8th of this year, I went geocaching with my son. We had a great time and found lots of geocaches. It was about time to go home when my son asked me, “Let’s go get one more geocache, Dad.” I told him that we would. On the way there, I was pulled over by the policemen and placed in handcuffs because somebody thought that I had planted a pipe bomb at Academy Sports. I explained to them that I had been geocaching. They took me back to Academy Sports where I was interviewed by a police detective. I again explained about geocaching and after they had determined that it was not a bomb but rather a geocache, they took me back to my car. A few minutes later, they arrested me for Interference with the duties of a public servant. They took me to jail until my wife could come and bail me out.
We then set about finding a lawyer to defend me. We found one; a good one. This past week, he was able to meet with the district attorney and tell her what had happened. Once the police report was filed, she immediately dismissed the charges against me under the grounds that what I had done was not a crime and did not meet the elements of the offense. That happened today, Jan. 26th. I was then able to get my gpsr, cell phone, and bond money back.
The reason I write this email is to serve as both a caution and a request for aid. The caution is that this same thing could happen to you. It was not fun, and I am very grateful that it is over with. You do not want it to happen to you, trust me. My request for aid is such that we need to brainstorm and think up ways that we can help the police officers and general public know and understand more about geocaching so that this doesn’t happen again. It may be worthwhile to let businesses know about geocaches that we may have placed on their grounds if we have not done so, and when we go to search for them to let them know that we are doing such so we don’t look suspicious. I don’t know if that would work or not, but something needs to be done. I would also like to thank all those that prayed for me or thought of me during this trying time. Thank you!

caleb.osborn
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

#2 User is offline   briansnat 

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Posted 26 January 2010 - 06:55 PM

We could stop placing caches on private property without permission. That should help some.

#3 User is offline   Clan Riffster 

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Posted 26 January 2010 - 07:07 PM

While it's not a surefire solution, something I feel could help alleviate many of these issues is for Groundspeak to require explicit permission for hides placed on private property, including contact information on the cache page. It seems that a large majority of these negative police encounters, (bomb scares/temporary detentions/etc), occur at businesses. If I were stopped by law enforcement while hunting a cache at Wally World, I'd sure like to be able to tell the officer who, specifically, granted permission for the hide I was hunting.

In Groundspeak's Guide to hiding a cache, TPTB state: "If you place a cache on private land, you must ask permission before hiding your cache." Yet, in the guidelines, the language is much softer, requiring only "adequate permission", which is subject to interpretation. A few pecks of the keyboard at Groundspeak headquarters would resolve this seeming discrepancy.

Continued education of law enforcement would also help.

#4 User is offline   condor1 

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Posted 26 January 2010 - 07:19 PM

He didn't place the cache he was looking for it. I have been stopped by Law Enforcement officials 4 times. I have printed up business cards with the Geocaching Website and a brief description of what Geocaching is. Each time I have had no problems. The officers were satisfied as I did not try to make any excuses and told them straight up what I was doing. I even found the cache and showed it to them one time.

#5 User is offline   bittsen 

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Posted 26 January 2010 - 07:23 PM

While I can appreciate his ordeal, I would love to be in his position (well if it were in Oregon) because I would not rest until the arresting officer faced some sort of inconvenience for false arrest.
It appears, on the surface, that the arresing officer was just upset that he was made out to be a fool and tried to find any excuse to justify his mistake.

I'm glad it worked out for him. I hope he didn't have to pay for his attorney but if he did, he shouldn't stop till the police department pays him back.

IMHO

#6 User is offline   4wheelin_fool 

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Posted 26 January 2010 - 07:39 PM

It doesn't really meet the criteria for "Interference with the duties of a public servant", unless he was lying to them. However, it still could happen to anyone with different charges such as creating a nuisance, or something else, along with twenty seven eight-by-ten colour glossy pictures with the circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one explaining what each one was to be used as evidence...

#7 User is offline   knowschad 

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Posted 26 January 2010 - 07:41 PM

Permission or not, this involves first of all, an apparently over-reactive witness, followed by a LEO that is still unaware of a very popular public activity that is now one decade old. To me, that is inexcusable. There is not a police officer in this country that by now should not at least have an inkling of what geocaching is. I don't think that it is being too hard on them to not have a general understanding of our game by now. It makes me wonder what decade old illegal things might be going on under their noses.

There may well be extenuating circumstances behind the actual arrest that we don't know (a belligerent attitude on the cacher's behalf, perhaps?) but I find it very hard to see how the arresting officer could justify any action like that after (finally!) understanding what had taken place. It seems that arresting the person that called in the supposed bomb scare would at least have equal liability in this case!

#8 User is offline   The Ravens 

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Posted 26 January 2010 - 07:41 PM

Where do they get off charging him with "Interference with the duties of a public servant"? Lame!

#9 User is offline   4wheelin_fool 

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Posted 26 January 2010 - 08:03 PM

View PostThe Ravens, on Jan 26 2010, 07:41 PM, said:

Where do they get off charging him with "Interference with the duties of a public servant"? Lame!


Perhaps they meant that they had better things to do? :)

#10 User is offline   bittsen 

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Posted 26 January 2010 - 08:05 PM

View Post4wheelin_fool, on Jan 26 2010, 08:03 PM, said:

View PostThe Ravens, on Jan 26 2010, 07:41 PM, said:

Where do they get off charging him with "Interference with the duties of a public servant"? Lame!


Perhaps they meant that they had better things to do? :)


They were late for donuts!

#11 User is offline   condor1 

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Posted 26 January 2010 - 08:06 PM

View Postknowschad, on Jan 26 2010, 08:41 PM, said:

Permission or not, this involves first of all, an apparently over-reactive witness, followed by a LEO that is still unaware of a very popular public activity that is now one decade old. To me, that is inexcusable. There is not a police officer in this country that by now should not at least have an inkling of what geocaching is. I don't think that it is being too hard on them to not have a general understanding of our game by now. It makes me wonder what decade old illegal things might be going on under their noses.

There may well be extenuating circumstances behind the actual arrest that we don't know (a belligerent attitude on the cacher's behalf, perhaps?) but I find it very hard to see how the arresting officer could justify any action like that after (finally!) understanding what had taken place. It seems that arresting the person that called in the supposed bomb scare would at least have equal liability in this case!


#12 User is offline   condor1 

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Posted 26 January 2010 - 08:10 PM

View Post4wheelin_fool, on Jan 26 2010, 08:39 PM, said:

It doesn't really meet the criteria for "Interference with the duties of a public servant", unless he was lying to them. However, it still could happen to anyone with different charges such as creating a nuisance, or something else, along with twenty seven eight-by-ten colour glossy pictures with the circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one explaining what each one was to be used as evidence...


One other thing is that if you look at his profile of hides you will see that he archived all 16 of his hides including an Earthcache. This guy will probably quit caching all together.

This post has been edited by condor1: 26 January 2010 - 08:11 PM


#13 User is offline   4wheelin_fool 

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Posted 26 January 2010 - 08:11 PM

...

This post has been edited by 4wheelin_fool: 27 January 2010 - 01:58 AM


#14 User is offline   bittsen 

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Posted 26 January 2010 - 08:18 PM

View Postcondor1, on Jan 26 2010, 08:10 PM, said:

One other thing is that if you look at his profile of hides you will see that he archived all 16 of his hides including an Earthcache. This guy will probably quit caching all together.


You see, that's why I despise over-enthusiastic, self righteous police officers. Some of them really do take the job a little too seriously and believe they are the boss of everyone. They are servants for the innocent, nothing more.

#15 User is offline   4wheelin_fool 

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Posted 26 January 2010 - 08:18 PM

View Postcondor1, on Jan 26 2010, 08:10 PM, said:

View Post4wheelin_fool, on Jan 26 2010, 08:39 PM, said:

It doesn't really meet the criteria for "Interference with the duties of a public servant", unless he was lying to them. However, it still could happen to anyone with different charges such as creating a nuisance, or something else, along with twenty seven eight-by-ten colour glossy pictures with the circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one explaining what each one was to be used as evidence...


One other thing is that if you look at his profile of hides you will see that he archived all 16 of his hides including an Earthcache. This guy will probably quit caching all together.


Well, that's not good. :)

I actually have a LPC hidden, but not listed yet as part of a puzzle, and I probably won't list it. It's a small clear L&L in a unusual antique type of lamp post, but if it could cause problems I'm gonna forget it.

#16 User is offline   bittsen 

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Posted 26 January 2010 - 08:35 PM

View Post4wheelin_fool, on Jan 26 2010, 08:18 PM, said:

Well, that's not good. :)

I actually have a LPC hidden, but not listed yet as part of a puzzle, and I probably won't list it. It's a small clear L&L in a unusual antique type of lamp post, but if it could cause problems I'm gonna forget it.


That means "they" win.

#17 User is offline   Cache O'Plenty 

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Posted 26 January 2010 - 08:37 PM

View Post4wheelin_fool, on Jan 26 2010, 07:39 PM, said:

It doesn't really meet the criteria for "Interference with the duties of a public servant", unless he was lying to them. However, it still could happen to anyone with different charges such as creating a nuisance, or something else, along with twenty seven eight-by-ten colour glossy pictures with the circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one explaining what each one was to be used as evidence...

Someone is listening to "Alice's Restaurant". And, where is that "Group W" bench, anyway?

This post has been edited by Cache O'Plenty: 26 January 2010 - 08:37 PM


#18 User is offline   bflentje 

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Posted 26 January 2010 - 09:00 PM

View Postcondor1, on Jan 26 2010, 06:50 PM, said:

A few minutes later, they arrested me for Interference with the duties of a public servant.


What the heck does this mean?? Were you (the letter writer) causing a scene or was this yet another case of law enforcement abusing their percieved, god-like, authority?? This just burns my butt. The more I hear these stories the more anti-cop I become. And NO, I have never been arrested, ever. No personal axe to grind.

#19 User is offline   condor1 

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Posted 26 January 2010 - 09:51 PM

View Postbflentje, on Jan 26 2010, 10:00 PM, said:

View Postcondor1, on Jan 26 2010, 06:50 PM, said:

A few minutes later, they arrested me for Interference with the duties of a public servant.


What the heck does this mean?? Were you (the letter writer) causing a scene or was this yet another case of law enforcement abusing their percieved, god-like, authority?? This just burns my butt. The more I hear these stories the more anti-cop I become. And NO, I have never been arrested, ever. No personal axe to grind.

No I was not the letter writer...........caleb is a geocacher and waymarker in Midland Tx who got the dirty end of the stick. He was looking for a cache and a overly civic minded muggle reported him to the LEO's of Midland. Can you believe it. I have been (interviewed) by LEO's 4 times and have never had a problem like he had. Looks like its going to cost him a pretty penny for that lawyer.

This post has been edited by condor1: 26 January 2010 - 09:52 PM


#20 User is offline   Sileny Jizda 

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Posted 26 January 2010 - 09:59 PM

I don't get the whole "Interference with the duties of a public servant" charge. Short of him trying to clean the egg off his face for trying to hook a guy for doing nothing and cooperating the cop was grasping at straws to try and burn the guy. At the least the cop needs a reprimand if the cacher complied with what he was required.

#21 User is offline   Casting Crowns 

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Posted 26 January 2010 - 10:04 PM

Everyone's scared of TEH TERRORISTS!!! ZOMG! Why don't we just ban all urban caches? If we let this have a negative affect on us then we're the fools. I've been stopped by the police at LEAST 6 times in a year and a half of caching.....none of them were LPS hides.....all were backroads or in wooded areas. Only one thought I was a nut for doing such a thing. The other five were actually interested in knowing more about the sport/game. Stop living in fear, people.

#22 User is offline   bittsen 

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Posted 26 January 2010 - 10:45 PM

My caching buddy and I are on a streak where we have been talked to by the authorities about each time we go caching (no joke). We've only had one officer who was a jerk. The rest have been fine, amused, curious, etc. One knew some cachers, half had no clue what geocaching is (they do now).

I can't believe that the cop in Midland will get off without a reprimand... Of course we will probably never know either way.

#23 User is offline   DazeDnFamily 

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Posted 27 January 2010 - 12:02 AM

Couple things. I've posted in other threads that on our 2ND cache attempt, we were stopped by a cop. The CO was another cop in our town. We showed him the cache container (well marked ammo can in this case) and all was good. However, I will say that out of 12 I've been in on, (the wife got 2 today without me.... :) ) that was the ONLY cache that was marked as a geocache. I'd say that another 2-3 had documentation inside that could have identified them as such. (Those with trackables inside.) IMHO, hiders need to be sure that they include some type of marking or documentation that clearly ID's what the container is, and why it's being hidden. This is especially true for urban caches, and I'd say CRITICAL for an urban cache that is a large enough container to hold enough explosives to cause a good deal of damage (say...an ammo can...). Now, I know that a lot of the urban caches are teeny-tiny. However, if you can include a log, you can mark the back side of the log with the fact that this is a game piece, and not a threat to the public. The general public is afraid of terrorists. And, honestly, I'd prefer a vigilant citizen alerting LEOs if they see something that looks like it could be dangerous. Having the caches properly marked would go a long way in confirming the benign intentions of the cacher(s) involved at the time. Beyond that, having rational, level headed LEOs should help defuse these situations.

And, I'd have thought that the LEO's in TX would have learned from the bad example of the guy who ended up resigning after harassing the NFL player while his mother in law was dying in a hospital. As I said above, LEO's need to be rational, level headed and objective in assessing the situation. And, anything that has almost 5 million participants should have made the RADAR, I agree. But, perhaps we, as a community, need to help the word get out. Maybe drop off the printable brochure at local precincts, or carry a few with us to give to LEO's we come into contact with. I've always found that more communication is rarely a bad thing. And, of course, tell the truth, and be as compliant as possible. Assume they are legit cops, trying to do their jobs, until they prove you wrong.

Just wanted to add to this. I'm sorry the cacher referenced had to endure this.

Later!

#24 User is offline   oakenwood 

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Posted 27 January 2010 - 03:43 AM

"Interference with the duties of a public servant" amounts to "I could have been catching speeders, but I wasted half the day with your pipe bomb hoax thingie, so you're going to be punished for it." He got arrested for inconveniencing a cop. The DA recognized that the cop had inconvenienced his own self by his ignorance, and did the right thing by dropping the charges.

See the Boston Bomb Scare. Again, nothing illegal was done, but after the city overreacted they needed to blame someone for all the time and effort expended.

Lessons learned?

1. Stealth. It's not just about preserving the secrecy of the cache.
2. Location. I personally prefer woods caches, partly because it helps avoid these problems.
3. The 5th Amendment. Many people think that all they have to do is explain themselves, and they'll go free. This short video contends otherwise. If you have the time, watch the long version, including the police officer who confirms everything Prof. Duane says.
4. All activities have risks. Prepare for them. I carry bug repellent. You may want to carry an attorney's business card. I'm serious.
5. Raise awareness. The more people understand geocaching, the better.

#25 User is offline   carolnbarney 

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Posted 27 January 2010 - 03:54 AM

View Postbittsen, on Jan 26 2010, 10:23 PM, said:

because I would not rest until the arresting officer faced some sort of inconvenience for false arrest.
It appears, on the surface, that the arresing officer was just upset that he was made out to be a fool and


Not a false arrest here! The officer was going forwad based on the facts at hand which were this person had potentially placed a device. The officer is allowed to detain for clarification and safety based on the facts at hand that would lead a reasonable and prudent person to believe a crime had occurred, or had potentially occurred.

The system worked just as it's suppoed to. The allegation was made, the potential suspect was detained, the facts were surveyed, and a determination as to further action was made. In this case, it was to go no further.

#26 User is offline   briansnat 

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Posted 27 January 2010 - 04:03 AM

View Postcarolnbarney, on Jan 27 2010, 06:54 AM, said:

View Postbittsen, on Jan 26 2010, 10:23 PM, said:

because I would not rest until the arresting officer faced some sort of inconvenience for false arrest.
It appears, on the surface, that the arresing officer was just upset that he was made out to be a fool and


Not a false arrest here! The officer was going forwad based on the facts at hand which were this person had potentially placed a device. The officer is allowed to detain for clarification and safety based on the facts at hand that would lead a reasonable and prudent person to believe a crime had occurred, or had potentially occurred.

The system worked just as it's suppoed to. The allegation was made, the potential suspect was detained, the facts were surveyed, and a determination as to further action was made. In this case, it was to go no further.


And the OP was out a couple of grand for an attorney.

#27 User is offline   carolnbarney 

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  Posted 27 January 2010 - 04:22 AM

View PostDazDnFamily, on Jan 27 2010, 03:02 AM, said:

LEO's need to be rational, level headed and objective in assessing the situation.

Maybe drop off the printable brochure at local precincts, or carry a few with us to give to LEO's we come into contact with.


Yes LEO's need to be rational, level headed, etc.......

But you know, that extends to the cachers too! You MUST take into consideration here the general climate and mindset of the world today before being too quick to criticize and condemn. People today do place bombs in public places. It's not something that's restricted to the Middle East anymore. We have plenty of local, home-grown types among us that have in the past, and probably will in the future, place and detonate explosive devices. Think Eric Rudolph, Timothy McVeigh, and the UnaBomber to name a few.

Now the police are charged with protecting us from these folks and they have to do things to accomplish that job. One of those things very well has, and will continue to be, detaining those people that have been specified as having possibly committed an offense. The officer works on what's called "probable cause" or "PC." And that is nothing more than something that would cause a reasonable and prudent person to believe a crime had possibly been commited. That's what happened in this person's case.

Could the officer have had an atttude? Of course!!

Could this cacher have had an attitude? Of course!!

Is it possible to tell from the letter the cacher posted? Not for sure. We only get one side of the story that way. There are two sides to every story and the teller of any side usually tells only that part of the story that tends to make them look the best. Did that happen here? Again, no way to know. We only heard one side.

Mention was made of educating the officers about geocaching. Not a bad idea. But let's extend that to educating the caching public about what an officer's job is all about. Let's get rid of this "us against them" attitude that some seem to have. There is no "us" beyond being cachers just as there is no "them" beyond being officers. All are people trying to do a job and/or have fun all of which both sides do on a regular basis.

Level headedness and understanding is needed and paramount on both sides of the fence. There'll be a lot less problems that way!

This post has been edited by carolnbarney: 27 January 2010 - 04:25 AM


#28 User is offline   carolnbarney 

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Posted 27 January 2010 - 04:38 AM

View Postbriansnat, on Jan 27 2010, 07:03 AM, said:

And the OP was out a couple of grand for an attorney.


Yes they were! Unfortunately, justice, or the pursuit of it, does not come without costs or bumps in the road. It's not a perfect process by any means. But would you prefer some other system like that practiced in other parts of the world?

Does that mean this person has no recourse? No! Any number of things exist as possible means of recourse. One would be to pursue a civil suit for damages if the person feels strongly enough that they've been wronged. Is that again free, or without cost? Again no, nor should it be. That's one of the checks and balances built into the system. But then again, it's not all that expensive unless an attorney is hired which frequently is not required.

#29 User is offline   KeeperOfTheMist 

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Posted 27 January 2010 - 04:53 AM

View Postcarolnbarney, on Jan 27 2010, 04:54 AM, said:

View Postbittsen, on Jan 26 2010, 10:23 PM, said:

because I would not rest until the arresting officer faced some sort of inconvenience for false arrest.
It appears, on the surface, that the arresing officer was just upset that he was made out to be a fool and


Not a false arrest here! The officer was going forwad based on the facts at hand which were this person had potentially placed a device. The officer is allowed to detain for clarification and safety based on the facts at hand that would lead a reasonable and prudent person to believe a crime had occurred, or had potentially occurred.

The system worked just as it's suppoed to. The allegation was made, the potential suspect was detained, the facts were surveyed, and a determination as to further action was made. In this case, it was to go no further.


did you read everything or are you just peice mealing things cause this officer was a little to full of himself.. the detention ended when they found that the Cache was indead a Cache and not a pipe bomb. at that point maybe a little paper work to sign like a promise to appear in court but thats about it a have a good day sorry for the hassle. no this officer decided to ARREST the cacher for wasting the cops time (yes that is the charge in its basic sense).
lets see list of counter charges against the officer and the state of TX for hiring him. Wrongful Arrest, Therapy bills for the child that was caching with and is now scared from the experiance and will probably never trust officers (even the good ones) again, down time from work from the incarceration, undue mental stress caused by a wrongful arrest. and the list can go on.. this would of course be handled some in criminal court and some in civil court. either way if this person has the right lawyer (maybe a reason for archiving his caches) he could come out booku rich.

And just cause in this case it seems oh so fitting "Bad Cop. No Doughnut" - Some Tee Shirt

#30 User is offline   DazeDnFamily 

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Posted 27 January 2010 - 05:27 AM

@carolnbarney

I'm not trying to start or fan a flame war. I just wanted to be sure I was clear.

Like you are doing, I tend to side with the cops. And, I agree terrorism is a very real threat. Which is why I said this before I said that LEOs need to be level headed, etc.:

Quote

The general public is afraid of terrorists. And, honestly, I'd prefer a vigilant citizen alerting LEOs if they see something that looks like it could be dangerous. Having the caches properly marked would go a long way in confirming the benign intentions of the cacher(s) involved at the time.


I'm also copying my closing statements here:

Quote

But, perhaps we, as a community, need to help the word get out. Maybe drop off the printable brochure at local precincts, or carry a few with us to give to LEO's we come into contact with. I've always found that more communication is rarely a bad thing. And, of course, tell the truth, and be as compliant as possible. Assume they are legit cops, trying to do their jobs, until they prove you wrong.


I think you and I are in agreement. I'm not directly accusing this cop of anything, because I don't know the whole story. However, once things were explained, from what we do know, it seems that placing him under arrest, with his kid there, was perhaps a bit excessive. I work in intelligence, and I have yet to hear of a homegrown terrorist bringing kids along for the ride. In the middle east, kids might be a threat. Domestic whack jobs haven't sunken to that point yet, that I know of. Common sense should have prevailed here, unless the adult cacher was unusually belligerent with the officers on scene. (But, I would honestly be surprised if he was. Once an investigator (who is not the standard speeding ticket writing cop....) got involved, it should have been obvious that this was not the time or the place.)

I have nothing but respect for those willing to be LEOs, believe that. But, we as taxpayers, spend a lot of money training them to assess a situation, and decide how to proceed. I know there are a lot of gray areas, and failing to act could potentially cost them their lives. It should have been obvious that this situation was not dangerous once the cacher explained what he was doing. Factor in the presence of the kid, and it should be something they all look back on with a chuckle now. It should not be something that ends a family hobby. Discretion is the better part of valor, and from the looks of it, discretion was not exercised here. However, as you said, we only have one side of the story.

Again, not trying to start or fan a flame war. Just wanted to clarify a bit.

Later!

#31 User is offline   Packanack 

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Posted 27 January 2010 - 05:37 AM

Frequently there is a charge leveled when there is an indication that the person has been falsely arrested as in this case. Clearly, this is a false arrest. The reason why this is done is so that a quid pro quo arrangement can be made. For example, we will drop the charges against you , if you stipulate probable cause and forego false arrest charges.

Done every day of the week, in every state of the union.

As they say in the Mental Health field: What was the charge before it became resisting arrest.

There were none, obviously, but frequently police officers show up to deal with an emotionally disturbed person who has committed no offense and they arrest on resisting charges, because they have no other way of dealing with the situation.

The Private Property conundrum continues, where does one get the idea that he can appropriate private property to his own use, just because it is geocaching ?

#32 User is offline   beenhere 

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Posted 27 January 2010 - 05:40 AM

View Postcarolnbarney, on Jan 27 2010, 04:22 AM, said:

But you know, that extends to the cachers too! You MUST take into consideration here the general climate and mindset of the world today before being too quick to criticize and condemn. People today do place bombs in public places. It's not something that's restricted to the Middle East anymore. We have plenty of local, home-grown types among us that have in the past, and probably will in the future, place and detonate explosive devices. Think Eric Rudolph, Timothy McVeigh, and the UnaBomber to name a few.

Now the police are charged with protecting us from these folks and they have to do things to accomplish that job. One of those things very well has, and will continue to be, detaining those people that have been specified as having possibly committed an offense. The officer works on what's called "probable cause" or "PC." And that is nothing more than something that would cause a reasonable and prudent person to believe a crime had possibly been commited. That's what happened in this person's case.


I do not recall any of the bombers listed as having placed a bomb in a lamp post or a bush. Most of the caches that have been disposed of were not in a location that would make for a good target. They are not where they would cause any great damage or where a large group of people would gather. Most were also to small to do any great damage. There have been caches that were place in locations they had no right being put in and I belive that at least 70% of all caches are placed without any OK of any kind. LPC's 95%. Groundspeak needs to tighten up the rules before laws get passed.
Also as the officer had the info he needed about the suspect (he new what car to stop) he should have waited to determin if there was a bomb. All he had was a report that had not been confirmed.

#33 User is offline   Clan Riffster 

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Posted 27 January 2010 - 06:25 AM

View Postcarolnbarney, on Jan 27 2010, 06:54 AM, said:

Not a false arrest here!

As someone who has been a cop since '82, I gotta disagree with some of your post. The officer certainly had the legal right to temporarily detain and question the cacher. That much is clear. However, I would not agree that he had the right to make a physical arrest after determining that the cacher was playing a game which is lawful, in a place he was allowed to be in. I haven't read any case law on that Texas statute, but Florida has a similar one, "Resisting an officer without violence". The elements of the statute and the subsequent case law are both so vague as to make it possible to arrest dang near anybody, for dang near anything. Maybe this is true of that Texas law as well?

So far, all we have is a third person account of what may have happened.

If there is any truth to this account, I'd say the cop was a petulant idiot.

If we have any cachers local to the area, I'd love for them to go to the Midlands County Courthouse to get a copy of the arrest report, so we could get "the other side" of the story. As a matter of public record, they'd have to release it to anyone who asks, for a nominal fee.

#34 User is offline   Clan Riffster 

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Posted 27 January 2010 - 06:29 AM

View PostPackanack, on Jan 27 2010, 08:37 AM, said:

The reason why this is done is so that a quid pro quo arrangement can be made. For example, we will drop the charges against you , if you stipulate probable cause and forego false arrest charges.

That's pretty circular logic. Bordering on paranoia.
If they hadn't arrested him in the first place, there could be no false arrest accusations.
And, as such, there would be nothing to drop. No need for Quid pro Quo.

#35 User is offline   Packanack 

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Posted 27 January 2010 - 06:50 AM

You missed the point, the arrest came before the charges. His account says that. There is no indication that he posed a threat to himself or the officer, but he was stopped and handcuffed.(restraint)

A person is arrested when he has actually been placed under restraint or taken into custody by an officer or person executing a warrant of arrest, or by an officer or person arresting without a warrant. (TX. Code Crim P. Art. 15.22)

Thereafter, the discussion took place, embarassed officer fearful of consequences of his false arrest levels low grade charges and the bargain begins.

I can't begin to tell you how many times I have seen this over the last 30 years of being involved.

#36 User is offline   NetworkCacher 

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Posted 27 January 2010 - 06:51 AM

View Postcarolnbarney, on Jan 27 2010, 06:54 AM, said:


The system worked just as it's suppoed to. The allegation was made, the potential suspect was detained, the facts were surveyed, and a determination as to further action was made. In this case, it was to go no further.


No the system did not work as it should. If it had worked the overzealous cop would be busted off the street on suspension at a minimum, or out of job. The bogus "Interference with the duties of a public servant" charge is abuse under color of authority. Cops are public servants they should suffer consequences for actions like this.

#37 User is offline   Team Cotati 

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Posted 27 January 2010 - 06:51 AM

"Police discovered the bundle earlier this afternoon when they were alerted by store employees that a suspicion man had left a package in the store's parking lot, located east of Loop 250 at 5300 West Wadley Avenue."

Every geocacher either knows or ought to know that this is an ever increasing possibility these days and ought to use that knowledge in a responsible manner.

I don't know if there was a $2,000.00 lawyer fee involved in this case or not. I hope that there was. Perhaps THAT will get the attention of cache hiders. It seems as though nothing else has worked.

#38 User is offline   Mudfrog 

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Posted 27 January 2010 - 07:00 AM

I agree with most here in that the police went overboard on this. But, none of this would have ever happened if the cache wasn't place where it was.

It was placed on private property, most likely without the owner's permission. Imo, GC.com needs to step up to the plate and require explicit permission for caches perceived to be on commercial property. I don't know that much about the law but it wouldn't surprise me to see, not only the cache owner, but GC.com themselves facing a lawsuit one of these days.

#39 User is offline   Packanack 

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Posted 27 January 2010 - 07:06 AM

I know that I did a quick scan of my remaining active hides to see if any of them have the same potentiality for alarm. I think not. None on private property, but nevertheless still existing with the "implied permission" type of thinking. I also know that I will be mindful of this case for all times in the future.

#40 User is offline   FreeBird65 

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Posted 27 January 2010 - 07:08 AM

I think some responsibility should be placed on the cache owner. Expressed, written permission should be provided by the cache place from the property owner. In this case, we don't know if permission had been granted. My guess is that the person arrested ran his mouth at or was belligerent with the officer - hence the charge.

Had this happened to me and I was arrested for trespassing or something similar, I would go after the CO if I found out that there was no prior approval for the cache I was hunting.

#41 User is offline   FreeBird65 

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Posted 27 January 2010 - 07:09 AM

View PostMudfrog, on Jan 27 2010, 10:00 AM, said:

It was placed on private property, most likely without the owner's permission. Imo, GC.com needs to step up to the plate and require explicit permission for caches perceived to be on commercial property. I don't know that much about the law but it wouldn't surprise me to see, not only the cache owner, but GC.com themselves facing a lawsuit one of these days.



I thought that permission was required by ANY property owner?

#42 User is offline   Castle Mischief 

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Posted 27 January 2010 - 07:11 AM

View PostTeam Cotati, on Jan 27 2010, 06:51 AM, said:

I don't know if there was a $2,000.00 lawyer fee involved in this case or not. I hope that there was. Perhaps THAT will get the attention of cache hiders. It seems as though nothing else has worked.


Or, conversely, maybe it will get the attention of the seekers and they will stop looking in places were there is a really good chance that it was placed without permission. Telling yourself "it got published so surely it must be okay" only goes so far.

#43 User is offline   WHO-DEY 

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Posted 27 January 2010 - 07:32 AM

View Postbriansnat, on Jan 26 2010, 06:55 PM, said:

We could stop placing caches on private property without permission. That should help some.



no kidding. One less LPC with a micro would be a good thing. Cachers would have to get creative and be responsible for their cache hides. (man, that sounds mean..sorry) :) :D

#44 User is offline   CoyoteRed 

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Posted 27 January 2010 - 07:37 AM

View Postbittsen, on Jan 26 2010, 11:05 PM, said:

View Post4wheelin_fool, on Jan 26 2010, 08:03 PM, said:

View PostThe Ravens, on Jan 26 2010, 07:41 PM, said:

Where do they get off charging him with "Interference with the duties of a public servant"? Lame!
Perhaps they meant that they had better things to do? :)
They were late for donuts!

That or they were trying to not get their asses sued off in court.

They arrested someone without any evidence of a crime. Yes, they can place someone in handcuffs as a safety precaution during an investigation. But as soon as they moved the detainee from the spot it became an arrest. Then after the "opps, so sorry" moment, the detective realizing they screwed up by arresting without probable cause. He conferred with the others and attempted to arrest on a catch-all charge. They couldn't even substantiate that.

A lawyer could get you a little bit of money. But even if you don't want that, I'd make a formal civil rights complaint. All parties involved will likely just get a little talking to and maybe a memo will be sent out. Hopefully, the memo will not just talk about not violating folks rights, but also talk about our little hobby as well.

#45 User is offline   Ike 13 

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Posted 27 January 2010 - 07:43 AM

I want to point out a flaw of those saying that this is somehow the CO's or cache seekers fault because of lack of permission.

First you're assuming that he did not have permission, if the owner did not have permission that is bad.

But let's assume you do get permission. What does that mean? Well it means that the owner/manager when you hid the cache was aware that it is there. Maybe the manager informed all his workers of the cache. Even under this scenario a turn over in employees over the life of the cache will make that permission worth less and less at no fault of the owner.

Lets say under our best case scenario that everyone at the store(or park) knows it is there, that still does not include some paranoid shopper thinking I'm a terroist because I was sneaking around a lamp post or bush.

I can understand what the cop did, but once he saw that it was a geocache that should have been it. But to official arrest and book the guy seems extreme (maybe there's more).

The fact that every police force in the nation can have access to a reviewer account makes it even worse.

#46 User is offline   Too Tall John 

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Posted 27 January 2010 - 07:45 AM

View PostFreeBird65, on Jan 27 2010, 07:09 AM, said:

I thought that permission was required by ANY property owner?
Clan Riffster talked about this earlier. I think he's got a point worth repeating.

View PostClan Riffster, on Jan 26 2010, 07:07 PM, said:

In Groundspeak's Guide to hiding a cache, TPTB state: "If you place a cache on private land, you must ask permission before hiding your cache." Yet, in the guidelines, the language is much softer, requiring only "adequate permission", which is subject to interpretation. A few pecks of the keyboard at Groundspeak headquarters would resolve this seeming discrepancy.
Of course, this would be unpopular, as it would likely lead to the archival of many caches. :)

#47 User is offline   Clan Riffster 

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Posted 27 January 2010 - 07:47 AM

View PostPackanack, on Jan 27 2010, 09:50 AM, said:

You missed the point, the arrest came before the charges.

Actually, according to his account, he was stopped and handcuffed, then brought back to the scene, questioned, then arrested. Let's get it in order so we can have at least an accurate debate. I can't speak for Texas, but I can tell you Florida law allows me to stop and handcuff someone who may be an imminent threat to myself or others. At that point it is an investigative detention, not an arrest. The arrest occurs when the detainee is taken to jail.

Stopping him was lawful, reasonable and prudent. Handcuffing him was lawful, reasonable and prudent.
Neither would qualify as an "illegal arrest".
However, carting him off to jail after his behavior was reasonably explained probably could qualify.
Had the officer not done that, there would be no need for the "bargaining" you claim occurs every day.
That's the point.

Up until the officer took him to jail, unreasonably restricting his freedom, there was no need to "bargain".

#48 User is offline   Snoogans 

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  Posted 27 January 2010 - 07:53 AM

View PostWHO-DEY, on Jan 27 2010, 09:32 AM, said:

View Postbriansnat, on Jan 26 2010, 06:55 PM, said:

We could stop placing caches on private property without permission. That should help some.



no kidding. One less LPC with a micro would be a good thing. Cachers would have to get creative and be responsible for their cache hides. (man, that sounds mean..sorry) :) :D


Don't forget:


View PostWalts Hunting, on Jan 6 2010, 02:57 PM, said:

That's understandable. Nobody likes Texans.


#49 User is offline   Clan Riffster 

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Posted 27 January 2010 - 07:55 AM

View PostIkeHurley13, on Jan 27 2010, 10:43 AM, said:

But let's assume you do get permission. What does that mean?

From a practical standpoint, it means that I, as a cache seeker, can provide any investigating law enforcement officer with contact information for who allowed this cache to be on that property. If I'm walking through a Wally World parking lot, there would be no question about my being allowed to be there. However, if I were in that same parking lot, mucking about under a lamp post kilt, I could certainly have my activities questioned. At that point, it helps to have a reasonable explanation for what I am doing. If I can demonstrate that the store manager allows this game to take place in their parking lot, my explanation will carry more weight.

#50 User is offline   kunarion 

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Posted 27 January 2010 - 08:05 AM

View PostMudfrog, on Jan 27 2010, 07:00 AM, said:

none of this would have ever happened if the cache wasn't place where it was.

True. And if it’s in a really bad spot, where people have been nosing around suspiciously, annoying shoppers and businesses, and where you might get arrested, Cachers should consider noting that in the log -- including a Needs Archived, if appropriate. At least give newbees a "heads up" in the cache description.

IMHO, “permission” is irrelevant to this story. It would very likely be exactly the same, except that when the DA dropped the charges, there'd be a phrase saying “thank God they had permission to place that cache, or who knows what may have happened.”

Nobody actually thought it was a bomb -- you don’t get brought to an active bomb site by the police.

This post has been edited by kunarion: 27 January 2010 - 08:44 AM


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