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“‘An alert had been broadcast following a report of a man pointing a gun at passing traffic,’ said [Madison, Wisconsin] police spokesman Joel DeSpain. ‘The first responding officer drew his duty weapon and stood behind his open door of the squad (car).'” Perhaps a little instruction in that whole cover/concealment get-off-the-X thing wouldn’t go amiss. Or weapons ID. As reports, the weapon turned out to be a radar gun. A 70-year-old (not pictured above) who just wanted traffic to slow down a little on Chapel Hill Road decided he’d sit in his car and paint oncoming traffic in hopes that they’d ease off the gas a little. Imagine his surprise when he found himself on his knees by the side of the road with two cops pointing their guns at him. Turns out he was doing nothing illegal. “Once the situation was figured out, police said, the citizen was told his mistake was in not notifying police of his traffic monitoring plan.” Apparently a citizen engaging in a legal activity (in Wisconsin, anyway) has an obligation to notify his local cop shop in advance. Keep that in mind, cheddarheads.

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  1. Every little thing is a gun nowadays. I don’t know if people are getting stupider or just more malicious.

  2. @ Johnny….Both!!!
    I can just hear it now!!!
    Phone ringing….” hello Madison Police Dept, can I help you????
    “Yes Ma’am…my wife and I are fixing to have sex and we just wanted to let you know that in case a neighbor calls about screaming and noise coming from our house it will be us, have a great day”!!!
    ” Uh thank you too for letting us know!!????

    • Damn, I better put the dispatch center for the PD on speed dial. If screaming ain’t involved I’m doing something wrong.

      • LOL!!! Yea I already have them on speed dial!!! We sleep with the windows open a lot weather permitting and luckily our only neighbor close enuff to hear is hard of hearing!!!
        We do take turns on who gets to scream each night tho’!!!!!

  3. This story is a borderline troll and shows just how slanted this blog site is against the police. The police were responding to a report of a man pointing a gun at traffic. How would you respond to that Dan? Tactics aside, the cops responded the only way they could. Cautiously and responsibly. A police officer responding to this call is not going to think, “Oh it’s probably nothing”. They are going to respond just like they did because they want to go home safe every night. Once they determined it was just a radar gun, he was let go and his property returned. They only said it was a mistake in not letting the police know of his plans (to point a gun shaped object at passing cars), they didn’t tell him he had to. I think that’s reasonable and prudent in todays age where sensational stories of active shooters make the front pages. An over reaction to his activity was a very real possibility. A heavy handed tactic would have been to arrest him for disorderly conduct or interfering with traffic. Not sure about WI, but in my home state, both laws are loosely written enough where a cop could have made a case, I didn’t say win, but make a case for probable cause and then arrest.

    You’re making a straw man arguement out of this article with your final statement. He does not have an obligation to notify the cops, but it unless he wants to risk another incident like this, he should. After all it was a passing citizen that instigated the police response.

    • Well said. This situation was put into motion by a panicked citizen, and the police are required to respond.

    • What’s borderline troll is the assertion that somehow this all went down ‘as it should have’.

      Any officer responding to a call like this with a lick of sense is going to id his target and weapon before getting anywhere near close enough to be drawing a sidearm. That anyone, let alone a ‘trained officer’ somehow can’t discern a radar gun from a real firearm is even more preposterous – lemme guess supersoakers are tough too, huh? Ever heard of optics? I don’t know a copper without at least a 6x monocular on the bat-belt and binocs in the patrol. At most generous even the homebuild kit radar gun (let alone commercial build) looks like a quart paint can (or two) on a handle.

      “Once they determined” he was let go? Gosh, thanks oh high and mighty overlord. Once they determined that he had a radar gun, they should have had apologized profusely, chuckled, and gone to visit the complainant – who was obviously trying to make trouble for the old man shooting radar. Reminded him/her about the charge of false reporting, and that unless you’re legally blind (or too stupid to be driving) everybody knows what a radar gun looks like. The thought that there could be any question about his ‘stuff not being returned’ is beyond the pale.

      Irrational fears about things that are not even a statistical rounding error in a nation of over 330MM people is not justification to suspend our rights, nor for the police to overstep. Your suggestion that he is somehow fortunate not to have been even further violated by being arrested for not breaking the law is the most disturbing of all.

      That you don’t like it because it makes you nervous is no justification for anyone involved in a legal activity to be harassed. Even for a second.

      • I’ll put this into perspective. If you recieve a call of a person with a gun, you’ll be looking for – wait for it – a person with a gun. If and when you actually graduate a police academy, and want to automatically assume that each and every person is harmless, go for it. Criminals use all sorts of distraction techniques to hides weapons, drugs, etc. They will gladly show you something that is legit to hide something that isn’t. If you cannot accept that reality, than giving tactical advice isn’t your thing.

        • As I noted, determine what it likely is before engaging. Also as I noted, “once determined that it was a radar gun”. All of which allows for examination of the item in question. But really, the creative guy who bothers to build a .45 into an old Kustom or MPH case? Sure, it’d be rather easy, but oddities like that are the province of spooks – not some yutz holding up a 7-11. How many briefcase guns have you logged? They’re brain-dead simple to build using about $5 worth of parts and a briefcase you can get at goodwill for another $10. I’ve heard many hours of stories on the hilarious stupidity of perps hiding things. None are even that creative.

          As to assuming everyone is harmless, well that’s kinda the job – until it’s not. If you punch in thinking every traffic stop or disturbance call is somehow some dangerous individual and that’s in the front of your brain – I’ve seen that take its toll.

          ‘Situational awareness’ is not the same as ‘assume they all want to kill me’. The call is the call, but Ricky Rangering into a situation where there actually is a man with a gun pointing it at cars, will greatly increase the chance of bad things happening that could have been avoided. Especially when the call doesn’t include a ‘shots fired’ tag.

          I get my validation from years around cops who have stayed alive and relatively sane past their 20 in a tough metro. Some are even on only their 2nd wife. YMMV.

  4. I didn’t get any sort of “cops are bad” feelings from the story above, nor from the comments. Things are sometimes strange in the Land of Cheese – that’s all there is to see here. Move along, folks…

  5. Notification is bull and the cops know it.

    Anyone can phone in plans to radar cars then if the cops get a call about somebody aiming a gun at cars are they not going to show up and do just what they did regardless of the notification?

    How about phoning in plans to radar then sitting and aiming an AR at passing cars? Would the cops just say “gee, this guy said he was just radaring cars so we dont need to check it out.”

    Regardless of notification the cops would have done exactly the same as they did because they are reactionary to the paranoid gasps of an ignorant public.

  6. To the old man in this story: Fvck off! Using the illusion of government violence to intimidate others into submitting to your will is morally reprehensible. If your opinions are so “great” that you have to use the guns of government to force people to accept them, then you seriously need to rethink your position. What an ass!

  7. Thanks 16V for illustrating my points so vividly. I won’t waste my time with responding except to say your armchair cop tactics should be left in your living room. I choose to go home at the end of my day. By the way, a supersoaker is just one way a gun can be disguised.

    Other household or similiar nonthreatening items are too numerous to list but I’ll just put a few below.

    Cell phone.



    Here’s a camera that looks like a gun, OMG!

    • My “armchair cop tactics” are the ones that actually keep decent cops alive in one of the top crime/murder cities in the country. Just adding up the guys in that neck of the woods that I know is over 200 years on the street experience.That’s where I get my datapoints from. Et tu?

      Of course, had you reading comprehension beyond the 1st grade, you would have seen that I not only advocated not rushing in to an undefined situation, but that I noted validating that the “radar gun” was in fact, a radar gun. Oh yeah, I don’t believe in Gatesian para-military policing. Because it never works in the near-term. Let alone long-term.

      Make everyone an enemy and you get a war.

      I’ve seen plenty of kids straight out of the academy with that imaginary implanted fear of everyone and everything. So have my cop friends and relatives. They try to get them back on planet earth and curtail the Ima-bass-ass-mofo crap before someone gets hurt. The job isn’t a Bronson flick. Being a cop is much safer than being a cabbie. Grow a pair.

      One can kill with a pen, a belt, a shoe, a tie (even the uniform clippie), shoelaces, not to mention disguising plastic (or any other explosive) into about a million shapes.

      The odds are far greater statistically that an innocent man will be assaulted by some whack-job copper than a cop will ever even see one of those disguised forearms. Not to mention, that the job of a cop is to defuse the situation so that NO ONE GETS HURT. Even the bad guy.

      Can’t deal? Wrong job, find a new one.

      I’m very much a friend of reasonable peace officers. But, I’m not going to knuckle-under to propaganda nonsense that I know for a fact doesn’t work or doesn’t happen in the real world.

      Find me a cop shot by a cell-phone gun – there are none. Or any other disguised firearm. There are precisely zero in the US. Zero.

  8. It is despicable that the police responded to call about a man with a gun without using their omniscient powers to first determine that the man was old and watching traffic. What is wrong with these cops that they have to go around trying to secure public safety?

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