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The money shot of any good open carry police encounter video: the “show me your papers” moment. I love the confusion on the cops’ faces when an open carry advocate politely informs officers that American citizens don’t have to show ID unless the cops suspect that a crime’s been committed. What crime do you suspect me of committing officer? Am I being detained? Priceless. Until it gets boring. Personally . . .

I’d show them my ID. But then I view open carry as a desensitization process, rather than political point making. The cops see my ID, feel better and away I go (in theory), a polite non-nut case openly carrying a firearm in accordance with the law. The cop might even wave next time he sees me. (True story.) But again, I get the outrage at being detained for WWA (walking while armed).

On the flip side, cops should have to ID themselves every time they initiate contact with a citizen. “Hello, my name is officer Krupke and I’d like to find out what’s happening here. Do you mind stepping aside and talking to me for a moment?” OK, not every time. “Hello, my name is officer Krupke and I can see that you’re robbing this bank. Do you mind stepping outside and talking to me for a moment?”

In terms of police turning up at a man’s castle, no exceptions. I mean, what happened to ye olde KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK. “Police! Open up!” Back in the day, giving the bad guy or guys a chance to come quietly was considered the right thing to do. At some point, no-knock raids became de rigeur. Because bad guys were flushing drugs down the toilet while the cops were preparing to enter.

No seriously. Despite the fact that cops learned to put a trap at the end of a drug dealer’s sewage system, no-knock raids continue to be justified as evidence destruction prevention. No-knock or not, we need a standard police identification protocol. Because people are letting fake cops into their house and suffering the consequences.

David Hay of Waltham says he was attacked at gun point on Saturday night inside his own apartment on Bedford Street in Waltham.

“The moment I pulled the latch back bang I ended up on the floor,” Hay told WBZ-TV.

The 49-year-old says the only reason why he opened the door is because the suspects told him they were FBI agents with a search warrant. When they got inside, one of the suspects hit David in the head with a gun.

David lived to ID the fake ID Fibbies. But he’s not the only one to be fooled by fake cops. Truth be told, the fake cop scam happens on a regular basis. Click here, here (as in the video above), here and here for examples. Which is why it’s a good idea not to open your door to a police officer until after you call 911 and verify that they are police personnel on police business.

[Commentator David P suggests giving the police operator a code word that the cop(s) at the door can use to verify their identity,.]

That said, if the cop’s dressed like a cop with all the cop accessories and there’s a cop car in sight and it’s not 3am and you’re not a CIA analyst or a drug dealer, OK, maybe you just ask to see their ID through your window or peep hole, ask what they want, step outside and have a chat.

[The previous version of this article said let ’em in. Wrong. Do not let a police officer into your house without a warrant. My bad.]

If you’re in a car being pulled over, always pull over at a well-lit public place. If you have doubts, put your hazard lights on, call 911, ask about the cop and keep driving – slowly – to a public place or to a police station. A real cop will not shoot out your tires. You hope. Anyway, here’s the gun part . . .

You are armed at all times, right? Even at home, correct? So if a cop comes knocking on your door, do you disarm before you open the portal? You do not. If you’re in your car wearing your gun, do you disarm before you stop? You do not. If a police officer glimpses a gun in your hand for any reason, if he sees a “furtive movement” (putting a gun into a glove box looks like taking one out), you’re gonna be in a heap of trouble.

Stay armed, my friend. Keep your distance. ‘Cause you never know.

If a bunch of fake cops come steaming in during a fake no-knock raid, chances are you’re f**ked anyway. It’s another good reason for judges to deny permission for no-knock raids: homeowners may mistake the good guys for bad guys. Or the bad guys for the good guys. Either way, you have been warned.

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    • No, I see what he’s getting at. Make sure it’s actually the police you’re dealing with. In the area I work there are a few people who obtain a blue light, pull citizens over and demand money to get out of a ticket. These aren’t police, but impostors. All RF is saying in this case is if you have any doubt it’s the actual police you’re dealing with, call 911 to verify

      • The fact that people take time out of their day to shill for roberts police articles in the comments section every time someone dares to complain really says something about the entire situation

    • Seriously, another cop story…… Cause gun owners need to know the truth about how to safely interact with police officers while armed…

  1. I’ve been stopped whilst OC’ing. Sometimes I’ve provided ID sometimes I’ve and done the “am I suspected of committing a crime” dance. Depends on the circumstances and primarily the vibe I get from the officer making contact.

    I usually stuff my carry piece between the seats as it’s difficult to access with a seatbelt while on-body. The one time I’ve been stopped in my vehicle this way it was the first ting I mentioned to the officer after informing him of my CPL.

    One thing I have NEVER done is permitted access to my weapon. I’ve only had two officers request to see my firearm. One was taken aback, but grinned and gave me an “attaboy” when I politely refused. The other, ended up needing additional officers and ultimately a captain before I was free to go.

    • That doesn’t sound fun.
      One major thing if you carry while driving, keep your hands away from your hip at all times. Informing the officer that you need to get your wallet out of your pocket is a better idea than risking it and getting killed…

      • Thank you for bringing up the fact that as CCW you unfortunately have to fear a state sanctioned revenue extraction officer more than a gangbanger or crackhead. The reason most of us have no fear of gangbangers or crackheads is because our training and instincts in situational awareness tell us they maybe a threat and avoidance is used. When we get contacted by the officer we hope that he is a decent human. Under color of authority we have to allow them to get close to us and by then its too late if they are blood thirsty mental midgets with a badge.

    • Be careful if you visit other states. In some states, the officer can require you to surrender your firearm during your interaction with him. Officer safety trumps civil rights, after all.

      • and in some of those states, you are required by law to inform the officer that you are carrying when you are stopped. Fail to do so and you might get a free trip downtown. Pays to know the rules where you go.

      • TX is one. The one jackleg who played that “officer safety” BS with me after pulling me over for an inspection sticker 2 weeks out of date, jacked me up against my truck and fished around in my pocket for my LCP! Then the Ahole started trying to unload it while holding it between me and him, and that I could not take. I asked what the blankety blank he thought he was doing, and the jerk told me to watch my language, so I told him to kiss my ass and stop pointing my own gun at me. I finally got him to put his own body between me and my gun while he continued to dick with it, eventually dropping the chamber round on the ground. The kid who was his partner tried to calm me down by telling me this fool was an “expert”, I told him I was carrying a machine gun to work every day before this “expert” was born, trust me, he’s an idiot.

        There should be some definitions, since there are some fools with badges. You pull somebody over for expired inspection sticker, and are notified he is armed IAW the law, this is not time to assume he is planning to murder cops in order to get away with being an inspection scofflaw.

    • The good thing about where I live in VA is nobody calls us for open carriers. I’ve never been to an open carrier call. Our dispatchers are good about informing the caller that no law is being broken.

      As for in the vehicle, I love the look on peoples faces when I pull them over and they show me their CWP and say I’m not carrying today though and I respond with “why not? carrying is the smart thing to do”

      • Tile Floor……I like this guy! Keep up the good cop work and showing people you aren’t bad people. There are just some bad apples in the bunch, as with every profession.

      • If you’re a virginia cop you should know that Virginia has a Concealed Handgun Permit, not a CWP. I have never heard a Virginia cop call our permit what it is and it’s really annoying.

        • No, I understand what it’s called as I have one in my wallet, as I don’t agree with LEO carve outs. I was using an acronym out of laziness, and I used one that I was hoping the TTAG community as a whole would know what I’m taking about.

        • Funny you should mention the CHP v CWP issue. As I’m sure you know, Va. USED TO have CWPs but the law was changed in a compromise to get shall issue, mid 90s. No more legally concealed knives, nun chucks, etc.

          Anyway, as I have nothing better to do while I sit around waiting for someone to call 911 for EMS, I frequently listen to our behind-the-scene heroes in their PSAP (Public Safety Answering Point, previously known as ‘dispatch’).

          Every time the dispatcher – scratch that – communications specialist runs a license plate that returns back with a CHP endorsement, he informs the LEO that “the subject has a CWP.” Laziness? Stupidity? Does the VCIN (Virginia Criminal Information Network) still use the CWP terminology due to some deficiency in reprogramming? Beats me.

          Completely off topic rant/extension: Whether the vehicle registration does or does not return with a CHP endorsement, that means exactly… nothing. It only IDs the vehicle OWNER, not the driver, and certainly there may be an unpermitted OCer or – gasp – criminal in possession of a firearm. Or, the driver may be the owner but NOT carrying a firearm. Or there may be a charter bus load of lawful gun carriers or ISIS terrorists sitting behind the driver.

      • Sir it seems as you are a decent human being. If you ever need some back up you have got it from some folks in the state of shooting big guns, big distances, at small targets. God Bless You and Yours

  2. I would be terrified to carry out a no knock raid. The cops are at fault if they get shot in a dark room after busting down a door with no verbal warning (some have even been caught lying about giving a verbal command to open the doors when it was completely silent).

    Catching that one junkie is not worth the risks IMO. No knock raids put people mistaken as criminals at risk, as well as the police at risk should they enter a non-druggie residence and get shot. I wish judges would see the same way.

    • Unfortunately, most people are not eager to enact public policy based purely on “hypotheticals” … and at this point home occupants shooting police during no-knock raids is a “hypothetical”. Until it starts happening more often, the practice will continue.

    • Legalize drugs, the whole reason for no-knock goes away, with uncounted other abominations. Conversely, show me where the Constitution authorizes the federal government to tell me what I can or cannot put in my own body.

      • Legalize drugs, the whole reason for no-knock goes away, with uncounted other abominations.

        I’m ambivalent about legalization of drugs (it’s also not a high-priority issue for me), and believe that the “War on Drugs” has been an abject failure.

        That said, no-knock raids need to go away, immediately, regardless of the legal status of drugs. They are utterly immoral, and unconstitutional.

  3. maybe you just ask to see their ID through your window or peep hole, ask what they want and let them in without the call.

    Wrong. You ask to see some ID and a warrant. Without a warrant, you politely suggest the officer go engage in autocopulation.

    If the officer is there for something you are not a suspect in, such as a burglary down the street, verify the ID, step out, and talk to him there. You don’t want him stepping in, seeing something that he can claim is probable cause, and then turning you into a suspect. Even if you win in court, it’s still better to avoid it.

    If you’re talking to a cop outside about a different matter, and he asks to use the restroom, tell him where the nearest convenience store is. Never invite a cop into your home.

  4. And if you own your own house, install a “security screen/storm door” on the outside of your man entry doors (the ones that visitors (e.g., cops) will most likely knock on). This will let you talk to whoever is outside while denying them the ability to push past you – you can get doors like this that will resist 1000 pounds of force, and they do not look like bank vaults. Home Depot and Lowe’s have samples f these on their web sites, you can also generally order one at our local hardware store. Installation of mine was $85, and the door cost around $550-600.

    These doors are set to take a dead bolt lock as well as a regular doorknob lock. The hinges are pinned, so they can’t be pulled out even if the installation screws are pulled out, and the frame is fastened to your door jamb from inside the door.

    • +1 to this. A good video feed can go along way. I installed one on my front door and if anyone I don’t know knocks on the garage or side door(my house is laid out so the side door looks like it might be the front door) i kindly ask them to please go to the front.

    • Need to get one of those Israeli security doors

      ** insert picture of attractive armed Israeli female model guarding a door here **

      They secure all 4 sides of the door. I would imagine you would need a pretty stout frame to take advantage of that setup.

  5. I suspect that I’m like most Americans and can say the FBI has never had reason to knock on my door. If someone knocked on my door and said they were feds it would set off all sorts of alarms in my noggin. Like Idaho Pete above I have a good security door and it ain’t opening til I see some real good ID.

    I did encounter an FBI team at a job site once. Very polite, very professional and the very first thing they did was show ID.

    I do encounter local PD and deputies quite a bit because of my job. Mostly they’re uniformed and again, mostly polite and professional.

  6. “maybe you just ask to see their ID through your window or peep hole, ask what they want and let them in without the call.”

    Or you live in a small community and you know who is on the department and who is not. I was told a couple years ago by an officer that if you are really suspious call the department (you really should have them on your contact list anyway) and give the dispatcher a code word or number to radio to the officer to tell you.

    Also spend a little bit of money and get a video doorbell. When somebody rings you can see who it is. If you know them answer the door, if you don’t know them you can respond by speaker, if you don’t know them and don’t want to know them just don’t respond (works great for salesmen). Great level of protection for $100-$200 with the added deterant of having a camera looking at your front door.

    Dead on with getting the officers name at the the beginning. I introduce myself and then I ask for his name, if they don’t volunteer right away.

    • I hear suggestions like this often, usually without the warning which should be mandatory; If you deliberately do not answer a knock on your door, remain alert and vigilant for a significant time, ready at a moment’s notice for a home invasion by one or several burglars, who you just told that no one was home.

      And I would definitely want a recording device on that camera, with around a week’s worth of video memory.

  7. When I first moved to Arizona back in ’08, it was all over the radios that the Cartels had people masquerading as police. They have uniforms and cruisers and will pull people over to kidnap. The warning was to call 911 to verify they are police before stopping and pull over in a well lit and populated area. Sound advice regardless.

  8. I always liked the “head to the nearest police station” or “go to a populated area” suggestions cops give people who may be unsure if the person trying to interact with them or pull them over is really a cop.

    Follow their own advice and when you arrive at the safe destination they’ll rip you out of the car by your hair and jam their knee into the back of your neck and charge you with evasion.

    The real and honest advice that they wish they could give out is when you see a uniform or hear anyone shout “POLICE!” you should immediately lay prostrate on the ground and shut your mouth lest you suffer wrath of lord almighty.

    Contempt of cop is punishable by death. No trial, no jury. Just immediate execution.

    • The police cannot charge you with anything. A police officer may say that they are going to charge you with this or that, but in reality, all they can do is recommend you be charged with something. The only ones who can formally bring charges against you are prosecutors. One of the main things prosecutors will go by is what things did you say to the police (hence why keeping quiet is essential).

      • Um, what? My mileage varies considerably from your assertion. Maybe in your state the prosecutor handles all prosecutions, but that is far from accurate as a blanket statement.

        • I’m pretty sure that is how it happens in all states. The police are not the ones who have the power to bring charges against you, nor are they the ones who decide whether or not you are innocent or guilty. Prosecutors bring the charges. The job of the police is to make the arrest and write the police report. The prosecutor reads the report and decides whether there is enough evidence to bring charges.

  9. If a cop wants to see my ID, I’ll show it to him. Once I’ve done so, very politely, I’m either back on my way to where I was headed in the first place (the most likely outcome), or Officer Krupke can consider me a more or less permanent fixture in his life for the next several years. Which he would not know until he got served. If I have a verbal disagreement with a cop on the street, I probably can’t win, and I always like to win.

    It’s different in my home. I can’t imagine why cops would show up at my door, but if they did, they’d better have either a warrant or a collection box for the police benevolent association.

  10. Wow. Sure are some hard asses around here. I guess I must have lived a charmed life so far. My personal cop interactions have usually been professional though annoying (getting a speeding ticket, etc.) but never life threatening.

  11. In more than a couple of states, you’re required to produce identification if asked for it by law enforcement regardless of whether you’re suspected of committing a crime. Pulling that “I don’t have to give you ID” line in one of those states will get you locked up. Know your state laws, folks.

  12. The only thing I would add to this article is that if/when you are
    unsure enough to call the cops, maybe call a different agency.
    And definitely ask for another officer. The suspects may have
    stolen an ID and/or badge. Simply calling to confirm either
    may not protect you. Badges are relatively easy to get
    ahold of or forge; instead ask for a LE only ID card (if the dept
    has them) or both. Most Depts. that have ID use holograms
    and other security effects to make forgeries a lot harder.

    Calling another agency might further protect you. If I was running
    a cop scam I’d have a second man in the same LE uniform waiting
    so if the person called the real LEOs, they could “conveniently” be
    in the area to help ID you. Calling a another agency could reduce
    this possibility. (FYI: I haven’t pulled this scam, or any other for that
    matter, but if I can think of the safeguard of a second officer; you can
    bet that an actual scam artist has too.)

  13. “American citizens don’t have to show ID unless the cops suspect that a crime’s been committed.”

    That unfortunately depends on what state you are in. There are plenty of states where you are required to show ID if a LEO requests it whether or not they suspect you of a crime or not. If you refuse then you can be charged.

    Be careful if you live in one of the red states on the map. If you refuse to identify yourself you can be arressted. I have a cousin that went to jail recently for this very thing.

    • There are plenty of states where you are required to show ID if a LEO requests it whether or not they suspect you of a crime or not. If you refuse then you can be charged.

      That is not what your included link says, and references the 4th Amendment as opposed to state law. And even where there is a “stop and ID” law in place, you still cannot be charged for refusing to answer, but the police can use your refusal in combination with other factors in their decision to arrest you. And ALL these items are based on an officer’s reasonable belief that a crime has been committed, without that even the “stop and ID” law is meaningless. Passage isn’t that long, should have read it before posting link!

      • There are plenty of states where you are required to show ID if a LEO requests it whether or not they suspect you of a crime or not. If you refuse then you can be charged.

        Under Hiibel, state laws that compel disclosure of one’s name are constitutional, unless disclosure of name alone would constitute a violation of fifth-amendment rights against self-discrimination.

        Under Terry v. Ohio, “Stop and identify” laws only apply to investigative detentions (i.e. “Terry stops”), and states cannot compel production of identification (i.e. ID papers) by the detainee without reasonable, articulable suspicion of some unlawful activity to justify the investigative detention.

        If you are not being detained pursuant to reasonable articulable suspicion of some unlawful activity, then the interaction is consensual, and you are both free to leave, and free to ignore a request or demand for ID.

  14. I’ve called the county on the sheriff, the sheriff on the county and the county on the local goofballs. Resulting, happily, in one less deputy and several forced apologies. Call another department on them if they aren’t behaving.

        • But I betcha there’s some dimbulb who’ll tell you that refusing to pony up your ID *IS* cause for reasonable suspicion you’ve committed a crime!

        • But I betcha there’s some dimbulb who’ll tell you that refusing to pony up your ID *IS* cause for reasonable suspicion you’ve committed a crime!

          See also: the Aurora, CO, incident with the long-gun open-carrying 18-year-old, captured on video and discussed right here at TTAG, in its usual “echo chamber” style.

          That was exactly what the police officer implied, essentially. He ultimately arrested him for impeding an investigation by failure to produce identification – without ever articulating the reasonable suspicion of unlawful activity being investigated.

  15. Refusing unwarranted searches (including producing ID) is as much a right as our right to bear arms. A lot of the people saying “just show them your ID” seem to forget that.


  16. If the police are at my door claiming to be a SWAT team, I wouldn’t speak to them at all, I would just dial 911 and say that there are police there. If jut an officer or two, I wouldn’t answer the door at all. I’ve heard that an officer can also if you open the door put their foot in the door to keep you from closing it.

    A conundrum to me is people claim to be SWAT and break the door down and come in and you honestly don’t know if it’s a real SWAT team or thugs pretending to be cops. If you have say an AR with plenty of rounds, do you surrender immediately or do you open fire? Because whether real or criminals, if/when they see you with that AR, you are going to start getting shot at.

    • I would argue that police who suddenly break down your door in the middle of the night are criminals acting under color of law. No drug seizure is worth risking the lives of the home occupants or the officers serving the warrant.

  17. Note to self: surveillance cameras are useless. While they may record what happened in a vague, general sense, they did to record enough detail to identify the criminals even if they had had no hats or masks.

    Second note to self: when installing surveillance cameras, install them at chest or neck level so they actually record the faces of people wearing hats.

    • There is bound to be a way to modify a GoPro to loop, 6 hours and 46 minutes of HD video on a $50 microSD ought to take care of most problems, 2 pics a second might be even better, in a year or two $50 will buy you 13 hours of recording time. After that ID is no problem, spend another $10 on a sign that says “you are being videotaped” and you will probably never have anyone test you.

  18. Hmmm…I have had the FBI investigate me. My 40 year old son applied to DOD and they ask me all kinds of crap. And he hasn’t lived with me since he was 3. There have also been wrong address swats nearby. A good start would be making no knock raids illegal. Since it ain’t gonna’ happen be aware and vigilante.


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