Terry Stop: Valley
Police Department, Spring1988
While there were no specific traffic offenses, this was suspicious
to me for the following reasons...
is a US Supreme Court Ruling known as Terry versus Ohio,
(392 US 1, 1968,) which is related to Probable Cause for Law Enforcement
to stop and / or search an individual. This ruling has also been
expanded to include the searching or “frisking” of an
individual from the perspective of officer and public safety. You
see, the Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution’s prohibition
on Unreasonable Search and Seizure says that the Police can’t
just stop someone based solely on a hunch. In its most basic interpretation,
Terry v. Ohio basically states: “Based on the officer’s
training and experience, an officer may stop an individual if the
officer has reasonable and articulated suspicion that a crime has,
is, or is about to take place.”
those interested, there is a wealth of information on the internet
regarding Terry v. Ohio.
patrol during the wee hours of the morning, I was traveling north
on Spruce Street on the north side of the city. If one was to follow
this road out of town, it would soon turn due east, and come out
at County Road 92 near the unincorporated community of King Lake.
I encountered a southbound SUV bearing Wisconsin license plates,
which after the driver obviously observed me, suddenly turned east
on a dead end residential street, rather than continuing on to the
highway. This vehicle continued two blocks to the dead end, where
it simply stopped, as if the driver had no destination in mind on
this street or anywhere else to go.
there were no specific traffic offenses, this was suspicious to
me for the following reasons:
Time of day
- Out of State License Plates
- Apparent evasive driving of the vehicle
- Clear indication that the driver did not know where he was going
- Residential Neighborhood
no other reason, I could be providing assistance to someone who
was obviously lost!
in behind the vehicle, turned on the cherries, and called in the
stop. On making contact with the driver, and lone occupant of the
vehicle, I was provided with an operator’s license issued
by the State of California, vehicle registration for the vehicle
to another individual with the same last name and issued by the
State of Wisconsin, and current proof insurance for the vehicle.
The subject driver, while not intoxicated appeared very nervous
the subject where he was going at this time of the morning, to which
he replied he was going to a convenience to purchase a pack of cigarettes.
I asked why he was looking for a convenience store on this particular
street and neighborhood, instead of along the highway. He replied
that he must have got lost. The subject went on to tell me that
the vehicle belonged to his brother, who had recently moved to King
Lake from Milwaukie, Wisconsin. He was staying at his brother’s
home and had borrowed the vehicle with permission.
the subject to sit tight for a moment, and returned to my patrol
car to request a records check. Soon, the dispatcher replied with
the vehicle registration, with no wants or warrants associated with
the vehicle. A short moment later, came additional information:
“Five-Four. 10-35 Signal 2X on the subject!”
indicated a warrant or “hit” on the computer, with Signal
2X indicating the warrant was a felony with a caution indicator.
At this point, the dispatcher pauses, waiting for me to advise if
it’s clear for her to continue with details. I advised her
to go ahead.
continuing. 10-35 2X NCIC, Homicide, Los Angeles County, California.
10-50. District 7 is in route to back.” What this means, is
an arrest warrant for Murder is listed on the National Crime Information
Computer, or NCIC from Los Angeles County, California. The added
10-50 specifically means, Use Caution. District 7 is the
Sheriff’s Deputy in my area who is on the way to assist me.
“Five-Four, Clear. Proceed with confirmation.” Here,
I’ve replied that I understand, and that I’m providing
authorization for her to contact the authorities in California to
confirm they have a valid warrant, and that they will extradite.
ten minutes had gone by and Dispatch called to report, “Five-Four.
10-35 Confirmed. WAREX.” This means that the warrant was valid,
and that California would come to Nebraska to bring the subject
getting a little uncomfortable on the dark, dead end street in that
the Deputy has not arrived by this time. The subject had not been
secured yet, so I deemed it prudent to get this kid in custody with
no further delay. I brought my my weapon out from the holster, but
held it at my side as I approached the driver’s side of the
vehicle. From a protected position, I opened the driver’s
side door, and asked the subject to step out of the vehicle, and
place his hands on the side of the vehicle.
subject cooperated fully, and didn’t resist as I placed the
hand cuffs on him. I advised him that he was under arrest on the
authority of a warrant out of California for murder. The subject
looked down for a moment, then said, “I was in a bar fight.
I hit him, and he went out like a light! But I didn’t know
I killed him…”
Purple Sage Law Enforcement