Terry Stop:
Valley Police Department, Spring1988
While there were no specific traffic offenses, this was suspicious to me for the following reasons...

There 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.”

For those interested, there is a wealth of information on the internet regarding Terry v. Ohio.

On my 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.

While 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

If for no other reason, I could be providing assistance to someone who was obviously lost!

I pulled 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 and agitated.

I asked the subject where he was going at this time of the morning, to which he replied he was going to a convenience store 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.

I asked 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!”

10-35 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.

“Five-Four, 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.

I replied, “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.

About 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 back.

I was 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.

The 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…”

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