Friday, July 07, 2006

Austin PD written consent form

When Austin PD implemented a requirement that police officers obtain written consent before searching vehicles at traffic stops, so-called "consent searches" declined 63% in the first year. As I wrote on ACLU of Texas' Liberty Blog:
It's possible the decline stems from more people exercising their right to refuse searches when confronted with a written document. It may also be that officers are less likely to request unnecessary searches when documentation will be kept. Either way, since officers don't find contraband in 88% of searches, the new policy frees up a lot of officer hours for more productive crimefighting pursuits.
See the form APD uses for permission to search, obtained last year by the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition under a public information act request. If could add one thing, I wish there was a line for the officer to explain the reason a search was requested.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Just remember cops wouldn't ask, if they didn't need your permission.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Sing it, amigo. I think everyone should just say 'no.' Make 'em articulate a reason why - preferably to a judge, not on the side of the road.

Anonymous said...

With a form like that, why would anybody agree? Of course the number of consent searches went down. It well have a warning that agreement to search could lead to arrest and imprisonment.

Ridiculous. APD is the only law enforcement organization in the Central Texas area that uses written consent.

Wonder how many drugs and weapons got away because of it?

Gritsforbreakfast said...

"APD is the only law enforcement organization in the Central Texas area that uses written consent."

Not even remotely true. The Travis County Sheriff and a couple dozen more TX agencies that I know of also require written consent, the DA Association tells departments written consent should be "preferred."

Your concern over drug and gun cases is ironic - without written consent, it's a lot easier for evidence to get thrown out on technicalities. Written consent protects evidence so it can be used later in a case - that's why prosecutors like it. It's easier for the cop on the street not to get written consent, but easier for the DA and the rest of the justice system if they do.

Anonymous said...

"Your concern over drug and gun cases is ironic - without written consent, it's a lot easier for evidence to get thrown out on technicalities."

It's not as easy as you think. Most patrol cars have video so it is harder to use that false claim of being coerced.

Many departments have a policy of not requiring written consent as long as it is on audio or video. I like that idea because the driver doesn't have a sheet with all this alarming language on it.

Anonymous said...

What language in the form do you find inaccurate or alarmist? It sounds pretty neutral to me.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

"I like that idea because the driver doesn't have a sheet with all this alarming language on it."

Sounds like a cop saying this, or at least someone that doesn't care if a person knows he's or her's rights.

Then again most cops feed on the ignorance of others.

Anonymous said...

"Then again most cops feed on the ignorance of others."

LOL I don't know about that but it sure is easier for us (cops) if people don't have a big "YOU CAN SAY NO TO THIS SEARCH!!" is size 40 bold font.

I make no apologies about it. I wouldn't ask for consent if I didn't want the person to say yes.

Rusty said...

anonymous

""""LOL I don't know about that but it sure is easier for us (cops) if people don't have a big "YOU CAN SAY NO TO THIS SEARCH!!" is size 40 bold font.""""

Easier to protect and serve or easier to violate a citizen??? Having Americans demand their rights " ONLY " scares those wanting to violate them, does it not???

"""I make no apologies about it. """

No Apology for what, violating the law or your oath and a American citizen, or committing an illegal act???

""""I wouldn't ask for consent if I didn't want the person to say yes."""

Your wants ARE IRRELAVANT , as a PUBLIC SERVANT YOU BETTER HAVE PROBABLE CAUSE! Anything less is the abuse of police powers and a felony, AS IT SHOULD BE! Sure there are time when you have a feeling or hunch and are right in “ ASKING TO SEARCH “, but if they say no and you fabricate a reason, YOU SHOULD LOSE YOUR BADGE AND GO TO JAIL!!! It is not that anyone has or has not anything to hide that is the problem, THE PROBLEM is " SOME " violate their powers THINKING THEY DON"T HAVE TO FOLLOW ANY RULES OR THE LAW BECAUSE, THEY ARE THE LAW!!! Protect and Serve doesn't mean AS YOU SEE FIT, it means by the oath and laws of this state and country, anything less is an insult to the very profession you belong to! And with each abuse of power more honor and integrity FOR ALL OUR BROTHERS AND SISTERS IN UNIFORM IS SACRIFICED!!!! To try and justify this illegal act with what “ POSSIBLE “ things might not be found IS NOT JUSTIFICATION for raping ALL AMERICANS OF THEIR RIGHTS!!! I call BS!

If the good guys who swear an oath and have badges don't have to follow the laws, NOBODY DOES!!!

Rusty White
Speaker www.leap.cc

Anonymous said...

SCORE!!!!!