Dealing with law enforcement probably isn’t something anybody really wants to do. However, it’s going to happen to you at some point or another, even if you haven’t broken any laws. In this article, we’ll tell you about police tricks that cops use to increase their chances of pinning something on you. We also reveal tricks you can use to get yourself out of trouble.
10. Requests are not Orders
Contrary to popular belief, a request made to you by a police officer is not the same thing as an order. For instance, you don’t have to fully roll down your window unless you are specifically ordered to do so.
You may also film police officers while they are on duty; that could serve to prevent any sort of legal shenanigans from taking place since they’ll know that you have the evidence right there in your hand. You also do not have to consent to a search unless the officer has a warrant. You’re perfectly within your rights to ask: “Am I being detained, or am I free to go?”
9. Cops Casually Fish for Info
So you’ve just been pulled over, the officer asked for your license and registration, and you provided it. You should assume that everything that happens after that is them searching for information under the guise of casual conversation so that your guard isn’t up. Don’t fall for this police trick.
Anything you say right now could potentially incriminate you. And it could end up being used against you in court, even though it just seems like a normal conversation. You should only tell officers what they ask to know, in as short of answers as possible. This doesn’t mean that you have to be rude. You should just answer whatever questions they have that actually pertain to the traffic stop itself.
You do not have to answer questions about anything else. If they seem to be trying to lead you into a conversation about something else, try politely asking what the outcome of your alleged infraction is going to be.
8. Cops Can Legally Lie to You
Imagine that an officer has told you that they have your fingerprints or your DNA. They say it implicates or even proves that you were responsible for the crime in question. You shouldn’t necessarily believe them, as it’s a police trick.
Legally, cops are allowed to straight-up lie to you. Country crime labs are notoriously backlogged. If you’ve been arrested for a crime that was committed fairly recently, it is actually unlikely that police have any fingerprints or DNA from the scene at all at the time of your interrogation.
The 6th federal district court described the practice of police lying about the possession of DNA evidence in this way: “a regrettable but frequent practice of law enforcement (that) was not unconstitutional”. The case People v. Jones in (1998) allows police deception as long as it is not likely to lead to an untruthful confession.
7. Cops can Administer Fake Tests
Not only can police legally lie to you, but they can also use fake tests to try to fool you. In the case People v. Mays in 2009, cops hooked up their suspect to a fake lie detector that they, of course, told the suspect was real.
They then asked their questions. Afterward, they showed the suspect a fake graph from their fake machine. They said that it proved that the suspect had lied when answering their questions. The suspect then admitted to having been at the scene of the crime. The court ruled that this was a voluntary and admissible confession. In a similar case, detectives washed a suspect’s hand and then applied a field kit used for testing if a substance was cocaine or not that changed color.
When it changed color, they told the suspect it had done so because they had recently fired a gun with those hands.
6. Police Confiscate Stuff to Fund Themselves
Civil forfeiture is a process whereby the police can take money, cars, and even homes that they suspect are involved in criminal activity.
Unlike criminal forfeiture, the owner of a said property doesn’t even have to be convicted of or even charged with a crime in order to permanently lose their property. You then have to get a lawyer and prove that your property wasn’t actually involved in criminal activity. If you don’t, the police can simply keep it as funds for themselves. Obviously, you can see how this system encourages civil forfeiture since everybody likes money.
In these sorts of cases, it isn’t uncommon for prosecutors to tell you that your case ‘isn’t complicated enough’ to justify you hiring an attorney. Know that it definitely is. You need to be on your guard unless you want your property to become part of the police department’s budget for next year.
5. Ways to Hide from Cops
This clip contains what is probably the most important and useful police trick on this entire list. Make sure you watch closely so you don’t miss any details.
As you can see, by simply carrying a relatively small piece of ductwork with you at all times, you can use it as a quick disguise should you ever become engaged in a foot chase with the law. As long as you are in some sort of urban or industrial area, once you spring your disguise you should become virtually invisible to the police.
Commentators on the video, presumably professional criminals, described the unique tactic as ‘impressively stealthy’ and ‘pure genius’. Before you have a go at me for ‘helping criminals’ I’d like to remind you that most criminals aren’t smart enough to pull this off successfully.
4. Complaints against Police Officers can be Destroyed
Unfortunately, within the police force there has developed a culture of ‘protecting your own’ even if it potentially conflicts with protecting the public. When hackers gained access to the largest police union website in 2016, they uncovered some fairly disturbing information.
In some places, there are guarantees that make sure that complaints made against officers by members of the public are kept secret so that they won’t affect the officer’s career or reputation. In other cases, the complaints are simply destroyed altogether. When The Guardian did an analysis of Fraternal Order of Police documents, they found that a third of them contained a clause allowing “the destruction of records of civilian complaints, departmental investigations, or disciplinary actions after a negotiated period of time.”
A third of the documents also barred the public from accessing past records of complaints. All of these rules serve to make it as difficult as possible for complaints made against officers to actually have an impact. That means that officers who frequently receive complaints could very well end up long outstaying their welcome on the force
3. Stay Calm and Collected
Neil Franklin, a thirty-three-year law enforcement veteran from the city of Baltimore, wrote an article about his experiences directed at civilians. He states that “all citizens should understand how to protect their constitutional rights and make smart decisions when dealing with officers of the law.”.
He said he believes that important information about dealing with police officers has remained largely unavailable to the general public. And due to recent controversies, it’s really needed now more than ever. His number one police trick for dealing with cops in a positive way was simply to remain as calm as possible. Having a bad attitude makes it far more likely that the situation is going to have a bad outcome. Similarly, he stated that it is never a good idea to touch a cop, even if it’s in a friendly way or as a joke.
But, if you are a bit of a nuisance, and want to annoy a cop that has just pulled you over for drink driving when you haven’t consumed any alcohol, do this. Keep a spare beer in your glove pocket and crack one open with your seatbelt like this?
Okay, I wouldn’t actually suggest you do that… but it is strange how well that seatbelt resembles a bottle opener….
2. Zipties that Work as Snow Chains
On a somewhat different note, let’s remember that driving in snowy conditions can be really inconvenient.
Depending on where you are, getting pulled over for not having the proper tire gear is a very real possibility. If it happens you can pretty much kiss your skiing trip goodbye. You might even be issued a fine that will help fund the cops. But legality aside, driving in winter conditions can also just be dangerous. Nobody is a fan of getting into car accidents even if you’re not concerned with the police. Recently, in Truckee, California, cops pulled over a car that they assumed wasn’t equipped with proper snow equipment since they hadn’t seen any chains on the tires. To their surprise, what the driver did have was zip ties strapped all over his tires.
At first, they assumed that this was simply ridiculous. In reality, they were a legitimate product called the ZipGripGo. These plastic zip ties are designed to be a replacement for snow chains. They are only about a tenth of the cost. Make sure to check your local laws to see if this drastically cheaper alternative is legal in your area.
1. Obeying the Law
At the end of the day, the best way to avoid getting into problems with law enforcement is simply to not commit any crimes.
Then you should be fine, right? Well, maybe not entirely. You’ve probably heard rumors about the end of the month being the most dangerous time to drive. That’s because cops have ticket quotas that they need to fill. At that time they are looking for any sort of an excuse they can get to hand some out before the deadline.
Officially, ticket quotas are illegal and do not exist. Unofficially, there are numerous confessions from officers that there is pressure within departments to reach a certain level of performance. It’s a way to give the public and the people in charge a tangible statistic about just how clean they’re keeping the streets. And let’s face it, tickets are money. And whenever there’s money involved, you can bet there’s a load of people being mischievous.
Knowing your rights when dealing with law enforcement is an important part of what it means to live in a free country. Also worth noting is that not committing crimes is an important part of being a free person and not ending up in jail. Most importantly, never leave your house without a sufficient length of ductwork so that you can quickly disguise yourself and disappear into the terrain.
Let me know what you think about these police tricks in the comments. Also, if you enjoyed this article, make sure to sign up so that you get notified of future publications. Thanks for reading!