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Author Topic: Ham radio and the Indy Police Dept  (Read 829 times)
KC9ATJ
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Posts: 88




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« on: May 03, 2009, 06:02:27 AM »

I'm not sure how many of you took note when the Indianapolis Police Dept got in trouble with the FCC for using the 2 meter band for "tactical" communication.  For those that don't know about this, a local ham tape recorded a number of conversations where officers were using profanity to talk to each other and talking about how they might as well start heading over to someone's place because they will probably be calling in a domestic situation again, and other such things.  The plus side of all this is the FCC did get involved.  The downside is that they pretty much gave the officers a slap on the wrist and told the offending officers to remove the unlicensed radios from their squad cars (if they had their ham tickets, they could keep them).

But anyways...

I just happened to stumble across the website of The Mid-State Amateur Radio Club out of Franklin IN (a suburb of Indy) and it stated that over 60 officers signed up for Tech testing.  21 showed up. 60% passed.

Does anybody else feel that this is just a way that the Indy PD is trying to use the bands again?

I honestly hope that those that did end up getting licensed did it with good intentions.

Just my two cents.

Joel
KC9ATJ
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K5END
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Posts: 1309




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« Reply #1 on: May 03, 2009, 10:41:03 PM »

That was lame, I think, of the FCC to tell the police department to "handle it internally."

But as far as getting licensed: as long as they don't use the ham bands for "work," and follow the rules on the air, why would there be a problem?

Look at it this way.

Now that they are licensed, they are now operating as individuals and can be held accountable, in contrast to before when they were operating as a part of the police department, nonetheless a rogue group.

In other words, there is no opportunity for the police department to "handle it internally" now.

It would not look good for any police officer to have in his personnel file that his FCC license was revoked for illegal use of the ham bands.

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N5LRZ
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Posts: 0




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« Reply #2 on: May 04, 2009, 04:05:00 AM »

What also has to be taken into consideration is that anyone can use any radio be it CB, Amateur, Public Service or whatever if there is an emergency where there is a very real situation of loss of life and or property or very real threat there of.

Tactical Training is however not real life and the use of improper radios would not be valid.

However there is an upside to this situation--so to speak.  IF your neighbor bitches about...say...your antenna and a licensed officer comes to see whats going on.  Whome whould he be more inclined to favor being that he is a licensed amateur?
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WZ9O
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Posts: 40




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« Reply #3 on: May 08, 2009, 05:16:54 AM »


"What also has to be taken into consideration is that anyone can use any radio be it CB, Amateur, Public Service or whatever if there is an emergency where there is a very real situation of loss of life and or property or very real threat there of."



Wrong!!!! It’s a myth!!!

In every case that that has happened…the op was jailed and the radio confiscated and never returned!!!!
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W3LK
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Posts: 5644




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« Reply #4 on: May 08, 2009, 06:47:56 AM »

<< Wrong!!!! It’s a myth!!!

It's not a myth; it can be done and the FCC will not prosecute for using amateur radio, CB or any other radio in an actual emergency situation.

The LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCY whose system/radio you used can prosecute, if they so desire. It is almost never done, however, unless the call was a hoax or malicious interference. I challenge the statement:

"In every case that that has happened…the op was jailed and the radio confiscated and never returned!!!! "

The only instance I am aware of where a radio was confiscated was a case in Virginia where a malfunction on a modified 2m HT put it on the local PD frequency. The PD prosecuted and confiscated the HT, but they could not prove malicious intent and the charge was dismissed and the radio ordered returned to the owner.

I know of no case, where anyone who called a law enforcement agency or fire department on their frequencies WITH AN ACTUAL LIFE OR DEATH OR ACTUAL FIRE EMERGENCY, in which the person was prosecuted, much less jailed.

73,

Lon - W3LK
Naugatuck, Connecticut
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A smoking section in a restaurant makes as much sense as a peeing section in a swimming pool.
N5LRZ
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Posts: 0




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« Reply #5 on: May 08, 2009, 06:49:34 AM »

BUT MORON if you want to see the rules and regs...
Per the FCC Rules and Regulations, Part 97 governing amateur radio....

"§97.403 Safety of life and protection of property.
No provision of these rules prevents the use by an amateur station of any means of radiocommunication at its disposal to provide essential communication needs in connection with the immediate safety of human life and immediate protection of property when normal communication systems are not available. "

NOT TO MENTION that no police dispatcher is going to file any kind of official complaint when a citizen calls on a police radio saying that he is keeping a police officer from bleeding to death or that there has been a horrific wreck and the officer is unconcious please send help.




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G3RZP
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Posts: 4360




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« Reply #6 on: May 09, 2009, 03:28:41 AM »

Article 4.9 of the International Radio Regulations

>No provision of these Regulations prevents the use by a station in distress, or by a station providing assistance to it, of any means of radiocommunication at its disposal to attract attention, make known the condition and location of the station in distress, and obtain or provide assistance.<

The US has signed up to the Radio Regulations as an international treaty, and the regs are considered international law. This suggest a police dept could be on sticky ground attempting a prosecution in a case that the Treaty the US govt signed up to specifically allows. Incidentally, the head of the US delegation to a World Radio Conference has Ambassador status, but, I'm told, is only allowed economy class travel across the Atlantic or Pacific!

This section of the regulations allowed non-amateur stations (USS General A. W Greely, USS John W. Weeks and USS Willard Keith)to legally communicate with Cap Carlsen, W2ZXM/MM on the Flying Enterprise (KWFZ) in the 10meter amateur band, when the ship was in distress and eventually sank off south west England in January 1952. Kurt Carlsen stayed on boar d to attempt to save his ship: he was rescued and received the Lloyds Silver Medal, and from Congress, the Distinguished Srvice Medal.

Which is one reason the US has always supported that bit of the Radio regulations - it could happen again - even with GMDSS!
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K1DA
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Posts: 473




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« Reply #7 on: May 18, 2009, 05:33:19 AM »

   They used to each, even in high school, to beware of statements using lines such as "In every case".  
"Seldom affirm, never deny, and always distinguish"
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WI5O
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Posts: 58




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« Reply #8 on: January 04, 2010, 08:26:00 PM »

I know this is an older thread but I just read it.  We experienced the same thing in Beaumont, Texas several years ago.  We called the desk Sergeant and he took care of the problem pretty much immediately for us.

let me describe another scenario and tell me what you think...

Suppose that Mr. Policeman is sitting in his patrol car, about one mile outside of the city limits.  He has his radar unit on and transmitting towards the city limit sign.  He's sitting out there trying to catch speeders leaving the city limits.

1.  His transmitting radar is outside his jurisdictional limits

2.  The police car and policeman is also sitting outside the city limits.

3.  Cop pulls over a lady and writes her a ticket for speeding inside the city limits yet his radar was used outside city limit jurisdiction.

Doesn't the FCC rules license these radars to be used within the jurisdiction area granted in the license?  I don't know but if this is the case, then the policeman seems to be operating the radar outside of the license grant.

Any experts out there who can shed light on this?
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WB5JEO
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Posts: 805




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« Reply #9 on: January 05, 2010, 09:11:15 AM »

First, agencies licensed for other communications (and they all are) are not required to obtain a license for RADAR. See FCC Part 90. (The low-power RADAR, like some of the unattended signs that tell you haw fast you're going are under Part 15.)

Second, jurisdiction (venue, really, is the more proper term for traffic prosecution) applies to where the offense was committed, not where it was detected or investigated.

And in case you're thinking about this, too, and since you're in Texas, a Texas municipal peace officer has full powers (except for traffic - it's somewhat complicated) throughout the county where his city is located. (Lesser powers outside that county, but he's still a peace officer throughout the state.)

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K5END
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Posts: 1309




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« Reply #10 on: January 05, 2010, 06:30:08 PM »

Interesting comments.

Regarding the speeder inside the city limits, the violation occurred regardless of where the observer was.

However, and JEO correct me if I am wrong, an officer not witnessing a traffic violation is less credible in court should he/she issue a citation based on a third party witness peace officer, especially if the third party is from another venue.

I've seen more than one ticket thrown out in Harris county because the officer who alleged a violation radioed another officer to come and write the ticket.

You'd think they would know it would not stick and therefore not bother writing. But then again it is no disadvantage to the writing officer--other than lost time he could spend doing something worthwhile--to keep friendly politics with the other officer. And, people pay bogus tickets all the time, so why shouldn't the officer write a worthless ticket? I guess the motorists figure it is easier than fighting the ticket. As for me, I don't want any tickets on my record (again.)
« Last Edit: January 05, 2010, 06:33:36 PM by K5END » Logged
WB5JEO
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Posts: 805




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« Reply #11 on: January 06, 2010, 12:43:20 PM »

About the only times traffic is written without seeing the offense is following an accident when the violation is self-evident or is by statute presumptive (for instance, in Texas, if two cars collide at a stop intersection, the one with the stop sign is presumed to have failed to yield) or where they're working RADAR and having the cars flagged down a bit farther on. By case law, an officer can rely on another officer's account, and a citation is really only two things. One is a "notice of offense," a literal "citation" in the same sense the word is used in civil law. The other is a promise to appear, a quasi bond. Traffic laws in most states allow someone to plead and pay off a citation, but a full complaint is filed if it's contested. It's a common misconception that an error in the citation kills the case. Not true, at least here. It's what in the complaint that matters, and if you're unhappy with incorrect facts on the citation, we just file a complaint with the court. And in some states, traffic is civil and handled under different rules and different standard of proof from criminal process.

What likely happened in Harris County was that the officer who wrote the ticket was the only officer who showed up in court, because that's the only officer named in the database and the only one notified, and he couldn't testify to the offense, since all he had was hearsay. And a lot of busy courts just dump cases when the officer doesn't appear. Not all, though, so the advice to appear and see if the officer shows doesn't always mean you get off if he doesn't. Smaller courts just reset the case. The officer writing a citation from an accident isn't testifying to hearsay. He actually has the knowledge required to prove up the case. If it was hotly contested, he might have to have another witness to identify the driver, but most aren't contested.
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K5END
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Posts: 1309




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« Reply #12 on: January 06, 2010, 03:14:57 PM »

This was years ago, but I do recall that neither of those two citations ever made it to court where the witnesses would have been needed. Perhaps the witness was not documented by name or otherwise inadmissable. I'll try to find out if you are interested.

Your example of RADAR and the officer down the road is a good one. I have seen that contested but did not stick around to see the outcome. In the end, a smart lawyer will not let it go to trial, as juries usually believe the officer instead of the defendant's witnesses anyway, even in light of overwhelming evidence against the allegation. That's a whole 'nuther topic that I'd love to debate someday. Smiley
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WB5JEO
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« Reply #13 on: January 08, 2010, 01:27:41 PM »

Most aren't fought, simply because they know they did it. There are way too many genuine violations to be had to be concocting false charges. And in Texas, the availability of such things as the driver safety course option and offers of deferred judgment leave even those who believe they weren't guilty an out. And we don't have a "point" system, and it takes a LOT of violations before DPS takes action against a license.

(In the early days in Texas, you didn't get any kind of out. The state issued a paper license with two tear-off stubs. The first officer to write you tore off the first one and sent it in. The second sent the second stub. The third sent the license, and you had to go to DPS to see about getting another. No databases or teletypes in those days, so it was kind of an automatic way of knowing who had lost their license and hadn't just left it at home.)

I was judge of a municipal court for a few years. Two people I remember finding not guilty had cases that just couldn't be proven. In one, the officer failed to go check to see that the flashing light that denoted an active school zone was actually working that morning. In another, the in-car video showed it just wasn't possible to say at night if the driver was wearing a seat belt. Today, in-car video, especially when the radar output appears in the video, just doesn't leave any doubt about the issues.
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K5END
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« Reply #14 on: January 12, 2010, 04:54:29 AM »

There are way too many genuine violations to be had to be concocting false charges.


I agree with the first part, and see it everyday. Now cell phones have made it worse. However, we have to realize that there are bogus tickets. Statistically this sort of error would be expected in any human behavior.

I had a reality check years ago in Plano. I got pulled over when I knew dang well I had stopped at a stop sign. But my mistake was that I argued with the officer. So, naturally I got a ticket. I won't make that mistake again.

I went to trial and still lost, even though there was no proof and I knew it was bogus. In fact the defense team thought we had done an awesome job. Even the officer thought the jury would come back with a not guilty. That's juries for you.

It was very educational for me and gave me a wholly different perspective on testimony as "proof" and constitutional rights. I'll have to remember it if I am ever on a jury.

If only life were perfect, right? Smiley
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