Old 10-23-2003, 03:28 PM   #1
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Default Taking Security Too Far!

When taking pictures you never know when you might stumble into an area "others" find offensive . Read the article below to find out what happened to this guy when he decided to take some pictures on his lunch break.

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Old 10-23-2003, 09:25 PM   #2
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don't want that to happen to me....
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Old 10-28-2003, 03:48 PM   #3
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Default "To be an outlaw you must be honest" - Bob Dylan

As railfans we are usually not practicing our hobbies in a recognized or designated leisure area. We are deviants and thus suspect. We should all be in the park or home watching NASCAR like normal people. It's worse when out at night: much, much, worse. I took 20 months off from railfanning starting the day after 911 as I knew it would be much more trouble than it was worth. Today, I think we should all have calmed down enough to use some common sense, and that goes for railfans and the police alike. In the past 4 months I have been questioned by almost every police agency in my region including the Army (I was too close to their top secret GOLF COURSE). I have never been asked to leave, nor taken in for questioning. I have never been given a ticket. I live near the U.S. capitol and several very large, very sensitive, military bases. I got real long hair, am 50 miles left of center, and do not care for authority of any kind, yet I get a lot less harassment than other railfans I know, simply because I know my rights and because I know how to act around the police. Like it or not we live in a republic that has certain institutions and one of them is the police, who have a job to do and that includes questioning suspicious characters such as railfans. One very good idea is to make sure you can document that you are a railfan as you claim. Keep railfan books/mags in the car. Keep some copies of your photography in the car. If you have a website, give the URL to the officer. If not, keep some screenshots of your stuff from railpics.net with you. If you have a business card, make sure you have some in your wallet. If you can legitimize your hobby/profession; you'll be fairly safe. I have been questioned by police officers who have never heard of railfanning; we don't all grow up with the same cultural luxuries after all. Do not have the police frequencies running on your scanner, just railroads (RR police is o.k.), or keep the police feds etc on different banks and switch them off if trouble's a coming. Keep your freakin' hands where the cops can see them and ask/tell them what you are doing if you need to get something out of your car or pack. The police are not mind readers and lots of people get shot by diving for their wallets etc without declaring their intentions. If it's dark and you hear "drop the gun!", when in reality you're holding your camera or scanner - DROP IT ANYWAY! Leave the beer etc at home (duh). Do not joke about bombs, sabotage etc. Youth is a disadvantage: a bad cop will take advantage of the young and all you can do is to know your rights and work on aging. Keep up to date: Due to 911 and the War On Drugs, we no longer enjoy many of the personal freedoms we enjoyed in the past. Remember: Anyone carrying a gun can be hazardous to your health, no matter what they do for a living. I have hitchhiked, tramped, railfanned, and hoboed all over this country and this advice comes from decades of experience. Lastly: Expect a cop on any track in any direction at any time!

The following is a good handout from the ACLU, like them or hate them, it contains good common sense advice...

Be polite and respectful. Never bad-mouth a police officer.

Stay calm and in control of your words, body language and emotions.

Don't get into an argument with the police.

Remember, anything you say or do can be used against you.

Keep your hands where the police can see them.

Don't run. Don't touch any police officer.

Don't resist even if you believe you are innocent.

Don't complain on the scene or tell the police they're wrong or that you're going to file a complaint.

Do not make any statements regarding the incident. Ask for a lawyer immediately upon your arrest.

Remember officers' badge & patrol car numbers.

Write down everything you remember ASAP.

Try to find witnesses & their names & phone numbers.

If you are injured, take photographs of the injuries as soon as possible, but make sure you seek medical attention first.

If you feel your rights have been violated, file a written complaint with police department's internal affairs division or civilian complaint board.



1. What you say to the police is always important. What you say can be used against you, and it can give the police an excuse to arrest you, especially if you bad-mouth a police officer.

2. You don't have to answer a police officer's questions, but you must show your driver's license and registration when stopped in a car. In other situations, you can't legally be arrested for refusing to identify yourself to a police officer.

3. You don't have to consent to any search of yourself, your car or your house. If you DO consent to a search, it can affect your rights later in court. If the police say they have a search warrant, ASK TO SEE IT.

4. Do not interfere with, or obstruct the police -- you can be arrested for it.



1. It's not a crime to refuse to answer questions, but refusing to answer can make the police suspicious about you. You can't be arrested merely for refusing to identify yourself on the street.

2. Police may "pat-down" your clothing if they suspect a concealed weapon. Don't physically resist, but make it clear that you don't consent to any further search.

3. Ask if you are under arrest. If you are, you have a right to know why.

4. Don't bad-mouth the police officer or run away, even if you believe what is happening is unreasonable. That could lead to your arrest.



1. Upon request, show them your driver's license, registration, and proof of insurance. In certain cases, your car can be searched without a warrant as long as the police have probable cause. To protect yourself later, you should make it clear that you do not consent to a search. It is not lawful for police to arrest you simply for refusing to consent to a search.

2. If you're given a ticket, you should sign it; otherwise you can be arrested. You can always fight the case in court later.

3. If you're suspected of drunk driving (DWI) and refuse to take a blood, urine or breath test, your driver's license may be suspended.



1. You have the right to remain silent and to talk to a lawyer before you talk to the police. Tell the police nothing except your name and address. Don't give any explanations, excuses or stories. You can make your defense later, in court, based on what you and your lawyer decide is best.

2. Ask to see a lawyer immediately. If you can't pay for a lawyer, you have a right to a free one, and should ask the police how the lawyer can be contacted. Don't say anything without a lawyer.

3. Within a reasonable time after your arrest, or booking, you have the right to make a local phone call: to a lawyer, bail bondsman, a relative or any other person. The police may not listen to the call to the lawyer.

4. Sometimes you can be released without bail, or have bail lowered. Have your lawyer ask the judge about this possibility. You must be taken before the judge on the next court day after arrest.

5. Do not make any decisions in your case until you have talked with a lawyer.



1. If the police knock and ask to enter your home, you don't have to admit them unless they have a warrant signed by a judge.

2. However, in some emergency situations (like when a person is screaming for help inside, or when the police are chasing someone) officers are allowed to enter and search your home without a warrant.

3. If you are arrested, the police can search you and the area close by. If you are in a building, "close by" usually means just the room you are in.

We all recognize the need for effective law enforcement, but we should also understand our own rights and responsibilities -- especially in our relationships with the police. Everyone, including minors, has the right to courteous and respectful police treatment.

If your rights are violated, don't try to deal with the situation at the scene. You can discuss the matter with an attorney afterwards, or file a complaint with the Internal Affairs or Civilian Complaint Board.

Produced by the American Civil Liberties Union.
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Old 10-28-2003, 04:33 PM   #4
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wow wow

where did you get all that stuff from?

very useful though, thanks for sharing
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