Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Ask a Cop 02/17/2010
Time for another installment of Ask a Cop. This time I interviewed an active patrol officer from the Miami area.
PK: Are you aware of the current Real Life Super Heroes movement?
C: No, what is that?
PK: The RLSH are costumed activists involved in various community service. Their activities range from charitable giving, neighborhood watch, and a small percentage of these individuals patrol in costumes looking out for people in trouble.
C: Ah, alright that is interesting. So they dress up like comic book characters?
PK: Nothing copyrighted, they create their own persona with comic book characters as a template. As an active member of law enforcement what are your thoughts on people in costumes patrolling for crime?
C: Other then the obvious answer that these people are going to get hurt, what they are doing is illegal as this sounds like vigilantism.
PK: Most of the RLSH have done research on this matter and do not consider themselves vigilantes, just pro active citizens looking out for others. They do not carry firearms, only non lethal items like tasers and pepper spray.
C: It is smart of them not to carry firearms, but in my area anyone using a taser or pepper spray get brought in as well. Without documentation it is still their word against who ever they attacked. If they are dressed weird and it is not Halloween it makes them look less than creditable. Depending on what colors each suspect is wearing this could also move into a gang related crime. Also tasers and various sprays are not always non lethal.
PK: What about good Samaritan laws?
C: Good Sam laws will not protect an individual from civil liability. A prime example would be a case that happened a few years ago. There was a bad traffic accident where one of the cars was on fire. A man that witnessed the accident pulled the driver out of the burning car saving her life. While removing her from the vehicle he jarred her spine causing permanent peristalsis on her left side. She took this man to civil court and won. Even though he saved her life being that he had no medical training it made him liable. Unfortunately sometimes doing the right thing will cost you if you are unqualified.
PK: Wow, that is slightly disturbing. What advice do you offer the patrolling RLSH who does not care about the risk and will do what is right no matter what the consequences.
C: If they feel they must take this course of action first off loose the costume. It all comes down to credibility. Document everything you see with some kind of video equipment. Many cases without proper documentation are thrown out of court. If you see a crime in progress call 911 immediately, one of the best ways to help law enforcement is to be a good witness.
Another interesting interview with some unique points of view. I have some more law enforcement friends I will be interviewing in the next few months. I may stop if it gets redundant but then again who knows.. maybe someone will support the RLSH.
If anyone has any questions they would like me to ask for the next interview please email them.