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View Full Version : Question for Officers: Handcuffing for "safety".


CEDaytonaRydr
12-15-2010, 11:39 AM
I had a quick question for the LEOs out there. Forgive me if it's already been asked and answered. I've been searching on here and on the WWW and I can't seem to find the answer I'm looking for...

A while back, a friend of mine was a passenger in a car with a guy who was pulled over (suspicion of DUI). When the 2nd officer arrived, he took my friend out of the car and said that he was going to be handcuffed for "safety".

In those circumstances, can you decline to be handcuffed? You're not under arrest and you're not under suspicion of anything.

Also, if you have an injury that might be aggravated by having your hands cuffed behind your back, can you tell the officer that having your hands cuffed behind your back could injure you and requrest that your hands be cuffed in front?

I was just curious...

Larker
12-15-2010, 11:51 AM
When it comes to Officer and Subject safety, it's best to just do what the officer says.

If you're compliant, I will do my best to make it as comfortable as possible (which, really, isn't comfortable at all), but we have reasons why we do things the way we do, and it isn't because we're trying to be rude, or get some sick pleasure out of torturing people.

To put it in perspective, I would treat another LEO the same way as anyone else if I didn't know them personally. Any LEO who finds themselves being challenged/approached by another LEO should know well enough to be very compliant and polite (it's what they'd want from anyone else anyway).

If you have an injury, and cuffing behind your back aggravates your shoulder, I'm sorry, but I can't trust that deep down you don't have it in you to attack me, or try to steal something off my belt.

Look at it this way, If I have you secured in a manner where I know your actions are limited, I won't be as jumpy utilize my right to defend myself against you. The slight discomfort is mitigate the escalation of force, and makes it harder for an LEO to justify using higher levels of force against you (ie. batons, tasers, OC spray, lethal force). It actually is for your safety from the LEO.

The verbage I was taught: "I need to detain and/or search you for your safety and mine."

meangreen46
12-15-2010, 12:03 PM
I don't think I've ever seen a situation end nicely where a subject "declines" to being handcuffed. You can definitely request to be cuffed in the front and usually, the officer will oblige if he feels you are not gonna cause any trouble. Officer safety is ultimately up to that officer's discretion. Every situation is different and for whatever reason he thought he needed to....he cuffed the passenger. EDIT: Policy may differ between agencies.

On a side note: Burbank PD took a large male into custody a few months ago and he requested to have two sets of cuffs because his shoulder hurt him. He managed to get the officer's gun and shoot him and his partner while walking back to the car. Both officers are alright, but that's and example of what can go wrong by making accomodations for somebody.

TrailerparkTrash
12-15-2010, 12:05 PM
In those circumstances, can you decline to be handcuffed?
Sure, you can decline. But that's what pepper spray, taser or batons are for. Do you wanna escalate the situation? People do all the time... they ultimately loose. By declining it raises a red flag. If you now resist and physically fight the situation, you've just now validated the officer's decision to handcuff you for their "safety" in the first place. The officer deep down inside will probably thank you for his new ARREST stat. :D:D

You're not under arrest and you're not under suspicion of anything. How do you know? Or I should say, the officer hasn't determined yet that you haven't done anything wrong. Cops are not mind readers. They have to judge on the side of caution. Or, they die. Plain and simple.

Also, if you have an injury that might be aggravated by having your hands cuffed behind your back, can you tell the officer that having your hands cuffed behind your back could injure you and requrest that your hands be cuffed in front?
You could tell/request all you want. 99% of the time, you're gettn cuffed in the back. Plain and simple. Those requests have been made hundreds of thousands of time all across the U.S., basically since the policeman was invented here. Cops cuff in the back again for "safety."

Many people are cuffed during a detention. When the brief investigation is over, thousands upon thousands are instantly released and sent on their way without further incident. Just go with the program. That's how it "is" in the American police system.
Hope that answers your questions. :):)

artthestampede
12-15-2010, 12:10 PM
In a traffic stop all passengers are considered detained and can be ordered out of the car without being given a reason. Once out of the car, the officer can handcuff (up to the officer). Brendlin vs Ca

As for injuries, I use two handcuffs connected together behind the back. I never handcuff anybody in the front as they can still fight or hold a weapon.

Larker
12-15-2010, 12:35 PM
In a traffic stop all passengers are considered detained and can be ordered out of the car without being given a reason. Once out of the car, the officer can handcuff (up to the officer). Brendlin vs Ca

As for injuries, I use two handcuffs connected together behind the back. I never handcuff anybody in the front as they can still fight or hold a weapon.

There's also the "Terry stop" from Terry v. Ohio

Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1 (1968), was a decision by the United States Supreme Court which held that the Fourth Amendment prohibition on unreasonable searches and seizures is not violated when a police officer stops a suspect on the street and searches him without probable cause to arrest, if the police officer has a reasonable suspicion that the person has committed, is committing, or is about to commit a crime.

For their own protection, police may perform a quick surface search of the personís outer clothing for weapons if they have reasonable suspicion that the person stopped is armed. This reasonable suspicion must be based on "specific and articulable facts" and not merely upon an officer's hunch. This permitted police action has subsequently been referred to in short as a "stop and frisk," or simply a "Terry stop". The Terry standard was later extended to temporary detentions of persons in vehicles, known as traffic stops.

The rationale behind the Supreme Court decision revolves around the understanding that, as the opinion notes, "the exclusionary rule has its limitations." The meaning of the rule is to protect persons from unreasonable searches and seizures aimed at gathering evidence, not searches and seizures for other purposes (like prevention of crime or personal protection of police officers).

Taken from Wikipedia (I really need to find a better resource, but it's always there and mostly right!:p)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terry_v._Ohio

tyrist
12-15-2010, 6:59 PM
No you cannot decline to be handcuffed the decision is made completely by the Officer. You can request all you want about your handcuffing but the final decision is made by the Officer.

415dog!
12-15-2010, 9:22 PM
I don't think I've ever seen a situation end nicely where a subject "declines" to being handcuffed. You can definitely request to be cuffed in the front and usually, the officer will oblige if he feels you are not gonna cause any trouble. Officer safety is ultimately up to that officer's discretion. Every situation is different and for whatever reason he thought he needed to....he cuffed the passenger.

On a side note: Burbank PD took a large male into custody a few months ago and he requested to have two sets of cuffs because his shoulder hurt him. He managed to get the officer's gun and shoot him and his partner while walking back to the car. Both officers are alright, but that's and example of what can go wrong by making accomodations for somebody.


a little birdy told me the suspect got the gun but did not shoot the cop, his own partner shot him.

meangreen46
12-15-2010, 9:38 PM
a little birdy told me the suspect got the gun but did not shoot the cop, his own partner shot him.

I guess it's possible, but why would they be charging the suspect with two counts of attempted murder if there was friendly fire? The story is that he got the gun and in the middle of the scuffle got a few rounds off.....one going through the hand of one officer and the others hitting the vest and leg of the other officer.

http://articles.burbankleader.com/2010-09-04/news/tn-blr-safetybrief-20100904_1_kmart-shooting-jamie-willard-officer-derek-green

BigDogatPlay
12-15-2010, 10:22 PM
I guess it's possible, but why would they be charging the suspect with two counts of attempted murder if there was friendly fire?

Because the suspect's actions in starting the shooting caused the officer to get wounded, if nothing else. Absent a full set of facts it's possible to infer he fired at both officers which would complete the crimes easily. If the officer was wounded by friendly fire dies as a result, the suspect would be liable under the felony murder rule even though he hadn't fired the fatal shot.

meangreen46
12-15-2010, 10:53 PM
Because the suspect's actions in starting the shooting caused the officer to get wounded, if nothing else. Absent a full set of facts it's possible to infer he fired at both officers which would complete the crimes easily. If the officer was wounded by friendly fire dies as a result, the suspect would be liable under the felony murder rule even though he hadn't fired the fatal shot.

I guess I should have worded it differently...I understand what happens when an officer dies as a result of friendly fire and they charge the suspect with it. Can they do the same with attempted murder? :confused:

Samuelx
12-15-2010, 11:50 PM
A bigger birdy from their department told me that the suspect did the shooting... Both officers were shot...

Notorious
12-16-2010, 11:46 PM
Alright, no more birdies. I'll call my buddy who works Burbank SWAT for the full story.

In other news, if I pull over the car, the driver and occupants are "detained" at the minimum since they are no longer free to leave without my release.

I can secure people who are detained until the detention is over.

If I need to accommodate people with cuffing, I double cuff in the back. More than safety while cuffed, it's also safer for me to uncuff. If I uncuff you facing you, while my eyes are looking down and at that close range, while you have 1 hand free and I am still uncuffing the other hand, you can cause all kinds of havoc on me. No thanks.

J_B
12-16-2010, 11:52 PM
You can definitely request to be cuffed in the front and usually, the officer will oblige if he feels you are not gonna cause any trouble. Officer safety is ultimately up to that officer's discretion.

I don't recall my General Orders stating "Discretion" on handcuffing in the front.....it's a no.

If I'm handcuffing someone, it's either behind the back or nothing. No, "just this one time" or exceptions.

They're being handcuffed for "safety" as you put it so it's not very safe putting their hands in front.

But, general orders differ from department to department.

meangreen46
12-17-2010, 12:06 PM
They're being handcuffed for "safety" as you put it so it's not very safe putting their hands in front.

But, general orders differ from department to department.

You are correct, which is why I always cuff from the back if I am concerned for my safety. However, I was "generally" answering the OPs question that he can request and if the officer feels "safe enough" to do so, they might be okay with cuffing from the front....and IF the officer's dept policy allows (I added that edit in my original post for clarification).

Roccobro
12-17-2010, 8:13 PM
If your pregnant, you can get cuffed to the front. Doesn't make the person any less violent but that is our Policy. All others to the rear.

And in corrections, only approx. .07% get double cuffed for ANY reason. The shoulder injury thing doesn't change their arms flexibility IMHE.

Justin

Bodyguard123
12-18-2010, 11:38 AM
I had a quick question for the LEOs out there. Forgive me if it's already been asked and answered. I've been searching on here and on the WWW and I can't seem to find the answer I'm looking for...

A while back, a friend of mine was a passenger in a car with a guy who was pulled over (suspicion of DUI). When the 2nd officer arrived, he took my friend out of the car and said that he was going to be handcuffed for "safety".

In those circumstances, can you decline to be handcuffed? You're not under arrest and you're not under suspicion of anything.

Also, if you have an injury that might be aggravated by having your hands cuffed behind your back, can you tell the officer that having your hands cuffed behind your back could injure you and requrest that your hands be cuffed in front?

I was just curious...

It is 100% up to the officer, however if there is no reason to then its just silly. Personally I only do that when I'm outnumbered or there was a violent crime committed.

I don't know why he did it but another alternative way would have been to do a "Terry-Search for weapons" then he could determine that your not going to stab/shoot him and only risk a hand to hand fight which is also dangerous. If your friend posed a threat sometimes it happens.

I watched a 5'3 130lb man get tased by my partner last weekend as I arrived on scene. I am 5'11 185lb, he would have been no match for me but since he thought I was minutes out and he is equal size and not super strong he did what he did.