Cops Essay, Research Paper

Don’t Talk to Cops

By Guy McBernson

“GOOD MORNING! My name is investigator Holmes. Do you mind answering a

few simple questions?” If you open your door one day and are greeted with those

words, STOP AND THINK! Whether it is the local police or the FBI at your door,

you have certain legal rights of which you ought to be aware before you proceed

any further.

In the first place, when law enforcement authorities come to see you,

there are no “simple questions”. Unless they are investigating a traffic

accident, you can be sure that they want information about somebody. And that

somebody may be you!

Rule number one to remember when confronted by the authorities is that

there is no law requiring you to talk with the police, the FBI, or the

representative of any other investigative agency. Even the simplest questions

may be loaded and the seemingly harmless bits of information which you volunteer

may later become vital links in a chain of circumstantial evidence against you

or a friend.


Such an invitation not only gives him the opportunity to look around for

clues to your lifestyle, friends, reading material, etc., but also tends to

prolong the conversation. The longer the conversation, the more chance there is

for a skill investigator to find out what he wants to know.

Many times a police officer will ask you to accompany him to the police

station to answer a few questions. In that case, simply thank him for the

invitation and indicate that you are not disposed to accept it at this time.

Often the authorities simply want to photograph a person for identification

purposes, a procedure which is easily accomplished by placing him in a private

room with a two-way mirror at the station, asking him a few innocent questions,

and then releasing him.

If the investigator becomes angry at your failure to cooperate and

threatens you with arrest, stand firm. He cannot legally place you under arrest

or enter your home without a warrent signed by a judge. If he indicates that he

has such a warrent, ask to see it. A person under arrest, or located on premises

to be searched, generally must be shown a warrent if he requests it and must be

given to chance to read it.

Without a warrent, an officer depends solely upon your helpfulness to

obtain the information he wants. So, unless you are quite sure of yourself,

don’t be helpful.

Probably the wisest approach to take to a persistant investigator is

simply to say: “I’m quite busy now. If you have any questions that you feel I

can answer, I’d be happy to listen to them in my lawyer’s office. Goodbye!”

Talk is cheap. When that talk involves the law enforcement authorities,

it may cost you, or someone close to you, dearly.

This info came from a leaflet that was printed as a public

service by individuals concerned with the growing role of

authoritarianism and police power in our society. Please

feel free to copy or republish.

This info also applies to dealing with private investigators, and

corporate security agents.

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