7.00.010     FIELD CONTACTS




v       Contact - A casual interaction with a person where that person would reasonably feel free to leave at any time.


v       Stop - A stop (includes vehicle stops) occurs when an officer uses his/her authority to temporarily detain a person based upon reasonable suspicion that the person has committed, is committing, or is about to commit a crime.  A stop is a more forceful action than a contact as the person is not free to leave.  A stop is based upon reasonable suspicion of criminal activity, but is less than an arrest based on probable cause.


v       Probable Cause - Probable cause exists when articulable facts and circumstances would lead a reasonable person to believe that an individual is probably involved in a criminal activity.


v       Reasonable Suspicion - An officers’ belief, based on specific, articulable facts, and rational inferences drawn from those facts, that a person may be involved in a crime that has occurred or is occurring or is about to occur.


v       Pretext Stop – One in which a stop made for a traffic violation is a mere pretext for the officer’s desire to conduct a criminal search unrelated to driving.




Note:  Prior to contacting any person or vehicle, officers will notify the Communications Center of the intended action, provide a location and description of the person and/or vehicle(s) involved.  Officers will provide information to back-up officer(s) as necessary to insure safe and coordinated action.


A contact entails a face-to-face meeting between a person and a police officer in which the officer does not use police authority to restrict a person's freedom of movement.  A police officer may contact any person for any reason.  A contact does not require reasonable suspicion.  During a contact, the person is free to leave and is not required to produce identification.  Although contacts that do not amount to a stop or a temporary detention may be made for a variety of reasons, officers should be sensitive to the perceptions of bias that may occur.  Officers should be able to articulate an unbiased reason for contacting the person. 


When the person contacted requests to leave, and he/she is not free to leave, he/she will be so advised and the contact will be considered a stop.