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Thread: Police visit while target shooting

  1. #1
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    Default Police visit while target shooting

    I have mentioned before that I obtained permission to target shoot at a large stone quarry near my home. This is in Iowa close to the Mississippi River. The local police department paid the quarry owners to build a shooting range on their property. The quarry owners told me I could use the shooting range. Nothing there except a dirt berm and some cement walk ways at 10 yard intervals from the berm. I have been shooting out there all summer 2 or more times every week and never ran into into anyone while shooting, until last week. I noticed a couple weeks ago the police were building a 6 station system to rotate targets for a target identification practice. i stayed away from there project but at the same time thought it was poor judgement to leave the apparatus at the stone quarry that is not in a secure area.

    Last Thursday evening I was shooting at my ricochet project when i could hear a vehicle approaching. Next, I could see it was a local police car, I thought, must be some kind of trouble. The officer stepped out and said, this range is not open to the public. i told him I was aware of that but had permission from the quarry owners to shoot there. Next the officer told me, "you have been shooting up my project". I said, "no I haven't". He says, "yes you have". I replied, "let's go look, you show me what is going on". Sure enough, there were numerous bullet splatters on steel surfaces and dents in conduit tubing. Someone had shot up his project. I told him it was terrible and I was sorry it happened and offered to help him repair the damage. I pointed out my targets were stapled to plywood leaning against the berm and away from his project. Far enough away so not even a stray bullet would contact his project.

    We visited for a long time, 30-45 minutes. i told him a little about myself and informed him that I was the person mowing the grass all summer because i thought it was the least i could do for the privelege of shooting there.

    Finally, the officer changed his story and said they know who shot up his project. I asked him, "so are you and i okay"? He said, "as long as you have permission to be there we are okay". I never heard from the stone quarry owners, they have my cell phone number. I guess I should contact them to see how I stand with continued shooting at the quarry.

    Okay, I know nothing about police work, never been in jail. I thought it was odd he investigated an unknown person shooting in the quarry
    but shows up alone? A similar case In Illinois the state police would have the quarry surrounded and survelance and news media circling the area in helicopters. The officer never looked at my guns or asked for any ID. The officer changed his story a couple of times. Is this how the police trick people into confessing?

    My wife says i'm reading to much into this. My wife felt the vandalism was likely directed towards the police officer.

    Any thoughts on this? Jim


  2. #2
    Senior Member hunter63's Avatar
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    I gonna guess that it was a case of neighbor calling in with a:

    "Hello police, yeah, say I hear shooting going on in the quarry, is that you boys?"
    "No Sir not us...Guess it have Barney swing by and check it out".....

    I shoot at the local gun range out near "The Place" that actually in town......
    I am a member so I can use it when ever I want....
    Normally no one there except me/us.....

    Guy shows up so we started with a cease fire for him to hang his targets....and we all shot for a while.
    He was having a problem with his scope so borrowed my bore sight-er and his mounts were Waaaay off....needed shim stock to raise the front up so as the adjustment would be adjustable.

    We got done and he introduced himself as the local Game Warden....but that day he was "Guy at range with a screwed up scope mount".
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    Administrator Rick's Avatar
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    I wouldn't worry about it. If the quarry owner gave you permission then you are good to go. He should be happy that you are there. At least someone is keeping an eye on things when they aren't around. LEO are people. They are as varied as people are. Most are okay guys, some are not. Just depends on who you run into.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hunter63 View Post

    We got done and he introduced himself as the local Game Warden....but that day he was "Guy at range with a screwed up scope mount".
    Our local game warden lives down the street. His son and my son are the same age. He was my son's soccer coach. He scared me once. I was on a campout with the boy scouts, and I see a truck with police lights on top pulling into our spot. I was thinking "What did we do?" Then I saw what was on the side of the truck and realized it was his truck and he came to pick up his son early to take him to a soccer game. I am getting even though. I recommended him to replace me as Scout Master....
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    Quote Originally Posted by hunter63 View Post
    I gonna guess that it was a case of neighbor calling in with a:

    "Hello police, yeah, say I hear shooting going on in the quarry, is that you boys?"
    "No Sir not us...Guess it have Barney swing by and check it out".....
    .
    Ya, the cop said a neighbor heard me shooting and called then he said the police cheif was playing golf at a course within ear shot of the quarry and called.

    I don't think they really know who shot up the project so they checkout everyone shooting out there. I don't think there are very many people shooting at the quarry. I can't believe someone would shoot up the project then show up a few days later like nothing happened. But, the criminals that I know are all pretty dumb.

    I hope they catch the person and tell him how dangerous it is to shoot at steel. Show them this video; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ABGIJwiGBc

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    Senior Member DSJohnson's Avatar
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    Mr. Glass,
    Me being kind'a anal and all. I would see about getting WRITTEN permission form the quarry owners..or at least a text or e-mail that you can print or "screen shot" for a real document. That should make it extremely simple if/when the local EOs have a question.

    But again I am somewhat on the conservative side when it comes to working with LEO folks. They have a really hard job every day and if I can make my life simpler by doing a little extra leg work before something "comes up" I try and do that.

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    What I would be worried about is the fact that the police officer attempted to get you to confess a crime you had not committed when he knew who had done it in the first place!

    There is a problem there.
    We came here to have family fun so shut up and make a freekin' smore!

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    Senior Member DSJohnson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kyratshooter View Post
    What I would be worried about is the fact that the police officer attempted to get you to confess a crime you had not committed when he knew who had done it in the first place!

    There is a problem there.
    I started to comment on this but decided i was just being too.....narrow-minded. It is very intriguing. I truly do respect the LE profession. Tough tough job.

  9. #9

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    I guess it could be he thought they knew who was vandalizing but wanted to be sure it wasn't JG.

  10. #10

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    I don't get it he kept saying "you have been shooting up my project" . Then he says " they know who shot up his project" if they knew who was doing it why would he keep questioning you ?? Sounds like an LEO with a bit of an attitude.

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    I don't think there are that many people shooting at the quarry so i think it could be a process of elimination. After our rather lengthly discussion I may have been eliminated as a possible suspect leaving a smaller number of suspects. I told the officer when I'm usually shooting at the range and he seemed to take note of that. Even though the officer and I have crossed paths a few times he does not know me like he would most of the other local people. I guess a stranger is always a suspect when bad things like this happen. We have a summer home on the Mississippi River and the quarry is only 2 miles away. We are there mostly on the weekends so we are considered "outsiders" by the locals and not well known. Sure would hate to loose the shooting priveledge that is only 2 miles away.

    Appreciate all the insight.

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    Senior Member hunter63's Avatar
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    You have a local Rod and Gun Club?....
    I joined the local club at "The Place" our cabin.....so am known thru them...and gives me a shooting range close that I can use at any time.
    $7 buck for me....or $10 buck a year for Family (allows guest)
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  13. #13

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    I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that the officer was just trying to illicit a response to see where your mind was at. Prosecutorial deceptions of the job are hard to separate from real life. It's likely he was just fishing for any previously unknown "co-conspirators" from the original offense. Your responses and general demeanor probably just cleared doubt in his mind.

    But it was mentioned earlier about written permission. To that I must agree. I have my own experience to solidify my belief in this......

    I have a life-long friend who owns several hundred acres of land. I've helped his family work that land for decades and have unwavering permission for me and my guests to hunt the land and target shoot at the range we all built.

    The original farm house is where his aunt and grandmother lived and he built his own home elsewhere on the land. When the women passed, he fixed up the farmhouse and rented it out. At that time, I asked him to sign my "permission to shoot and hunt" form that I created. He happily did.

    One day I called and asked if it was OK to go to the range and of course, I got the "no problem" response I always get [Even though I have that paper, I still believe in being courteous and calling ahead]. I'm down there about 55 minutes and an all out response was called. Yeah, they showed up like I was a 1-man terrorist organization.......until one of the responding officers took a good look at me and called the "stand down" order. I was recognized by him, not only for also being LE but because he's the brother-in-law to my friend [the property owner].

    Apparently the renting family had no idea I had permission [which we quickly rectified] and called the PD in a panic. They arrived enmasse and my response to their direct orders was appropriate. They called for hands up, I put them up. They had me back away from the shooting bench and I did so. I followed their orders to the letter with only asking them to repeat one order in particular because I didn't hear it correctly. They repeated it [louder] and I complied.

    The story can go on for a few pages but suffice it to say, I had the laminated permission form with me [though I didn't need it because of the in-law] and all was well. I even invited them to shoot along side me [they declined]......though I extended the invitation to include "any time."

    Point is...if there's a police response, just comply. They don't know who or what they are responding to and your initial reactions will dictate the response. Don't be a hard-headed D-nozzle who immediately barks about their Rights. Save that for the cordial conversation after they stand down from red alert.
    Last edited by druid; 09-14-2016 at 03:23 AM. Reason: grammar
    "But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government."

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    Senior Member natertot's Avatar
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    First of all, get permission in writing.

    Second of all, you have constitutional rights. If a police officer is begins to investigate me for a series of crimes that include criminal trespass and criminal damaging of police property, I will be asserting my right to remain silent and a lawyer. Even if you are innocent, you can say something that could be twisted against you later on. An overwhelming majority of the time, people who are truly innocent are never even charged while exercising these rights because a lack of prosecutorial evidence.
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    Quote Originally Posted by natertot View Post
    First of all, get permission in writing.

    Second of all, you have constitutional rights. If a police officer is begins to investigate me for a series of crimes that include criminal trespass and criminal damaging of police property, I will be asserting my right to remain silent and a lawyer. Even if you are innocent, you can say something that could be twisted against you later on. An overwhelming majority of the time, people who are truly innocent are never even charged while exercising these rights because a lack of prosecutorial evidence.
    I agree with a portion of this, in particular the part about SHUTTING UP. Americans have been sheepishly trained [also called being brainwashed] into thinking they have to defend their every waking moment in life. Police use this in order to get someone to say something that might incriminate them. Internet trolls use it to illicit a desired response. Liberals rely on it to argue a point to bring meaning to their otherwise irrelevant existence.

    However I must caution everyone that their Constitutional Rights become jeopardized if and when you [willingly or unwittingly] break the law. One mustn't forget that exercising your Rights become irrelevant once you violate someone else'. In the above example of trespass or vandalism, your mere presence where and when you have no legal right to be is "prosecutorial evidence" enough to arrest [and probably convict] a person. If a person is trespassing on or damaging private property, they should expect no less.

    Conversation will probably only make it worse. If you are in the wrong, follow the officer's instructions but remain silent. Demand a/your Lawyer and for the love of God keep your mouth shut.
    "But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government."

    ~~Declaration of Independence

  16. #16
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    Another encounter with the police. This happened before almost exactly a year later from the last stop. Went to the stone quarry just before sundown to squeeze off a few rounds from my new AR-9. When I arrived I could see a bunch of cars and men at the police shooting range. I considered introducing myself but decided to just leave instead. The thought ran through my head if it was the police they will probably come after me and check me out. Sure enough, in my review mirror I could see police lights a blazing away so I pulled over and stopped. Of course they stopped right behind me. I just knew they were running my registration plate. I was approached by one officer while another checked out my AR-9 in the back of my truck.

    First question, "do you have permission to be in the quarry and by who and where are you from and so on". I asked the officer if I could step out of my truck to talk. Apparently their shooting range was vandalized for a second time and they feel the vandalism is directed toward the police. I told them I didn't use their range after last year but shoot into a large pile of sand instead and told them I never see anyone else shooting at the quarry. They asked me to get names and information if I see someone else shooting.

    I need to get a written permission slip from the quarry owners.

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    Next day I visit the police station to introduce myself. The police chief said he was unaware of the second bout of vandalism. I suggested they setup some trail cameras to see who comes to the quarry and who vandalizes the police shooting range. I detected from the police chief's demeanor they don't like me shooting out there.

    Next day, I visit the stone quarry owner. He wasn't there at the time but some employees told me the owner didn't care if I went target shooting at the quarry. I left one of my business cards and asked them to tell the owner to call me if anything has changed with my shooting status at the quarry. The employees told me one of the employees is a part-time cop for the city and claimed they installed a trail camera on a light pole and someone took the camera. Never did hear back from the quarry owners.

    I'm trying to sort this out. I think this started out where the quarry owners allowed the police to build a berm for shooting on quarry property. Little by little the police start building special target shooting hardware like it was their own property and now it gets vandalized. This is a small town police department. I would think by now they would know who comes to the quarry to shoot and who has permission to be out there. I was prepared to find another place to shoot. But the police did encourage me document anyone else I see shooting at the quarry and report it to them so I may go with that.
    Last edited by jim Glass; 09-14-2017 at 10:20 PM.

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    So, the police want you to do their job and watch their stuff? Also to approach anyone else "Shooting" out there and get their information.

    Hmmmmmm?

    It's a shame that finding a safe and pleasant place to practice your hobby has become such a PITA. Personally, I would go shoot at a place of my making. I'd have written permission from the land(quarry) owner allowing me to shoot there, If it EVER became anyone else's business, and I'd ask for the same the next time a policeman approached me at the range (shouldn't be a problem) and I'd shoot when I wanted as long as my shooting put no one else in danger.

    But, I would NOT ever approach ANYONE else shooting out there to get their information. I may take a picture or two (for my purposes only) and perhaps get a License plate number if I could do so unobtrusively.

    If you let them run you off, they'll be happy to do so.

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    Yeah, I would not be eager to approach someone else and challenge them. That might get you hurt for your troubles. Not good turn and all that. If the owner is good with you being there then I wouldn't worry about it.

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