When it comes to dealing with Law Enforcement as a carry permit holder, there are some things you need to understand from the law enforcement side of the incident. The responding officers have limited information on what really happened. The only information they get is from dispatch and what the RP (caller) explained to them. When the officers arrive on scene, they are walking into the unknown. They have high adrenaline and need to focus on getting everything under control so the scene is safe. First and foremost their safety will come first. They may come off very stern and demanding, and that’s because they don’t have a clue at that moment what is going on. The officers need to investigate to understand the root of the problem or the situation. Respect their presence and follow orders as requested so they can feel safe.
As a carry permit holder involved in a situation where you used your firearm to either defend yourself or de-escalate a situation where you were in fear of death or great bodily harm. There are a few things to consider when Law Enforcement arrives at the scene. As a carry permit holder, it is best to not even have your weapon on you if possible. If you are able to secure it somewhere off of your body it is best. The officers will probably order you to the ground and or cuff you at the very least until they get the scene safe. Don’t be alarmed, its protocol to make the scene safe before they figure out why they are there in the first place. Expect to get frisked at he very least for any weapons or dangerous objects, which is why it is good to not have the gun on you anymore. If you do happen to holster up and sit tight until officers arrive. Be sure to verbally tell then that you are the victim and are a carry permit holder that is presently carrying a firearm. Have your hands visible at all times while you explain who you are and where your gun is without reaching for it what so ever. Remember to say very little of you are involved in an actual shooting. Pull out that business card we give you with the information on the back and read it to the officer and say no more.
The card reads “Officer, I respect your duties and obligations. I ask you observe all my constitutional and statutory rights. I wish to exercise every applicable constitutional and applicable right.
Specifically, I wish to remain silent. I do NOT consent to any search of my person, effects, vehicle or any premises for which I have standing to object. You may NOT question my children without myself or my spouse present.
I request that I be allowed to speak with my attorney before any further questions are asked of me or conversation attempted. I have no intention of waiving these rights no matter what inducements, promises or arguments I may be offered.”
When the officers arrive they are simply there to collect data for their reports and get the scene safe. Which means anything you say to them may be used against you in court. So, as a carry permit holder and a responsible citizen you have to understand and know your rights first and foremost. Simply exercising them is your right as a citizen. Some officers may press you a little harder just to see if you are going to stick to your requests. Don’t worry you are well within your rights to not speak with them. I think the biggest thing is being able to control and cope with what really just happened. You are going to want to spill it all out to anyone who will listen, its part of the process when dealing with a traumatic incident. The best advice I can give you is to have someone close to you that you can trust and call and talk to about what happened. You need to vent it out somehow, just not to the officers at that time. If you have a good friend or husband/wife or significant other to call to let out your thoughts. However your attorney should be the first call you are able to make after the incident.
As carry permit holders, we need to be sure that we evaluate all the possibilities of carry a firearm for protect and the possibility of actually using it. If that day comes we need to be mentally and physically prepared for the process that is about to happen. I’ve spoke to several officers who were involved with shooting and they one thing they expressed is that the whole legal process is very long and lonely. Meaning you will be isolated away from others and family until the process is over. Which gives you plenty of time to replay your situation in your head over and over. Just remember, you did what you had to do to protect yourself or your family, and you made the best decision in that situation because you and your family are safe and alive.
Carry on and stay safe.