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The stop and frisk: A valuable tool

The stop and frisk is a valuable tool recognized and authorized by the Supreme Court of the United States in the land mark Terry v. Ohio case. The documentation of the stop and frisk serves as the permanent record of the justification for the stop.

For years the stop and frisk has been a valuable tool for preventing crimes as well as solving crimes as yet unreported. One famous example was the arrest of Wayne Williams as a result of a stop in frisk. Williams had been terrorizing the African American Community in Atlanta by killing young black man. He was stopped and identified after a young officer heard a loud splash in the water below a bridge and moments later saw Williams driving off the bridge. The stop was documented and at a later time the body Williams had dumped into the river was found.

The stop and frisk is one of the most proactive crime fighting tools patrol officers have and in a post- 9/11 world, New York should reconsider.

For those officers who make stops and then develop the grounds to frisk remember in your documentation to clearly articulate the justification for each in your report. This law shows clearly that the legislators in New York look with a jaundiced eye at the stop and frisk. When doing them use extreme caution through out this inherently dangerous endeavor and then take great care to document the justification after completing each contact.

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