Police Citizen Contacts

Mint Directive
MD 10D-2
March 2002

Chapter 10-Security
Part D – Security and Police Operations

Police-Citizen Voluntary Contacts and Investigative Stops




  1. PURPOSE: This directive establishes policy and sets forth guidance for
    conducting “voluntary contacts” and “investigative stops” by U.S. Mint Police
  2. SCOPE: This directive applies to all U.S. Mint Police.
  3. OUTCOME: The use of “voluntary contacts” and “investigative stops” will be
    understood by and properly conducted by U.S. Mint Police.
  4. POLICY: “Voluntary contacts” and “investigative stops” of citizens are lawful
    and effective tools that will be employed by U.S. Mint Police in the
    performance of their law enforcement mission.
    1. Field Chiefs are responsible for assuring their personnel are trained in, and follow Mint guidance and any local mandates of the U.S. Attorney regarding police-citizen “voluntary contacts” and “investigative stops.”
    2. U.S. Mint Police Officers are responsible for adhering to the policies and guidance relating to citizen contacts outlined in this directive.
    1. “Voluntary Contacts” may be initiated by an officer who reasonably believes that some investigatory inquiry into a situation is necessary. This is a face-to-face communication between an officer and a citizen under circumstances in which the citizen is free not to respond, and is free to leave.
      1. Taking the following actions should not convert a voluntary contact
        into an investigative stop (Based on Reference “a”).

        1. May be initiated by an officer at any public place where the officer has a legal right to exercise law enforcement jurisdiction.
        2. Identify himself or herself as a U.S. Mint Police officer.
        3. Asks the person if they are willing to answer a few questions. (The cooperation of the citizen being contacted is voluntary. The citizen is free not to answer any questions and to leave at will. The citizen cannot be detained in any manner against their will.)
        4. Questions a person if they willingly agree to listen.
        5. Asks for, examines and returns a form of identification.
      2. In a voluntary contact the officer has no requirement to establish “probable cause” or “reasonable suspicion” of criminal activity. If the person refuses, or ceases to cooperate during a “contact” they must be permitted to go on their way. Refusal to cooperate (or silence) cannot in and of itself, be used as the basis to escalate the situation to a “stop”.
      3. In order for the officer to keep from turning this voluntary contact into an investigative stop or unlawful stop, the officer should do the following:
        1. Be polite
        2. Identify themselves as a U.S. Mint Police officer as soon as possible.
        3. Do not make demands.
        4. Give a general, brief description of the purpose of the contact.
        5. Do not give Miranda Warnings.
        6. Do not use any force, intimidation or coercion to require persons to stop or respond in any way.
        7. Do not frisk
    2. Police-Citizen “Investigative Stops” (Terry Doctrine). This is the temporary detention of a person for the purpose of determining whether probable cause exists to effect the arrest of that person. U.S. Mint Police officers will follow these rules:
      1. The decision to “stop” must be based on “reasonable suspicion”, legal authority, and a legitimate purpose on the part of the investigating officer that the person about to be stopped has committed, is committing, or is about to commit a crime.
      2. A “stop” may be initiated by an officer at any place which the officer has a legal right to exercise law enforcement jurisdiction.
      3. In order to effect and maintain a “stop” an officer may employ that amount of force necessary, short of deadly force, including: verbal commands; touching; physical force by use of hands; use of non-lethal weapons.
      4. When a “stop” has been made because an individual matches the description of a crime suspect, the complainant should be brought to the location of the “stop” to make positive identification. (Courts have not determined an exact time duration that an individual may be detained for the purpose of identification. A determination of the time required to have the witness or victim brought to the scene should be made as soon as possible so that there is minimal time delay for detaining the citizen. Mandates from the governing U.S. Attorney will be followed).
      5. Federal law does not require a person being detained to answer any questions.
      6. Unless the person was operating a vehicle or similar equipment that requires a license they usually cannot be required to produce identification during an investigatory stop.
      7. Miranda Warning. These “investigative stops” do not require Miranda warnings. These stops are a detention and not an arrest. The person is not in a police custodial situation as described by the Miranda decision, even though they are not free to leave during the brief time the police are stopping them.
      8. Following are examples of guidelines or factors that the courts have given officers to use in determining whether reasonable suspicion exists for a stop, (per reference “a”). None of these alone may give rise to reasonable suspicion, but used together with other information about specific criminal activity may reach the level necessary to reasonably warrant the stop.
        1. The suspect’s reputation
        2. A report of recent crime in the area
        3. Time of day
        4. Location
        5. Suspicious or unusual activity
        6. Prior information
        7. Behavior of the individual upon seeing the officer
    3. Frisks Incident to a “Stop”.
      1. When an officer is justified in making a “stop”, and has an articulable reason to believe that the person stopped is armed and probably dangerous, and that the safety of the officer requires a “frisk”, the following rules apply:
        1. The officer will “search” the stopped person in a manner that is confined in scope to an intrusion reasonably designed to discover weapons (e.g. guns, knives, clubs or other hidden instruments) that could be used for an assault on the officer.
        2. This is a systematic, thorough “feeling through from the surface” of a person’s clothing in order to locate weapons; it is not a “search” for evidence, drugs or contraband. (Note, if during the frisk for weapons the officer feels something that is not a weapon, but the incriminating nature of the object (such as drugs wrapped in particular ways, hypodermic needles, etc.) is immediately apparent, the officer may reach in and remove the object under the “plain feel” doctrine. In order for the evidence seized to be admissible in court it must be immediately apparent to the officer that it is contraband without further manipulation).
        3. The nature of the frisk should not cause the person being stopped unreasonable delay.
        4. Frisking Containers. If the suspect is carrying a briefcase, backpack, box, paper bag, or other item that might contain a weapon the officer has choices based on the circumstances:
          1. If the officer genuinely fears for his or her safety and can reasonably believe that the container holds a weapon, he or she may frisk the container and the person. After the frisk of the container (“crush and feel” method) the object should be removed to a safe distance from the person, so it cannot be reached during the remainder of the “stop”.
          2. If he or she does not fear that the container holds a weapon and/or it is constructed so it cannot be “frisked” or opened, then the best course is to remove it to a safe distance from the person so it cannot be reached during the remainder of the “stop”.
        5. Frisking Companions. In cases where there is a second (or more) person(s) with the person stopped, the officer may also frisk these person(s) if the officer has reasonable suspicion to believe the first person may be armed and dangerous. This is a limited right and does not include frisking everyone who may just happen to be nearby.
    4. Reporting Requirements.
      1. ” Voluntary Contacts”. Depending on the circumstances, the investigating officer will either complete an Incident Report (Mint Form 5002) giving the circumstances of the contact, and as much information as possible obtained from the person, or obtain pertinent information suitable for a “blotter entry” on the Police Activity Log.
      2. ” Investigative Stops”. An original Incident Report or Supplement is always required.
        1. Whenever a “stop” has been made as a result of a lookout for a criminal suspect, the relevant information obtained about the person stopped must be included as a supplement to the original Incident Report (Mint Form 5002) on the offense.
        2. When a “stop” is made independent of a lookout, an original Incident Report must be completed giving the circumstances of the “stop”.
        3. If a “frisk” was conducted as part of the “stop” this information must be included in the supplement or the Incident Report cited above as applicable.
  7. AUTHORITY: MD 10D-1 “Police Authority, Powers and Jurisdiction,” 2002
  9. SUNSET REVIEW DATE: March 2007
  10. RESPONSIBLE OFFICE: Office of Protection

    Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, Office of Training, Legal Division, Legal Text, ST-1000, March 1999. Section on Detention and Arrest.

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