Admit it or not, people have a love-hate relationship with law enforcement officers. This is probably a universal thing, as throughout most cultures around the globe the role that the police play in society is somewhat of a necessary undesirable. We need law enforcers to secure our communities from actual criminal elements but we want them far away from our person as much as possible.
The only possible exception to this is if we have police offers within our circle of peers. Making friends and being civil with the police is a good thing. Having a law enforcement official in your corner can be helpful in minor and insignificant inconveniences with the law, like littering or a parking violation. Generally however, having a police buddy will matter little within the larger scope of the judicial system.
Why the Police May Want to Talk to you
The primary directive of law enforcers is to keep the peace. This can be usually gained passively through mere show of force. Normally, police presence is enough to deter criminal activity. However, there are times that police officers will take on an active role. When this happens, you know that something is amiss.
That is why people have that uneasy feeling when uniformed officers come knocking at their door. It is highly unlikely to be a social visit. Coming into contact with law enforcers can mean only one of three things – they come with bad news, they are there to investigate an incident or they are there with a warrant for search or arrest.
If the police are there to investigate something you are not directly involved in, a little show of cooperation would not hurt. Perhaps there was a burglary the night before and they want to know if you heard or witnessed anything out of the ordinary. In fact, you have a civic duty to help law enforcers in their investigation assuming you are indeed a material witness. You will only draw attention to yourself if you do not cooperate with the authorities. The worst case scenario is that you can be charged with obstruction of justice.
Nevertheless, if the circumstances of their visit are specifically related to you, then you should not welcome law enforcers without a proper warrant. You should also insist on having your lawyer present before entertaining any of their questions. If you are the target of the investigation for any reason whatsoever, always remember that the police are not there to find evidence of your innocence. Rather, they are there to find proof that you are anything but innocent.
The police will not shy away from getting a conviction at your expense. After all, their career advancement is based on performance particularly on how many convictions they have notched under their belts.
Indeed, we have heard of many stories of trumped up charges and evidence planted by rogue police. There are also known instances of harassment or even attacks by people posing as law enforcement officers. Police officers are bound by procedures of the law. Warrants and the right to remain silent are there to protect innocent citizens from abusive authorities and those impersonating police officers.
Your Right to Privacy and to Remain Silent
Again, if you are a material witness to a case then by all means cooperate with the authorities only to the extent of what you know. But if you have no involvement or knowledge about the case whatsoever, then do not go out of your way to make it your business. Steer clear from the mess; otherwise you will be inviting trouble.
A good rule of thumb when dealing with police officers is this – the less you come in contact with law enforcers the better it is for you. This reduces your exposure to potential misunderstandings or out-of-context situations. From experience we know that it is quite easy to find someone at fault. Law enforcers in particular are trained to find faults and are in fact motivated to uncover proof of a suspect’s guilt.
By keeping to yourself and maintaining your silence, you avoid any chance of accidentally implicating yourself. Furthermore, do not think that you can talk your way out of a confrontation with the law. Police interrogations and questioning are designed to intimidate and bring out a confession; it is not a warm moment amongst friends that offers a listening ear and understanding.
As a final reminder, remember that the best way of dealing with the authorities is to get a good lawyer, follow his advice and avoid getting in contact with law enforcers.