Law Enforcement in 2105

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Re: Law Enforcement in 2105

Post by Elderberry » Wed Sep 16, 2015 9:40 am

Sham wrote:Last year, I (personally) overheard BLM officers at Earth Guardians say after the torrential rains, "we're gonna have a problem giving out tickets for water on the playa this year".
That is so fucked up. Same as cops in cities having "quotas" on tickets. :x
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Re: Law Enforcement in 2105

Post by tamarakay » Wed Sep 16, 2015 9:45 am

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Re: Law Enforcement in 2105

Post by Sham » Wed Sep 16, 2015 9:50 am

Elderberry wrote:
Sham wrote:Last year, I (personally) overheard BLM officers at Earth Guardians say after the torrential rains, "we're gonna have a problem giving out tickets for water on the playa this year".
That is so fucked up. Same as cops in cities having "quotas" on tickets. :x
They deny that there are quotas and deny that the money gained is for their own budgets. I am getting a big education here.

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Re: Law Enforcement in 2105

Post by VultureChow » Wed Sep 16, 2015 10:02 am

Sooooo... As we were busy giving out BLM swag this year, I had a few interesting conversations and observations.

The BLM and Pershing sherriffs were doing joint patrols. Generally the BLM officers were more friendly and talkative than the sheriffs, but the bigger divide was the veterans to the event vs the virgins. Walking up to a car, I could easily pick out the virgin officers. They had their guard up the way they do in the default world. Perhaps even a bit more. The veterans were all smiles. As we became a nice stopping point on their patrols, I did get the chance to see a few of the virgins begin to open up.

All thought the choco taco incident was funny. One supervisor for the BLM tried to defend it and we had a nice little debate about it. He mentioned they were outgrowing Gerlach, I said I understood the compound to be for BLM VIPs from DC. He mentioned that all the officers on his shift were doing environmental compliance (greywater, fuel etc) and defended the gate road stops as all about safety. I responded that if they were all about road safety, then why were drug dogs brought to almost every stop. It was definitely an eye opening conversation, and friendly, but it reminded me that as genial as they may be while gifting and just chatting, they were still all involved in the increasing law enforcement and surveillance of our weird, weird city.

Even though our village was on the receiving end of a warning about our grey water system, I'd still much rather see BLM being focused on preserving the health of the plaza rather than thinly-veiled drug stops.

I won't suspend my outreach efforts. I'm not sure how much it helps, but it's fun and if it takes up a bit of their time they would otherwise be harassing people, then it's something. Furthermore, it can't hurt to make them feel at least a little welcome part of our community. They're here to stay, and it helps them to see us as individuals and not just one big drug-fueled horde.
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Re: Law Enforcement in 2105

Post by Ano » Wed Sep 16, 2015 10:25 am

I met quite a few awesome cops this year, some virgins as well. I was rather inebriated one afternoon and someone was letting me try out their SoloWheel. A BLM cop was driving by and saw me mounting it, I waved to let them pass and they smiled and motioned that they were going to watch me. I tried to ride the SoloWheel and promptly ate shit. They laughed, pulled up next to me, and congratulated me on a good fall before giving me some schwag. I offered them chilled sealed Gatorade and they politely declined, before asking me if there was any cool art to check out. I told them about the movie theater.

Another incident happened during one of my gate shifts. I can't really post about it, but a situation escalated upwards to a high level and the BLM had to get involved. They gave the party(ies) in question every single chance they had to get out of it, before moving forward with punitive measures. Honestly, I wish the stops for broken taillights that turn into 4 hour drug searches looked like this, because the BLM folks basically gave the person(s) every possible chance to unfuck themselves. Warnings, clear explanations, a chance to leave, a chance to move on, etc.

During a pulsing shift, a cop slowly rolled up and down the line on the outside of the flag line yelling through his microphone, "ya'll come back now, y'here? We'll be here next year, same time, same place!"

On the other end of things, my camp situated In such a way in the city to be able to watch drug stops happen all week. It's offensive and maddening to see people pulled over for the terrible infraction of going 6mph in a 5mph zone, or for having a store-bought bike rack cover their license plate from a certain angle, or any other bullshit reason, and to watch the interaction change from a fix-it-ticket to a tear-the-car-apart-in-every-way endeavor with the poor people sitting in the dust watching their life get torn apart. Clothes thrown in the dust, ziplocs of socks opened, food cooler empties, they really spare no chance and empty everything. In my anecdotal observations, many folks seem to leave these interactions without tickets...

I'm also a large dance camp attendee occasionally, and for the past few years I always seem to have incidents where I'm MOOPing before getting a tap on my back and a BLM flashlight in my face to open up my hands/bags and show them what I have. I wonder if it's worth their time to see a gallon Ziploc full of empty beer cans. Wouldn't want any groundscores now, would we? Fucking hell.

Back on the other end of things, I had a great conversation with a cool BLM officer this year who told me that the best place to do something shady on the playa is inside a porto-potty. Good to know, I guess?

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Re: Law Enforcement in 2105

Post by Lonesomebri » Wed Sep 16, 2015 10:29 am

Does any one have the figures on the Sheriff/BLM gifting budget for the year, seeing as so many people seem to think that is the reason their uniformed buddies are on the playa?
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Re: Law Enforcement in 2105

Post by Bless » Wed Sep 16, 2015 10:33 am

Lonesomebri wrote:Does any one have the figures on the Sheriff/BLM gifting budget for the year, seeing as so many people seem to think that is the reason their uniformed buddies are on the playa?
You should FOIA it.
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Re: Law Enforcement in 2105

Post by VultureChow » Wed Sep 16, 2015 10:39 am

Bracelets, frisbees, cups, badges, pins, etc. It adds up.

One guy gave me a laser engraved wood badge from his home posting's centennial. Awesome.

Me being antagonistic won't help. While they're shootin the shit with me and trying to convince me that a truck stop in Laramie has the best steak in the country, they're not emptying the rolling probable cause campers on Gate Road.
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Re: Law Enforcement in 2105

Post by ^Rhino! » Wed Sep 16, 2015 12:56 pm

VultureChow wrote:Bracelets, frisbees, cups, badges, pins, etc. It adds up.

One guy gave me a laser engraved wood badge from his home posting's centennial. Awesome.

Me being antagonistic won't help. While they're shootin the shit with me and trying to convince me that a truck stop in Laramie has the best steak in the country, they're not emptying the rolling probable cause campers on Gate Road.
A truck stop in Laramie? Now you know he's full of shit.

There's a better spot in Hudson, up 287 from Rawlins and north of Lander called Svilar's that's been reviewed by none other than legendary food critic Calvin Trillins of the Wall Street Journal as the best.

And, if we want to go even one better, up in Montana near Bozeman in a little town called Belgrade, there's 'The Mint", which serves a 16-oz petit filet mignon which I can attest to as butterknife tender.

This years big find for me was a little restaurant in Wells, Nevada called "Bella's". They serve what I think is the best chicken-fried steak in the world...or shall we call it 'chicken fried prime rib?' Again, tender and tasty.

You start trusting BLM agents for culinary advice it's like having the Italians run your political system. Things will go to hell in a handbasket in short order.
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Re: Law Enforcement in 2105

Post by theCryptofishist » Wed Sep 16, 2015 7:36 pm

I hope one day Bri will yell at me and tell me to go to my own party.
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Re: Law Enforcement in 2105

Post by reggie13 » Wed Sep 16, 2015 8:58 pm

only had one run-in with LEOs....we were trying to find a Ranger (BM) to ask about grey water removal. Truck rolls by and all we could see was "RANGER" on the door so a campmate chased them down.

Campmate: *asks questions about grey water*
Ranger: We wouldn't know...we aren't "that kind of ranger". We're REAL RANGERS. (drives off in a cloud of dust)

Okie dokie, then!

later, as i was standing agape in mid-playa just taking in the vastness of everything, "that kind of Ranger" walked by me and said "wild, isn't it?" I just stuttered..."it's just.....huge!" he laughed and said "that, it is....." and walked off across playa. very nice intereaction for a (apparently obvious) newb.

I did have an issue with the "Real Rangers" and all there damn trucks from the Esplanade out into the playa. as if the dust storms and white outs aren't enough, i have to make sure i don't get hit by a LEO truck? thanks a bunch ya'll!

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Re: Law Enforcement in 2105

Post by CyanEssence » Wed Sep 16, 2015 9:12 pm

VultureChow wrote: The BLM and Pershing sherriffs were doing joint patrols.
A colorful gent who introduced himself to me on SF MUNI, after seeing some burner swag on me, told me he was pulled over by the BLM on his way into the event (he also mentioned that many of the vehicles on 49 were also pulled over), but he said his case was handed off to Pershing Co. Sheriffs once it escalated to dogs and searches.

He mentioned Lawyers for Burners, but it sounded like they were mostly/only handling cases brought by the BLM.
^Rhino! wrote: The patches with the BLM/choco taco logo on them were a much-sought after item among the LEOs.
Could you post an image of these? I never got to see one. If anyone has an image of the stickers, I'd like to see that too.

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Re: Law Enforcement in 2105

Post by VultureChow » Thu Sep 17, 2015 12:42 pm

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Re: Law Enforcement in 2105

Post by tamarakay » Thu Sep 17, 2015 1:53 pm

There is not a single store in all of Fredericksburg that sells chacotacos.
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Re: Law Enforcement in 2105

Post by theCryptofishist » Thu Sep 17, 2015 7:38 pm

tamarakay wrote:There is not a single store in all of Fredericksburg that sells chacotacos.
I bet there isn't a BLM office either.
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Re: Law Enforcement in 2105

Post by CyanEssence » Thu Sep 17, 2015 10:23 pm

Thanks VC!

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Re: Law Enforcement in 2105

Post by Sic Pup » Fri Sep 18, 2015 1:33 am

Ano wrote: Back on the other end of things, I had a great conversation with a cool BLM officer this year who told me that the best place to do something shady on the playa is inside a porto-potty. Good to know, I guess?
The other option that was suggested as having an "expectation of privacy" was an RV (NOW watch the line outside of Doc's), I'm not sure whether a tent was just overlooked or intentionally omitted (the birgins were in a passenger vehicle). The head honcho was very receptive to my question about license plates and bike racks but would only offer that it's unfortunate the manufacturers don't take the issue into consideration in the design. Playing it back in my head these are the parts of the conversation that stood out but really it was his impressions of the art out there (big "Embrace" fan) that really dominated the conversation (this was pre-Gate on the gravel)

This year I had zero interaction with BLM other than the occasionally return of wave or nod of acknowledgement. Last year my only other interaction was with a female BLM officer cruising the line in a K9 vehicle. Rover was staring at her drooling as she ate a Danish, I commented to that effect and she replied that she wasn't sure which one of us looked more ravenous as she offered me half. I declined and also deliberately neglected to mention that I was yearning for her long sinewy neck and not the damn pastry.

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Re: Law Enforcement in 2105

Post by A-RockLeFrench » Fri Sep 18, 2015 11:11 am

the best place to do something shady on the playa is inside a porto-potty
Or the worst, depending on the shady activity in question...
suggested as having an "expectation of privacy" was an RV
I'd sure as hell "expect" some privacy in an RV as a registered motorhome is considered an extension of your domicile and therefore requires either consent or a warrant for LE to enter. The same could be argued for a tent/camping space.

I am not a laywer! and this is not legal advice, however it is wise to know your rights.

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Re: Law Enforcement in 2105

Post by maladroit » Fri Sep 18, 2015 12:00 pm

I see people complaining about others not being neighborly. Not inviting people into their camp private spaces etc.

There are plenty of good reasons to keep the public spaces and private spaces clearly defined and enforced. You never know who you're inviting into your camp.

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Re: Law Enforcement in 2105

Post by GreyCoyote » Fri Sep 18, 2015 3:21 pm

A-RockLeFrench wrote:
I'd sure as hell "expect" some privacy in an RV as a registered motorhome is considered an extension of your domicile and therefore requires either consent or a warrant for LE to enter. The same could be argued for a tent/camping space.
Consent, a warrant, or PROBABLE CAUSE. And opinions differ as to applicability to a tent or non-permanent structure.

BTW: The recent decisions and case law on what constitutes "probable cause" are pretty disturbing. That bar is getting lower and lower with each passing year.

Be careful out there when it comes to your "rights". You may be able to win that argument, but it'll cost you dearly to make it.
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Re: Law Enforcement in 2105

Post by Sham » Fri Sep 18, 2015 3:34 pm

GreyCoyote wrote:
BTW: The recent decisions and case law on what constitutes "probable cause" are pretty disturbing. That bar is getting lower and lower with each passing year.

Be careful out there when it comes to your "rights". You may be able to win that argument, but it'll cost you dearly to make it.
This appears (in my personal opinion) to be the intent of the police. They will give you a ticket for Advil and then let you hire a lawyer to meet you in court. It starts to become cost prohibitive to fight a $500 unjust ticket. Few tickets were issued in past years--because they were unwarranted. Now the LEO's are just doing whatever they want and leaving it for the hapless citizens to fight them. It makes you much more cynical of the police. This does not benefit the view we citizens have of the police in general.

Just imagine the person who has been targeted unjustly by the police on the way to Burning Man, now sitting on a jury where they feel the police cannot be trusted. The view of ALL police is being stained by unethical police patrolling Black Rock City. (again, in my own opinion)

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Re: Law Enforcement in 2105

Post by A-RockLeFrench » Fri Sep 18, 2015 4:19 pm

Consent, a warrant, or PROBABLE CAUSE. And opinions differ as to applicability to a tent or non-permanent structure.

BTW: The recent decisions and case law on what constitutes "probable cause" are pretty disturbing. That bar is getting lower and lower with each passing year.
You may or may not have heard about a significant recent case ruling by the Arizona Court of Appeals? A ruling, which could logically be extrapolated to and applied as a reasonable defense in other states.


Be careful out there when it comes to your "rights". You may be able to win that argument, but it'll cost you dearly to make it.
I'd posit that it's the LEO's who should be the ones being careful concerning our (my) "rights". While it may cost me to make that argument, I'm the kind of asshole who would pay dearly to win this specific argument. Then I'd counter-sue.

Dont get me wrong though! I'm definitely not out there actively pursuing that opportunity. I have better things to do with my days than spending them in court arguing with Johnny Law. But I like knowing that if it ever came down to some asshole in a uniform picking that particular fight with me, I'd win.

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Re: Law Enforcement in 2105

Post by unjonharley » Fri Sep 18, 2015 4:46 pm

I would think you all had something better to do.. Other than beat this drum year after year.. What a retarded way to waste ones time..
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Re: Law Enforcement in 2105

Post by rideincircles » Fri Sep 18, 2015 4:51 pm

I got a speeding ticket Tuesday night from Elko county in Nevada which is pretty rural on the way to Salt Lake City. The cop got me at the bottom of the valley between two mountains doing 88 in a 75. For the most part, the van had very little acceleration going up hill, so building up some speed was the easiest way to avoid this issue, but that's where the cop was.The cop was pretty cool and younger than me and said it looks like y'all went to Burning Man. It was pretty obvious since there was no room for anything else in the van and had dust and some mud on it. I had no issues with the situation and he answered a few questions my friend had and the officer was friendly.

Anyways, I guess Nevada uses the point system for licenses and treats traffic convictions as misdemeanors. Do I have any other options than just paying the ticket? It is $225. Normally I plead no contest to keep it off my record, but I think the only way to do that there is to appear in person or hire an attorney and plead not guilty. It doesn't sound like many attorneys are in that area though for dealing with traffic tickets. Most likely I will just pay it.

Will anything be affected with a conviction from this? I usually get a speeding ticket or 2 every year, but they are all on deferred so they never contact my insurance. They are also not misdemeanors in Texas, just civil violations. I avoid convictions whenever possible.

Just checking, I did contact the court and got a list of attorneys.

I had no issues with police otherwise.

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Re: Law Enforcement in 2105

Post by Sham » Fri Sep 18, 2015 4:55 pm

It would seem to make sense to pay that ticket if its a justified ticket BEFORE it hits the courts and shows up on your record in Texas. In most cases, they just want your money and let you move on.

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Re: Law Enforcement in 2105

Post by some seeing eye » Fri Sep 18, 2015 5:00 pm

The number of police anywhere, cities, towns, highways, and in BRC are very small. The entire system is dependent on citizens reporting and then being witnesses. The more police alienate the citizens, the less help they will have when they need it or when they are needed. This has been playing out nationally for many years, but the police just don't get it. I was having this exact conversation with a national policing consultant 15 years ago who had observed the same.

I'm more for the stupid tax - a minor citation for stupid bad behavior in the open. But this year we seem to have the random slam - contrived traffic violation, dogs, toss, potentially more severe citation - we will see how that works in court. It is random enough and captures a such a small proportion of potential offenders that I doubt it is going to change the behavior it is targeted at, but it will certainly irritate people. IMO
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Re: Law Enforcement in 2105

Post by GreyCoyote » Fri Sep 18, 2015 5:01 pm

Arock: Its important to note the actions of an Arizona court of appeals has absolutely no probative value outside of those borders. I wish it was different, but alas... but then again, if such were true, there is an entire body of case law in Louisiana that would be a death sentence to the Burningman event!

Your point is well-taken however. You can choose to stand and fight, provided you understand the cost and realities of litigation. You choose to fight, and thats a risk many will not choose to take.
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Re: Law Enforcement in 2105

Post by A-RockLeFrench » Fri Sep 18, 2015 5:36 pm

unjonharley wrote:I would think you all had something better to do.. Other than beat this drum year after year.. What a retarded way to waste ones time..

Well, you're still here.

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Re: Law Enforcement in 2105

Post by dragnet » Fri Sep 18, 2015 6:04 pm

I have done 6 projects on the deep playa fence. This year I decorated over fifty cameras out there, some friends decorated some, it was called SLRT. I see all the patrol crew out there- BLM, , perimeter team, sheriff, fence crew gurus like just George. I never ever had a bad interaction with any. They knew I was the artist as I checked my project out there multiple times daily, even in the dust storms. I would talk to and get the blm' side of the controversy and each was articulate and straightforward. I appreciate all they do and what can I say, I have had all good interactions with anybody official out there at the fence.and it's my home away from camp.....
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Re: Law Enforcement in 2105

Post by Sic Pup » Fri Sep 18, 2015 7:24 pm

What's scary to me are the contrived reasons for pull over and the fucking dogs -which as a species I love - when they are forced to do crappy work - not so much (I guess the same could be said about most LEOs - but the human ones have a choice about what they do and how they conduct themselves).. I travel 5600 miles round trip, I travel 1 MPH under the speed limit the entire way (very easy to do with cruise control and without self-generated time constraints). Admittedly it gets a little harder and requires a little more self control once on playa. I always buckle my seat belt, I always signal, I never tailgate, I try to be courteous and brush off aggressive drivers (we have plainclothes in plain cars that will get behind you and try to push you here). I took the bike off the bike rack, threw the rack in the vehicle and fastened the bike to the roof once I got to Reno. I gave thought to doing the whole trip like that but decided the chances of my being pulled over for that infraction is far less likely outside of BRC. I don't decorate my vehicle with BM logos, and for all intents and purposes I'm camping out west if asked about my packed vehicle. I don't wear anything but street clothes pre event.

When I enter BRC I always do so in the middle lanes at a busy time (although this year I saw a lot more pullovers once cars turned either way on L - I camp on K, I don't party before striking camp, no open containers no party goods in the passenger compartment. I travel light in that regard, I only have prescriptions in my name (which I accumulate during the year) I stopped in CO and bought only edibles which I took out of the packaging (next year I will do so exclusively). Except for what I choose to put in m body I am law abiding in every other respect and even when altered always maintain control of myself (well except at one xmas party but that's another story and involved youth, inexperience and only "legal" substances).

I don't give any reason to be pulled over and I have never been in 5 cross country trips (knock on wood). But I worry, just luck or are most of the stops because people don't take proper precautions? The reality is there are a lot of young people enthusiastic about living a dream and eager to start the party - I would like to think that all of the pull overs are due to carelessness and neglect and are a life lesson but I'm not so sure.

The thing I find grossly unfair is bringing out the dogs - as if attending an art festival is probable cause. It makes for an uneven playing field.
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