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Purses, Bags and Backpacks

This question is: Can you look inside a woman’s purse, or a man’s backpack during a pat down?  The answer is, “Maybe.”  Here’s how this works.  We know that patdowns are an overall minimally intrusive way to protect yourself from weapons and blunt objects during a Terry stop.  And, if you have reason to believe […]

Searching Passengers for Marijuana

Today we are going to answer a question that a lot of you have on your mind.  Can you search a vehicle’s passenger for marijuana? And the answer is: probably.  However, I have to go into some legal reasoning here because the answer is really not that clear.  There are two key cases I want […]

Frisking a Student Based on an Anonymous Tip

The question is: “Which Fourth Amendment exception allows a school police officer to search a juvenile on campus based on an anonymous tip that the juvenile has a gun?” Alright, so we’re dealing with a lot of different things here. Let’s walk through it. First off, is the tip truly anonymous? In this day and […]

Pat-down on An Overdose Suspect

Can you patdown an overdose suspect? This question comes from an officer in Wisconsin. The officer says, “You respond and revive a suspected overdose patient. Can you conduct a patdown prior to them being transported by EMS? This is for the safety of the staff, due to drug abusers commonly carrying tools related to their […]

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