Chapter 35 vehicle searches terminal learning objective

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In accordance with OPNAVINST 5580.1 and the Manual for Courts Martial, demonstrate the ability to use approved and standardized procedures to conduct searches and seizures.

1. Identify the reason for conducting a search.
2. Describe different types of searches.
3. Describe the scope of the searches, what can and cannot be searched.
4. Describe the procedures for lawful seizure in accordance with the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution.
1. Student Handout.

2. Classroom .

3. Standard Law Enforcement Materials.

4. Training Vehicle.

1. OPNAVINST 5580.1

2. Manual for Courts-Martial

1. Attend the lecture.

2. Follow along in the Student Handbook.

3. Ask questions.

4. Study for Quiz/Exam.

1. Reasons for Vehicle Searches
a. Vehicle Inspections - There are some restrictions, but the entry and exiting of a military installation removes some rights of the people. If a search is refused, we have the authority to refuse entry on to the base and start scraping stickers. It is a privilege to drive on base. If the individual is leaving the base, there are very few avenues of escaping a search. When a person drives on the base, they voluntarily gave up some rights. Each gate onto the base is posted with signs stating such and ignorance of these signs is not a reason to refuse a search. The purpose of conducting these searches is to prevent and detect the introduction of prohibited items and deter removal of government property.
(1) Increased Threat Condition - If the threat condition increases, the commanding officer has authority to order vehicles searched.
(2) Random - Periodically, search sites are established at a gate. The site can be established to handle vehicles entering or leaving the base. Any vehicle can be searched but it is not by the whim of the inspector. Each car inspected is selected by the number of vehicles entering or leaving. This can be every second vehicle or every seventh and can be at any time.
b. Bomb Searches - This can be associated with an increased threat condition but, this type of search could be conducted because of a bomb threat. Vehicles in a parking lot next to the suspected building may be searched by inspection and mirrors and/or dogs.
c. Crime - Vehicles associated or implicated to a crime can be searched when authorized by warrant or by order of the commanding officer. These searches may or may not require probable cause depending on the situation.
d. Accident - If you happen upon or respond to a vehicle accident, you are legally present. While performing your duties, the area of the accident is open to sight including areas open to sight inside the vehicle. If contraband, acts of crime (blood on a floor mat, ripped and bloody clothing, etc.) or a suspicious device is seen, the Plain View rule is invoked. When this happens, the site has now become a crime scene and everything is stopped. Further review of the law and the MCM will explain in detail these aspects.
2. Conducting a Vehicle Search
a. A two (preferably three) person team is established and set to the side of the road. The parking area is lined with traffic cones.
b. The appropriate vehicle is directed to the search area.
c. The #1 person approaches the drivers window and states to the driver, “Sir / Ma’am, we are conducting a random vehicle inspection. Will you please turn off your engine, set the emergency brake and have all passengers exit the vehicle.” The #2 person is on the opposite side of the vehicle as a cover person and is in charge of the exiting people.
d. The driver is now asked; “May I have your driver’s license, vehicle registration, proof of insurance and military identification?” Once in receipt of the requested material, the #1 person asks the driver to exit the vehicle.
e. Keeping the driver between them and the car, the driver is then asked to open all doors, trunk, hood, tail gate (if necessary), glove box and all other cargo containers. This can include mounted tool boxes, console containers, recessed panels, etc.
f. The #1 person then escorts the driver to the area of the #2 person and the persons who exited the vehicle. The #2 person turns over responsibility of the group and approaches the vehicle to begin the search.
g. The #1 person is now the cover person. He or she will now document the drivers information (this information will vary) and cover the #2 person.
h. The #2 person will inspect at a minimum, the following areas:
(1) Trunk (Rear of the vehicle).
(a) Under and around the spare tire.
(b) Tool boxes, luggage compartments and other containers.
(2) Engine Compartment (Forward area of the vehicle).
(a) Irregularly mounted components/containers.
(b) In and around the engine, especially the air filter if installed.
(c) Front or grill area.
(3) Exterior.
(a) Wheel wells.
(b) Front and back bumpers.
(c) Recessed gas cap covers.
(d) Hub caps.
(e) Underside.

(4) Interior.

(a) Under all seats and between cushions and head rests.
(b) In, around and under the front dash board.
(c) Under floor mats and visors.
(d) Ash tray and cassette player.
(e) Glove compartment.
(f) Overhead smooth and factory installed.
(g) All recesses, compartments and containers.
(5) Commercial vehicles and large POV’s.
(a) Storage bins on top of vehicle.
(b) Look for false or hidden compartments.
(c) Space between doubled wheels.
(d) Items that may be hollowed out.
i. Items which may be seized:
(1) Fruits of a crime.
(a) Stolen goods.
(b) Criminal instruments and instruments of a crime.
(c) Contraband.
(2) Unauthorized government material.
j. Any device or piece of equipment or material which can be used as, is part of or is a weapon. Example: We would recognize a pistol for what it is. A weapon. But, what about the piece of cylindrical wood about 4 feet long behind the passenger seat? Close examination may show imbedded nails, lead filling, modified hand grip or razors attached. Is this a weapon?
k. If, during your search, you come across a weapon you should immediately shout “Weapon!” This should be sufficient for you partner to take appropriate action. The command “Bomb!” should be shouted if you come across a suspected IED.
l. Alternative methods and equipment can be used to conduct or assist in searches. Bomb and Drug Detector Dogs (MWD) can be used to quickly sweep a large area and vehicles. Mirrors and flashlights will greatly enhance the search.
a. Give four reasons vehicles are searched.
b. What items are looked for when conducting a vehicle search?
c. What methods can be used to search a vehicle?

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