Last October, I used this forum to offer a few suggestions regarding ways to avoid attracting the attention of gun-carrying members of law enforcement agencies.

Perhaps not surprisingly, there has since been no reduction of clientele at any local agency. To the contrary, business is still booming, and circumstances at the Texas County Sheriff’s Department and Houston Police Department are certainly representative of that.

In their dealings in and around what is unarguably a mighty large territory, sheriff’s officers come across, have run-ins with and are basically amazed by a cross section of citizenry that bring to the table a wide-ranging and impressive array of verbal and physical techniques.

While they may only go as far as before (which was pretty much nowhere), a few more recommendations could never hurt. And while it’s true that covering every technique utilized by law enforcement clientele would be impossible in anything short of a book, the same common sense principles could be applied to all – and that’s the point.

Be prepared

––If you’re going to be discovered at a residence where you’re both unknown and unwelcome, be prepared to offer up a lie that at least resembles something that makes sense.

Doug Davison

Doug Davison

If you’re rifling through someone’s belongings inside their home, maybe swiping and item or two, and you fail to conclude your task prior to the return of the person or people who live there, saying something incoherent or weird as you leave won’t help your situation. All that does is make you not only seem dishonest, but crazy, too.

––When an officer asks to search your home and it contains something incriminating, don’t expect the officer not to notice. What the officer might be looking for isn’t relevant to the fact that if there’s drug paraphernalia on the dresser, bottles of controlled substances in the kitchen, or a fugitive under the bed or in the closet, the items or individuals will very likely be seen.

It’s probably not advisable to say to a curious officer “sure, come on in and have a look around” when there’s arrest material lying about. Officers have a tendency to make arrests in such situations.

The answer to the question

––Give complete answers when replying to a question.

For example, if you’re pulled over because you just caused another driver to have to slam on the brakes to miss you as you pulled right in front of them, it’s not “I didn’t see the other car,” it’s “I didn’t look, so I didn’t see the other car.”

––Give consistent answers when replying to an officer who asks the same question more than once.

Giving different answers to the same question can lead to irritation, and irritation can lead to citation.

––Leave editorial comment out when replying to an officer’s question.

There’s really no need to throw gas on the fire by doing any mean-spirited name calling prior to or following your answer.

Officers tend to like getting a bit of respect as they go about their work and showing that you have little or none for them will not usually gain you any favor.

And remember: any favor – good; no favor – bad.

––At least give some kind of answer when asked a question by an officer.

Just grumbling some mean-spirited name calling unaccompanied by any actual reply is a sure way to increase your chances of earning a trip to the nearest county jail.

It’s simple math, really: question minus answer equals heightened problem (the formula is Q – A = HP).

Recognize tool time

Despite the temptation that can arise by being in close proximity to an ax, sledgehammer or other such object, let them lie if you’re involved in some sort of dispute.

Nothing good can come of grabbing a long-handled tool with a large, metallic head when your blood pressure and voice have simultaneously risen.

Not that kicking in a door or wall could ever be likened to a good idea, but in most domestic cases giving something the boot is probably preferable to the ax, and under those circumstances there’s probably no time that’s a good time for hammer time.

Unfortunately, a sudden growth of common sense should probably not be expected any time soon among those who can’t seem to avoid becoming the focus of law enforcement’s firearm-toting representatives. In fact, if the way the flow of return customers seems to be increasing is any indication, the opposite may well be true and the only thing that might grow is the list of names familiar to officers.

And so it goes in one of the only businesses immune to recession.

Doug Davison is a writer, photographer, copy editor and advertising representative for the Houston Herald. Email: ddavison@houstonherald.com.

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