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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This question is geared more for college PO's. In regards to the "odor of marijuana" calls. When you are dispatched to the dorm for this call and you arrive at the door and notice a strong smell of marijuana do you still need to ask to enter the room for the search or is the P/C enough??? If it is proper to ask consent to get in is there enough P/C to search without consent?? Just trying to cover my ###! I have seen it done both ways.
 

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According to Atty. Pat Rogers, if you go to a dorm room and smell the odor, back up and file a warrant. The odor alone gives you P/C, but consider the dorm room a residence. If you went to someone's house and smelled it outside, you couldn't kick in the door.

If you knock & the door opens, one argument is that you can search b/c of exigency, destruction of eveidence. Pat Rogers says that it is no good, b/c we intentionally created the exigency, and we cannot do that. You could start the warrant affidavit, go to the room, knock and seize it until the warrant arrives. You can even tell the residents that you are applying for a warrant and would like consent to search, but be careful or they will argue coercion.

Now, all this is in the world according to Atty. Rogers. Do what works, what your chief & attorney will support you in and keeps you safe.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you all for the reply. I am just trying to clear up that gray area when the door is open and the person is not so sure that he wants to let you in. I understand warrant is best but realistically the on-call would be about 2hrs. But, I am aware of the option. Thank you for all your help
 

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If the door is already open when you get there, fair game, go to town. They created the exigency, they know you are there and will destroy evidence.

Good luck. Stay Safe.
 

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if they open the door freely and you see alchol in plain view you may then arrest for the alcohol and search the "lungable area".
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thank you all. I have another one for the college crowd. Ok, you're in the dorm room with consent for a loud noise or party call. Nothing in plain view (Alcohol). I get consent to look around... will I need more p/c to look into the mini-fridge ( Is there a higher expectation of privacy) or will that be covered when I asked the partied to take a look around.
 

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Once you have have consent to search, that consent is not specific. However, the owner would have the right to revoke consent at any time during the consent search. Then you must immediately stop the search.
What do you say Masstrooper?
 

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I like the idea. Step two is actually getting the dept. administrators to give it their stamp of approval. It all comes down to CYA.

Masstroopers1-does the MSP have such a form that you mentioned or are they individually drafted by the tpr himself?
 

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Be, careful, a lot of our consent searches, even when the deft. signs a statement, or a PO's log book are thrown out. The courts have tended to side nationwide w/ the theory that consent is not given freeley if the deft. does not feel "free to leave". We have numerous times either gotten addendums to s/w's for items we have obserevd during execution of s/w that are not listed on s/w or for p/c we developed in regards to a specific location w/i the deft's residence. For instance search of the room deft was arrested in reveals quantity of narcotic secreted in top dresser drawer(or refridge), room is secured and a warrant is applied for to recover the item. The reasoning is you had plenty of right to search the area, by finding the item you develop p/c, and w/ the s/w it will never be thrown out during pre-trial. The one risk is obviosly that the judge denies, and you are back at square one.
 

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One idea is not to have eight guys around you when you ask,overkill is just that!! And dont forget the magic words "May I or Can I" not hey stop right there or come here now!! Using either of the above quotes have stood up in Federal court and even in this insanely Liberal Peoples Republic of Barneys....

After you arrest dont forget to make sure he is dressed properly but for Officer safety sake get everything that he request's hehehehehehehhehh
 

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The other thing you might want to consider is getting an RA (resident advisor) to help you gain access. There is an expectation of privacy in a dorm, but not the same as if you were in your own house. Most college students sign an agreement w/the college at the beginning of the year/semester to allow the college (or its trustees) to gain access if needed-a violation of the law would fit into this (i.e.-under age drinking, illegal drug usage, etc). Most colleges today have zero tolerance policies towards those behaviors. Plus, most students probably never bothered to read the fine print regarding dorm rooms and this. Though I am not a lawyer, I believe this type of search almost falls into the same category as a school locker and your right to privacy and searches. I do beleive a college can search or inspect a dorm room at their leisure.
 

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No good. If you get an R.A. to search a room for you, they are acting as an agent of the police, under the color of law, and they are held to the same standards as we are.

Either Westfield or Fitchburg State had a case like this years ago, and the opinion stated that although students sign a contract allowing for periodic inspections of their residence, the periodic inspections are for health and safety purposes only. If there are bad things brought to your attention by an R.A. during an H&S inspection, they go to your probable cause for a warrant.
 

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In regards to having a RA or other campus life go in, I would stay away from that too. I guess it depends what school or contract. But I believe that most of the contracts these kids sign is for emergency situations or safety type checks by the university. You have to remember that even though you are employed by the school you are still an agent of the state, being a sworn police officer. I would refer back to that case from Fitchburg State with the marijuana that was seized in a dorm room from a safety check.
 
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