Frequently in the course of carrying out their duties in law enforcement, it becomes necessary for police officers to stop a person and make an inquiry such as:
- What is your name?
- What is your address?
- Do you have any identification?
The Thornville Police Department strives to provide service to everyone in the community fairly and equally. Sometimes a very routine encounter may cause a person to feel intimidated or to respond in a manner which gives rise to conflict or suspicion. We hope that the information on this page will be helpful in explaining why an officer may have to stop and question a citizen and reduce elements of conflict when confronted by an officer. It will explain what to expect if a police officer stops you for questioning and also provide some guidelines on how to respond to the questioning process. You are cautioned, however, that this is not a legal advisory.
When law enforcement representatives question a person, there are underlying reasons. They may be checking on some complaint phoned into police by someone in the community. They may have received a report of some criminal activity which has just occurred in the area. Your presence might indicate that you are a potential witness who would be able to provide valuable information in an investigation. In some cases the officers' observations may lead them to think you are having trouble and need assistance.
The best way for them to clarify the situation is to ask questions. With all due respect to citizens' rights, officers have a responsibility to properly investigate matters which may threaten public safety or involve breaking the law. Their questions are not necessarily an accusation, and your cooperative response can alleviate potential conflict.