Old 10-04-2006, 01:16 AM   #26
Joe the Photog
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Let me rephrase. Don't let Homeland Security think for a second you are a terrorist or a train photographer.


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Old 10-04-2006, 01:22 AM   #27
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Well put Mike but, were forgeting "one" thing about this. If Police feel there's any kind of threat, they can legally confiscate any item under "probable cause". It's no different if a cop searches your car without a warrant, if the officer feels there's probable cause, this will hold up in court. If it's found there's no threat, like the article states, the items will be returned.
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Old 10-04-2006, 01:51 AM   #28
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I think that last post by SD70macman really got everyone on the same page, this was a great topic and no doubt its one that we as a group needed to talk about. Like said in previous posts, there needs to be some sort of unified education for the law enforcment. With out that we are getting no where. Writing an article for my local paper has crossed my mind these last couple of days and i might pursue that further in this next year.

For now i think everyone for once seems to really agree on something in this thread and i hope that this issue might fan out and get to people who really could benifit from something like this discussion (like the newspapers).

I wish you all well, i had fun on this topic and for now i think this will be my last post on this thread, mainly because i feel everyone generally agrees on what the problem is and how to solve it (below is a re-cap)

Problem: Rail photographers getting heat from cops for being invloved in a hobby that makes themselves look suspicious.
Solution: Educate cops about our hobby and make them aware of what we do.
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Old 10-04-2006, 02:25 AM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SD70MACMAN
Usually the responce to "what are you doing?", "taking pictures of trains" is the deal breaker. I've never caused problems w/ the police and I dont want to...
I agree. I was standing on a bridge looking down on the tracks, it was mid-winter and had my camera tucked in my coat. As I had gotten my shots, a squad pulled up and two officers got out. Knowing to not leave my explanation at "taking pictures of trains," I pointed out the Minneapolis skyline. One officer said she never would have thought of that, and it was clear that my 20D lent credence to my goal. I offered to show them the photos I had just taken, but they declined. I also offered my license before they asked for it. Before they left, without asking me to move along, the other cop told me I was a suspected jumper.

I also know that there are LEOs who go farther than they should - luckily I have yet to meet one. And taking your card or film is a different from making a teen dump beed down the sewer or taking mace (both of which happened to me more than once).

While I may come off as a lemming with this terrorism stuff, I also want to find a middle ground. Because all the civil liberties don't do me good if I am dead!
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Old 10-04-2006, 03:45 AM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M.L.Gabert
Well put Mike but, were forgeting "one" thing about this. If Police feel there's any kind of threat...stuff...the items will be returned.
Again, the legal gray zone, define threat.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pat Lorenz
Problem: Rail photographers getting heat from cops for being invloved in a hobby that makes themselves look suspicious.
Solution: Educate cops about our hobby and make them aware of what we do.
First the cops, then the world, mwhahahaahhaah!
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Old 10-04-2006, 06:29 AM   #31
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Quote:
Again, the legal gray zone, define threat.
Most decisions made by police and by the courts usually are made by the "reasonable person" test. Would the actions of this person lead a reasonable and prudent person to come to the same conclusion as the police officer/court?

What is a threat? Well lets say a person is staring you down, fists clenched, in a fighting stance. Would these actions lead a resonable person to believe this person was a threat? I would say yes, it would.

How this pertains to railfans I believe is this: If you are questioned by police and either try to hide what you are doing, or try to argue with the police, the situation will turn sour (for you) pretty quickly. If you answer straight up "I am taking pictures of trains, it is my hobby." the situation will probably go a lot better. Cops are good at sniffing out a liar, because they have been lied to so much in the past.

Summary: If by your actions and the observations by an officer would lead a reasonable person to believe you are up to no good, or in a place you shouldn't be, the officer is gonna draw the same conclusions.

Quote:
What happened in the article above was a CLEAR violation of the 4th Amendment. And hopefully as you may remember from civics class, the laws of the Constitution cannot be overriden by any law except an Amendment, approved by Congress. The last Amendment was in 1992.
Was the search unreasonable? While taking the report in the paper at face value, it would appear that this true. However, do we know if that refinery has been listed as a possible target? Has it been the scene of past criminal activities? Was the person in a place he shouldn't have been? All of these could give officer's probable cause to seize the camera and have the contents checked.

Quote:
I don't understand why photographers from this country get hassled unless they are trespassing. If there is no sign that says "public not allowed", I don't feel (and legally know) that there is no case against being there.
Because "trespassing" is against the law maybe? If you are one someone else's private property, and they don't want you there, you cannot be there. There is no "choo-choo" or "railfan" exception.

I would suggest brushing up on your paticular areas laws against trespassing before going out, just to make sure you have all your ducks in a row.
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Old 10-04-2006, 07:34 PM   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ru1056
Because "trespassing" is against the law maybe? If you are one someone else's private property, and they don't want you there, you cannot be there. There is no "choo-choo" or "railfan" exception.

I would suggest brushing up on your paticular areas laws against trespassing before going out, just to make sure you have all your ducks in a row.
I apologize, I should have been more clear in how I worded that. I meant I don't understand why photographers get hassled in public places that officers may THINK is private property. Of course, if you are beyond a point that is posted as private or there is a "no Trespassing" sign you should be questioned or thrown out. Trust me, I have PLENTY of knowledge (and back-up) about trespassing laws and rights dealing with property.
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Old 10-04-2006, 07:41 PM   #33
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Everyone always asks..."well if someone is walking across your front lawn is that trespassing?"...answer is YES. That has nothing to do with a company and their property, mainly roads, in this example. Let's say you want to take photos of locomotives sitting by a feed mill that also gets served by trucks so there is a road directly to where the locos are sitting. The mill entrance is off a side road from the main road and has a green sign marking it a "real" road, although it ends inside the companys property. There is a "______ Main Entrance" sign as soon as you turn down the "road", but NO sign of any warnings against trespassing or public on property. Since there was a green street sign marking it a public road and no visible "No Trespassing" or "Employees Only" signs...is it okay to drive into the plant?
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Old 10-04-2006, 11:00 PM   #34
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Lets apply the reasonable person test to your scenario.

Would a reasonable person believe they are entering a restricted area? By the way you described, I believe any officer would be very hard pressed to arrest anyone for trespassing just for taking pictures from the road.

Now were a problem could occur is if you wonder off maybe next to the mill in a place obviously that is not on a public road, (or what you thought was a public road) next to the locos, or any other area that you obviously have no business being. Unless you have permission to be were you are at, or have business at the plant, then it can be considered trespassing.

I do believe most state laws require someone to be warned first to not be on the property before an arrest can be made.
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Old 10-05-2006, 01:05 AM   #35
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Maybe this is why I've shifted my attention towards shooting women. So far, no one's seen that as a threat to national security...

E
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Old 10-05-2006, 05:37 AM   #36
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Don't you have to get permission to shoot women? Do you just walk up to someone and say "hey baby, how about letting me get a picture of you?"..
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Old 10-05-2006, 07:58 AM   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wonka001
Don't you have to get permission to shoot women? Do you just walk up to someone and say "hey baby, how about letting me get a picture of you?"..
I work with professionals and we keep it all nice and legal. Some approach me, some I approach. It keeps me busy!

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Old 10-07-2006, 03:00 AM   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by E3429
Maybe this is why I've shifted my attention towards shooting women. So far, no one's seen that as a threat to national security...

E
LOL ...good one. My wife always asks me, what is my fascination with these "stupid trains"?

I tell her I'd rather being shooting women instead...

But you can imagine how that goes over!
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Old 10-08-2006, 01:07 AM   #39
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Similar talks with a new girl I'm dating, I explained it could be anything from flowers, boats, cars, whatever but I chose trains cuz they're cool and macho!

But all this talk about trespassing. Recently I was at the bridge that crosses the Colorado River between Arizona and California on the Seligman Subdivision. I was on the California side on Park Moabi Road. I had pulled off the road into a parking lot on the north side of the bridge. Within a few minutes a Ford Explorer pulls up and a woman gets out and approaches me. I see on the side of the vehicle the word " ____ Ranger". She approaches me very nicely and asks if I'm a train fan wanting to soot the bridge. said yes and she said I was going to have to leave but she would talk to me long enough to get my shot, plus it would make her supervisor in the vehicle think she was being thorough with her, oh I wanted to be thoroughly searched by her! Then she says I can't be where I am it's private property. I said it wasn't posted. Then she rambled about BLM property, private property, blah blah blah, zzzzzzzzzzzzzz. She said I would have to leave. I explained the road was not private property but a public road, not much she could say about that even though she was trying to make it clear I couldn't even be in this area. I was pissed, I wanted to take night shots here. So I stated my piece of mind for a bit then got off the property and left, looking for any sign of anything saying private property or anything, nothing.

But in the end I didn't feeling like dealing with the "man" on this night or pushing the issue, but trust me, next time the bridge will be mine!

PS: I never got a train crossing but I did get the bridge! LOL

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Old 10-08-2006, 05:10 AM   #40
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Dave,

If topock is what your talking about then i know exactly what you mean, yes there is nothing posted but there is security all over the place. Last March when my freind and i went there we didnt know what we were doing and so we just wandered around a bit. We were immediatley followed by the security ranger and he kindly asked us what we were doing, were sat in our cars and talked. He said that he gets people like us up here every weekend so it wasnt out of the norm. He told us where we could and couldnt go.

As a usual teenager, i didnt care, i was from out of town and i spend alot of money getting to Topock from Tucson, AZ so i was going to get my shots and that was it.

We actually did dodge the guy a couple of times, but other than that we didnt see him the rest of the trip. But yeah that area is pretty interesting, alot more industrialized then i thought it was gonna be, the camp grounds were great, i would go back again.
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Old 10-08-2006, 01:37 PM   #41
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[quote=socalrailfan]Similar talks with a new girl I'm dating, I explained it could be anything from flowers, boats, cars, whatever but I chose trains cuz they're cool and macho!



Dave, and hear I thought you where a family man? I think we as railfans have to "rethink" what are legal boundry's before we jump to get the great shot.
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