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Anderson, Cody

Prof. Sparks

Utahs Stop and Frisk Laws

Stop and Frisk, a concept and from a 1967 Supreme Court Case Terry v
Ohio, 392 US 1, (1967). In summary the case states three men that were staking out a local

business, these men had been spotted by an officer several times while on patrol in the
area. This officer; a thirty nine year veteran, felt these men maybe planning something
due to numerous situational observations and proceeded to approach these men and
identified himself as a policeman. Upon mumbled communication the officer decided to
frisk the outwear of the men, discovering two handguns and placed the men under arrest.

These men fought the charges which ended in the Supreme Court. This case
cemented in a law allowing police to stop and frisk any individual that may be part of an
investigatory stop or if the officer has Reasonable Suspicion that a crime has been, is being
or about to be committed before stopping a suspect. This stop is considered to be a
momentary detention and search and has a growing disapproval within America as people are
demanding police to leave them alone. Many factors played a part in the Supreme Courts
Opinion but one worth pointing out is that allowing officers the ability to briefly pat down a
person clothing during a reasonable stop to ensure their own safety and the safety of others is

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This type of Frisk is also known as a Terry Stop and besides being performed on a
suspect with reasonable suspicion, it is also used during an arrest to ensure the arrest suspect
is not carrying an weapon within the clothing or strapped to their body. During an arrest
suspects are now subject to the Stop and identify laws where you are required to provide
identification or face a criminal charge.

Within our own state we are experiencing a similar disapproval of the Stop and Frisk
concept in policing. This is mainly due to the fact that for an officers to perform an arrest
he/she must have Probably Cause that a crime is or about to be committed where a Terry
Stop only requires them to have reasonable suspicion, which requires less proof of any
criminal activity. An online poll shows Americans are very mixed and Utah is defiantly in the
mix with the rest of the country.

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During a in depth search through the Utah Code Title 77 Chapter 7 Section 1-26
identifies the Criminal Procedure for Arrest, by Whom and How Made did not contain a
local law on the books for Stop and Frisk, when this happens that means the state is following
the laws set forth by the federal government of the United States of America and the United
States Constitution. Stop and Frisk falls within the Fourth Amendment, an expansion to the
Bill of Rights that prohibits unreasonable search and seizures. This was submitted in 1789
and was ratified in 1791. Through the ever changing terrain of the American living the
Amendment has been expanded to include a wide array of laws to protect us and our way of

Even with a lack of data on Terry Stops within Utahs Crime Statistics its not hard
to see the need for us to see how important it is for officers to protect themselves during calls
for police service, traffic violation stops, or general beat assignment. The Utah Department of
Public safety releases a Crime Report annually with the latest report being the statistics of
2012. Within the year 2012 there were a total of 715 police assaults, most happening after
eight pm to four am. When an officer needs to protect or enforce the laws we vote into law,
we tend to forget that the people offering to enforce them will encounter the violence we do
not want to happen to us.

The graph below (fig. 1) identifies the activity of the officer when they were assaulted
by a violent person. In the light of Stop and Frisk or Terry Stop the graph shows sixty
assaults took place while investigating a suspicious person, this is the person that is mainly

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subject to a Terry Stop. The
graph also shows 107

Figure 1

assaults while Attempting

Other Arrests. This means
the officer has established
more than reasonable
suspicion which qualifies as
probable cause of criminal activity, which is subject to an arrest.

Since the results of the research is to help identify and educate the public of police
interactions and the laws behind the controversial issues in the media these days there is
always the concern with race and who is committing the crimes within the states. An
interesting fact from the Department of Corrections shows that within the Utah State Prison
(Point of the Mountain) that the prison
population of 7,009 inmates only 6.42%
or 450 are Black, 18.32% or 1,284 are
Hispanic and White make up 66.41% or
4,655. Other ethnicity information is
provided in fig. #2

The Utah Crime Report keeps a detailed record of Gender in relation to criminal
activity but doesnt seem to keep record of race for most criminal activity. One area it does
reflect race is relation to homicide within

Utah Department of Corrections (UDCstat)

Figure 2

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the state and the results show a total of 43 homicides. Of the 43 victims 22 were white males,
17 white females, and 2 black males, and 2 American Indian or Alaskan Natives. The
Offenders of the homicides consisted of 38 white males, 6 white females, 2 black males, 1
American Indian or Alaskan Natives, and 3 unknown races.
In my opinion the Stop and Frisk is a vital tool for police and it is hard to argue about
many officers that loss control of their power over people. I would like the public to better
research their local and federal laws to better protect themselves and let the police know that
there are people other than lawyers that know what they can and cant do. An online website I
found to help you in your endeavor should you choose to do so will be cited at the end of this

Remember there are any variables in each situation that will play out in a number of
varies scenarios in regards to civilian interactions with police. I ask that if you are not
committing a crime remember your rights and think about why you may be being stopped and
if the situation may have permitted the officer to stop you or if the officer is out of line, but
whatever you do, do not engage in violent or disruptive behaviors as the officer may see you
as a threat and detain you in a level that fits your engagement.

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Works Cited
(BCI), Utah Department of Public Safety. "Crime Statistics for the State of Utah." n.d. Utah
Department of Public Safety. <>.
Cornell University Law School. n.d. Web Page. 16 12 2014.
"Utah State Legislature." n.d. How to Interact with Law Enforcement