Encounter with Sheriff deputies at Stark County Fair today

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Encounter with Sheriff deputies at Stark County Fair today

Postby JustaShooter » Mon Sep 05, 2016 8:42 pm

So, had my first encounter with LEOs while armed today.

As is our custom, Mrs. JustaShooter and I attended the Stark County Fair today. As we frequently do, we were openly carrying, I with my XDs in a kydex OWB retention holster and she with her marsala (hot pink) Ruger LC9 in an OWB leather holster prominently displayed against her white outfit. We had enjoyed the fair for the better part of three hours and had several positive interactions with other fairgoers who weren't aware you could carry in the fair, etc. We even found a pink Stark County Sheriff vehicle for Mrs. JustaShooter to have her picture taken with!

Image

We eventually settled in at the pavilion to take in a band we had enjoyed the past few years (the John Hampu Band, Classic Rock & Roll 60s–80s - decent band, but struggle with the venue and getting the board mix and volume right - but I digress...)

Part way into the second set as my wife re-joined me at our seats from dancing in front of the stage, something she enjoys - and is likely the source of the call that resulted in one of Stark County's Finest approaching her as she settled in the seat and asking her "is that real?" clearly referring to her sidearm. She answered it was (and leaned over to me to tell me she had thought of adding "... and so is his!" but decided against it), and we continued to take in the band, but not without noticing Officer Friendly had been joined by another Stark County Sheriff Deputy, and the pair were standing at the back of the pavilion observing us. Somewhat later, after a few more trips to dance a bit, she took some trash to the bin at the back of the pavilion and quickly returned and told me she had been asked by one of the deputies to take her gun and lock it up in the car (!).

I then approached the pair of deputies (noticing that Officer Friendly was not there) to see what was up. I asked if there was a problem, at which point they were re-joined by Officer Friendly. Up until this point I'm not even sure they realized I was openly carrying as well, as I had my holster at about 4:00 or a bit past because my width with holster didn't work well in the pavilion seats and the angle I approached them would have likely prevented them from seeing my holster. But I'm pretty sure Officer Friendly would have noticed given his direction of approach.

In any case, cue blather about not taking away your rights but surely you understand with the place we are with kids and people and blah blah blah I just asked her if she would consider taking her gun and locking it up in the car blah blah blah. I reply that we are just here to enjoy the band, and when the set is over, we were planning on leaving. Cue story about guy who was openly carrying in the grandstand earlier and how people were concerned, etc. etc, he agreed to leave because he didn't want to upset people, and surely you can understand... I respond that I agree that I don't want to upset people, but it is our right to carry, and that right is guaranteed by the Ohio constitution, and I don't see people getting upset, and all we want to do is finish listening to the band and then we are leaving. Somewhere in here, deputy #4 arrives (who couldn't *possibly* have missed that I'm also openly carrying.) Round and round she goes, after a couple more iterations and variations on this theme, I finally decide I'm done and tell them I'd like to go back and sit down and enjoy the rest of this set - is that going to be OK guys? They make noises in the affirmative and I return to my seat and have my wife join me for the remaining songs in the set.

During the remaining time we spent listening to the band, we noticed we had a cheering section at the back of the pavilion - all four of Stark County's Finest had remained to observe. As the set finished and we headed off to pick up a custom airbrushed t-shirt my wife had commissioned (pointedly *not* in the direction of the fairground exit), we thought they were going to be escorting us around the fair for the remainder of our stay - but alas, as we made the turn to the airbrush artist stand, they went elsewhere. We then left the fair without further incident - although I was fully expecting them or some of their friends to magically appear at some point after we had gotten in the car "just to check up on us" or some other pretext to see if we notified... But I was to be disappointed. Oh well! lol

Some things I learned:
As often as I have practiced this sort of encounter in my head, my heart was pounding. I think I did OK all the same, but not great - maybe not even "good", depending on how you look at it. I certainly have room for improvement.
It completely left my mind to get names, etc. for followup. Ugh.
I need to practice some additional responses, especially to the "people get alarmed" / "people get concerned" types of statements. I don't think I handled that particular one well.
Having a loud rock and roll band playing 75' behind you makes it *really* hard to understand what everyone is saying when you play back the recording afterward to evaluate yourself.
I *really* should have cut the encounter shorter than I did once it became clear they were in "strongly suggesting that we leave and disarm" mode rather than "ordering us to leave and disarm" mode, or even "you are being detained" mode. I spoke with them for nearly 5 minutes before breaking it off. Sigh.
It's pretty clear they did *not* like having a couple of mere citizens disregard their strongly-worded suggestion.
LEOs really don't like open carry, do they? I can't think of a single one I've talked to that does. One of the things they said was that unless they are in uniform, they conceal, and of course the implication is I should too - god forbid I disturb the sheep...

Anyway, I'm going to replay the audio a few more times to see what else I can learn. I don't suppose anyone knows how to clean up background noise in the form of loud music from an audio recording?
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Re: Encounter with Sheriff deputies at Stark County Fair tod

Postby Brian D. » Mon Sep 05, 2016 9:56 pm

Figured you'd get around to posting this on here. When something similar happened to me many years ago, I followed up with the sheriff himself. But it was 100+ miles from home and I couldn't/didn't keep reiterating as time went on. Each new sheriff elected (at least in "problem child" counties) should perhaps be "served notice" with an OC event. I don't know, maybe that would do nothing more than make me feel better.
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Re: Encounter with Sheriff deputies at Stark County Fair tod

Postby MyWifeSaidYes » Tue Sep 06, 2016 12:05 am

JustaShooter wrote:...As often as I have practiced this sort of encounter in my head, my heart was pounding...

This is why I don't need drugs. :twisted: :P

JustaShooter wrote:...I think I did OK all the same, but not great - maybe not even "good", depending on how you look at it. I certainly have room for improvement.
It completely left my mind to get names, etc. for followup. Ugh.
I need to practice some additional responses, especially to the "people get alarmed" / "people get concerned" types of statements. I don't think I handled that particular one well.more times to see what else I can learn...

You have it right...practice. And this sounded like EXCELLENT practice !! Congrats on handling the encounter so well !!

JustaShooter wrote:... I don't suppose anyone knows how to clean up background noise in the form of loud music from an audio recording?

Send me a copy and I'll take a crack at it. Or download Audacity and play around a bit.
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Re: Encounter with Sheriff deputies at Stark County Fair tod

Postby Brian D. » Tue Sep 06, 2016 6:37 am

As most of us know, lying is an accepted (and held by courts to be lawful) technique used by LE during criminal investigations. One problem with that is, some cops get the idea that being dishonest with the public is perfectly okay at any time, as long as it suits their purpose at the moment. As JustaShooter mentioned, LE is often not fond of us being out in the open with carry. Conversely, they really don't like us being surreptitious about us recording the encounters. You connect the dots.

edited by request--m380g
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Re: Encounter with Sheriff deputies at Stark County Fair tod

Postby JustaShooter » Tue Sep 06, 2016 6:48 am

3FULLMAGS+1 wrote:Who knows, if it was me they were referring too, maybe they just lied about asking me to leave and saying I did, hoping you both would do the same.

That wouldn't surprise me at all. I honestly don't know of any open carriers that would go "gosh, I didn't think about that, I didn't mean to alarm anyone, I'll just go put my gun away" like they indicated had happened.

As an interesting side note to this part of their talk with me, they said that they had fairgoers express concern at there being a person open carrying in the grandstand and say that "someone was gong to get hurt" - had I been on my game, I might have been astute enough to ask "what, were they threatening the guy with the gun?" :roll:
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Re: Encounter with Sheriff deputies at Stark County Fair tod

Postby deanimator » Tue Sep 06, 2016 7:02 am

Brian D. wrote:As most of us know, lying is an accepted (and held by courts to be lawful) technique used by LE during criminal investigations. One problem with that is, some cops get the idea that being dishonest with the public is perfectly okay at any time, as long as it suits their purpose at the moment. As JustaShooter mentioned, LE is often not fond of us being out in the open with carry. Conversely, they really don't like us being surreptitious about us recording the encounters. You connect the dots.

That causes some people to just assume by default that they're lying.

I wonder if they've considered that.

Probably not, since the impression I get is that they believe that you're supposed to believe them, no matter WHAT they say, under oath or otherwise...
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Re: Encounter with Sheriff deputies at Stark County Fair tod

Postby Chuck » Tue Sep 06, 2016 10:31 am

Remember, if you lie to a cop, it's a crime
If a cop lies to you, he's following his training


edited by request--m380g
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Re: Encounter with Sheriff deputies at Stark County Fair tod

Postby Wash Doc » Tue Sep 06, 2016 11:34 am

Just as a note my wife and i had called and been told no carry at the fair and even saw a sign by the ticket entrance off 7th. That had the potential to get ugly. I'm glad you and the wife had no further problems.
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Re: Encounter with Sheriff deputies at Stark County Fair tod

Postby JustaShooter » Tue Sep 06, 2016 11:55 am

Wash Doc wrote:Just as a note my wife and i had called and been told no carry at the fair and even saw a sign by the ticket entrance off 7th. That had the potential to get ugly. I'm glad you and the wife had no further problems.

If they told you no carry at the fair, they were wrong - under Ohio law they cannot prohibit carry on the fairgrounds. If you don't mind, who did you call, and do you know the name of the person you talked to?

If there is a sign at the 7th street entrance, it is also invalid - can you describe the sign? Looks like I have more than one entrance to check...
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Re: Encounter with Sheriff deputies at Stark County Fair tod

Postby Wash Doc » Tue Sep 06, 2016 12:36 pm

Standard gun red circle and line. My wife called and i am uncertain whether canton city or stark county. She said the lady was friendly enough.
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Re: Encounter with Sheriff deputies at Stark County Fair tod

Postby JustaShooter » Tue Sep 06, 2016 1:51 pm

Wash Doc wrote:Standard gun red circle and line.

Do you know if it was a paper or metal sign - just asking because their old, original signs were metal, like street signs, but the one that 3FULLMAGS+1 saw at the Raff Rd. entrance was printed on a piece of paper and stapled on the outside of the ticket booth.
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Re: Encounter with Sheriff deputies at Stark County Fair tod

Postby Wash Doc » Tue Sep 06, 2016 2:08 pm

Paper attached to the little wooden ticket shack where other details were put up.
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Re: Encounter with Sheriff deputies at Stark County Fair tod

Postby JustaShooter » Tue Sep 06, 2016 2:38 pm

Wash Doc wrote:Paper attached to the little wooden ticket shack where other details were put up.


:evil:

This makes me unhappy. It also makes me wish ORC 9.68 had teeth...
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Re: Encounter with Sheriff deputies at Stark County Fair tod

Postby Wash Doc » Tue Sep 06, 2016 2:57 pm

If I'm reading this right signage of generic origin has as much authority as a unicorn farting rainbows?
I see a sign I automatically back off as I do my best to avoid problems.
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Re: Encounter with Sheriff deputies at Stark County Fair tod

Postby JustaShooter » Tue Sep 06, 2016 3:11 pm

Wash Doc wrote:If I'm reading this right signage of generic origin has as much authority as a unicorn farting rainbows?
I see a sign I automatically back off as I do my best to avoid problems.


On a business or other private property, the sign can be anything that conveys the intent of not allowing you to be armed on the property. It just has to be posted in a conspicuous location, and if you saw it, it must have been conspicuous enough so yes, you should back off and not enter while armed.

For government entities, the format and wording are spelled out in the Ohio Revised Code.

The problem here is that the Ohio Revised Code specifically says that political subdivisions of the state cannot enact laws or rules regarding possession of firearms that are more restrictive than what is spelled out in the ORC, and the ORC says you can't post public land, parks, etc - and the fairgrounds are for the most part (and Stark County Fairgrounds *are*) public property and are run fair boards that are a political subdivision of the state, so they *cannot* post the fairgrounds.

The reason these particular signs anger me is that they were *intentionally* posted after OFCC got the original signs taken down a few years ago. This wasn't a case of missing a sign or forgetting about that entrance, no, the metal signs are down and they decided to post these new ones even though they knew or should have known it wasn't allowed.
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