Publisher’s Commentary by Wallace J. Allen
Plain clothes officers should be limited to making observations, and not be allowed to make arrest, unless accompanying a uniformed officer. Citizens should be able to know when a real police officer is ‘giving orders’. A plain clothes officer should not expect carte blanch conduct rights against the general public. Plain clothes and or undercover police are performing surveillance and are in fact, disguised as ‘regular’ citizens. Since it is legal for regular citizens to have guns and other self protection devices, police officers who are disguised as regular citizens should have a protocol that protects the officer and the general public from the ‘natural and legal’ response of a citizen who thinks he/she is being unjustly attacked, and thus justified in attempting to defend self. That citizen should not be charged with resisting an officer if he had no way of knowing that his attacker is a police officer. The respect and deference owed to a police officer can only be provided to someone that is known to be such. Too many citizens have died as a result of encounters with police who though are off-duty and out of uniform, have exercised police actions with an attitude of authority despite being disguised as regular citizens.