Police, gas utility workers entering RI homes to shut off gas (why?)

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Nope, "proper notice" is 48 hours in this state -- which is why the gas company hired the police to stand guard outside the homes they entered... Posting some kind of notice is begging for a response from those notified... Then everyone will want their house checked first or "after work" -- the way the gas company chose to deal with it allows the gas company to deal with the emergency according to their plans and on their schedule, without having to deal with input or specific time requests from the property owners which would no doubt follow being notified of a need to enter...
~~ Evan
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I remember from a long time ago, when I was involved in some of this. The fire department has a LOT of legal ability to go into places. Based on English common law. Me, if I was conducting this kind of thing, I'd send locksmith and firemen. After all, most firemen have some skill with natural gas shutoff. I used to be volunteer FF, and we were all trained in how to shut off the gas valve. And many of our FD tools had shut off capability.
Christopher A. Young Learn more about Jesus www.lds.org .

I don't know the law in RI, but I get the point of taking action to prevent a disaster. I know the DPU / SFM can enter your property (land) for a variety of reasons. I've never seen anything that allows them to enter a home - with police and locksmiths.
===========================Say a rookie cop sees "drugs" or "firearms" in "plain view" when he enters the home on a DPU / SFM "emergency". What stops the cop from later getting a warrant for an arrest of the home owner for drugs and firearms possession?
Tell me they can't turn off the gas from a remote location?
This is bad precedence. Maybe RI has laws that allow some agency to enter your home, I would not live there!
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IANAL, but I'd argue that the stuff in plain view wasn't admissable evidence in this case.
OTOH, if the person occupying the house was "out of sorts" and unable to perform the simple task of preventing the fire, the insurance company might argue that it isn't responsible for the damage that could easily have been prevented by a lucid human being. But that is all very much conjecture.
--
Best regards
Han
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I know I'd go home and crawl under the bed and stuff pillows in my ears. So, that would work for me.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X9YMU0WeBwU
I'm ready to go see a priest for ritual cleansing.
Christopher A. Young Learn more about Jesus www.lds.org .
wrote:

Remember the recent test for FEMA? All television, radio broadcast were to be interrupted for a test emergency message.... some people only heard a song from Lady Gaga.
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Existential Angst wrote:

This has been litigated many times and the answer is always on the side of the authorities.
Exigent circumstances trumps even the Constitution.
Could a member of government (e.g., a firefighter) kick down the door if flames were seen through the window? Could a cop force entry if cries for help were heard? Should an EPA monitor wait when he sees and incandescent bulb?
In the instant case, the chance of death, injury, or serious property damage is probable unless preventative action is taken.
Now what's interesting is what might happen while the cop is IN the house. Suppose he sees bomb making material or chemicals for making meth or a stash of illegal guns? I'll tell you what happens:
The homeowner get a long stay in the Grey Bar Hotel.
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...or you might shoot them.
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<snip>
For the record, I'm totally with you on this ...
Happy Holidays to all!
--
Best regards
Han
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Umm... The police nor the locksmiths in this case entered any of the homes affected... The police were there to guard the properties against theft as detail officers to supervise the locksmith as a non-interested 3rd party to prevent any claims of liability for theft against the gas company... A.K.A. "paid witnesses"...
The local building code officials, state environmental officials, state health officials, state fire marshals DO NOT need a warrant or your permission to ENTER your home at any time, if their duties or the situation requires entry when you are not home or if you have chosen to refuse access then a locksmith will be called to effect entry only because such agencies don't fell like knocking your door in and dealing with a damage claims process...
To answer your question about the theoretical "rookie cop" contraband in "plain view" may be seized, whether or not the police could swear out a warrant to arrest the owner of a home based on taking the contraband is another thing entirely, there would be a circumstantial case of possession based on the concept of "constructive possession" where everyone who had access to the areas of the house where the items were found could be construed to be in possession of those items -- but the government would have to prove that the owner of said property knew those items were there if they wanted to get a conviction...
It is not precedence of any kind, the state has the legal authority to enter your home whenever it needs to, the 4th Amendment only applies to searches and seizures made against your interests and property where the results or fruits of the search will be used as evidence against you in a criminal matter -- the 4th Amendment does not apply to civil or administrative matters where no jail time (which is referred to as "jeopardy") is at stake...
~~ Evan
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Obviously the police can't stop theft without going into the homes. If they stand outside, what stops the gas company employee who enters the house from taking the jewelry?
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wrote:

LOL, umm, they are there to see that nothing was carried out and which technician entered which house -- if something is later reported missing, the police know exactly who did it and the crime was committed "in presence" which means all the cop has to do is testify in court that whichever person entered the home was the only one to do so and items were later reported missing -- unless by happenstance or random chance someone else burglarized that same home the missing items would be found somewhere the gas company employee has access to if they were responsible for the thefts, the "in presence" police officer witnessing someone entering the home where the items are later reported missing is enough probable cause to obtain a blanket search warrant to examine every aspect of that person's life, property and activities via phone/internet/e-mail...
The police couldn't stop the thefts if THEY were the ones stealing either, but by the officer remaining outside documenting who enters the police can not themselves be accused to the theft...
~~ Evan
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There you go again, making things up. From the news reports it's not clear whether police actually entered the homes or not. YOU are claiming they just stood watch to make sure nothing was stolen. Which of course doesn't preclude the most obvious theft. That being the gas company employee taking watches, jewelry, cash, anything they can fit in their pockets or tool box.

Nor can they stop the gas guy from stealing if they just stand watch outside. Show us where it says that the just stood watch please.
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wrote:

I am personally aware that the police stood outside, I have family that lives in the area affected and had to sit around and wait because neither of them could take a whole day off work to wait themselves for their turn to have everything checked out and turned back on... I watched the two police officers escorting the two gas company trucks and a locksmith work van take turns one standing outside and one sitting in the cruiser as the gas company workers went from house to house down the block...
You wouldn't know that or be able to see such things all the way from Canada, and it was rather plain and boring to make the news as all the camera crews seemed to like setting up next to the backhoe that was digging on the main street to replace a valve that wouldn't open up again after it was closed as that was more exciting than watching the minions go about repetitive tasks, but then again you leap to quite a lot of conclusions most of the time...
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Plain view isn't necessarily plain view. For example there is a court case on the subject that had the cops enter the house on exigent circumstances (bullet had passed through the apartment below). While in there, a cop saw some stereo equipment and moved it around so as to copy down the serial numbers. The evidence that the turntable had been stolen was tossed because the serial numbers were not in plain view even though the equipment was. *IF* something was admitted, and I am not as sure that is as much of slam dunk as some think, it would only be in plain view if it was in the most direct route between the door and the gas meter.
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Correct, plain view is only what you can see without touching or moving anything to see it...
Calling something in "plain view" because one side of an object is available for visual inspection does not make the concealed sides in plain view at all...
The officer in the above referenced situation should have tried to determine whether or not said stereo equipment was hooked up and in use... They then could have noted how many pieces of such equipment were located in the home... A stack of unconnected equipment would be suspicious but unless the serial numbers were visible without touching or moving the objects, all the officer could do is apply for a search warrant to check the serial numbers based on the knowledge of a rash of recent thefts of similar items and discovering a strange stash of such items inside someone's house while there on another matter and see if the judge decides based on the facts whether or not probable cause exists...
~~ Evan
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Few weeks ago, the mayor of New London, CT wanted cops to overlooks small amounts of marijuana if called to a house for a different reason. State attorney told him he could not tell the cops to do so.
http://www.drugfreehomes.org/2011/12/new-london-mayor-retracts-order-on-marijuana.html
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Yup, that is called "discretionary powers" cops can arrest, issue a court summons or take no action whatsoever when they come across violations of most laws, very few laws REQUIRE a police officer to arrest someone, less than a handful in most states...
The same power is called "prosecutorial discretion" when the district attorney decides whether or not to prosecute the cases filed with their office by law enforcement agencies... Very few laws REQUIRE the district attorney's office to prosecute persons charged with committing violations of the statutes...
~~ Evan
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Evan wrote:

Yep. One of the areas in which discretion has been removed is in the arena of domestic abuse. If the cops get called to a "family dispute," almost always SOMEBODY has to go to jail.
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It may be deemed an emergency, in which case the only notification required is a knock on the door.
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Attila.Iskander wrote the following:

It was a 'pre-emtive strike' to prevent a possible emergency situation that could develop.
--

Bill
In Hamptonburgh, NY
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On 12/24/2011 12:44 PM, bob haller wrote:

You believe wrong.
I have a valve where my gas line taps into the street main. It is about 4 ft from the curb and 4 feet down under pavement and dirt.
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