Several law enforcement agencies in the US set to protect the public has laws which vary from state to state. Some of these agencies are under the federal government while others are under State and local government authorities. In your community, the police and the sheriff are the law enforcement officers. Since the police are always there to protect and serve you, it is imperative that you have the phone number of the police station nearest to you and ensure to always keep it handy on your mobile or telephone device.
Report any crime happening around you both when you’re the victim or not. Do not be afraid to do so as some criminals would like to take advantage of foreigners as they feel you will likely not report the crime to the police.
Regardless of your residency status or citizenship, it is important that you know how to exercise your rights when stopped by a local police officer FBI, immigration officer or any law enforcement authority officer.
When stopped by an officer while walking, do not be scared, do not run. Identify yourself if you are required to do so. Ensure that language is not an issue for you. If you do not speak or understand English, let the officer know that you do not speak English. Do not argue with the officer or resist him even if you think your rights are being violated and you are innocent. Always remember that you have the right to remain silent if you are not comfortable with answering some questions, tell the officer you wish to remain silent about them. Always keep your hands where the officer can see them. Do not try to search yourself or reach your hands into your pocket when stopped by an officer. However, the officer has the right to “pat down” your clothing by himself if he suspects you have a weapon. You have the right against further searching but do not physically resist. Ask the officer when you are free to leave. If he says you can, quietly and silently walk away. If he’s arresting you, you have the right to know why you are being arrested.
Once stopped by a police officer while driving, stop the car as quickly as possible and park in a safe place, stay calm, remain in the car, put on the internal light if it’s dark. Whine down your glass, place your hand on the wheels and do not step out of unless the officer asks you to do so. The police officer will quickly tell you why you were stopped, if he doesn’t do so, ask him politely why he stopped you. If he thinks you have committed a crime, they will ask you for your name and address. When they do, tell them. When responding to an officer, try to be very polite and cooperative as much as you can. Do not try to reach your hands into your pockets or into other parts of the car to avoid the officer thinking you’re reaching for a gun. If you are the driver, the police officer can ask you for your driver’s license, vehicle registration and proof of insurance. If you are asked to provide them, do so. Whether you are the driver or passenger, you have the right to remain silent. If you are the passenger, you can also ask the officer if you are free to leave, if he says yes, quietly leave or sit silently. Do not answer questions you are not comfortable with as what you say could be used against you. If you’re not comfortable with questions regarding your immigration status if asked by the police, politely decline to answer. A police officer can search your car without your consent if he believes your car contains evidence. Otherwise, you can refuse to consent to a search if he asks to look inside your car.
When the FBI or Immigration Agent comes to your home, you can decide not to let him into your house if they do not have a certain kind of warrant. You can ask the officer to show you the warrant through the window or slip it under the door for you to inspect it before you let them in. If an officer comes in with a search warrant, he is only allowed to conduct a search at the address listed on the warrant and cannot search for items not listed in the location listed. An ICE warrant (removal or deportation) does not give the officer the right to enter any house without consent.
When contacted by the FBI either at home or your workplace, if you don’t wish to, you do not have to speak to an FBI agent. You can request to speak with a lawyer first. You can choose not to be interviewed is asked to meet with an agent for an interview. It is advisable that you have a lawyer present before you answer questions to an interview with an FBI agent. You can choose not to answer certain questions you are not comfortable with.
Call 9-1-1 to report an emergency such as a fire, a crime in progress, or a person in need of medical help. If someone swallows a poisonous substance, you can also call 1-800-222-1222 to reach a local poison control center.