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I was harassed by two of NJ's finest today.

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  • Adam Christman
    I sent this in to the editor of Railpace magazine, since I know they ve done a bobberwatch blurb in the past.   I was in Hamilton, NJ
    Message 1 of 17 , Jan 1, 2009
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      I sent this in to the editor of Railpace magazine, since I know they've done a 'bobberwatch' blurb in the past.
       
      I was in Hamilton, NJ today (1-1-09) railfanning the NEC with a friend of mine. We we're taking pictures and minding own business. Next thing we know, two NJ State Policeman ask us what we're doing. We tell them we're simply taking pictures and doing no harm. Well, apparently we can't be taking pictures of that kinda stuff (according to officer hotshot) because it's "critical infrastructure", and even though we may not be doing anything wrong, it may help say terrorists or something. After explaining this, he told us to pack it in and leave the premises. Being this is my first EVER time being harassed by the police (all the more reason why I stick to PA), so I figured I'd better just keep my cool and not give them any BS and figured once we left, that'd be the end of it. Thus not the case.
       
      As we were walking towards our car, the two officers came out and had told us to come over to their cars so they can just take down some info (so now we're terrorists it seems). I have no real form of ID on my except my high school ID. I told them I was 18 and didn't have my license (they were puzzled by this too), but only had my learner's permit and kept it at home in the car I usually drive. The school ID didn't have my address or age, so I gave them my insurance card which had my age on it, and then I gave them my voting slip which had my address on it too (by this point I was teething because we had seen 3 trains pass by... go figure).
       
      They also seemed very un-aware of railfans and train buffs in general; the made it seem like we're the only ones on the planet. We explained the hobby to them, showed them my pictures and all and told them my Youtube username account (which they wrote down). Finally after this waste of 30 minutes, they finally let us go and let us know that taking pictures on "critical infrastructure" was a red flag. We did the smart thing and went back to the PA side of the NEC; where I have NEVER EVER been hassled by the police.
       
      I really think that these two of NJ's finest had nothing better to do on New Year's Day and once again rain on someone's parade. Congratulations NJ, you've given me another reason to stay out of the state. I'll stick to PA where railfanning is generally welcomed. I hope you put this in Railpace; people need to know that they still need to be careful of arrogant police officers such as these two fine gentlemen. It definetly ruined my day.
       
      Take care, have a good new year.
      - Adam C.




      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • TrafficDan Miller
      Sadly anything they don t understand is a matter of national security and an excuse to harass people. So if you are a fan of roads, bridges, rivers or
      Message 2 of 17 , Jan 1, 2009
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        Sadly anything they don't understand is a matter of national security
        and an excuse to harass people. So if you are a fan of roads, bridges,
        rivers or basically anything outside your house don't take pictures of
        it or some guy who was picked on as a kid may harass you. Sad state of
        the world.

        Adam Christman wrote:
        > I sent this in to the editor of Railpace magazine, since I know they've done a 'bobberwatch' blurb in the past.
        >
        > I was in Hamilton, NJ today (1-1-09) railfanning the NEC with a friend of mine. We we're taking pictures and minding own business. Next thing we know, two NJ State Policeman ask us what we're doing. We tell them we're simply taking pictures and doing no harm. Well, apparently we can't be taking pictures of that kinda stuff (according to officer hotshot) because it's "critical infrastructure", and even though we may not be doing anything wrong, it may help say terrorists or something. After explaining this, he told us to pack it in and leave the premises. Being this is my first EVER time being harassed by the police (all the more reason why I stick to PA), so I figured I'd better just keep my cool and not give them any BS and figured once we left, that'd be the end of it. Thus not the case.
        >
        --
        http://www.trafficdan.com
      • JOHN AND LUCIA ALMEIDA
        The Simpsons made fun of this mentality at the end of the episode that parodied 24 , an episode that just happened to be on tonight.   Jack Bauer and
        Message 3 of 17 , Jan 1, 2009
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          The Simpsons made fun of this mentality at the end of the episode that parodied "24", an episode that just happened to be on tonight.
           
          Jack Bauer and crew storms the gym (helicopters, HumVees, and heavily armed agents crashing in from all directions) to catch Bart for making a prank phone call. Jack says that although he pulled every active duty CTU agent off whatever they were doing to catch Bart for this heinous crime, he says he thinks it was worth it. As he says this, a mushroom cloud explodes on the horizon behind him. Ooops!
           
          The best thing to do is to cooperate and document everything that happens, just in case a law enforcement officer goes too far. Then straighten it out with the higher ups, who are usually a little more savvy when it comes to avoiding lawsuits and really bad publicity.
           
          I can't tell you how many times I have been told that "taking pictures of trains is against the law" and other crap like that. If it were, I would be doing life.




          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • sean mcdonnell
          Adam, It really doesn t matter what state you re in, sooner or later if you re doing this, you re bound to run into an idiot cop or two. I know when you re
          Message 4 of 17 , Jan 1, 2009
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            Adam,

            It really doesn't matter what state you're in, sooner or later if you're
            doing this, you're bound to run into an idiot cop or two. I know when
            you're put into that sort of situation, you're tempted to do whatever it
            takes to "legitimize" what you're doing, but I personally wouldn't have
            volunteered my Youtube info to them. It just gives them a way to keep tabs
            on what you're doing and videoing if they really did think you're up to
            something and wanted to pursue it. I don't know if you're aware of this site
            and PDF, but I keep a copy in my camera bag:

            http://www.krages.com/phoright.htm

            It generally pisses off cops when you show it to them or quote it, but
            hopefully you did try to make the point that "red flag" or not, it's still
            well within your rights to take pictures of that "critical infrastructure".
            It probably was just a couple of bored cops thinking that you and your
            friend were just a pair of punk kids who were probably up to no good, but
            that's no excuse for them hassling you for half an hour.

            Sean McDonnell

            On Thu, Jan 1, 2009 at 6:29 PM, Adam Christman <chessie_t1_2101@...>wrote:

            >
            >
            > They also seemed very un-aware of railfans and train buffs in general; the
            > made it seem like we're the only ones on the planet. We explained the hobby
            > to them, showed them my pictures and all and told them my Youtube username
            > account (which they wrote down). Finally after this waste of 30 minutes,
            > they finally let us go and let us know that taking pictures on "critical
            > infrastructure" was a red flag. We did the smart thing and went back to the
            > PA side of the NEC; where I have NEVER EVER been hassled by the police.
            >
            > I really think that these two of NJ's finest had nothing better to do on
            > New Year's Day and once again rain on someone's parade. Congratulations NJ,
            > you've given me another reason to stay out of the state. I'll stick to PA
            > where railfanning is generally welcomed.
            >


            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • J.
            Sad state of the world today. Back in early September, I was at Edison for three hours on one day, and two and a half hours at Bound Brook the next day.  Both
            Message 5 of 17 , Jan 1, 2009
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              Sad state of the world today.

              Back in early September, I was at Edison for three hours on one day, and two and a half hours at Bound Brook the next day.  Both during the evening rush periods, and I was there doing some video.  I managed to get through it all without any hassles.

              I have tended to stay away from Hamilton ever since the parking garage went in there; I'm trying to stay in the 'quieter' locations now.  Still, whether in NJ or PA, I am just expecting to be questioned at any moment.  Only in NJ, to date, at times when I have been questioned, have I been told to 'pack it in and leave'.

              A recent stop by SEPTA police of myself and three friends during some railfanning resulted in the officer's business card and a nice chat.  He told us 'there is nothing illegal in what we are doing, he just had to check us out because we got called in'.  He even let me continue video when a train passed by as he was taking my friends' info.  Sometimes, we run into the folks who know we are harmless, and other times we run into those who either don't know or don't care....

              Joe



              --- On Thu, 1/1/09, Adam Christman <chessie_t1_2101@...> wrote:

              I sent this in to the editor of Railpace magazine, since I know they've done
              a 'bobberwatch' blurb in the past.
               
              I was in Hamilton, NJ today (1-1-09) railfanning the NEC with a friend of
              mine. We we're taking pictures and minding own business. Next thing we know,
              two NJ State Policeman ask us what we're doing. We tell them we're
              simply taking pictures and doing no harm. Well, apparently we can't be
              taking pictures of that kinda stuff (according to officer hotshot) because
              it's "critical infrastructure", and even though we may not be
              doing anything wrong, it may help say terrorists or something. After explaining
              this, he told us to pack it in and leave the premises. Being this is my first
              EVER time being harassed by the police (all the more reason why I stick to PA),
              so I figured I'd better just keep my cool and not give them any BS and
              figured once we left, that'd be the end of it. Thus not the case.
               
              As we were walking towards our car, the two officers came out and had told us
              to come over to their cars so they can just take down some info (so
              now we're terrorists it seems). I have no real form of ID on my except my
              high school ID. I told them I was 18 and didn't have my license (they were
              puzzled by this too), but only had my learner's permit and kept it at home
              in the car I usually drive. The school ID didn't have my address or age, so
              I gave them my insurance card which had my age on it, and then I gave them my
              voting slip which had my address on it too (by this point I was teething because
              we had seen 3 trains pass by... go figure).
               
              They also seemed very un-aware of railfans and train buffs in general; the made
              it seem like we're the only ones on the planet. We explained the hobby to
              them, showed them my pictures and all and told them my Youtube username account
              (which they wrote down). Finally after this waste of 30 minutes, they finally
              let us go and let us know that taking pictures on "critical
              infrastructure" was a red flag. We did the smart thing and went back to the
              PA side of the NEC; where I have NEVER EVER been hassled by the police.
               
              I really think that these two of NJ's finest had nothing better to do on
              New Year's Day and once again rain on someone's parade. Congratulations
              NJ, you've given me another reason to stay out of the state. I'll stick
              to PA where railfanning is generally welcomed. I hope you put this in Railpace;
              people need to know that they still need to be careful of arrogant police
              officers such as these two fine gentlemen. It definetly ruined my day.
               
              Take care, have a good new year.
              - Adam C.




              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • John-Paul Fiorentino
              Hi Adam, Im sorry to hear about what happened to you. As was mentioned, this is the stupid world we live in now, and all this trouble in the name of homeland
              Message 6 of 17 , Jan 1, 2009
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                Hi Adam, Im sorry to hear about what happened to you. As was mentioned, this is the stupid world we live in now, and all this trouble in the name of homeland security. I wont go into some political rant but I wish we never had the president that we have now because I feel as though he took away so much of our freedom. 99.9 % of the railfans out there arent trouble makers and we definately arent terrorist. NJ does have this reputation with hasseling photographers. Fortunately for me when I go out to shoot trains, I bring my Amtrak id and engineers license which I shouldnt have to do. I havent been stopped yet but I know that day is inevitable.Im curious, what is your youtube handle? I may be a subscriber. If not, maybe I would like to be..

                John Fiorentino




                ________________________________
                From: J. <silverliner_2@...>
                To: Lansdale_rails@yahoogroups.com
                Sent: Thursday, January 1, 2009 11:20:28 PM
                Subject: Re: [Lansdale] I was harassed by two of NJ's finest today.


                Sad state of the world today.

                Back in early September, I was at Edison for three hours on one day, and two and a half hours at Bound Brook the next day.  Both during the evening rush periods, and I was there doing some video.  I managed to get through it all without any hassles.

                I have tended to stay away from Hamilton ever since the parking garage went in there; I'm trying to stay in the 'quieter' locations now.  Still, whether in NJ or PA, I am just expecting to be questioned at any moment.  Only in NJ, to date, at times when I have been questioned, have I been told to 'pack it in and leave'.

                A recent stop by SEPTA police of myself and three friends during some railfanning resulted in the officer's business card and a nice chat.  He told us 'there is nothing illegal in what we are doing, he just had to check us out because we got called in'.  He even let me continue video when a train passed by as he was taking my friends' info.  Sometimes, we run into the folks who know we are harmless, and other times we run into those who either don't know or don't care....

                Joe

                --- On Thu, 1/1/09, Adam Christman <chessie_t1_2101@ yahoo.com> wrote:

                I sent this in to the editor of Railpace magazine, since I know they've done
                a 'bobberwatch' blurb in the past.
                 
                I was in Hamilton, NJ today (1-1-09)  railfanning the NEC with a friend of
                mine. We we're taking pictures and minding own business. Next thing we know,
                two NJ State Policeman ask us what we're doing. We tell them we're
                simply taking pictures and doing no harm. Well, apparently we can't be
                taking pictures of that kinda stuff (according to officer hotshot) because
                it's "critical infrastructure" , and even though we may not be
                doing anything wrong, it may help say terrorists or something. After explaining
                this, he told us to pack it in and leave the premises. Being this is my first
                EVER time being harassed by the police (all the more reason why I stick to PA),
                so I figured I'd better just keep my cool and not give them any BS and
                figured once we left, that'd be the end of it. Thus not the case.
                 
                As we were walking towards our car, the two officers came out and had told us
                to come over to their cars so they can just take down some info (so
                now we're terrorists it seems). I have no real form of ID on my except my
                high school ID. I told them I was 18 and didn't have my license (they were
                puzzled by this too), but only had my learner's permit and kept it at home
                in the car I usually drive. The school ID didn't have my address or age, so
                I gave them my insurance card which had my age on it, and then I gave them my
                voting slip which had my address on it too (by this point I was teething because
                we had seen 3 trains pass by... go figure).
                 
                They also seemed very un-aware of railfans and train buffs in general; the made
                it seem like we're the only ones on the planet. We explained the hobby to
                them, showed them my pictures and all and told them my Youtube username account
                (which they wrote down). Finally after this waste of 30 minutes, they finally
                let us go and let us know that taking pictures on "critical
                infrastructure" was a red flag. We did the smart thing and went back to the
                PA side of the NEC; where I have NEVER EVER been hassled by the police.
                 
                I really think that these two of NJ's finest had nothing better to do on
                New Year's Day and once again rain on someone's parade. Congratulations
                NJ, you've given me another reason to stay out of the state. I'll stick
                to PA where railfanning is generally welcomed. I hope you put this in Railpace;
                people need to know that they still need to be careful of arrogant police
                officers such as these two fine gentlemen. It definetly ruined my day.
                 
                Take care, have a good new year.
                - Adam C.

                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]






                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • Mark Hoffman
                Adam, Why not contact the State Police ahead of time, introduce yourself and tell them your interest in trains and that you want to work with the authorities
                Message 7 of 17 , Jan 2, 2009
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                  Adam,

                  Why not contact the State Police ahead of time, introduce yourself and
                  tell them your interest in trains and that you want to work with the
                  authorities and if you see anything suspicious, you will let them
                  know. Get some names and, if you are ever stopped again, at least you
                  will have someone vouch for you.

                  Best,

                  Mark







                  On Jan 1, 2009, at 6:45 PM, TrafficDan Miller wrote:

                  > Sadly anything they don't understand is a matter of national security
                  > and an excuse to harass people. So if you are a fan of roads, bridges,
                  > rivers or basically anything outside your house don't take pictures of
                  > it or some guy who was picked on as a kid may harass you. Sad state of
                  > the world.
                  >
                  > Adam Christman wrote:
                  > > I sent this in to the editor of Railpace magazine, since I know
                  > they've done a 'bobberwatch' blurb in the past.
                  > >
                  > > I was in Hamilton, NJ today (1-1-09) railfanning the NEC with a
                  > friend of mine. We we're taking pictures and minding own business.
                  > Next thing we know, two NJ State Policeman ask us what we're doing.
                  > We tell them we're simply taking pictures and doing no harm. Well,
                  > apparently we can't be taking pictures of that kinda stuff
                  > (according to officer hotshot) because it's "critical
                  > infrastructure", and even though we may not be doing anything wrong,
                  > it may help say terrorists or something. After explaining this, he
                  > told us to pack it in and leave the premises. Being this is my first
                  > EVER time being harassed by the police (all the more reason why I
                  > stick to PA), so I figured I'd better just keep my cool and not give
                  > them any BS and figured once we left, that'd be the end of it. Thus
                  > not the case.
                  > >
                  > --
                  > http://www.trafficdan.com
                  >
                  >
                  >



                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                • Ross-AOL
                  Why ask for permission to do something that is perfectly legal?? Mark - Do you ask the local police to drive the speed limit in your town? It is a sad state
                  Message 8 of 17 , Jan 2, 2009
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                    Why ask for permission to do something that is perfectly legal?? Mark - Do
                    you ask the local police to drive the speed limit in your town?



                    It is a sad state in which the police can harass photographers for taking
                    pictures of trains. It is not illegal and it goes to the hysteria that this
                    country is in.



                    It is a sadder state when we as photographers give in to the harassment.
                    Follow the advice of a previous post. Research your rights and protect
                    them. If this continues, there will be no rights to protect.







                    _____________

                    Ross



                    Please visit my latest photos at:

                    <http://www.jrj-photos.com/> JRJ Photos

                    <http://www.jrj-photos.blogspot.com/> JRJ Photos Blog



                    From: Lansdale_rails@yahoogroups.com [mailto:Lansdale_rails@yahoogroups.com]
                    On Behalf Of Mark Hoffman
                    Sent: Friday, January 02, 2009 2:32 PM
                    To: Lansdale_rails@yahoogroups.com
                    Subject: Re: [Lansdale] I was harassed by two of NJ's finest today.




                    Adam,

                    Why not contact the State Police ahead of time, introduce yourself and
                    tell them your interest in trains and that you want to work with the
                    authorities and if you see anything suspicious, you will let them
                    know. Get some names and, if you are ever stopped again, at least you
                    will have someone vouch for you.

                    Best,

                    Mark

                    On Jan 1, 2009, at 6:45 PM, TrafficDan Miller wrote:

                    > Sadly anything they don't understand is a matter of national security
                    > and an excuse to harass people. So if you are a fan of roads, bridges,
                    > rivers or basically anything outside your house don't take pictures of
                    > it or some guy who was picked on as a kid may harass you. Sad state of
                    > the world.
                    >
                    > Adam Christman wrote:
                    > > I sent this in to the editor of Railpace magazine, since I know
                    > they've done a 'bobberwatch' blurb in the past.
                    > >
                    > > I was in Hamilton, NJ today (1-1-09) railfanning the NEC with a
                    > friend of mine. We we're taking pictures and minding own business.
                    > Next thing we know, two NJ State Policeman ask us what we're doing.
                    > We tell them we're simply taking pictures and doing no harm. Well,
                    > apparently we can't be taking pictures of that kinda stuff
                    > (according to officer hotshot) because it's "critical
                    > infrastructure", and even though we may not be doing anything wrong,
                    > it may help say terrorists or something. After explaining this, he
                    > told us to pack it in and leave the premises. Being this is my first
                    > EVER time being harassed by the police (all the more reason why I
                    > stick to PA), so I figured I'd better just keep my cool and not give
                    > them any BS and figured once we left, that'd be the end of it. Thus
                    > not the case.
                    > >
                    > --
                    > http://www.trafficdan.com
                    >
                    >
                    >

                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]





                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  • JOHN AND LUCIA ALMEIDA
                    I was once asked by Philadelphia PD to call to let them know where and when I would be out. Nuttiest idea I ever heard.   First, most times I don t know where
                    Message 9 of 17 , Jan 2, 2009
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                      I was once asked by Philadelphia PD to call to let them know where and when I would be out. Nuttiest idea I ever heard.
                       
                      First, most times I don't know where I will be when I go out, and almost never how long?
                       
                      Second, when I decide to leave, should I also call in to let them know I left?
                       
                      Because third, if I don't call in when I leave and someone else happens to do something stupid where I was, who do you think they will come and see?
                       
                      Fourth, sometimes you don't even know who to call or who will take interest in your work. I have been stopped by both Lower Makefield and Middletown PD while standing at Township Line Road near CP Wood on the Trenton Line (also stopping by there over the years: the FBI, Treasury, Homeland Security, the CDC, I kid you not, was once quizzed by somebody from the Centers for Disease Control!)  I also once had a "concerned citizen" block my car in so that I could not "escape" before the police arrived. He was also probably waiting for the local news media to arrive and congratulate him for capturing a terrorist! Can't count how many people have come up to me and my five cameras all pointing at the tracks and asked "Whatcha doin'?"
                       
                      Fifth, I was also told that, standing there, I made people nervous. Frankly, you could fill a book with everything that makes people nervous, most of them totally irrational.

                       
                      John Almeida
                      jnlcubed@...
                       
                      The only competition worthy of a wise man is with himself ~~~ 
                      Washington Allston


                      --- On Fri, 1/2/09, Ross-AOL <rjordan14@...> wrote:

                      From: Ross-AOL <rjordan14@...>
                      Subject: RE: [Lansdale] I was harassed by two of NJ's finest today.
                      To: Lansdale_rails@yahoogroups.com
                      Date: Friday, January 2, 2009, 3:09 PM






                      Why ask for permission to do something that is perfectly legal?? Mark - Do
                      you ask the local police to drive the speed limit in your town?

                      It is a sad state in which the police can harass photographers for taking
                      pictures of trains. It is not illegal and it goes to the hysteria that this
                      country is in.

                      It is a sadder state when we as photographers give in to the harassment.
                      Follow the advice of a previous post. Research your rights and protect
                      them. If this continues, there will be no rights to protect.

                      ____________ _

                      Ross

                      Please visit my latest photos at:

                      <http://www.jrj- photos.com/> JRJ Photos

                      <http://www.jrj- photos.blogspot. com/> JRJ Photos Blog

                      From: Lansdale_rails@ yahoogroups. com [mailto:Lansdale_rails@ yahoogroups. com]
                      On Behalf Of Mark Hoffman
                      Sent: Friday, January 02, 2009 2:32 PM
                      To: Lansdale_rails@ yahoogroups. com
                      Subject: Re: [Lansdale] I was harassed by two of NJ's finest today.

                      Adam,

                      Why not contact the State Police ahead of time, introduce yourself and
                      tell them your interest in trains and that you want to work with the
                      authorities and if you see anything suspicious, you will let them
                      know. Get some names and, if you are ever stopped again, at least you
                      will have someone vouch for you.

                      Best,

                      Mark

                      On Jan 1, 2009, at 6:45 PM, TrafficDan Miller wrote:

                      > Sadly anything they don't understand is a matter of national security
                      > and an excuse to harass people. So if you are a fan of roads, bridges,
                      > rivers or basically anything outside your house don't take pictures of
                      > it or some guy who was picked on as a kid may harass you. Sad state of
                      > the world.
                      >
                      > Adam Christman wrote:
                      > > I sent this in to the editor of Railpace magazine, since I know
                      > they've done a 'bobberwatch' blurb in the past.
                      > >
                      > > I was in Hamilton, NJ today (1-1-09) railfanning the NEC with a
                      > friend of mine. We we're taking pictures and minding own business.
                      > Next thing we know, two NJ State Policeman ask us what we're doing.
                      > We tell them we're simply taking pictures and doing no harm. Well,
                      > apparently we can't be taking pictures of that kinda stuff
                      > (according to officer hotshot) because it's "critical
                      > infrastructure" , and even though we may not be doing anything wrong,
                      > it may help say terrorists or something. After explaining this, he
                      > told us to pack it in and leave the premises. Being this is my first
                      > EVER time being harassed by the police (all the more reason why I
                      > stick to PA), so I figured I'd better just keep my cool and not give
                      > them any BS and figured once we left, that'd be the end of it. Thus
                      > not the case.
                      > >
                      > --
                      > http://www.trafficd an.com
                      >
                      >
                      >

                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]


















                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                    • sean mcdonnell
                      Mark, This really will not accomplish anything. Either he will be told to go ahead and take the photos, or be told he cannot. If he is told it is ok to take
                      Message 10 of 17 , Jan 2, 2009
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                        Mark,

                        This really will not accomplish anything. Either he will be told to go ahead
                        and take the photos, or be told he cannot. If he is told it is ok to take
                        photos, and another cop wants to flex his muscles, he is not going to care
                        if another cop gave you permission. I had a pre-9/11 experience with a
                        Philly cop who checked me out, and told me as long as the railroad didn't
                        care about taking pictures, he didn't care. So I got his name and stayed
                        put. About an hour later, another cop comes up and tells me I have to leave.
                        I try to state that the previous cop had said it was ok, and the tone of the
                        second cop quickly changed to "I don't care what someone else told you, I'm
                        telling you to leave. And if you want to keep arguing, you can leave in
                        handcuffs". So faced with those options, I left.

                        But anyway, if you did get permission from whoever you talked to on the
                        phone, I wouldn't expect that cop to turn around and stick their neck out
                        for you. Cops have that whole brotherhood thing going on, and I get the
                        impression they care much more about their own than the public they are
                        supposed to be protecting and serving. And getting permission is besides the
                        point anyway. This sort of discussion came up on another forum I belong to,
                        and a fellow who wanted to play "Devil's Advocate" asked "What gives you the
                        right to take pictures anyway?". My reply to him was "You have the RIGHT to
                        do things that are LEGAL, 'nuff said".

                        Sean McDonnell

                        On Fri, Jan 2, 2009 at 2:31 PM, Mark Hoffman <attorney@...> wrote:

                        >
                        > Adam,
                        >
                        > Why not contact the State Police ahead of time, introduce yourself and
                        > tell them your interest in trains and that you want to work with the
                        > authorities and if you see anything suspicious, you will let them
                        > know. Get some names and, if you are ever stopped again, at least you
                        > will have someone vouch for you.
                        >
                        > Best,
                        >
                        > Mark
                        >
                        >
                        > On Jan 1, 2009, at 6:45 PM, TrafficDan Miller wrote:
                        >
                        > > Sadly anything they don't understand is a matter of national security
                        > > and an excuse to harass people. So if you are a fan of roads, bridges,
                        > > rivers or basically anything outside your house don't take pictures of
                        > > it or some guy who was picked on as a kid may harass you. Sad state of
                        > > the world.
                        > >
                        > > Adam Christman wrote:
                        > > > I sent this in to the editor of Railpace magazine, since I know
                        > > they've done a 'bobberwatch' blurb in the past.
                        > > >
                        > > > I was in Hamilton, NJ today (1-1-09) railfanning the NEC with a
                        > > friend of mine. We we're taking pictures and minding own business.
                        > > Next thing we know, two NJ State Policeman ask us what we're doing.
                        > > We tell them we're simply taking pictures and doing no harm. Well,
                        > > apparently we can't be taking pictures of that kinda stuff
                        > > (according to officer hotshot) because it's "critical
                        > > infrastructure", and even though we may not be doing anything wrong,
                        > > it may help say terrorists or something. After explaining this, he
                        > > told us to pack it in and leave the premises. Being this is my first
                        > > EVER time being harassed by the police (all the more reason why I
                        > > stick to PA), so I figured I'd better just keep my cool and not give
                        > > them any BS and figured once we left, that'd be the end of it. Thus
                        > > not the case.
                        > > >
                        > > --
                        > > http://www.trafficdan.com
                        > >
                        > >
                        > >
                        >
                        > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                        >
                        >
                        >


                        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                      • Rich Reinhart
                        It really doesnt matter if you`re in the right or not, it`s best just to cooperate and move along. The last thing you want to do is give authorities a reason
                        Message 11 of 17 , Jan 2, 2009
                        • 0 Attachment
                          It really doesnt matter if you`re in the right or not, it`s best just
                          to cooperate and move along. The last thing you want to do is give
                          authorities a reason to "create" a situation. And it will not go down
                          in your favor. A train picture is not worth several hours of your time
                          in a place or situation that is not very appealing to you. As far as
                          your Constitutional Rights, I`m afraid they have been bent and twisted
                          to fit situations that those who "know whats good for us" have came up
                          with. New Jersey SP has a reputation for heavy handed tactics and I`m
                          sure two kids taking pictures of trains in a public place were an easy
                          patrol hour contact. I rarely take train pictures anymore. The internet
                          has all the photos I need. To those who do, just use common sense and
                          be prepared to be hassled on occasion..

                          Rich Reinhart
                        • Mark Hoffman
                          Adam, I agree with you that we have rights. But, you should not depend on THE LAW to protect you. Better to avoid problems. No, to answer your inquiry, I do
                          Message 12 of 17 , Jan 2, 2009
                          • 0 Attachment
                            Adam,

                            I agree with you that we have rights. But, you should not depend on
                            THE LAW to protect you. Better to avoid problems.

                            No, to answer your inquiry, I do not consult with the local police
                            about driving the speed limit. But, as a practical matter, I do try to
                            drive within the speed limit. But, I am aware of certain techniques
                            that limit exposure to speeding tickets, such as making trips between
                            10 am and 3 pm; staying in the inside lane on the PA Turnpike if you
                            are exceeding, not owning a red car; owning a crown victoria; and, if
                            stopped, showing the utmost courtesy. These are techniques not in the
                            motor vehicle code, but they offer protection.

                            You and I will not change the world. And, no doubt, our rights are
                            under siege. But, we can in limited ways, protect ourselves.

                            Best,

                            Mark


                            On Jan 2, 2009, at 3:09 PM, Ross-AOL wrote:

                            > Why ask for permission to do something that is perfectly legal??
                            > Mark - Do
                            > you ask the local police to drive the speed limit in your town?
                            >
                            > It is a sad state in which the police can harass photographers for
                            > taking
                            > pictures of trains. It is not illegal and it goes to the hysteria
                            > that this
                            > country is in.
                            >
                            > It is a sadder state when we as photographers give in to the
                            > harassment.
                            > Follow the advice of a previous post. Research your rights and protect
                            > them. If this continues, there will be no rights to protect.
                            >
                            > _____________
                            >
                            > Ross
                            >
                            > Please visit my latest photos at:
                            >
                            > <http://www.jrj-photos.com/> JRJ Photos
                            >
                            > <http://www.jrj-photos.blogspot.com/> JRJ Photos Blog
                            >
                            > From: Lansdale_rails@yahoogroups.com [mailto:Lansdale_rails@yahoogroups.com
                            > ]
                            > On Behalf Of Mark Hoffman
                            > Sent: Friday, January 02, 2009 2:32 PM
                            > To: Lansdale_rails@yahoogroups.com
                            > Subject: Re: [Lansdale] I was harassed by two of NJ's finest today.
                            >
                            > Adam,
                            >
                            > Why not contact the State Police ahead of time, introduce yourself and
                            > tell them your interest in trains and that you want to work with the
                            > authorities and if you see anything suspicious, you will let them
                            > know. Get some names and, if you are ever stopped again, at least you
                            > will have someone vouch for you.
                            >
                            > Best,
                            >
                            > Mark
                            >
                            > On Jan 1, 2009, at 6:45 PM, TrafficDan Miller wrote:
                            >
                            > > Sadly anything they don't understand is a matter of national
                            > security
                            > > and an excuse to harass people. So if you are a fan of roads,
                            > bridges,
                            > > rivers or basically anything outside your house don't take
                            > pictures of
                            > > it or some guy who was picked on as a kid may harass you. Sad
                            > state of
                            > > the world.
                            > >
                            > > Adam Christman wrote:
                            > > > I sent this in to the editor of Railpace magazine, since I know
                            > > they've done a 'bobberwatch' blurb in the past.
                            > > >
                            > > > I was in Hamilton, NJ today (1-1-09) railfanning the NEC with a
                            > > friend of mine. We we're taking pictures and minding own business.
                            > > Next thing we know, two NJ State Policeman ask us what we're doing.
                            > > We tell them we're simply taking pictures and doing no harm. Well,
                            > > apparently we can't be taking pictures of that kinda stuff
                            > > (according to officer hotshot) because it's "critical
                            > > infrastructure", and even though we may not be doing anything wrong,
                            > > it may help say terrorists or something. After explaining this, he
                            > > told us to pack it in and leave the premises. Being this is my first
                            > > EVER time being harassed by the police (all the more reason why I
                            > > stick to PA), so I figured I'd better just keep my cool and not give
                            > > them any BS and figured once we left, that'd be the end of it. Thus
                            > > not the case.
                            > > >
                            > > --
                            > > http://www.trafficdan.com
                            > >
                            > >
                            > >
                            >
                            > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                            >
                            > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                            >
                            >
                            >



                            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                          • sean mcdonnell
                            Rich, I really think that depends on the photographer in question. If nobody at all is willing to stand up for our freedoms, it is inevitable that they will be
                            Message 13 of 17 , Jan 2, 2009
                            • 0 Attachment
                              Rich,

                              I really think that depends on the photographer in question. If nobody at
                              all is willing to stand up for our freedoms, it is inevitable that they will
                              be taken from us. One can approach it from the " is a single photo worth
                              this hassle?" viewpoint. Or they can question whether or not those few hours
                              will be able to allow them to enjoy their hobby for years to come by PROVING
                              to cops that we are doing nothing wrong, and that they cannot make up
                              whatever BS happens to suit their purpose expect us to just swallow it. I
                              can cite several examples of photographers in the Philly area who have stood
                              their ground when confronted and harassed, and things did indeed turn out in
                              their favor.

                              Sean McDonnell

                              On Fri, Jan 2, 2009 at 6:39 PM, Rich Reinhart <reinhartrich@...>wrote:

                              > It really doesnt matter if you`re in the right or not, it`s best just
                              > to cooperate and move along. The last thing you want to do is give
                              > authorities a reason to "create" a situation. And it will not go down
                              > in your favor. A train picture is not worth several hours of your time
                              > in a place or situation that is not very appealing to you.
                              >
                              > Rich Reinhart
                              >
                              >
                              >


                              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                            • Rich Reinhart
                              Sean, Believe me buddy, I`m with you on this one. As one who spent 20+ years defending and protecting the Constitution it makes me sick that things like this
                              Message 14 of 17 , Jan 3, 2009
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                                Sean,

                                Believe me buddy, I`m with you on this one. As one who spent 20+ years
                                defending and protecting the Constitution it makes me sick that things
                                like this happen. And in the post 9/11 world it`s only going to get
                                worse. Taking train pictures in broad daylight in view of hundreds of
                                people and taking pictures of a nuke plant in the middle of the night
                                hidden in a strand of trees are 2 seperate things, but somehow they get
                                grouped together. Seems rights are turning into privaledges. If you
                                want to stand up for what you think is right thats great. Just make
                                sure your are 110% in the right and any documentation you may have is
                                indisputable. But still that asures nothing. And another thing, not
                                everyone in a uniform is a hero, just food for thought..

                                Rich
                              • G. D. Brecker
                                Seems I recall in a certain earlier period the Nazis were sticklers for getting permission to travel and take pictures. Perhaps if you were to sew on a star,
                                Message 15 of 17 , Jan 3, 2009
                                • 0 Attachment
                                  Seems I recall in a certain earlier period the Nazis were sticklers for
                                  getting permission to travel and take pictures.



                                  Perhaps if you were to sew on a star, report all your activities and those
                                  of you friends, burn your camera and film media in a bonfire

                                  perhaps they would leave you alone, or NOT.



                                  From: Lansdale_rails@yahoogroups.com [mailto:Lansdale_rails@yahoogroups.com]
                                  On Behalf Of JOHN AND LUCIA ALMEIDA
                                  Sent: Friday, January 02, 2009 3:53 PM
                                  To: Lansdale_rails@yahoogroups.com
                                  Subject: RE: [Lansdale] I was harassed by two of NJ's finest today.



                                  I was once asked by Philadelphia PD to call to let them know where and when
                                  I would be out. Nuttiest idea I ever heard.

                                  First, most times I don't know where I will be when I go out, and almost
                                  never how long?

                                  Second, when I decide to leave, should I also call in to let them know I
                                  left?

                                  Because third, if I don't call in when I leave and someone else happens to
                                  do something stupid where I was, who do you think they will come and see?

                                  Fourth, sometimes you don't even know who to call or who will take interest
                                  in your work. I have been stopped by both Lower Makefield and Middletown PD
                                  while standing at Township Line Road near CP Wood on the Trenton Line (also
                                  stopping by there over the years: the FBI, Treasury, Homeland Security, the
                                  CDC, I kid you not, was once quizzed by somebody from the Centers for
                                  Disease Control!) I also once had a "concerned citizen" block my car in so
                                  that I could not "escape" before the police arrived. He was also probably
                                  waiting for the local news media to arrive and congratulate him for
                                  capturing a terrorist! Can't count how many people have come up to me and my
                                  five cameras all pointing at the tracks and asked "Whatcha doin'?"

                                  Fifth, I was also told that, standing there, I made people nervous. Frankly,
                                  you could fill a book with everything that makes people nervous, most of
                                  them totally irrational.


                                  John Almeida
                                  jnlcubed@... <mailto:jnlcubed%40yahoo.com>

                                  The only competition worthy of a wise man is with himself ~~~
                                  Washington Allston

                                  --- On Fri, 1/2/09, Ross-AOL <rjordan14@... <mailto:rjordan14%40aol.com>
                                  > wrote:

                                  From: Ross-AOL <rjordan14@... <mailto:rjordan14%40aol.com> >
                                  Subject: RE: [Lansdale] I was harassed by two of NJ's finest today.
                                  To: Lansdale_rails@yahoogroups.com <mailto:Lansdale_rails%40yahoogroups.com>

                                  Date: Friday, January 2, 2009, 3:09 PM

                                  Why ask for permission to do something that is perfectly legal?? Mark - Do
                                  you ask the local police to drive the speed limit in your town?

                                  It is a sad state in which the police can harass photographers for taking
                                  pictures of trains. It is not illegal and it goes to the hysteria that this
                                  country is in.

                                  It is a sadder state when we as photographers give in to the harassment.
                                  Follow the advice of a previous post. Research your rights and protect
                                  them. If this continues, there will be no rights to protect.

                                  ____________ _

                                  Ross

                                  Please visit my latest photos at:

                                  <http://www.jrj- photos.com/> JRJ Photos

                                  <http://www.jrj- photos.blogspot. com/> JRJ Photos Blog

                                  From: Lansdale_rails@ yahoogroups. com [mailto:Lansdale_rails@ yahoogroups.
                                  com]
                                  On Behalf Of Mark Hoffman
                                  Sent: Friday, January 02, 2009 2:32 PM
                                  To: Lansdale_rails@ yahoogroups. com
                                  Subject: Re: [Lansdale] I was harassed by two of NJ's finest today.

                                  Adam,

                                  Why not contact the State Police ahead of time, introduce yourself and
                                  tell them your interest in trains and that you want to work with the
                                  authorities and if you see anything suspicious, you will let them
                                  know. Get some names and, if you are ever stopped again, at least you
                                  will have someone vouch for you.

                                  Best,

                                  Mark

                                  On Jan 1, 2009, at 6:45 PM, TrafficDan Miller wrote:

                                  > Sadly anything they don't understand is a matter of national security
                                  > and an excuse to harass people. So if you are a fan of roads, bridges,
                                  > rivers or basically anything outside your house don't take pictures of
                                  > it or some guy who was picked on as a kid may harass you. Sad state of
                                  > the world.
                                  >
                                  > Adam Christman wrote:
                                  > > I sent this in to the editor of Railpace magazine, since I know
                                  > they've done a 'bobberwatch' blurb in the past.
                                  > >
                                  > > I was in Hamilton, NJ today (1-1-09) railfanning the NEC with a
                                  > friend of mine. We we're taking pictures and minding own business.
                                  > Next thing we know, two NJ State Policeman ask us what we're doing.
                                  > We tell them we're simply taking pictures and doing no harm. Well,
                                  > apparently we can't be taking pictures of that kinda stuff
                                  > (according to officer hotshot) because it's "critical
                                  > infrastructure" , and even though we may not be doing anything wrong,
                                  > it may help say terrorists or something. After explaining this, he
                                  > told us to pack it in and leave the premises. Being this is my first
                                  > EVER time being harassed by the police (all the more reason why I
                                  > stick to PA), so I figured I'd better just keep my cool and not give
                                  > them any BS and figured once we left, that'd be the end of it. Thus
                                  > not the case.
                                  > >
                                  > --
                                  > http://www.trafficd an.com
                                  >
                                  >
                                  >

                                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

                                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

                                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]





                                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                • abyler
                                  ... At that point, you should have asked: Are you detaining me, or am I free to go? If they are detaining you, you are essentially under arrest and have
                                  Message 16 of 17 , Jan 8, 2009
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                                    --- In Lansdale_rails@yahoogroups.com, Adam Christman
                                    <chessie_t1_2101@...> wrote:
                                    >
                                    > As we were walking towards our car, the two officers came out and
                                    > had told us to come over to their cars so they can just take down
                                    > some info (so now we're terrorists it seems). I have no real form

                                    At that point, you should have asked: "Are you detaining me, or am I
                                    free to go?" If they are detaining you, you are essentially under
                                    arrest and have various legal rights and recourses. If they say you
                                    are free to go, well, just leave if you wish.

                                    > of ID on my except my high school ID. I told them I was 18 and
                                    > didn't have my license (they were puzzled by this too), but only
                                    > had my learner's permit and kept it at home in the car I usually
                                    > drive. The school ID didn't have my address or age, so I gave them
                                    > my insurance card which had my age on it, and then I gave them my
                                    > voting slip which had my address on it too

                                    You don't have to show voting slips to Police ever unless you are
                                    being accused of voter fraud. If you don't have an ID, just say, "I
                                    don't have any ID." There is no law requiring Americans to carry
                                    around an ID or internal passport. 20 years ago, we used to
                                    ridicule the Soviets precisely because you did have to have an
                                    internal passport to travel anywhere outside your own city.

                                    Sigh.


                                    I guess they don't teach you our rights as citizens in civics
                                    anymore???
                                  • Rich Reinhart
                                    ... Rights are flexible these days, so it might be hard to keep up. From what I see is that the 2 officers in question had resonable suspicion to approach
                                    Message 17 of 17 , Jan 8, 2009
                                    • 0 Attachment
                                      > I guess they don't teach you our rights as citizens in civics
                                      > anymore???
                                      >

                                      Rights are flexible these days, so it might be hard to keep up. From
                                      what I see is that the 2 officers in question had resonable suspicion
                                      to approach these young fellows and ask them just what they were
                                      doing. Though it`s a very thin reason for sure, and kids taking train
                                      pictures would be the least of our problems. Must have been a slow
                                      day or they needed a patrol hour contact. So if you have no form of
                                      ID on you, would that be probable cause to detain someone for taking
                                      pictures? No we are not required to carry ID at all times, just
                                      wondering how far some overzealous officer who saw one to many
                                      episodes of Cops would react to that? Seems silly that we have a
                                      lengthy discussion about law abiding citizens taking some train
                                      pictures, but if you would have told me on September 10, 2001 that I
                                      would soon have to take my shoes off to get on an airliner I would
                                      have said you were nuts. Guess I`d better have "my papers" on me at
                                      att all times...

                                      Rich Reinhart
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