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Dutchess_III's avatar

Was there anything this state trooper could have done, based on a hunch?

Asked by Dutchess_III (42425points) 3 weeks ago

Yesterday in Leavenworth, Kansas,Donny Jackson, murdered his 11 and 14 year old sons and kidnapped his 2 little girls, ages 5 and 7. An Amber alert was issued at about 3. (God I hate the sound my phone makes with that.)
“Authorities said that the Kansas Highway Patrol made an unrelated car stop on Jackson’s car on Highway 169 near the Oklahoma border at 12:35 p.m. before police were alerted to the homicides. The girls were in the vehicle.”

I am just speculating, but I think those girls witnessed some seriously traumatic events just an hour earlier. Are law enforcement trained to recognized traumatized people? I’m pretty sure I would recognized a traumatized child when I saw one. Is there anything he could have done?

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29 Answers

kritiper's avatar

Get them somewhere where it is safe and give them aid, comfort, and a teddy bear.

Dutchess_III's avatar

But the cop would have had to have a reason to remove them from their father, which he didn’t have at the moment. Is there anything in the law that allows for an officer to just remove children from a parent based on suspicion?

kritiper's avatar

Not without proper authorization.

seawulf575's avatar

@Dutchess_III Yes, there is something a cop can do to remove children from a parent based on suspicion. It’s called arresting the parent. When a parent with children is arrested, the children are put into social services care until a relative can be found to take them.

Darth_Algar's avatar

@seawulf575

Yes, but one must first have a valid reason to arrest the parent. “Just a hunch” isn’t valid grounds for an arrest.

ragingloli's avatar

Eh, all the copper needs to arrest you is to make up a reason, then be convincing enough later when claiming that it was an “honest mistake”, to get away without consequences later.
Believe it or not, but ignorance of the law is a valid excuse for cops.

Inspired_2write's avatar

Phoned it in to do a search of the vehicle and ID?
( tell authorities that something doesn’t seem right excuse/)

Dutchess_III's avatar

You have to have probable cause to search a vehicle.

Nomore_lockout's avatar

@Dutchess_III Yes they would need probable cause, for a search or arrest either one. If he had no reason to believe a crime had been committed, or was in the process of being committed, then all he could do would be issue a ticket for the traffic violation, then move on.

jca2's avatar

He could make everyone in the vehicle get out of the car and talk to them all, individually.

janbb's avatar

The story doesn’t say what the officer stopped the driver for so there is not way of knowing how closely he was looking at who was in the car.

Pandora's avatar

Children can act nervous when a cop approaches a car so no. So imagine them doing this with every stopped vehicle that had children acting nervously. You can unduly traumatize children who were never in harm’s way but may suspect that you are trying to separate them from their innocent parent.
I remember one time being stopped by a traffic cop on a road in SC where they hide the signs behind trees. The speed limit had changed and I did not see the sign. My kids were in the back and very frightened. They thought I was going to jail. Now imagine if they had been asked to come out of the vehicle. In their mind, I would definitely be going to jail and they would be taken away.

It’s hard but to protect the public sometimes it means there have to be rules that don’t diminish on the rights of the innocent.

zenvelo's avatar

Cops do a lot based on “hunches”. and they will detain someone while back up and fruterh investigation occurs based on that hunch.

But obviously, the KHP officer did not have a hunch.

Dutchess_III's avatar

The girls probably witnessed the murder of their brothers. How could anyone miss that trauma?

Darth_Algar's avatar

Just because someone’s witnessed something traumatic doesn’t mean they’re going to show it outwardly.

Dutchess_III's avatar

And, in my experience, men are generally not as intuitive as women.

anniereborn's avatar

@Dutchess_III How would you ascertain that they had just witnessed a trauma? Are you trained in psychological assessment of distress ? Have you ever heard Stockholm Syndrome?

Dutchess_III's avatar

Stockholm syndrome happens over a bit of time. It doesn’t hit instantly.
They were home when their father murdered their brothers, then abducted the girls.

anniereborn's avatar

@Dutchess_III And what say you about the rest?

Dutchess_III's avatar

I didn’t see the kids so MY training in psychological assessment doesn’t apply here. I assume the officer was trained in it, though. And, in fact, I don’t actually know that the girls witnessed it, but the 4 kids and the dad were the only ones home when it happened.
There have been no updates on how the boys were killed or anything yet.

janbb's avatar

I really don’t see the point of this question. The policeman stopped a car that had a killer and two kids in it. We don’t know what he stopped them for or what the exchange was. He probably did have training in recognizing trauma but had no reason to suspect it. And as @Pandora says there were likely two frightened quiet kids in the car which could read as fairly normal.

So what is your point @Dutchess_III ? Do you think that had you been there you would have handled it perfectly?

Dutchess_III's avatar

No. I just wondered if there is something in place whereby an officer can detain people when they have a sense that something is really wrong and need time to figure it out.

janbb's avatar

^^ Well, they do it with African-American men all the time. :-P

Nomore_lockout's avatar

If he was black they would have shot him in the back 30 times. Guy must have been white.

Darth_Algar's avatar

@Dutchess_III “I assume the officer was trained in it, though.”

Whatever leads you to assume that?

Nomore_lockout's avatar

@Dutchess_III That explains it all. There was no heinous offense of driving while Black. Only a misdemeanor abduction and murder.

jca2's avatar

I don’t think it makes any sense to play armchair quarterback. We don’t know many details and we weren’t there, so any number of things could have happened or may have happened.

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