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house Bill H.R. 1039

Do Probation Officers Need the Authority to Arrest a Person if There’s Probable Cause They’ve Attacked or Interfered With an Officer?

Argument in favor

Probation officers go into hostile and sometimes threatening environments on a daily basis, and they need the authority to arrest people who interfere with the performance of their job.

John.Nutt's Opinion
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05/16/2017
They should. If then can't then that is another criminal that could get away and commit another crime.
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Loraki's Opinion
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05/18/2017
Sponsoring Rep. Dave Reichert (R-WA) said: “Hostile and at times threatening environments are part of a probation officer’s average day on the job. Although they encounter many of the same dangers faced by members of the law enforcement community, they do not have the same tools to protect themselves. This bipartisan, bicameral bill rights that wrong.” Official Title: To amend section 3606 of title 18, United States Code, to grant probation officers authority to arrest hostile third parties who obstruct or impede a probation officer in the performance of official duties. Text of bill: https://www.congress.gov/115/bills/hr1039/BILLS-115hr1039rh.pdf Excerpt: SEC. 2. AUTHORITY OF PROBATION OFFICERS. (a) IN GENERAL.—Section 3606 of title 18, United States Code, is amended— (1) in the heading, by striking ‘‘and return of a probationer’’ and by inserting ‘‘authority of probation officers’’; (2) by striking ‘‘If there’’ and inserting ‘‘(a) If there’’; and (3) by adding at the end the following: ‘‘(b) A probation officer, while in the performance of his or her official duties, may arrest a person without a warrant if there is probable cause to believe that the person has forcibly assaulted, resisted, opposed, impeded, intimidated, or interfered with the probation officer, or a fellow probation officer, in violation of section 111. The arrest authority described in this subsection shall be exercised under such rules and regulations as the Director of the Administrative Office of the United States Courts shall prescribe.’’. For those who say they must get a warrant first, if a criminal attacks a police officer, is resisting arrest, or otherwise intentionally impedes the officer in the performance of his duty, does that officer have to stop what he's doing to go get a warrant? "When police officers make a warrantless arrest, a judge does not have a chance to determine ahead of time whether the police have probable cause to make the arrest. Nevertheless, the Fourth amendment probable cause requirement remains the same. For a suspect to remain in custody following an arrest, the police must speedily satisfy a judge or magistrate that they had probable cause to make the arrest. (Gerstein v. Pugh, U.S. Sup. Ct. 1975)" http://info.sfcriminallawspecialist.com/bid/81608/When-can-police-arrest-a-suspect-without-an-arrest-warrant
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Susan's Opinion
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05/19/2017
This is just the beginning of Sessions plan for filling up the private prisons so more money goes into his pockets and his buddies pockets.
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Argument opposed

Probation officers should continue to rely on police officers to arrest those who might interfere with the performance of their job, they don’t need the authority to make arrests of third parties.

TuckerWantsLiberty's Opinion
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05/16/2017
No. You know what probable cause is good for? Getting a warrant. You don't skip the person's constitutionally-protected rights. Make your case to a judge and get your warrant before you arrest anyone.
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Elizabeth's Opinion
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05/19/2017
As a retired probation officer, we already had the power to arrest without warrant anyone on probation for a violation or new offense. Police are very quick to respond to the scene if anyone else attemped to interfere. We simply backed off until police arrived.
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Tabitha's Opinion
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05/19/2017
Stop strengthening the prison industrial complex. Black Lives Matter.
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on the Judiciary
  • The house Passed May 19th, 2017
    Roll Call Vote 229 Yea / 177 Nay
      house Committees
      Committee on the Judiciary
      Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security
    IntroducedFebruary 14th, 2017

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    They should. If then can't then that is another criminal that could get away and commit another crime.
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    No. You know what probable cause is good for? Getting a warrant. You don't skip the person's constitutionally-protected rights. Make your case to a judge and get your warrant before you arrest anyone.
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    As a retired probation officer, we already had the power to arrest without warrant anyone on probation for a violation or new offense. Police are very quick to respond to the scene if anyone else attemped to interfere. We simply backed off until police arrived.
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    Stop strengthening the prison industrial complex. Black Lives Matter.
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    Probation officers' role is to integrate people back into society, not to serve as a police officer.
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    Dear honorable Ted Cruz, the debate for allowing officers arrest somebody without a warrant gives the federal police too much power. This skips the people's constitutional right so if this passes not only is it unconstitutional but it is also risky and naive. Risky because the federal police may abuse this power and naive because you are implying that every judgement that the officer makes is always right. I trust that you take the people's constitutional right into consideration when debating on this bill.
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    I spent 10 years on felony probation in Texas. I can tell you that, at least of the 2 dozen or so probation officers I worked with, most of them wouldn't want this power. Probation officers don't want to arrest people, they don't even like having to have their charges arrested. If they wanted to arrest people they would have just become cops. The purpose of probation is supposed to be to help people adjust to entirely legal lifestyles, and at this the system fails: there are no actual education, housing, or employment programs, so probationers are pretty much on their own for anything helpful. Instead of making probation officers more enforcement oriented, how about we create some programs to help these officers do more good for those they observe? How about actual job and housing placement resources? You know, stuff the help folk transition to legal lives so they have more reasons not to commit crimes? Of course I'm still in Texas for now, so there's not much hope for that kind of reform in the Penitentiary State.
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    Every American deserves due process. A warrant is needed to make an arrest, and it should stay that way. Please do not erode the rights of citizens.
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    There is much to great a risk for profiling and abuse.
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    If this is made into law we might as well completely do away with innocent until proven guilty. The potential for abuse and the unconstitutionality of this law is clearly evident. We can't even ensure that police officers are properly trained and monitored, how do we expect underfunded and minimally staffed precincts across the country to cope with training and monitoring of parole officers? This is not the way to go about increasing protection for parole officers. Increasing funding for precincts to hire and train additional police officers and to staff those precincts so that parole officers who require arrest backup have it when they need it is a better and more constitutional way of addressing this issue.
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    I share the concern that this bill has a "high potential for abuse" and I have some doubts about its constitutionality. And besides that, it doesn't honor the role probation officers play, which is to make them a bridge back to society for previous offenders. If they have the power to arrest without a warrant, how are they expected to build trust and effectively do their job?
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    Sponsoring Rep. Dave Reichert (R-WA) said: “Hostile and at times threatening environments are part of a probation officer’s average day on the job. Although they encounter many of the same dangers faced by members of the law enforcement community, they do not have the same tools to protect themselves. This bipartisan, bicameral bill rights that wrong.” Official Title: To amend section 3606 of title 18, United States Code, to grant probation officers authority to arrest hostile third parties who obstruct or impede a probation officer in the performance of official duties. Text of bill: https://www.congress.gov/115/bills/hr1039/BILLS-115hr1039rh.pdf Excerpt: SEC. 2. AUTHORITY OF PROBATION OFFICERS. (a) IN GENERAL.—Section 3606 of title 18, United States Code, is amended— (1) in the heading, by striking ‘‘and return of a probationer’’ and by inserting ‘‘authority of probation officers’’; (2) by striking ‘‘If there’’ and inserting ‘‘(a) If there’’; and (3) by adding at the end the following: ‘‘(b) A probation officer, while in the performance of his or her official duties, may arrest a person without a warrant if there is probable cause to believe that the person has forcibly assaulted, resisted, opposed, impeded, intimidated, or interfered with the probation officer, or a fellow probation officer, in violation of section 111. The arrest authority described in this subsection shall be exercised under such rules and regulations as the Director of the Administrative Office of the United States Courts shall prescribe.’’. For those who say they must get a warrant first, if a criminal attacks a police officer, is resisting arrest, or otherwise intentionally impedes the officer in the performance of his duty, does that officer have to stop what he's doing to go get a warrant? "When police officers make a warrantless arrest, a judge does not have a chance to determine ahead of time whether the police have probable cause to make the arrest. Nevertheless, the Fourth amendment probable cause requirement remains the same. For a suspect to remain in custody following an arrest, the police must speedily satisfy a judge or magistrate that they had probable cause to make the arrest. (Gerstein v. Pugh, U.S. Sup. Ct. 1975)" http://info.sfcriminallawspecialist.com/bid/81608/When-can-police-arrest-a-suspect-without-an-arrest-warrant
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    So many police abuse instances occur because the police officer is ill-equipped and ill-trained to handle the particular situation. What kind of additional training would parole officers need to ensure this new authority is not abused? We can't get it right with the current police force...do we really want to throw more into the mix? Why not give everyone arrest authority? If a postal worker is trying to deliver mail in a rough neighborhood and he has reasonable cause to believe somebody is impeding his duty to deliver the mail, maybe he should have the authority to arrest the perpetrator?
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    Instead of increasing punitive powers of authorities who deal with the public, we should be increasing social justice as regards employment, housing, police attitudes toward minorities. More education all around would prevent need for increase in punitive action.
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    PO Officers should never be in a position to arrest someone - that's the job of The Police officers!!! Just report the interference- there is such a danger of them getting carried away with this kind of authority!!! They don't need arrest powers!!!
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    Probation Officers are treated differently in many states in regards to "police powers." But warrants would be preferred and police with legal standing should do the arresting. However, I believe probation officers have the powers to search for illegal activity without warrants as stipulated in the granting of probation. That said, if all criminals served their full sentence, there would be no need for probation and any applied costs. In my city, criminals use probation as a swinging door back into crime.
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    Talked to my parole officer friend about it. His input was no, they don't need a warrant. In these times, where power of police officers is hugely controversial, better to stay conservative and vote no.
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    This is just the beginning of Sessions plan for filling up the private prisons so more money goes into his pockets and his buddies pockets.
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    There's already a process for this. Get a warrant.
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    A probation officers' job is only to monitor; for them to be able to arrest someone would require more training, which in turn would cost more money. They are in place to inform police if someone need to be taken into custody, if they have violated parole. This is giving parole officers too much power, without checks and balances.
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