"The Fourth Amendment has two
clauses. The first states that people
have a right to be protected from
unreasonable searches and seizures,
and the second states that no
warrant shall issue except upon
probable cause. The roots of the
second clause -- the probable cause
requirement -- lie in English and
American colonial history. Prior to the
framing of our Constitution by the
founding fathers, the government
had virtually unlimited power to
believe, right or wrong, that any
illegal items they were looking for
would be found. In England, this
all-purpose power took the form of
what were called general warrants; in
colonial America, they were called
writs of assistance. To protect
against the abuses inherent in this
kind of power, the Framers added a
probable cause requirement... "
"Probable Cause is one of the most
debated and misunderstood concepts
in police work." ~ Barry M. Baker
Probable cause is really a very simple
compilation of facts, based on evidence,
to indicate that a person probably
committed the crime or offense being
alleged.  Since probable cause to make an
arrest requires a lower threshold of
evidence than is required to convict a
person, many police officers take the low
road and choose brevity over detail in
their probable cause statements.  You
often hear police officers whine about the
criminal being released before they're
done with their paperwork.  Well, while
that's an exaggeration, the rapid release
of those charged criminally is often...
actually, very often the result of the
police officer's failure to provide the
reviewing court official all of the
information available.

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Becoming a Police Officer
An Insider's Guide to a Career
in Law Enforcement
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