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Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Attorney
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Experience:  Lawyer
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My question relates to the jurisdiction officers in the

Customer Question

Hello. My question relates to the jurisdiction for city officers in the surrounding county in Iowa. I was on my way to work the other day and got pulled over by an officer from Algona and continued to give me a citation for speeding. I was 6 miles south of town. Multiple co-workers and I have seen them sitting outside of town a few times now anywhere from 1-5 miles outside of town.
Thanks
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Hi,

I'm Lucy, and I'd be happy to answer your questions today.

Iowa Code, Section 804.7 provides that a peace officer in the state of Iowa may make an arrest for a public offense committed in his presence. The statute doesn't say anything about jurisdiction or authority being limited to a specific city or county within the state. There isn't anything in the Algona city code that discusses the jurisdiction of police officers, either. On top of that, when a police officer is outside his jurisdiction, he's essentially acting as a private individual - and that means the statutes allowing for a citizen's arrest would apply. Iowa Code, Section 804.9.

A public offense is broadly defined to mean anything prohibited by statute and punishable by a fine OR imprisonment. Iowa Code, Section 701.2. Traffic infractions are prohibited by a fine, punishable by a fine, and therefore qualify as public offenses.

As a result, I do not believe you'd be able to successfully argue that the ticket was invalid due to the police officer's placement based on the statutes. You can try requesting copies of police procedures under the Freedom of Information Act to see if you find anything else that supports your position. But the answer may be to write your legislators and encourage them to change some of these definitions to limit a peace officer's authority.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Do you know by chance know how to go about requesting the police procedures?
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

The request has to be submitted in writing. Here is a sample:

http://www.nfoic.org/iowa-sample-foia-request

I have to step away for an appointment, but if you have any more questions, I'm happy to answer them when I return in a couple of hours.

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