40 votes

2 Policemen knocked on my door tonight for a "welfare check" UPDATED

So I was sitting peacefully surfing the web on my computer around 11 this evening when they came.

I live in a large apartment complex and keep to myself mostly as the majority of my neighbors are not really folks I care to associate with as there is much fighting and (so I've heard) a few druggies so it's not unusual for folks to call the cops around here. But I was rather alarmed when the cops came and knocked on MY door asking me if I was ok and that someone had called and said they heard people fighting and yelling in MY apartment.

I live alone and the last person I let in was my maintenance guy (who turns out to be a RP guy :) but that's another story). I really have no visitors and am a very peaceful and quiet person, so to hear that they had been called to check on me had me stunned.

I tried telling them they had the wrong apartment to no avail and they told me they were "concerned about my behavior" (but what single woman who has cops at her door at 11 at night for no apparent good reason be a bit perturbed??) and that they did not need a warrant to enter and see if anyone was bleeding to death in MY home.Anyhow, they refused to go away until they saw for themselves no one else was here, so against my great moral wishes, I allowed them to see for themselves to make them leave.

I was in no mood to debate them as I have had a long day and they totally caught me off guard. So I guess my question for you guys here is do cops really have a "right" to enter one's home if they suspect someone is being abused or mistreated and do I have any sort of recourse?


9/5 update

First off, I just wanted to personally thank all of you for your helpful comments and suggestions, you guys are AWESOME!! :)
I will probably need more help with this as I have now learned whose apartment they really should have been at. They had the right building but were given the wrong apartment number and I had told them I had heard fighting over there earlier in the day (but that was like 12 hours before they showed up). I have filed a complaint but have heard nothing as of yet about it and not quite sure what to do next. I guess wait and see?

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Lol! I stood my ground as best I could and thinking back on it

I probably could have gotten them to leave without letting them in :/

I seriously doubt the maintenance fellow would report on me. He was very pleasant and said it was a shame how Ron Paul was treated after he noticed my car with my RP bumpersticker and the "Don't tread on me" flag in my bedroom. He was here most of the day replacing my water heater. and spent most of his time in my closet and I guess he forgot to come back and take the old one away as it is still sitting outside.

The neighbors had had a dispute with someone while he was here and he ran out to check what was going on with them and we both talked briefly about calling the police around here whether it was a good idea or not as you could probably have reason every day to do that around here. But this was all long before the police came to my door and they said a neighbor had called them. I told the police that the only argument I had heard that day was the people on the other side of the building (mine is the smallest building) and then this evening I checked with my neighbor beneath me and he said he had heard nothing last night either and was just as baffled as I am. And I'm pretty sure the maintenance guy doesn't live on the property so how he could hear anything at that hour is beyond me...not that there was anything to hear :(

What are you fightin' for?
Caught in the middle?
Freedom is only for those with the guts to defend it!

Next time.

You contracted with them by opening the door. If you don't wish to contract with them than there is no door to answer. Just ignore it next time. You don't have to consent to a raid because there is no law stating you have to answer the door.

Do not participate. There is no arguing with police. Do not attempt to communicate. Find a discreet location of the house and stay in it. Even one word is a contract.

All rights reserved and no rights waived.


Don't think this is best. They will break down your door. This is standard practice.



All rights reserved and no rights waived.

Somehow this doesn't make sense

They come to an apartment where the have what is essentially hearsay evidence (because they didn't hear or see any evidence directly themselves) of a disturbance inside.

They come and don't hear anything.

What probable cause do they have for entering by force? None it would seem.

Seems like they would have needed a warrant to me - and likely couldn't have been issued one.

Indeed! I smell a rat but I don't have any idea who it could be

I still am having trouble sleeping due to this incident :(

What are you fightin' for?
Caught in the middle?
Freedom is only for those with the guts to defend it!



All rights reserved and no rights waived.

The correct answer is to lock

The correct answer is to lock the door, and NEVER open it. If they have a warrant to enter the property they will bust the door down without asking. Here is a former cop that I like to watch on that exact issue. He breaks down an encounter a woman had through showing the video she took, while explaining what she did right and what she did wrong. This may be of some help to you.

Where's the link? :)

Where's the link? :)

Christians should not be warmongers! http://www.lewrockwell.com/vance/vance87.html

Sorry forgot that

Sorry forgot that part.


Thank you! That is helpful

So many great comments and responses it is hard for me to keep up with y'all :)

What are you fightin' for?
Caught in the middle?
Freedom is only for those with the guts to defend it!

This is the best approach

Be up front when someone knocks on your door. If you have no way of seeing who's there (no window or peep hole) always ask who it is first.

If they say it is the police or you can see that it is, go to the nearest window. Keep you hands visible and talking loud enough through the window (or closed door if no window) state that YOU DO NOT OPEN THE DOOR FOR POLICE. It's better to just be strait forward about it and not dance around the issue. They are public servants, they wont be offended. And if they are, who cares.

Then inform them that if they cannot hear you well enough to communicate through the window (or door) tell them to have their dispatch call you on your phone so you can communicate that way. Repeat that for your own safety, you do not open the door for police if they insist on asking you to.

Like Felony says above, if they have a warrant, they will enter with or without you opening the door. Police are notorious for their policy of "knock and talk" Former DEA agents say this is one of their most successful ways to search your home. They knock, get you to open your door and talk, claim they smell marijuana (even if there is none) and then gain access to search your home. Follow this outline and NEVER OPEN THE DOOR FOR POLICE. Make it your personal home policy.

Or just look through the slight opening.

"They knock, get you to open your door and talk, claim they smell marijuana (even if there is none) and then gain access to search your home."

Or they claim they saw something suspicious. They don't have to report until after the search, so if they find (or plant) anything, that might be what they claim they saw.

As soon as you open the door, even if it's on a chain, they no longer need a warrant. They can force it the rest of the way, surch your place, and it's all admissible.

Some of them will do so immediately. Others will chat you up for a while, to see if they can get you to say anything useful - or which colud be interpreted to be in any way inconstent with anything else you have said.

= = = =
"Obama’s Economists: ‘Stimulus’ Has Cost $278,000 per Job."

That means: For each job "created or saved" about five were destroyed.



All rights reserved and no rights waived.

Unfortunately, if the police

Unfortunately, if the police can fabricate some exigent circumstances, they can claim the right to enter your house, with out warrant, with out probable cause, etc.

You need to file a complaint with the PD TODAY.

The sad thing, is that this is almost the same as swatting. People call 911 on YOU, claim they hear a massive fight, claim it sounds like someone is getting raped, blah blah, and boom, exigent circumstances.

Jason Robinson
Republican Liberty Caucus of Idaho

police can lie to you

Nobody should believe a police officer when they tell you that they have the right to do something. If they had the right, they would have done it already. I like the tea serving comment, but I would have said, "Unless you have a warrant, you may not enter. I am calling my attorney; please leave." Like in a game of cards, lawyers trump police just as police trump civilians.

Do this....

I would take this approach next time. :)


"Only government can take perfectly good paper, cover it with perfectly good ink, and make the combination worthless."

Wearing My Screenwriter's Hat

One of the hazards of being a screenwriter is to think like a scientifically oriented conspiracy theorist, so I ask myself, why would the police falsely claim a welfare check?

One answer is that they are looking for someone in the complex.

Were they especially on guard? That might tell you if they were looking for someone who fled them, or just trying to find out where that someone lives.

Possibly a snitch gave them the address or a partial address, and they're trying to verify the tip. The tip could have been bogus.

I seriously doubt they were checking up on your online activities.

What do you think? http://consequeries.com/

Get the Keys, Lock the Door, Step Outside and Shut It

Communication is critical, and actions speak louder than words.

Whether they are really convinced you may be at the mercy of some guy hiding behind the door or not, so many people have been murdered after the police left, that voters and many frustrated well-motivated police have created laws and policies that aim to prevent it. Not such a bad idea, but...

What you really need to do is convince them that you are safe, while still defending your home--if you consent to a search, they can use anything they find against you.

Coming outside (since you are female, and assuming you don't look like you've been fighting) might be one way to reassure them.

Not ideal, just an idea. The real question is, what address was the right address? Had you heard any fighting?

What do you think? http://consequeries.com/

If the police come to your door, and you did not call them....

they are not there to help.

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.
Friedrich Nietzsche

Ain't that the truth :(

I'm just glad I wasn't shot or arrested.

What are you fightin' for?
Caught in the middle?
Freedom is only for those with the guts to defend it!

I am so glad

you are OK. As a female, I would be VERY uncomfortable with that situation.

The law cannot make a wicked person virtuous…God’s grace alone can accomplish such a thing.
Ron Paul - The Revolution

Setting a good example is a far better way to spread ideals than through force of arms. Ron Paul

scawarren's picture

Me too :/

Me too :/

It is easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled. – Mark Twain

I have

steel mesh security doors front and back that were installed to protect my parents from possible criminal invasion. Little did I know that someday I would rely on them to protect me from criminal invasion by law enforcement.

Daughter of 1776 American Revolutionists

If they had the right to do it

They'd be knocking down your door instead of asking you to open it. Of course, that's not to say that there aren't instances where police have illegally entered premises in that way. But it seems obvious to me that they weren't "concerned about your behavior" because I think that if police believe that your life or someone else's is in danger, they do have the right to enter without your permission. I might be mistaken, though.

Was this a wellness check

or a domestic disturbance call?

Good question

I'm guessing domestic disturbance as those are commonplace around here unfortunately. I had not heard a peep from any neighbors all evening come to think of it :/

What are you fightin' for?
Caught in the middle?
Freedom is only for those with the guts to defend it!

What happened to you

concerns me. I have a chain on my door. I never open the door to anyone without first asking, "who's there?" If it is the police, put the chain on the door and open it, they can see you are ok. If the police ask to search your house, ask if they have a warrant and if they don't, tell them to come back when they have a warrant. If they get too persistent, have your cellphone handy and call dispatch.

Never give them permission to search your home. The Supreme Court rubber stamped law enforcement's ability to use deception. Anymore, as a civilian, I just assume the police are lying (it's safer).

I hope this helps and I hope you never face this situation again.

Chain isn't enough.

If you open it, even on a chiain, they can look through the opening, claim they saw something suspicious, and force the door.

Leave it closed and locked.

= = = =
"Obama’s Economists: ‘Stimulus’ Has Cost $278,000 per Job."

That means: For each job "created or saved" about five were destroyed.

Thank you, yes, I am never answering the door like that again

anyone whom I don't recognize can expect no answer from me. I never thought that I would be a suspect on anything so naturally I would think they couldn't be here for me :(

What are you fightin' for?
Caught in the middle?
Freedom is only for those with the guts to defend it!