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A note from the Mayor's Desk:

Hello all!

I asked my good friend Fishfood to write up a short guide to interacting with Police or LEO's (Law Enforcement Officers). Some of you may know Fishfood as just an all around great guy, some as one of the Ranger Leads for Lakes of Fire, and still others know him as a Ranger Shift Lead at TTITD. However you know him, he gives good advice. After his comments I will post a link to a Reddit article where another person talks about how to interact with LEO's - both make for good information.

Take it away Fishfood!

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Hello CampSPF!

It's that time of year again.  When all those crazy burners go to that thing in the desert.  We all like to say every year is a little different. This goes without saying for a lot of things. Law enforcement or, as folks on the playa like to call them, "Leos”, are no exception. Getting to go to the playa and help keep the peace is a popular gig for law enforcement officers. Just like burners they go for different reasons. They are all out there to do their job, and some have different approaches than others. 

There are definitely some folks out there who are very “by the book” and do not necessarily appreciate the way things work on the playa. To them, it is all utter chaos that they must help organize. There are also officers that are seasoned veterans of prior burns and they can be pretty friendly. Unfortunately, you can’t judge by outward appearance.

“Paying the Stupid Tax”:  Black Rock City is a wonderful and magical place, however it is still part of the state of Nevada. There are laws that the LEOs are there to enforce. If you think just because you are on the playa that the LEOs will not give you a ticket or worse, you are wrong. Getting a ticket or a fine is a “stupid tax”.  

Drawing unnecessary attention to yourself can also lead to paying a “stupid tax”.  A fine example is that on the way to playa it is not uncommon for LEOs to pull vehicles over for minor vehicle violations. For example, having your rear license plate covered. It is easy to put your bike over the bumper and block your plate. Another example might be a dead tail light or turn signal. When an officer pulls you over it is an open opportunity to ask to check your vehicle out. Another situation can occur if an officer on the playa asks you for identification and you say it is back at your tent. Again this is a potential opportunity for them to ask to search your tent, or poke around your camp. Now in both of those cases you can say “NO” and ask why you are being detained. You are not obligated to let them search anything without due cause. It is best to have your insurance card and any vehicle info available or remember when you go out to carry your ID and your event ticket. 

Remember to stay calm and cool when you talk to LEOs. They are not always out to get you, unless you are doing something wrong. When interacting with LEOs be friendly, and answer any questions as directly as you can. Do not admit any wrongdoing and do not assume an attitude. Don’t approach a LEO when you are intoxicated. Sure, Burning Man can be a big party party, but what you think might be fun and entertaining might not come across that way to them.  

If you need help:  Black Rock Rangers can help be a liaison for law enforcement. Rangers can help get LEOs involved if there is a situation that needs it. There are specific Rangers who work regularly with law enforcement and can help be advocates when needed. They may not get you out of trouble, but they might be able to help make things go a little easier if you do get in trouble.

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And now for the Reddit article:

https://www.reddit.com/r/BurningMan/com ... 15_update/