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Reasonable Suspicion – Stop – Basis – “Collective Knowledge” Doctrine

State v. Bruce E. Black, 2000 WI App 175, 238 Wis.2d 203, 617 N.W.2d 210
For Black: William E. Schmaal, SPD, Madison Appellate

Issue: Whether the “collective knowledge” doctrine applies when the information in the possession of one police officer is not in fact communicated to another officer.

Holding: ¶17 n. 4:

(I)n order for the collective-information rule to apply, such information must actually be passed to the officer before he or she makes an arrest or conducts a search. This conclusion is supported by State v. Friday, 140 Wis. 2d 701, 712-15, 412 N.W.2d 540 (Ct. App. 1987), reversed on other grounds, 147 Wis. 2d 359, 371-79, 434 N.W.2d 85 (1989), where we held that collective police data cannot support an officer’s search when the data is not in fact communicated to the officer prior to the time the search is made.

Variant: Reliance on a “flyer or bulletin” as a basis to stop an individual requires that the issuing officer have reasonable suspicion justifying the stop. Thus, failure of the State to have the latter officer testify at the suppression hearing is tantamount to a failure to support reliance on the flyer or bulletin. See generally Joshua v. Dewitt, 341 F.3d 430 (6th Cir 2003).


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