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Is citizens arrest a real thing and how does it work if it is?

I want to take a more actionable role in my community and think I could do some good so I am curious about citizens arrest. Any information you can provide would be much appreciated.

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    Mel Dunn | Mel Dunn
    100 N. Center
    Casper, WY 82601
    (307) 267-7758
    The dangers in a citizens arrest are that you have no immunity from a lawsuit if you were incorrect in your decision to arrest, and you may try to arrest a violent person who may harm or kill you. Leave the arrest job to the police.
    Answer Applies to: Wyoming - Replied: 4/11/2013
    Steve Freeborn | Freeborn Law Offices, P.S.
    33400 9th Avenue S. Suite 208
    Federal Way, WA 98003
    (253) 838-4477
    If you are looking to "arrest" people, don't do it! That is how people get hurt... you included. I am sure there are plenty of other ways for you to take a more actionable role in your community.
    Answer Applies to: Washington - Replied: 4/11/2013
    Craig Andersen | Andersen Law PLLC
    10000 NE 7th Ave Suite 330B
    Vancouver, WA 98685
    (360) 397-0111
    Citizen arrest is a very bad idea. Ordinary people do not have general arrest authority. There are limited circumstances when a civilian may assist an officer to make an arrest and even more limited circumstances where a citizen may make an arrest. However, law enforcement is not for citizens. In the State of Washington, every law enforcement officer must have a minimum of 440 hours of training on subjects ranging from Washington State criminal law and procedure to firearms skill, gun retention, arrest procedures, hand-to-hand combat, use of pepper spray, use of TASERS, high speed driving, testifying in court, dealing with biological hazards, accident investigation and more. The most a law-abiding citizen should do is observe and report. If you see a crime, call 911. Don't intervene unless it is a matter of life or death. Bear in mind that any use of force will be judged after the fact. If you use force and you were wrong, for example, you might intervene in an a parent kidnapping based on what you see only to learn that it involves a parent and an obnoxious child. If you were to attempt to arrest the adult, you could be charged with false imprisonment, kidnapping and sued for both. Suffice it to say a citizen should only intervene under the gravest circumstances and after a calm-headed assessment of what is actually going on.
    Answer Applies to: Washington - Replied: 4/11/2013
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