Frisk

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  • A police action of searching a possible criminal suspect for concealed weapons by patting down the person's outer clothing. Also called a “pat down,” a stop and frisk without a search warrant was made legal in the U.S. Supreme Court case of Terry v. Ohio (1968). A “Terry stop” is considered legal if a police officer has a reasonable and articulable suspicion that an individual is armed and dangerous to himself or others and had been, is, or is about to engage in criminal activity. In practice, it is generally preferred that women are frisked by female officers and men are frisked by male officers to avoid accusations of impropriety. For more information, see Terry v. Ohio (1968).

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