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rock_hound
09-05-2004, 11:02 AM
One my new geocaches has been muggled in the worst way. Here is the cache http://www.geocaching.com/seek/cache_details.aspx?guid=d7befb1f-519e-4183-94ca-bc2c2a3fec11. Apparently the Conway Police mistook it as a bomb and blew it up! Upon hearing about this, I sent an email to chief of police explaining geocaching and taking responsiblity for the cache. He sent the following response to me:


Thanks for this information! With the national heightened state of preparedness over the past three (3) years, relating to IED’s (improvised explosive devices), police departments everywhere treat such “finds” with extreme caution. As is required for such possible serious/sensitive events, I was immediately contacted about this “emergency”: additionally our Fire Department’s Bomb Squad was tasked to respond. We all were greatly relieved when it was determined to be a harmless ammo box containing fill matter (rocks & earth) that was related to your group’s GPS hunt.



Our comfort zone may be less taxed, as well as our budgets, by diminishing our “off-duty” callout of emergency services personnel, if each “cache” had a label affixed externally that clearly explains this GPS game, to include 24/7 contact names and numbers. I genuinely support your group’s goals of litter clean up and outdoor activities; however, to preclude subsequent diversion of Officers to set up a perimeter and/or the unnecessary calling in a municipality’s bomb squad, etc., a phone call to you or whoever would probably clear up the issue.

Please think on this and let me know if this is plausible.

Thanks!

Randall

Chief Randall Aragon
Conway Police Department
1105 Prairie Street
Conway, AR 72032
(501) 450-6126 (ofc)
(501) 733-2111 (cell)
[email protected]

I emailed back and stated that I would implement his recommendation of labeling the exteriors of my containers with contact info. I also informed him that I would relate this incident to the ArkGeo membership and recommend that everyone else do the same.

Gaddiel
09-05-2004, 02:11 PM
I'm glad this didn't turn into an incident. It could have turned out much worse than it did.

Regarding the label, this is probably a good idea for caches everywhere, not just in Conway. We have decided that the best way for us to handle this is to use those bumper sticker sheets. We bought some at Office Depot today for around $10 for 14 stickers. Even though they say "water-resistant", I'm anxious to see how well it will hold up over time. If it works well, I'll upload a "generic" sticker that can be downloaded from the web site.

Ok, so according to Mr. Aragon, EACH CACHE needs a label affixed that:

1) Clearly explains geocaching
2) Includes a 24/7 contact name and number

Question: Could the contact information be a GC.com name and number? Do they even HAVE such a thing? I hesitate to put my name and number on each of my caches, although I will if it comes down to it.

southdeltan
09-05-2004, 05:36 PM
I spraypaint on each of my geocaches GEOCACHING.COM. This is for regular sized caches. I would think that spraypainting or using one of the official GC.com stickers would be enough. They sell smaller ones for 1.50 that have a place for contact info.

I'd THINK that an email address would be enough, but I'd find out for sure.

Geocaching.com is a small company based in Washington State - I'm fairly certain they don't have a public phone number and if they do it's NOT 24/7.

If the police know about geocaching now and the geocache has "Geocache" on the outside - why would more information be necessary?

Of course, I'd do whatever they asked - this isn't the first one that's been blown up either.

Perhaps set up a meeting with the Chief and take a couple of those GC.com stickers (the large and the small) and show that to them. I'd ask if the phone number is REALLY necessary - perhaps an email address would suffice.

sd

Geezer_Veazey
09-05-2004, 08:34 PM
Well, I can see their point of view. What's to keep someone from devising a bomb and making it look like a geocache as a cover. Having a phone number and a person to call who can explain what it looks like and where and how it was hidden makes it much more likely not to be a bomb in their eyes.

We definitely do not need the bad publicity of police troups, fire and bomb squads being mustered for no reason.

We'd better get the steering committee to look into this. :lol:

Geezer.

(For those unable to read my lips, the third paragraph was said tongue in cheek, but the first two were not.)

arkansas_stickerdude
09-05-2004, 09:47 PM
Gaddiel I already use the bumper sticker pager and have tested it and it works great. If you want I have a template that I use it holds 2 large stickers and 3 micro's fit on a sheet I'll post it here or you can e-mail me for it. I'll put it in the downloads.

walkingshadow
09-06-2004, 04:46 PM
I had a thought. :idea: In some schools the kids carry clear backpacks and bags for safety reasons. Putting a cache in a clear container or leaving one side clear where the contents can be checked without opening may be another way to deal with this situation. A large plastic pickle or peanutbutter jar might work. Camaflouge about a two-thirds of the surface so it can be hidden and leave the other side clear so someone who accidently finds it can look in and see it is not a bomb.

walkingshadow

Gaddiel
09-06-2004, 10:05 PM
Putting a cache in a clear container or leaving one side clear where the contents can be checked without opening may be another way to deal with this situation.

A nice idea, although I've had a hard time finding a clear container that will meet these two requirements:

1) Non-glass
2) Weatherproof over time
3) Critterproof over time

We've tried the tupperware-type container before, but as the plastic heats and cools a few times, the seal seems to start leaking. Also had some kind of animal gnaw through another one and scatter the contents all around. I've yet to find something that can equal an ammo box for longevity and reliabilty...

arkansas_stickerdude
09-06-2004, 10:30 PM
Amen ammo cans rule and they are just as cheap as tupperware. Just don't forget the tupperware GEOCACHE LABEL. Isn't that right Rock Hound! :lol: I have the Template for the labels in a word format if anyone needs it to use on the Office Depot Bumper Sticker Paper.

Gaddiel
09-07-2004, 02:08 PM
We tried the bumper stickers from Office Depot and they work GREAT! You get 14 stickers in a package for around $10. From there, you can design your own sticker or use arkansas_stickerdude's MS Word document. With the MS Word document you can get one large and two micro labels on one sticker. That means we can get 14 full size labels and 28 small labels from each package! We will be using a Sharpie permanent marker to fill in the cache name and contact info. I think this is gonna suit our needs (and the police department's needs :) ) very well!

Woodwalker9
09-07-2004, 09:01 PM
Gaddiel, I intend to purchase the printable bumper stickers tomorrow to be placed on all my caches. I also intend to visit with our police chief on this subject this week. Like you stated in one of your earlier post, I too am hesitant to place my name and telephone number on the outside of my caches and I just wondered what information you included on your stickers. Of course, I will comply with the directives from our police department, but I hope that a screen name and email address will suffice. I'll post more after my meeting with our police chief.

LadyEngineer
09-08-2004, 05:23 AM
I met with the Lonoke Police yesterday and they thought it was funny that Conway went to the extreme of blowing it up, but they took the information I gave them and said thanks for letting them know. I left copies of the news articles that were just released in NW Arkansas, the brochure "Let's Go Geocaching" and a list of all the caches in Lonoke. All but one of these are mine and that one is a virtual. I work right next door to the Police station so that were real nice about it and didn't say I had to identify the can with anything in particular. I think I will let them know if I add any more or if any one else does just to keep them informed though.

rock_hound
09-08-2004, 11:07 AM
I have labeled the exterior of my only full size cache (the only one left that is) with my full name, phone number and email. I don't really like putting my personal info on there, but until a better option comes along I guess I have no choice. I put too much effort into my caches to have another one destroyed.

I have not and will not label my micros. For one this would compromise the camo on some. For another no police officer is going to mistake a film canister for a bomb, are they?

The police chief emailed me again yesterday and suggested we consider using plastic "see through" containers.

I like LE suggestion of giving them a map of the caches. But, it would need to be updated a lot. And, what if a new one was not on the map? Would they blow it up?

Woodwalker9
09-10-2004, 02:37 PM
I have just returned from a meeting with the Searcy Police. Although they take any "suspicious" container seriously, they believe that simply labeling the caches telling what it is(a geocache) and putting contact information on the outside of the cache will suffice. I ask if that meant a telephone number and he said that an email address would be sufficient. I certainly will start immediately to comply. He did not ask for the location of any caches already in place or to be informed of any new caches in the future. He is going to inform the patrolmen of the possibility of someone reporting a suspicious container and also that they may get a call of a person acting suspicious(not that a geocacher would ever look suspicious). He now has my name and telephone number, as well as email address, and will contact me if there are any new developments. He half jokingly said that it sounded like a lot of fun and that some of the officers might want to start geocaching. I encouraged him in that regard. I believe that having the police themselves geocaching would help resolve this problem far more than anything I could possible do. As of now, it appears that Searcy will not have a problem with geocaching.

Pedro_de_Poca_Roca
09-13-2004, 09:36 AM
Does anyone have a contact with the Little Rock Police? It might be good to contact each of the respective Police/Sheriff Departments.

Gaddiel
09-13-2004, 12:15 PM
Gaddiel, I intend to purchase the printable bumper stickers tomorrow to be placed on all my caches. I also intend to visit with our police chief on this subject this week. Like you stated in one of your earlier post, I too am hesitant to place my name and telephone number on the outside of my caches and I just wondered what information you included on your stickers. Of course, I will comply with the directives from our police department, but I hope that a screen name and email address will suffice. I'll post more after my meeting with our police chief.

We just put our username and email address. The main thing they need is a label that CLEARLY denotes that it's a geocache (rather than something else...)

Woodwalker9
09-13-2004, 07:54 PM
Gaddiel, that's the same information that Searcy Police wanted placed on the outside of caches in Searcy. I'm in the process now of marking all my ammo boxes using the bumperstickers that you suggested. Thanks.

Gaddiel
09-14-2004, 10:39 AM
Gaddiel, that's the same information that Searcy Police wanted placed on the outside of caches in Searcy. I'm in the process now of marking all my ammo boxes using the bumperstickers that you suggested. Thanks.

Most of the thanks should go to arkansas_stickerdude, for making this template available. I will probably design my own personalized version eventually, but I like this one pretty well for now...