Police Stops Based on Anonymous Calls In Texas
In Davis v. State, 947 S.W.2d 240, 244 (Tex. Crim. App. 1997), a police officer was informed that a caller had reported that a particularly described vehicle was being driven northbound on Interstate 35 at a specified location; that it was occupied by three males; that the vehicle was being driven recklessly; and that the occupants were possibly smoking marihuana. See J.L., 529 U.S. at, 120 S. Ct. at 1380, 146 L. Ed. 2d at 262. the officer positioned himself to intercept the suspect vehicle and stopped it. See id.
The officer witnessed no offense and acknowledged that he acted solely on the basis of the tip. See id.
The caller did not identify himself, stop at the scene, or otherwise come forward. See id.
This Court held that "the anonymous tip, uncorroborated as to its significant aspects by independent police work, did not exhibit sufficient indicia of reliability to justify the investigative stop." Davis, 989 S.W.2d at 865.
While an anonymous tip or telephone call may justify the initiation of an investigation, it alone will rarely establish the level of suspicion required to justify a detention. See Alabama v. White, 496 U.S. 325, 329, 110 L. Ed. 2d 301, 110 S. Ct. 2412 (1990); Davis v. State, 989 S.W.2d 859, 863 (Tex. App.--Austin 1999, pet. ref'd). Normally, a police officer must have additional facts before the officer may reasonably conclude that the tip is reliable and an investigatory detention is justified. See Davis, 989 S.W.2d at 863.
An officer's prior knowledge and experience, and his corroboration of the details of the tip, may be considered in giving the anonymous tip the weight it deserves. See id. at 864.
But the corroboration of details that are easily obtainable at the time the information is provided, and which do not indicate criminal activity, will not lend support to the tip. See id.