It is generally understood that police are legally permitted to conduct a pat-down of a suspect that the police officer believes could be armed and dangerous. But police can’t just pat down every single person they come in
contact with unless there are “specific and articulable facts” the officer can describe to support his pat-down; otherwise, a judge can exclude from evidence what the officer found in such a search. How about if the officer
just sees a person with bulging pockets, obviously full of something? Click on the following link to read a summary of a reported decision that evaluated this police officer’s claim.