Quote Originally Posted by David Goldstein View Post
As I recall from my police days, it was legally classified as an arrest. A police officer is not required, (in the U.S., anyway), to inform people they are talking to in an official capacity that they are under arrest. Police officers can also allow people to go on their way once they are satisfied.

Keep in mind, I am talking about when an officer is officially conducting police business, such as an investigation.
That may have been the terminology in your police days, but today, "detention" is quite different than "arrest". Detaining someone only requires an officer to have "reasonable suspicion", while arresting someone requires "probable cause". Making an arrest without probable cause can be a quick way to the unemployment line.

An arrest also gives an officer the authority to conduct a complete search of the individual, as well as the person's vehicle, and it gives the officer the authority to remove the person from the scene. Detention simply allows the officer to keep the individual from leaving, for a short period of time, while they investigate and question the individual.

Bottom line, if a currently employed officer believes that "arrest" and "detain" are legally classified as the same thing, he/she is in the wrong line of work.