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Standing order

A Standing Order is a general order of indefinite duration. It remains in effect until modified or rescinded. Standing orders are most often issued by military commanders to their troops, or by bodies operating under parliamentary procedure (such as Robert's Rules of Order).

Standing orders are necessarily general and vague since the exact circumstances for execution occur in the future under unknown conditions. For example, in most military agencies there is a standing order for enlisted men to salute officers, however, the name of each enlisted man is not explictly named in the order, nor is the name of each officer, nor is the exact time which the salute should occur.

There is a particular danger when police officers are permitted to execute standing orders against civilian populations, which the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution attempts to prevent by

  1. requiring that all search or arrest warrants be specific (standing orders are necessarily general),
  2. that all arrest procedures initiate with the "oath or affirmation" of a civilian making a complaint (standing orders are initiated by an agent of the government, like a military commander, or the President, Governor, Mayor, etc), and
  3. that probable cause be shown to exist (probable cause is specific evidence linking the accused with the victim's injury -- impossible to predict with a general order)

The lack of these devices might indicate martial law or that a police state exists.