Advertisement
If you have a new account but are having problems posting or verifying your account, please email us on hello@boards.ie for help. Thanks :)
Hello all! Please ensure that you are posting a new thread or question in the appropriate forum. The Feedback forum is overwhelmed with questions that are having to be moved elsewhere. If you need help to verify your account contact hello@boards.ie

Now ye're talking - to a US police officer Part II

Options
124678

Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,389 ✭✭✭1874


    Just found this thread,off to start reading the rest, but how do you deal with firearms at a crime scene regarding making them safe or determining they are safe before bagging them as evidence, without contaminating them? is there anything specific to do? or just latex gloves and make safe after an initial photo and recording of layout?


  • Registered Users Posts: 10,620 ✭✭✭✭dulpit


    This tweet appeared in my timeline: https://twitter.com/AshleyAtTimes/status/1357913265809072132

    How would this be viewed in your own department? I'm trying to imagine a member of the Gardaí wearing a party badge on their uniform and can't, I don't see how this can be allowed and it's mad to me that another officer didn't say/do anything here. Especially after all that happened in Washington...


  • Company Representative Posts: 189 Verified rep I'm a US police officer, AMA


    Just found this thread, off to start reading the rest, but how do you deal with firearms at a crime scene regarding making them safe or determining they are safe before bagging them as evidence, without contaminating them? is there anything specific to do? or just latex gloves and make safe after an initial photo and recording of layout?

    Welcome aboard as they say in the Navy. Enjoy the thread and don’t be afraid to ask more questions. Guns on a scene are photographed & documented in place, then wearing latex gloves, they will be made safe, i.e., unloaded & chamber cleared. We can then run the serial number on scene and see if it’s in the stolen firearms database. We’ll run a red zip tie through the chamber, to keep it safe, then it’s boxed up and off to the lab. This is all accomplished wearing latex gloves with a little manipulation as possible. At the lab they will try and print it, although pistols are notoriously difficult to get prints off. Depending on the needs of the detective, they will do whatever ballistics are needed and some other testing. It’s kept as evidence until after the trail then. If it was stolen and we can find the owner, if they want it back, we’ll return it to them. If not or we can’t find an owner, it’s destroyed, we don’t auction off seized guns nor do we keep them for dept. use. Too much liability.


    How would this be viewed in your own department? I'm trying to imagine a member of the Gardaí wearing a party badge on their uniform and can't, I don't see how this can be allowed and it's mad to me that another officer
    didn't say/do anything here.


    Especially after all that happened in Washington.
    Epic fail FFS!! I’m sure this has already gone to IA or whatever they have in NYPD. And the idiot wearing it deserves whatever they get. That’s just dumb. In my dept, it would get a sanction, probably not termination, but you’d get a black mark in the file, which means you are ineligible for promotion or special assignments for a year, and probably time off. And deservedly so. We all have our personal opinions on everything, but once at work, we have to be neutral on anything outside our job.
    As a related matter, here is a great example of where some of the police unions are failing to see the larger picture. This officer is certainly entitled to a robust defense in whatever HR process they have, and in my mind, other than ensuring the NYPD followed all the HR rules, what is there to defend? It’s plainly a policy violation (without knowing their SOPs), end of. But some unions have an embedded “us vs. them” mentality and dig their heels in on everything in the name of defending their members. (see my earlier posts about political endorsements). In the long term, this leads to states passing more and more restrictions on union activities, so long term we’ll lose (I’m a union member BTW). FOP come across as pretty much against everything, I think if a dept. gave their members gold watches, the FOP would be complaining they wanted Apple watches and its another example of how the dept. is screwing its members. Being reasonable gets you further in the long-term IMHO, but we are where we are.


  • Registered Users Posts: 10,620 ✭✭✭✭dulpit


    What happens to money, things and/or drugs seized at crimes?


  • Registered Users Posts: 24,647 ✭✭✭✭punisher5112


    dulpit wrote: »
    What happens to money, things and/or drugs seized at crimes?

    Use it and keep it of course.... ;-)


  • Advertisement
  • Registered Users Posts: 24,647 ✭✭✭✭punisher5112


    Is there certain parts that could or should be outsourced to civilian....

    Do you bust a tail light like Homer Simpson had the misfortune of happening?

    Does bribes ever come up much?

    How has your working week been.


  • Registered Users Posts: 24,647 ✭✭✭✭punisher5112




  • Company Representative Posts: 189 Verified rep I'm a US police officer, AMA


    What happens to money, things and/or drugs seized at crimes?

    Items seized are cataloged, and stored (it’s all evidence one way or another) until the trail and any subsequent trails/appeals are completed, then it is disposed of. Stolen property, if we can find the owner, will be returned once all is said & done. Stuff like drugs, especially those huge seizures, are of course destroyed in an incinerator. Usually, a sample from each container is saved for the trail after testing & certification, the rest is destroyed. Guns, which can’t be returned are destroyed by cutting up, most agencies won’t keep a criminal gun, you don’t know the history of it. Won’t do to find out years later one of your officers is carrying a gun which was used in a robbery or murder. Real property like houses, cars, boats, etc. are auctioned off to the public. An agency, under some of the laws, can apply to keep an item like a car or boat for agency use, but it doesn’t happen as much as one would think. That stuff has to be nearly new for that to happen as they don’t want the liability of not knowing the maintenance history of the item. Seizures of cash, that goes to the state or federal govt. It can be shared with local agencies if it was seized and they were a partner in the case, it’s a sliding scale percentage.

    Are there certain parts that could or should be outsourced to civilian?


    Police work itself; I don’t think so. We have robust civilian support, unlike the Gardai, we only use officers for inherently law enforcement functions. All our 911 call takers & dispatchers are civilians, all our evidence techs (think CSI), our photograph & video section, crime scene teams, lab, computer forensics, and the usual admin support are all non-sworn positions. Sure, we do have some badges riding a desk, those are mostly the chain of command types, and of course detectives. From the outside, the Garda seem to have a lot more badges doing things which (from the outside) could be civilianized, basically most of the above. A Garda doesn’t need to be answering 999 calls and talking on the radio, that is not an inherently LE function. Put the badges on the street, civilians are cheaper and it’s a better use of the police.

    Do you bust a tail light like Homer Simpson had the misfortune of happening?

    No, but if you ever see a closeup of Chief Wiggins badge, it does say “cash” on it. Cute 😊

    Does bribes ever come up much?

    Not really. I suppose it’s the movies that have given the public we’re getting suitcases of cash from the bad guys. Has it happened, sure, but it’s certainly not the norm by any means. Sure, you’ll get the occasional “suggestion” on a traffic stop, but that’s about it in my experience. Some restaurants give us a discount on a meal (in uniform) and the odd free cuppa but it doesn’t go beyond that. And they’ll usually do the same for fire & EMS, so it’s hardly anything to write home about.

    How has your working week been?

    Average thus far. My last shift went like this:

    Get in district, secure coffee 😊 start patrolling the neighbourhood (I’m in a car). Handled a few noisy neighbour calls. IE: “Hey guys, can ya turn the music down?”, no issue, happy to comply.

    Family disturbance, girlfriend/boyfriend fighting. He’d left when we got there, took report, etc. She didn’t want any medical, and really wanted us to leave, probably as she reeked of MJ. Quick report, no one arrested.

    Stopped to assist a motorist, pushed them off the road and waited for a family member to arrive and get the car started.

    Shots fired call, made contact with caller, no evidence of shots, probably fireworks. Fight a burger joint between employees. Helped secure the scene while another unit sorted it out.

    Left that to go to another noisy neighbour call…apartments, caller claimed his upstairs neighbour was “walking too loudly” (I’m not making this up). Told them to take it up with landlord.

    Traffic stop on a red light runner, ticket issued.

    As Fridays go, it was handy enough. Pretty average really.


  • Registered Users Posts: 10,620 ✭✭✭✭dulpit


    Are you always keeping an eye out for crimes, even when off duty? A guy I know is a garda, he was telling me he was out once at a garage on a day off, and some eejit shot out of the place without paying and took off. He said he'd have followed him himself except he had his kids, so he rang his station and they picked him up pretty quickly.

    I assume it's a job that you're never really not doing?


  • Company Representative Posts: 189 Verified rep I'm a US police officer, AMA


    Are you always keeping an eye out for crimes, even when off duty? A guy I know is a Garda, he was telling me he was out once at a garage on a day off, and some eejit shot out of the place without paying and took off. He said he'd have followed him himself except he had his kids, so he rang his station and they picked him up pretty quickly.

    I assume it's a job that you're never really not doing?


    To a point yes. Your street awareness never really goes away, as it becomes instinct. Certain things will always catch the eye which the public are not aware of because they won't have the awareness of what to look for. As for intervening, it's very situation dependent.

    Most agencies have a policy which covers this, ours, which is fairly typical, has wording to the effect of "off duty officers may intervene if they can do so safely in order to protect life or stop a felony, but must be aware of the totality of circumstances and understand they are not on duty and thus may not be eligible for certain protections" Basically, we have the ability to do so, but do it carefully and know we (the agency) may not protect you if you do something stupid, and we'll think about covering you if you get hurt. Really, unless its life or death, it's better to be a good witness, call it in, give good descriptions and let the uniforms handle it. You are in civilian clothing, and if you have a gun, the responding officers wont see your badge, they will see a gun , so there is risk there.

    I've only done it twice, once at a festival where a guy punched a girl right beside me, so I brought him down and detained him until security arrived and handed it off to them. Other time was where a fella hit a mate with his car (we were walking on the path & he hit me mate as he was coming out of a driveway), so, badged him, he was compliant, and waited for the uniforms to show up.

    Most of us are well able to separate work from our life, and if I'm out with herself, I don't want to bring work into it unless I have to. Nothing like telling your partner, "Hey, lovely evening, nice meal, now we'll pop over to the station while I fill out some paperwork and talk to a SGT, you sit here in the waiting room....." You get my point :-)


  • Advertisement
  • Registered Users Posts: 24,647 ✭✭✭✭punisher5112


    If a bulb goes in the shop, do officers change them out or is there others for that?

    What's the most interesting incident you've ever been involved in and what's the most happiest......


  • Company Representative Posts: 189 Verified rep I'm a US police officer, AMA


    If a bulb goes in the shop, do officers change them out or is there others for that?

    Not sure what ya mean here mate…if its’ building maintenance, yep, the maintenance team does that….depending on how many officers it takes to put in a light bulb 😊, the answer is of course, one, but they are never around when you need one!!

    What's the most interesting incident you've ever been involved in and what's the most happiest......

    Caught a bank robber once, that was pretty cool. Short foot chase, scuffle and got the cuffs on him. This guy had an epic beard, very obvious, yet the only thing the bank teller could tell us was “he had well groomed eyebrows”. Granted she was under stress, but still, this thing looked like a ZZ Top band members beard

    I’ve worked with the detectives on larger cases, writing warrants, making calls, gathering evidence. That process never ceases to fascinate me how it all comes together 18 months later in court.

    The happiest, rescued a bloke from a flooded river where his car had gotten stuck, grabbed him just as he was being swept away.

    Other one was finding a homeless lady, late teens, cold & hungry. We bought her dinner, talked to her for a bit, and she was willing to let us help, so we got her into a shelter and linked her with social services. Always wonder what happened with her, she was a lovely person, just on hard times.

    I'll do some digging and see if I can get a redacted report to post up to give an idea of how it all works.

    be safe, wear those masks


  • Registered Users Posts: 24,647 ✭✭✭✭punisher5112


    Shop = cruiser.... Was just watching The Rookie;-)

    They refer to the car as a shop and boot for the trainee of course....


    Cheers


  • Registered Users Posts: 16,588 ✭✭✭✭osarusan


    You've mentioned tv shows skewing people's perceptions of the job, and I have read elsewhere that in court, jurors sometimes have unrealistic expectations of what kind of evidence will be offered, based on watching tv shows like CIS.

    Are there any tv shows/films that do a particularly good job of portraying the realities of life and work as a police officer?


  • Registered Users Posts: 178 ✭✭Larry Bee


    Hey thanks for doing another round of questions - very enjoyable and informative.

    There was an interesting thread here about what should you do if you were arrested. Opinions varied from if you've nothing to hide, just answer anything you're asked
    truthfully and everything will be alright, to do not engage with the police at all - just blank them and stay 100% silent until you have been in contact with your solicitor.

    From what I can gather in that thread the laws are probably different in America than here (?) but have you any thoughts on what to do? How much can you trust the cops when you've been brought to the station to help with their enquires?

    Thanks,
    John


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,344 ✭✭✭Thoie


    it's better to be a good witness, call it in, give good descriptions
    This guy had an epic beard, very obvious, yet the only thing the bank teller could tell us was “he had well groomed eyebrows”. Granted she was under stress, but still, this thing looked like a ZZ Top band members beard

    I'm always terrified that I'll be asked by the police "what was he wearing/what did she look like?". I'd have difficulty telling you what I'm wearing/look like, let alone anyone else. How "bad" are witnesses in general? Besides missing the giant beard, have you had any other major/funny mismatches between descriptions and reality?


  • Company Representative Posts: 189 Verified rep I'm a US police officer, AMA


    Shop = cruiser.... Was just watching The Rookie;-)
    They refer to the car as a shop and boot for the trainee of course.


    Ah, gotcha…missed that one by a mile didn’t I? No, the maintenance section does all the work on the cars. Which, is a chore given how hard we drive those things. Never, ever, ever, buy an ex-police car. While they are generally well maintained, they are driven rough, over cerbs, potholes, etc.

    You've mentioned tv shows skewing people's perceptions of the job, and I have read elsewhere that in court, jurors sometimes have unrealistic expectations of what kind of evidence will be offered, based on watching tv shows like CSI.

    This is true, even on the street. Victims call us for a broken window and are expecting a full CSI turnout, with all sorts of cool kit, DNA samples, etc. We do have to manage perceptions a bit on that. Juries are the same, they’ll ask “Is there DNA?” or something, not understanding we can’t always get DNA from a scene. Forensic science is advancing, but it’s not the be all, end all of every case.

    Likewise with video evidence. With the explosion in use of video doorbells, home cameras, and CCTV in general, there is an expectation we’ll get HD, bold technicolour images of the perp. A surprisingly high number of those systems don’t work, are badly aimed, not recording, or the images are so grainy to be of little use.

    As an aside on DNA, you generally need a sample of blood, hair, semen, saliva or other body fluids. If you get a good sample, then you can send it off to the lab, this is a 6-12 month long wait due to workload at the state lab. They are so backed up, we’ve outsourced our sex crimes DNA analysis to a private, certified lab, they only take 3-4 months. Cell phone records are another time hole….the telecoms and internet providers are annoyingly slow with records, takes 9-12 months to get them back. And all this is before it goes to the DA or a grand jury, and eventually a trial. Meanwhile, the victim is just wondering where is justice. Painful.

    Are there any tv shows/films that do a particularly good job of portraying the realities of life and work as a police officer?

    My personal facourites are The Wire, probably the best cop show ever. It’s a slow start but worth the watch. The first few seasons of Scott & Bailey are good, and Guarding the K was bloody awesome. That Netflix Atlanta Murder Squad series (can’t remember the name offhand, is good too). And of course, i could only dream about being as cool as Jake Peralta in Brooklyn 99 :cool:


  • Company Representative Posts: 189 Verified rep I'm a US police officer, AMA


    There was an interesting thread here about what should you do if you were arrested. Opinions varied from if you've nothing to hide, just answer anything you're asked truthfully and everything will be alright, to do not engage with the police at all- just blank them and stay 100% silent until you have been in contact with your solicitor.

    First off, this is not legal advice, I’m not a lawyer, so take what I say with that in mind. Also, bear in mind, I’m answering from a US legal POV. While the concepts in Irish law are generally the same, I’m answering this from the US side.

    Over here, you are arrested or you are not. There is no “helping with enquiries” or “come with us to the station”. If you are arrested, the police had probable cause to believe you committed an offense, so there has to be a more than reasonable suspicion the offense was committed. We can’t arrest people to help us with enquiries, that’s an illegal arrest and a significant civil rights violation. Once you are arrested, you are under no obligation to speak and have the right to counsel. I always suggest, if you have any doubts, just ask for your lawyer. If you say nothing, you can’t get in trouble.

    If you are not arrested, you are still under no obligation to talk to us. Granted, we can be persistent & persuasive, and there are plenty of people who openly talk themselves into an arrest. Most people think they understand the law based on TV/movies and what they hear, but realistically they are uninformed, and yes, under US case law, we can use that to our advantage to a point. I can ask you to come to the station to give a statement or voluntary interview, but I can’t compel you unless I arrest you. And I can’t nick you for being uncooperative. If you do come to talk, I have to clearly articulate you are free to go at any time, even to the point of I show you the door to the interview room is unlocked. If you don’t want to talk, I can’t make you. If during the voluntary interview, I develop probable cause because you’ve said something I can corroborate with other evidence, then I can arrest you. At that point, I have to give the Miranda warning if I want to further question you, and of course you have the right to a lawyer. All our interviews are all video recorded, and it has to be all done right or we’ll get it in the neck from the DA or a defense attorney.
    If you are ever unsure, then state “I am leaving” and seek legal advice.

    How much can you trust the cops when you've been brought to the station to help with their enquires?

    I suppose that depends on you knowing what you did/didn’t do, your attitude to the cops, and what do they want. Again, if in doubt, say nothing, leave or get a lawyer. Like in the example about mistaken identity mentioned earlier, the person “lawyered up” and had a positive outcome. Again, we don't have the "assist with enquiries" thing here. I suspect that is a legal grey zone in Ireland where people don't know enough to ask "Am I under arrest officer?" and if not, then say "No thanks, I prefer not to go with you". I appreciate the average citizen doesn't like standing up to the cops, and may feel a degree of obligation to help. Just do so carefully.

    I'm always terrified that I'll be asked by the police "what was he wearing/what did she look like?". I'd have difficulty telling you what I'm wearing/look like, let alone anyone else. How "bad" are witnesses in general? Besides missing the giant beard, have you had any other major/funny mismatches between descriptions and reality?

    Yeah, eyewitness testimony is notoriously unreliable to be fair. Your point about descriptions is accurate. Party trick: talk to a mate for five minutes, then wait five, then ask him/her to describe you without looking at you. It funny, especially when people can’t clock what their partner is wearing.

    If ever asked, I suggest its better to be truthful and say “I just don’t remember” than to think you know. That sort of logic gets innocents in trouble or just buggers a case when we discover the suspect was in fact a 6”4” bearded white male wearing bright blue and you called it as a 5”9” grandad with a cane & a wooden leg wearing hot pink.


  • Registered Users Posts: 14,336 ✭✭✭✭jimmycrackcorm


    How does health insurance work for police officers and if they retire early, What happens then with that? How does your pension work if you are retiring before 65?


  • Company Representative Posts: 189 Verified rep I'm a US police officer, AMA


    How does health insurance work for police officers and if they retire early, What happens then with that? How does your pension work if you are retiring before 65?

    Well, I'll answer broadly, as by virtue of the US having so many local, state & federal agencies, there is a broad range of answers. Pensions in the US are not centralized like in Ireland. If you work for NYPD, then you fall under their pension plan. If you are a NY State Trooper, then you are under a completely different plan, the NY State plan. And of course if you are a Fed (FBI, DEA, etc.) then you fall under the federal plan.

    Very broadly speaking, pensions are generally based on 25-30 years service, and pay out at between 50-80% of your highest base pay. On the plus side, you could start at 20, and be retired at 45 or so, then start something else and work another 20 and be well set at 60. On the down side, most systems won't let you transfer pensions, so if you do transfer agencies, it's starting the clock all over again.

    Most of these plans are contributory to one degree or another. I pay 7.5% a month, the agency pays 7.5% into the pension fund, then when I hang it up, I'll get my pension. We don't have a age limit, you can work as long as you want, and generally the longer you work, the better your pension will be. If you leave before you retire, you'll get a payout of your deposits, but no pension.

    Some of these smaller agencies don't even have a pension plan at all, most they'll offer is some sort of private fund matching thing. Remember, America is much more of a "sort yourself out" sort of place compared to Europe. A recent survey revealed 70% of Americans aged 50-55 have no retirement or pension arrangement. We will also draw Social Security at 62, which will help, but it's not really a living wage.

    Likewise with health insurance, a very sensitive issue over here. Our employer is part of a private health plan, America doesn't have a HSE or NHS, if you don't have insurance, you are fcuked basically. Healthcare is a for profit industry here, so as clunky as the HSE is, at least there is a bare minimum of coverage. Where I work our plan is typical, I pay $350/month for mine & wife's medical, dental & vision. There are some copays & deductibles, that go along with it, and I won't bore you with it. The price of insurance has been creeping up for years, and it's not getting any better, welcome to America, eh?

    If we get hurt on the job, that is covered by Workers Comp, essentially my employer pays for any work related injuries, and treatments. I tore my rotator cuff, 75% tear, ouch!, on the job. Surgery, extensive physical therapy & nine months of desk duty, didn't cost me a penny. Would have preferred not to get hurt in the first place, but such is life, eh?


  • Advertisement
  • Registered Users Posts: 24,647 ✭✭✭✭punisher5112


    What do you make of the videos showing police and politicians calling for the protesters and opening doors and barriers to allow them inside the capital building.

    Would you believe thereto be a lot of corruption in certain forces?

    Are domestic calls now some of the more dangerous call outs or would traffic stops be the top for danger.


  • Company Representative Posts: 189 Verified rep I'm a US police officer, AMA


    What do you make of the videos showing police and politicians calling for the protesters and opening doors and barriers to allow them inside the capital building.

    While I have no doubt there are sympathizers/Trump supporters in Capitol Police, I sense they got to a point where they were simply overwhelmed by it all and didn't have the option of fighting them back. I have have seen one video for example, of an officer politely asking people to leave the chamber with all the authority of a lollipop man. it doesn't look good, but then there was one of him and 15 or so of them, what do you do? You can't just shoot them. Yes, there are videos of Capitol PD giving aid/water to protestors, that doesn't look good, but I don't know when that picture was taken, was it before the riot when it was just another protest or after the fact. But, I haven't seen all of it, and mistakes were make.

    As for the politicians, well that was some chickens coming home to roost wasn't it? Be kinda funny if the cops said "Senator Cruz, you have some visitors" and locked the door behind him sayin g"It's Ok, they are your supporters, I'm sure you'll be fine" as in reality Senator Cruz (and the rest of them to be fair) were cowering in the chamber, donning gas masks, hoping to fcuk the cops would protect them.

    No there is no call for anyone supporting this kind of violence, it was shocking and shameful. I mean there are third world countries where this hasn't happened!!


    Would you believe thereto be a lot of corruption in certain forces?

    I think I've answered this question three times now on this thread. I really don't understand where it comes from, I don't mind the ask, but its a consistent question all right. Answer, maybe, I can't speak for the 450K (give or take) cops in America, and I'm not naïve enough to say there is no corruption, but I have no personal knowledge of it where I work. Over the years, there has been the odd officer fired & charged over varying degrees of bad behavior, but my experience is most of us are just ordinary people doing what at times can be a difficult job.

    I know NYPD used to have a bad rap for that, no idea if they sorted it out or not. And I'm sure smaller forces are more susceptible to corruption/pressure than a larger one. Hope that answers the mail on that.


    Are domestic calls now some of the more dangerous call outs or would traffic stops be the top for danger.

    Traffic stops and domestic violence vie for the two most deadly type of encounters for us. Traffic stops: you have no idea who or what is in the car, you are generally alone on a road, so its risky all right. Domestic violence: there is already violence occurring/occurred, emotions are high, weapons are often involved, so they are dangerous too. All in a days work.


  • Registered Users Posts: 24,647 ✭✭✭✭punisher5112


    From what I see on the like of YouTube is how quickly things can go wrong and how dangerous people really are.

    Going from just having the chats or getting ambushed sitting in the car.

    It really is a crazy world and stay safe.

    Sorry that some questions were asked or answered hard to remember them all. Really appreciate the time to answer and the in-depth replies.

    One thing I noticed in many cases are the lack of use of shields especially in heated situations such as clearance of a premises or believed to be an armed suspect, could this be something that you could see been utilised more to offer better protection.


  • Registered Users Posts: 10,943 ✭✭✭✭the purple tin


    If you were going on to be a detective what division would you most like to work in ?
    I remember reading a Harry Bosch book and it said being on the homicide squad is the safest; the killer is long gone when you arrive on the scene. Vice and narcotics are the most dangerous, a lot more chance of assaults on police.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,887 ✭✭✭IrishZeus


    What’s your view on those who join up for SWAT or other roles that would be traditionally considered “riskier”? Are they generally wired different to “normal” cops/people? Is there a certain type that is attracted to these roles? Is it a prestige thing/extra salary thing or is it viewed as just being a normal thing to sign up for?


  • Company Representative Posts: 189 Verified rep I'm a US police officer, AMA


    So, today I was detailed to help CID with a search warrant. It was a high-risk warrant looking for weapons (rifles & pistols) in a residence where the owner has fired multiple times at his neighbors & passing cars.

    Meet at the station at 0400 for briefing. SWAT was serving the warrant due to the risk; sniper team watched the gaff for a few hours & we had the drone up as well. When the suspect exited the residence, they rolled up in the armored truck, took him down, dragged him off. SWAT then cleared the residence, all clear, off we go.

    Crime Scene team did the whole thing with the detectives as I mentioned on a previous post. Me, I got lucky, got to spend a few quality hours walking around a 14-acre field in the driving sleet looking for bullet casings or other evidence. Thankfully the suspect has horses, so we go to wander through the poo as well, oh happy days. Somehow, that never seems to make it into the movies.......

    Good news is we found the weapons plus an illegally altered rifle (to fire fully auto), so that was worth it and a bad actor is off the street.

    It's a useful discussion of "militarizing the police" too. Here we have a known threat from an individual who has access to high powered weapons. The safest way to approach this gaff is in an armored vehicle, and for the SWAT guys to be fully kitted out, helmets, heavy vests, M-4’s, the lot.

    When people talk about militarizing the police, it's out of context, and an easy bumper sticker slogan. There are few other options to do some of what we do when the threat is at that level and the reality of some parts of policing is there are some very violent people out there that will happily shoot Officer Friendly.

    Having said that, the heavy kit doesn’t need to be used for everyday policing by any means, but there is a continuum of force in policing which goes from officer presence, verbal, to hands, to intermediate force (stick, taser) to deadly force and the situation dictates where we enter on the continuum. It’d be a cheap shot, but I’d be interested to present the problem above to a “demilitarize the police” advocate and ask “so how would you go about it without all this kit?”. Context matters.

    And now due to this freezing weather we’ll be run raged with car accidents all weekend, but I’m off, so I’ll be at home drinking coffee and tipping my hat to the guys & gals out there tonight. Stay warm, and remember, those Gardai/firefighters/paramedics out there in this ****ty weather don't get a day off because of the weather, be thankful for them.


  • Registered Users Posts: 30 rodia77


    Feb 1, Rochester, NY: a 9yo girl pepper-sprayed by the police, none of the three thugs in uniforms (I won't call them 'officers') on the scene stopped to think that hey, maybe it's not the best idea to do that?

    Last year in Buffalo, 75yo Martin Gugino shoved to the ground by two thugs in uniforms (spent a month in hospital with fractured skull and brain injury) and not only nobody stops to think that hey, maybe it wasn't OK, but the whole unit resigns to protest their suspensions. Today I'm reading the charges against them were dropped.

    Three questions:

    1. Doesn't your blood boil when you learn about those stories? (I sincerely hope your answer won't be 'I wasn't there, I don't know all the circumstances' etc etc).

    2. Have you ever got an impression that law enforcement services in the US draw psychopathic types and not only is there no process in place to filter them out at early stages of their 'service' but the tribal culture inside the forces (the thin blue line, is it?) reinforces psychopathic behaviour?

    (What I'm scared to think is that if any of those five thugs from the events I mentioned was here, doing the AMA like you are doing now, they'd likely come across as civilised, balanced and reasonable individuals, like you do).

    3. Don't you fear that a day is due when people's frustration reaches a critical point and you start having more Christophers Dorners taking justice in their own hands, and the good guys in the force will pay with their lives along with the bad guys?

    Thanks again for talking to us and sorry if my questions strike a disturbing note.


  • Posts: 18,749 ✭✭✭✭ [Deleted User]


    I hope the OP doesn't answer your biased questions.


  • Registered Users Posts: 24,647 ✭✭✭✭punisher5112


    rodia77 wrote: »
    Feb 1, Rochester, NY: a 9yo girl pepper-sprayed by the police, none of the three thugs in uniforms (I won't call them 'officers') on the scene stopped to think that hey, maybe it's not the best idea to do that?

    Last year in Buffalo, 75yo Martin Gugino shoved to the ground by two thugs in uniforms (spent a month in hospital with fractured skull and brain injury) and not only nobody stops to think that hey, maybe it wasn't OK, but the whole unit resigns to protest their suspensions. Today I'm reading the charges against them were dropped.

    Three questions:

    1. Doesn't your blood boil when you learn about those stories? (I sincerely hope your answer won't be 'I wasn't there, I don't know all the circumstances' etc etc).

    2. Have you ever got an impression that law enforcement services in the US draw psychopathic types and not only is there no process in place to filter them out at early stages of their 'service' but the tribal culture inside the forces (the thin blue line, is it?) reinforces psychopathic behaviour?

    (What I'm scared to think is that if any of those five thugs from the events I mentioned was here, doing the AMA like you are doing now, they'd likely come across as civilised, balanced and reasonable individuals, like you do).

    3. Don't you fear that a day is due when people's frustration reaches a critical point and you start having more Christophers Dorners taking justice in their own hands, and the good guys in the force will pay with their lives along with the bad guys?

    Thanks again for talking to us and sorry if my questions strike a disturbing note.

    Very unfair to be so confrontational.

    It's like coming out saying all citizens are rapists, murderers, etc etc.....

    Of course things go wrong and one hopes the procedure in place will stop those that do wrong whether officers or not.

    This man has come on here and is doing Avery hard job protecting citizens in his area and from what he says and how he portrays himself he sounds very much like a officer you would want in your area.


  • Advertisement
  • Company Representative Posts: 189 Verified rep I'm a US police officer, AMA


    From what I see on the like of YouTube is how quickly things can go wrong and how dangerous people really are. Going from just having the chats or getting ambushed sitting in the car. It really is a crazy world and stay safe.

    Sorry that some questions were asked or answered hard to remember them all. Really appreciate the time to answer and the in-depth replies.


    Ah no bother man, more fascinated by how often it’s come up than anything. Yep, things can go pear shaped fast I this world, but it’s all part of it. I’m not making light of it, but its reality.

    One thing I noticed in many cases are the lack of use of shields especially in heated situations such as clearance of a premises or believed to be an armed suspect, could this be something that you could see been utilized more to offer better protection.

    The few SWAT teams I’ve interacted with do have shields, they will do a risk assessment, and like any other tool or weapons, decide what best fits the mission. I know from personal experience, using them inside a house is difficult as they are big & awkward. Ballistic shields are actually heavy, so the shield holder is effectively “out of the fight”, and they are very difficult to carry and try and shoot with any degree of accuracy. Some agencies have issued them on a limited basis to patrol units, but we don’t. They require a degree of training and use too to be effective, so it’s a horses for courses sort of thing, but they are out there.

    As an aside, all the ballistic kit, vests, helmets, shields, etc., all have an expiration date, beyond which, the manufacturer won’t guarantee ballistic performance. So, most agencies just replace them due to liability. The standard soft vest we wear under our uniforms are good for four years, then they are replaced. A patrol vest costs about $400, a SWAT vest system is nearer $5000, so multiply that times (in my case) nearly 2000 officers, and you can see where the money goes fast.

    If you were going on to be a detective what division would you most like to work in? I remember reading a Harry Bosch book and it said being on the homicide squad is the safest; the killer is long gone when you arrive on the scene. Vice and narcotics are the most dangerous, a lot more chance of assaults on police.

    I think I’d like to work homicide; it’s the ultimate crime really isn’t it? I’ve been detailed to CID here and there over they years and it is interesting to see how the process works. I’d be more attracted by the mental challenge than the fact its safer than patrol work. Yes, vice & narcotics true undercover work is dangerous all right, especially the feds who do the long-term infiltration of the drug & biker gangs. Those guys would kill you in a second. However, that is a very, very small part of LE work, most investigations are done by detectives following the leads.

    If I wanted a “safe” job, I’d become an accountant, but that’s boring. We all know the inherent danger in the profession, but it’s a great job. My wife is a firefighter, personally I’d consider that a dangerous job, but there ya have it.


This discussion has been closed.
Advertisement