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

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  • Registered Users Posts: 10,610 ✭✭✭✭dulpit


    The dept. supplies all the ammo, which is good as it's a "green" range and that stuff is expensive.

    What's a green range?

    Does the department cover costs of training at range too, or just the certification element?


  • Registered Users Posts: 10,610 ✭✭✭✭dulpit


    Oh, and there was an episode of brooklyn 99 I saw again recently where they were at a big training place where they were doing hostage rescue scenario, but it was also a competition against other precincts. Is there any similar sort of inter-agency competitions you'd be involved in?


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,699 ✭✭✭Captain_Crash


    Question for either of you. Do you watch The First 48? It’s obviously hard to condense a whole murder investigation into an hour long show but do you think it’s detailed enough for the layman to have a good grasp of what goes into detective work?


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


    If I may follow on from one answer given. You were assigned child abuse section and then on to next section. Will you be left in your new section or get moved on in a few years? What are the criteria for moving section (except for the obvious getting out of child abuse section).

    I hope to stay where I am until I retire, I like the job and it suits me at this point in life. Unless I'm told to move, I won't. With people promoting, retiring and so on, I most likely will stay here. They informally post openings, we apply and then they (the section & CID supervisors) pick their team. Some people want to work financial crimes or environmental or whatever, so it almost sorts itself out based on what people want. Some us find our groove & stay there, we get good at it, so it works.

    I’m guessing you were a normal beat cop at some point. What’s the attraction to detective role ? Are the work hours normal shifts like the traffic guys or could you be called out of bed (section dependant) as the movies paint that picture.

    Yes, we all start on patrol here. People become detectives because they are ambitious & want to move up, others want to be a detective, some like the hours (8-5, weekends & holidays off) others want to do something different. We have to take on call once a month for a week, they'll call us out for a serious case, we have to be available within an hour of being paged. We can trade it off with another detective if we don't want it, otherwise it's 8-5 or 4 10 hour days (I don't work Mondays for example). Helps with family life for sure.

    30 cases a month is insane. Would you consider your section short staffed ? I get the impression that there are an awful lot of normal cops and as much as a city may need. Does the same criteria not apply to detectives section ? Or is the budget blown on normal cops and their kit (cars etc).

    It's a heavy workload all right, the dept wants us to have about 20 cases/month for "quality" cases, but that means more personnel which means more money in the budget, so we make do. But its the same with patrol, they're always short as well. I thing its the nature of the beast, no police agency ever has what they really need, next years budget is already going to be tight due to COVID, so I don't see any relief soon. Life in the big city. Family violence is a big thing here with our elected officials, so that section was made bigger at the expense of property crimes, now citizens are complaining burglaries take too long to investigate, you can't win.


    Would anyone that is not able bodied any more due to an accident, shooting or health issue be allowed to continue as a detective or would all if any be on desk duty?

    To a point, we have to pass an annual fitness assessment (pretty basic really) but if you can't due to illness or injury, be it on or off the job, you'll time to rehab/get well, but after about 9 months, you could be medically retired. We used to keep the sick, lame & lazy forever, but it's too much of a liability now.

    Seen a clip recently of a 91 year old still doing the best in an unmarked and walks the best in full uniform. This wouldn't be allowed in Ireland as they must retire at 60.

    Yeah, we saw that, I think he does more community policing than actual beat work. In America, most of the age related retirements went away due to age discrimination laws, so if you meet the requirements, you can stay as long as you want. In practice, you very rarely meet anyone over 60 in this field, by then you are pretty much broken, tired and ready to just play golf and not care.


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


    How was your Saint Patrick's Day, was lots lit up green, any parades?
    We had basically nothing but they did put on a drone light show in the city centre.
    500 drones with pictures, words and so on.


    Its just another day here in Texas, normally there are some festivals & music but no parades. This year there was nothing except some online stuff

    Question for either of you. Do you watch The First 48? It’s obviously hard to condense a whole murder investigation into an hour long show but do you think it’s detailed enough for the layman to have a good grasp of what goes into detective work?

    Yeah (original poster here) a lot of us watch it, it's a reasonably good attempt given its a TV show. Showing someone typing for a few hours writing warrants and so on would'nt be good TV. It does show the silliness of most murders, usually over stupid crap, and it's generally not that hard to figure it out, more just getting it to a prosecutable case. Netflix has a good series about the Atlanta PD murder squad too FWIW, realistic.

    Oh, and there was an episode of Brooklyn 99 I saw again recently where they were at a big training place where they were doing hostage rescue scenario, but it was also a competition against other precincts. Is there any similar sort of inter-agency competitions you'd be involved in?

    Oh to be a cool & witty as Jake Peralta and have a badass like Rosa Diaz on the team, eh? ...that show is one of my guilty pleasures just because it's so bloody witty :-) And the Capt. is just cool as a cool thing :-) Yeah, (pre-COVID) there is an annual SWAT/tactical competition at the state level sponsored by one of the unions. Its fun, I did it when I was on SWAT one year. Physical, shooting & a rescue exercise.

    What's a green range?

    Not a reference to Paddys Day :) Agencies are transitioning to "green ranges". It's a range where we don't use lead ammo, it's a copper blend which has the same ballistic properties as duty ammo but the rounds are frangible. (IE they disintegrate when they strike the target or the backstop). Saves money by not having to do lead environmental remediation every year which is expensive. And it prevents officers from getting loads of lead exposure over a career.

    Does the department cover costs of training at range too, or just the certification element?

    Yes, all training is on the clock. If its required by an employer, they have to compensate for it. "Off campus" training (conferences, specialty schools, etc.) which fall into the "would be nice" category are budget dependent, some years are better than others.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 3,196 ✭✭✭AidoEirE


    This may have been answered already an apologies if it has been been. But could you describe a typical day to day of being in patrol unit to compared being detective.

    Do you have a detective partner that's works the cases with you?
    How is it some patrols run solo?
    Are there yearly, monthly test being it pyhiscal, mental, gunmanship ye do?


    (Sorry this might of been answered already, just came across this thread and plan to read it all)

    Big respect to you guys, gun laws and all in the US it'll be nice to get educated on things.

    Going forward hope any encounters go well for you and civilians.

    (Edit: plan to reread the thread so if its answered already)


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


    This may have been answered already an apologies if it has been been. But could you describe a typical day to day of being in patrol unit to compared being detective.

    Patrol day to day goes like this. Get the car, check it out, login, drive to district, start taking calls. Sometimes if its slow, two or three fo us will meet for a quick coffee & a chat, if its busy, we start taking calls right away so the night shift can go home. Once a week we'll have show up briefing with the SGT, he/she will put out info, assign special patrols, details, whatever. With COVID we just do it over teams in the car now and probably will continue to do so going forward so we can stay in district. After that its just another shift, take calls, write reports, make arrests, whatever. We might be assigned to do targeted enforcement, like high vis patrols in a certain area due to increase in criminal activity or do a traffic enforcement on a certain stretch of road, you get the point.

    According to Kathy, her day goes as such: Get in the office about 0730, make coffee, check email, by 0900 I've got my new cases for the day. Read over those reports, put them in order of priority, decide what order I need to do things in, ie review patrol video, find CCTV video or determine if it exists for my case (calling businesses or driving out to see if people have home video systems, etc.) or I could be continuing with reports & investigation from a pervious case, setting up an interview, writing a search warrant for phone/bank/email/social media records whatever. Maybe talking to the DA about a case going to court. Reviewing evidence (say phone logs/chats) to see f they have relevance to a case (very tedious, it all comes in weird Excel formats), checking in on the victim, etc, etc, etc. Somewhere in here I'll eat lunch at my desk, drink more coffee and try and get our by 1700, they don't like to pay us OT where at all possible :-(

    Do you have a detective partner that's works the cases with you?

    Generally no, we work most cases by ourselves unless its an exceptionally complex one, then I'll be assigned another detective to help. If I'm swamped, I can usually ask a favor of one of the others to help out with a warrant or something, but most of it I'm solo.


    How is it some patrols run solo?
    Solo officers means twice as many officers on the street for the same amount of budget. Realistically, most calls only take one or two of us, so it works, we're used to it. Instead of two officers to a car, you give each one a car and now you can say "there are more cops on the beat".....started in the 1980's due to cost savings and here we are.


    Are there yearly, monthly test being it physical, mental, gunmanship ye do?



    See above post about the range/training, yes, we have to qualify, pass the fitness test and a medical every year. SWAT have to qualify monthly and pass their fitness 4 times/year. No annual phsyc exam as such but we have access to mental health services if required. A supervisor can direct a mandatory referral if he/she feels there is a need.


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,416 ✭✭✭Damien360


    Question for yourself OP and detective Kathy.

    Ever had to deal with a very high profile (in criminal sense) person that makes you wonder what their "reach" could be. For example, are you getting followed home? Fear for your family safety and personal safety? To put it in an Irish sense for the OP, someone like Gilligan or current crop of bigger criminals. Have cronies to do a dirty deed.

    The movies tell us that they are untouched because of lawyers, but how does law enforcement (probably detective) deal with such a person. Chip away until you reach core? Or does this case come into realm of FBI? If that's the case, who drives the change from local to next level.


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


    Ever had to deal with a very high profile (in criminal sense) person that makes you wonder what their "reach" could be. For example, are you getting followed home? Fear for your family safety and personal safety? To put it in an Irish sense for the OP, someone like Gilligan or current crop of bigger criminals. Have cronies to do a dirty deed.


    Our agency has dealt with some high profile cases over the years. We work them just like any other case, only difference being of course the constant updates to the chain of command on progress. A high profile case will also shake loose a little extra resources which is nice, but not a whole lot more compared to a usual case. Yes, there have been threats against officers and judges, and we take it seriously. It's not something we worry about, but as a group we're always aware of security. Most of us have no to low profile social media accounts and we take steps to remove our information from publicly available databases, mailing lists etc. Day to day we're just aware, it's street sense you develop in this job.

    The movies tell us that they are untouched because of lawyers, but how does law enforcement (probably detective) deal with such a person. Chip away until you reach core? Or does this case come into realm of FBI? If that's the case, who drives the change from local to next level.


    It's like any other case, you follow the evidence, work the leads, build a case and work with the DA to prosecute. And yes, it's a matter of being persistent, digging and following the case to a conclusion. Who investigates a case (locals, state or Feds) is a function of the laws violated, not the complexity. We've had complex murders here all handled by our detectives as it was a violation of state law with no federal connection, so the feds have no jurisdiction.


    If the crime crosses state lines, then it is a federal case so the FBI (or DEA, ATF, etc.) will work it to prosecute the federal case. We work well with the feds despite what you see on TV. One of our detectives is working a complex case with the FBI involving thefts from ATM machines. Brian (our detective) is working the local aspect of if in our region, two other cities are working their cases where it also occurred in their cities and the FBI are working the federal aspect of it. All four agencies share information, have monthly meetings online about the case. When they are ready to make an arrest, the DA's will meet with the US Attorney to collaborate on the prosecution. They will decide who prosecutes first (state or federal) and that'll be that. FBI are generally very professional and good to work with, sure there is professional rivalries but we're all on the same side.


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,416 ✭✭✭Damien360


    Fantastic answer. In short, ignore the movie nonsense. I knew it was silly anyway but it’s great to see how the system really operates. Thanks you each for your time.


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


    OK, gang, another colleague who works in Auto Theft is willing to take a few questions. Again, I'll have to relay, so slight delay in responses.


    And before you ask, the most stolen cars in Texas is the Ford Pickup Truck, Honda Accord & Toyota Corolla.


  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 16,282 Mod ✭✭✭✭Manic Moran


    Makes sense. Those are three of the most commonly purchased vehicles in the US (F150, Corolla and Mustang).

    I guess the obvious question...

    "What proportion of vehicles are stolen for parts, for illegal activity (eg robbery getaway), just to have time to rummage-through-for-valuables, and joyrides?"

    "How much to built-in tracking features in modern cars make the job easier, or have criminals simply figured out a way to disable them?"


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


    Do they tend to go for very new mostly?

    Do they target certain houses or areas more?

    Will they use the keyless entry and not even bother going into the house using them boosters and antenna on boards....

    What percentage do they recover and will they have the usual spot to go look and chop shops etc....


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


    Do they tend to go for very new mostly?
    Do they target certain houses or areas more?


    Very new ones will be stolen and either sold on with fictional documents, parted out or illegally exported to South/Central America, Africa or the Middle East. Cars are usually stolen from the street outside houses, car parks at sporting events, and the bigger shopping centres. We had a bigger, organized theft a few months back where overnight 10 high end trucks & SUV's were stolen from a neighborhood. This was a "made to order" job we think, where the crooks had checked the area out in advance, knew what they were looking for and showed up in force and stole the trucks in one night. We never recovered them, so they most likely went across the border.


    Will they use the keyless entry and not even bother going into the house using them boosters and antenna on boards.


    Typically the crooks will use keyless entry systems they've bought online, break a window in the back (cheaper to repair) or just break the locks. Then they'll use other software to reprogram the keyless system to drive it off. Modern cars are sophisticated and the crooks are getting sophisticated too.


    What percentage do they recover and will they have the usual spot to go look and chop shops etc. "What proportion of vehicles are stolen for parts, for illegal activity (eg robbery getaway), just to have time to rummage-through-for-valuables, and joyrides?"

    Nationally the stats are: 60-65% recovered, the rest are as I said above dismantled, exported, destroyed (joy riding or used in criminal activity) or re-sold with fake documents.


    "How much to built-in tracking features in modern cars make the job easier, or have criminals simply figured out a way to disable them?"


    Yes, the online systems like Lo-Jack, OnStar and the variety of other systems have helped us find vehicles in the early stages of the theft, especially the street crooks who are looking to joy ride or whatever. The professional car thieves know about these systems and will disconnect them quickly. Some of these people are very smart, if they put the energy into a legitimate life they'd be very successful.


    We (the auto theft detail) will check on auto shops, body shops, junk yards based on intelligence to look for chop-shop activity.


    A great idea, if you own a high end or value your car, is to get a professional kill switch installed. It'll piss off the crooks and they'll go to the next car.


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


    I was talking to a guy from Texas years ago and he said people were allowed to carry knives where he lived as long as they were visible at all times- like in a sheath on your belt, but if you covered it over with your jacket for eg, then it was a concealed weapon and you were breaking the law.
    Has the law on knives changed since then?
    Also is it similar for guns? Does a normal citizen have to carry a gun on their hip where it can be seen or can they keep it out of sight?


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


    Is there more police force department could do to benefit staff such as better hours, help for mental issues PTSD etc....

    Is it something that could be fought for through unions and if enough spoke out could you see something change.


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


    Team

    A busy few days here, nothing mental, just long days & I'm a bit tired, so I'll get to your questions tomorrow or the next day. Working on trying to get one of our Police Academy instructors to answer a few questions, so think about that if you will.

    be safe!!!! COVID isn't over yet....


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


    I was talking to a guy from Texas years ago and he said people were allowed to carry knives where he lived as long as they were visible at all times- like in a sheath on your belt, but if you covered it over with your jacket for eg, then it was a concealed weapon and you were breaking the law.
    Has the law on knives changed since then?


    Generally yes, the law was amended a few years ago to allow more "open carry" of knives. The change also addressed blade length, which previously was restricted to four inches. Anything beyond that was considered an illegal knife. The old laws were almost never enforced as they just weren't practical given the length of things like diver knives and so on.

    Also is it similar for guns? Does a normal citizen have to carry a gun on their hip where it can be seen or can they keep it out of sight?

    Oh no, this is Texas, our esteemed legislators have changed the law to where any gun can be carried openly so long as it is 'safely holstered" and the person has a License to Carry. So now we have untrained idiots walking around with openly displayed firearms. Just last week some twat was walking in my estate carrying his M-4 just walking down the street. Someone called the police, they checked him out but he was as legal as a legal thing and off he went. Don't get me wrong, it's not like the wild west, I've only actually seen two people openly carrying in public, but to me it's beyond a bad idea.

    Is there more police force department could do to benefit staff such as better hours, help for mental issues PTSD etc. Is it something that could be fought for through unions and if enough spoke out could you see something change.

    Well we'll never turn down a pay raise will we? :-) The hours are what they are, I mean we're a 24/7 job, so don't become a cop if you don't want to work nights & weekends. I think we could do a better job on mental health & overall wellness. There is still a huge stigma about asking for help in this career field and the dept. reluctantly encourages people to seek help but it's not very meaningful. Our unions do lobby for it, but things are slow to change. The dept. comes across as more worried about keeping in budget than looking after the staff long term. It's a leadership issue, I'd like to see it get better, maybe one day.


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


    Has BLM and antifa popped their heads back up with the court case which is been widely talked about.

    I still can't understand why the footage wasn't released showing it all instead of just bits from civilians and their bias agenda.

    Is their tension at the moment or are ye expecting any.


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


    Has BLM and antifa popped their heads back up with the court case which is been widely talked about.

    No not really, things have been quiet here so far. The intel side of things keep an eye on this sort of thing, and of course we're more sensitive to it right now given the trial is under way. But we're in Texas and thats on the other side of the country. We do have a few trials coming up of an area officer charged over a shooting, so I'm sure that has potential for strife. We do prepare of course, extra staffing available etc.

    I still can't understand why the footage wasn't released showing it all instead of just bits from civilians and their bias agenda.

    Releasing police footage is tricky, and a flashpoint for those lobby for increased transparency. The reason is it is not released right away is the fact it is evidence in a criminal investigation, just like witness statements, CCTV footage, fingerprints, DNA whatever. Naturally this leads to cries of "police cover up" and so on. Releasing evidence in an ongoing investigation can ruin a case, and we don't do it for that reason. Yes, I understand the publics frustration with accountability, I've always wanted to ask one of these people "what would you say if we released footage of a sexual assault victim?". Like it or not, a suspect/accused has the right to a fair trail even if its a cop.

    Is their tension at the moment or are ye expecting any.


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


    Has BLM and antifa popped their heads back up with the court case which is been widely talked about.

    No not really, things have been quiet here so far. The intel side of things keep an eye on this sort of thing, and of course we're more sensitive to it right now given the trial is under way. But we're in Texas and thats on the other side of the country. We do have a few trials coming up of an area officer charged over a shooting, so I'm sure that has potential for strife. We do prepare of course, extra staffing available etc.

    I still can't understand why the footage wasn't released showing it all instead of just bits from civilians and their bias agenda.

    Releasing police footage is tricky, and a flashpoint for those lobby for increased transparency. The reason is it is not released right away is the fact it is evidence in a criminal investigation, just like witness statements, CCTV footage, fingerprints, DNA whatever. Naturally this leads to cries of "police cover up" and so on. Releasing evidence in an ongoing investigation can ruin a case, and we don't do it for that reason. Yes, I understand the publics frustration with accountability, I've always wanted to ask one of these people "what would you say if we released footage of a sexual assault victim?". Like it or not, a suspect/accused has the right to a fair trail even if its a cop.

    Is their tension at the moment or are ye expecting any.

    Oh I hear you, just with the little bits even given out from the the body cams didn't show the whole story, this then causes more problems of course...

    Fully appreciate that's the procedure and it should be no other way, here in Ireland nothing all would be released like it does be over there....

    It's very unfair in all involved I believe and can then lead to jury by social media.

    Innocent until proven guilty.

    I hope you all stay safe and again absolutely loving the chance to ask and for all the feedback, absolutely fair play to you and all in that line of work.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,807 ✭✭✭ShatterAlan


    This kind of video terrifies me:


    Did you ever witness this kind of brutality?


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KgGPXOn9qJs


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


    Yes, there are some horrible videos on there, but I can't really comment as they are edited to only show one part of the encounter and have no context. While I'm not condoning any of it, I am in no position to judge no more than you could judge a football match by only watching 15 seconds of play. You could stich together videos of footie like this which makes soccer look like a brawl.

    As I've said before, there are cops out there who make bad decisions, I'm not stupid. But videos like this fit a certain narrative and are very one sided. I've seen force used and I've used force, and in all honesty, I've never seen force used that wasn't justified in my agency. And to be clear, I'm not saying we've been perfect, but we do well, have strong public support compared to others in our area, so we must be doing something right.

    Just be careful with these sort of videos, they never tell the whole story.

    In other news last week, had a great arrest. Suspect wanted for Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon (tried to sexually assault a female at knifepoint) actually called us due to a verbal confrontation with his roommate. We generally run everyone we contact, and well, well, well...look what we found, a warrant. The detective on the case wanted an interview, so we brought him to the office, got to watch the interview while waiting. He broke down & cried when shown the video of the assault and pretty much confessed. Good days work all in all.

    Looks like Minneapolis kicked off again over the weekend, they can't get a break can they. Horrible situation all round.


  • Registered Users Posts: 10,610 ✭✭✭✭dulpit


    Looks like Minneapolis kicked off again over the weekend, they can't get a break can they. Horrible situation all round.

    Apparently the officer involved thought they were using their taser rather than gun. How plausible is this?


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


    Yes, this is plausible all right. It happened a few years back in Oakland, CA, with a transit police officer. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shooting_of_Oscar_Grant

    Taser training doesn't direct it be worn in a particular way or place. Most cops wear it in the cross-draw configuration so they can use their shooting/dominant hand. It can be worn on the non-dominant side, which takes a lot of practice & training, something like 2000 reps. The taser has a unique thumb-break holster and a switch to arm it using your thumb as you bring it up. And it has to be aimed not unlike a gun. Most people just feel more natural using their dominant hand. I do my non-shooting hand for this exact reason, and after all this time, it still doesn't feel 100% natural despite constant practice.

    As for the Brooklyn, MN officer, looking at the video, she even shouted taser, so in her mind it was the device. We'll never know what was in her mind, fear, but it appears she thought it was the taser. Tasers are way lighter than a gun, feel different and most agencies use the bright yellow ones to help avoid this sort of thing.

    Its an unforgivable error, no real excuse here.


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


    Well the Chauvin trail verdict has been reached, and I submit justice has been served. The jury didn't take long, which usually means it was a strong majority in the jury room and there was overwhelming evidence one way or another.

    Things were quiet here, we were ready to react if things got out of hand, but it ended up being another day really.

    The verdict hopefully will become a catalyst for further change and accountability. It'll be interesting to see where it goes.

    Good day to be a cop really. Most of us are sick of the Chauvin's of the world, they make our job harder. he deserves it.


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,416 ✭✭✭Damien360


    Well the Chauvin trail verdict has been reached, and I submit justice has been served. The jury didn't take long, which usually means it was a strong majority in the jury room and there was overwhelming evidence one way or another.

    Things were quiet here, we were ready to react if things got out of hand, but it ended up being another day really.

    The verdict hopefully will become a catalyst for further change and accountability. It'll be interesting to see where it goes.

    Good day to be a cop really. Most of us are sick of the Chauvin's of the world, they make our job harder. he deserves it.

    Although that is true, the actions of a lot of politicians and I include Biden were not good. There were politicians televised asking for riots if the verdict did not go as they saw fit. That’s pressure on the jury. Biden said, with Harris by his side, that he hoped the result was correct and immediately corrected himself to say the jury was already sequestered so he was ok to say it. Poor form when the leader of the country puts pressure on juries to give the verdict they want. Chauvin’s lawyers could legitimately call for a mis-trial (if that’s the correct term)l due to undue jury interference.


  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 16,282 Mod ✭✭✭✭Manic Moran


    So as my wife and I were dong a very rare thing of driving together in the same car (I've noticed we don't do that much, ever since we had a kid), by sheer coincidence, we came up with the same question.

    If we get into some accident and are incapacitated or killed, what is the process which happens next? I mean, sure, we have the wills set up, with a sequence of custody for the toddler (who we would very much like to keep out of the 'system'), but it's not as if we have a note on the front door saying "In case you are a police officer coming to notify of accident, the will is to be found in the safe in the bedroom..." I don't recall in the DPS process to get a license, for example, anything saying "Next of kin to be notified..."

    I mean, I guess they could dig. I have a military ID in my wallet, and the military system has a next-of-kin on record so a couple of telephone calls would get the ball rolling there, but I suspect that's not 'typical'. Is there anything we can do on this end to make the notification process on your end faster?

    On a related note, are notification duties rotated around officers to spread out the difficulty, or is it a specific assignment?


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


    Gang,

    Sorry, just been busy at home with home repairs and such. Back in the game now though.....

    To the point about politicians (or anyone for that matter) commenting on trials, I agree it's offside. It's can lead to a mistrial or accusations of pressuring a jury. In the Chauvin case, there was so much publicity overall, I'd not be in the least bit surprised if the defense petitioned for a mistrial or the likes.

    As to the question about notifications, here's how we do it. In the situation described above, the officers on the scene or at the hospital would make every effort to find a contact. We'll run the DL's to get contact information, cross refrence it to see if we can find numbers, etc. We'll look in bags & wallets for anything which might provide us info, look on social media, etc. I've used Facebook to find and message people for example.

    In a scenario where you have a fatality with a couple, and we can't find a contact, we'll send someone to the address on the DL or car reg. Not ideal, but somethings that all you have.

    A really good idea is to have a small laminated card in your wallet with "In case of an emergency please call the following:" it can save a lot of time.

    As for notifications, our Crisis Team/Victim Services handle those, they are non-sworn civilians, mostly with a background in social work or the likes. They do the notifications for our agency. Occasionally they'll ask for an officer to go with them because of the circumstances or the address might have a history of some sort. I've done a few, never fun, part of the job. The Victim Services are amazing, they'll stay with the families and help out for a bit and do the follow up a few days later. Not my cup of tea by any means.

    These teams also work with crime victims (family violence, sexual assault survivors, assault victims, etc.) to walk them through the process, sometime literally holding hands. They follow up with the vic's all the way to court which could be a year later. An amazing group of people.

    In notifications, interestingly, we are trained to say "Mr & Mrs Jones, your son Alan has died in a car accident". (or insert event here). We're trained not to use terms like "he's passed on" or "he's no longer with us" etc. While it seems insensitive, the social scientists have learned one has to be blunt to make sure they understand. Soft phrases like the above give families false hope, they'll latch on to "he's passed on" to mean he's at the hospital or such. Still, never an easy task.

    Arrested another sexual assault suspect today, he's accused of assaulting a 25 year old twice, in his house while his wife & kids were there. She was a friend of the family. Good days work that.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 829 ✭✭✭Ronaldinho


    Just stumbled across the thread and wanted to say thanks for the insights.
    Great to get the views of someone who knows what they're talking about.


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