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Now Ye're Talking to a US Police Officer III

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


    1. Is there much cross cooperation cases between different e.g., local police state police etc. and if so, how does it work. I am guessing you don't work together in 1 place and have you been part of one.

    I've been part of a border task force compromised of state, local & federal agencies as above. And we have officers detailed to work with the DEA & state police here locally. It's cooperative, we share information, follow leads, divide up the work. I might use my local resources to say facilitate a traffic stop to gather intel, pass that on to the feds. State might have a lead they are working in a different part of the state connected to our case, so they'll work that and bring the info to support the larger case. Likewise with the feds, they'll work angles at the national level. Had a colleague working stolen & fake car number plates on a task force, he ended up helping NYPD bust a fake plate ring up there. And, no, he did 't get to go up there....no way was the agency paying for that!! :-)

    2. Is Internal affairs a thing and are they hated.

    Locally, they are fine. We don't have as strong a culture as like NYPD/Chicago about being a "rat". And I sense generationally that is sllloowwwlllyyy changing across the nation. Emphasis on slow. Most of what they do is deal with all the complaints about us being rude, or "not doing our jobs", sort of thing. Sure, they've busted some cops over the years, otherwise it's just part of the furniture. Only had to deal with them once, polite, professional. Fine.

    3. Have you heard of many cases of swatting. I saw 1 on twitter where the cop came in realised the mistake quick said sorry and appeared on screen to say hello. If that one is true, would they be in trouble.

    Heard of it, yes, personal experience no. Don't see why the cop would get in trouble, people take our pictures all the time, be it filming us, kids wanting pictures with officer friendly, drunk girls at a festival who seem to inherently think getting a pic with a cop is a thing.

    4. I look at instant karma clips of YouTube of a convenient cop (also a redirect forum) have you ever caught someone like this and is it as satisfying for ye as the ones who watch.

    Sure, although I had to look it up. But yes, of course it's satisfying when someone does patently illegal stuff right in front of you, its handed to ya pn a plate really. Only time it's a pain in the arse is when you are desperately trying to get off shift on time for a family event and get stuck dealing with it. Otherwise, its just as satisfying for us as anyone else.



  • Registered Users Posts: 10,786 ✭✭✭✭martingriff


    Thanks for the replies ya I say the incident that just before your meant to clock off can get fustrating. Also that should have said Reddit not redirect.


    1 last question I am on a wheelchair can I be stopped for drinking and driving!!!.




    Not a serious question btw



  • Registered Users Posts: 2,060 ✭✭✭Sexual Chocolate


    Do the Texas Rangers play a big part in LE in Texas ? Have you ever worked with them ?

    Does your agency require you to purchase your own equipment such as sidearm, vest, boots etc and is there a strict criteria to follow if that's the case ?

    The area that you police or have jurisdiction in, would it be as big as Cork or a small as say Louth ? Or any way to compare it ?



  • Registered Users Posts: 1,609 ✭✭✭thinkabouit


    What do you think the force will be like in the future? Say predictions for 20 years time?

    What do you think LE can do to attract more people to join?



  • Registered Users Posts: 3,906 ✭✭✭Did you smash it


    Did he watch we own this city or is he familiar with the real life events it is based on; The mass level of corruption with a group called the gun trace task force in the Baltimore PD? Was he shocked by it?



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  • Registered Users Posts: 11,334 ✭✭✭✭Collie D


    Silly question. Not sure if you've watched The Wire but they have a tradition known as "The Detective's Wake" where basically the body of a recently deceased officer (natural causes in the two times it appears on the show) is laid out in a bar and his colleagues all get pissed to send him off.

    Is this a real thing? Understood that you're based in Texas rather than Baltimore and each department may well have their own traditions, etc. and that it may be dramatic licence even for Baltimore PD.


    Question 2: Pettiest or most annoying waste of time call you've ever been on?

    Post edited by Collie D on


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


    Do the Texas Rangers play a big part in LE in Texas ? Have you ever worked with them ?

    The Rangers are part of the state police, essentially the investigative arm of state police, ie their detectives. They work statewide cases, LE issues (shootings, etc.). I worked with them briefly on the task force. Professionals, the few I met were very redneck, straight from central casting with the boots, starched jeans, chrome .45, cowboy hat, but otherwise professional

    Does your agency require you to purchase your own equipment such as sidearm, vest, boots etc. and is there a strict criteria to follow if that's the case ?

    Other than boots, everything is supplied. You can apply to buy your own sidearm from the approved list, some do, some don't personal choice. We could carry .45's and .40's but we're going to 9mm across the agency next year.

    The area that you police or have jurisdiction in, would it be as big as Cork or a small as say Louth ? Or any way to compare it ?

    Probably about the size of the greater Dublin area.

    What do you think the force will be like in the future? Say predictions for 20 years time?

    No idea, can't predict the future. I'm sure there will be more technology, voice activated computer searches, LP check sort of thing. But, the human factor won't change, we're in the people business.

    What do you think LE can do to attract more people to join?

    Pay more, more family friendly policies/schedules, more work/life balance, more diversity.

    Did he watch we own this city or is he familiar with the real life events it is based on; The mass level of corruption with a group called the gun trace task force in the Baltimore PD? Was he shocked by it?

    Yes, read the book & watched the show. It made me angry TBH. We're all tarred with the same brush, I mean look at the comments on here about US police. This crap was an open secret and BPD turned a blind eye to it for years. When it finally came to light, (they speak more to this in the book), the city copped to it as "a few corrupt cops" as the city consciously decided not to dig deeper as the scale of corruption had the potential to bankrupt the City of Baltimore. This would be the same city govt. pressing for police reform.....

    Silly question. Not sure if you've watched The Wire but they have a tradition known as "The Detective's Wake" where basically the body of a recently deceased officer (natural causes in the two times it appears on the show) is laid out in a bar and his colleagues all get pissed to send him off. Is this a real thing? Understood that you're based in Texas rather than Baltimore and each department may well have their own traditions, etc. and that it may be dramatic license even for Baltimore PD.

    No idea, might be a BPD thing, we don't do anything like that here.

    I submit The Wire & We Own this City are probably two of the best, realistic cops shows ever put on film. It's reality.

    Question 2: Pettiest or most annoying waste of time call you've ever been on?

    Man, I could fill pages, random sampling:

    My neighbour is mowing the grass at 0800 on Sunday

    My upstairs neighbour walks in his apartment too much

    There are cars parked on the street

    My roomate won't share the wifi

    I can smell neighbours cooking their BBQ

    Too many kids walk on my street

    There are dogs in the park barking with their owners

    It could go on......and these are all real, 911 calls.....you know to the cops who never catch criminals......



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


    A typical week in Property Crimes:

    4 vehicles broken into, all unlocked, three guns stolen.

    Canvassed houses for CCTV, mostly rubbish, too grainy to be of use. No one recorded their gun, laptop, serial numbers. No prints, it was raining on the day., video showed perps to be wearing gloves, case suspended. 6 hours time.

    Storage shed broken into, various items stolen.

    CCTV at facility, showed perp vehicle, even with enhancement couldn't read a plate, perp wearing mask/hoodie. Canvassed area for other CCTV, nothing of value. Owner didn't even know what was in shed, couldn't give us list of missing property, case suspended, 2.5 hours

    Burglary of church office, collection cash stolen.

    Reviewed CCTV, perp had a very distinguishable limp & gait. No other CCTV in area. Prints on broken window are inconclusive. Church member thinks she knows him. Bring her in for photo lineup, she can't ID him. Suspend case. Weeks later get a call from patrol unit, who encountered a guy with same limp. Reopen case, review patrol video (from unrelated call), ID the guy, write up warrant. He gets arrested a few week later driving a stolen car. 10 hours.

    Shots fired at unoccupied residence, two rounds.

    Patrol recovered shell casings, submitted for analysis. Canvass street & adjoining streets for CCTV. Nothing of value. Talk to owner, he has no idea, tenant moved out weeks ago. Track down tenant who moved out of state, he has no ideas either. Suspend case. 4 hours. Months later shell casings analysis comes back, no trace possible.

    Shoplifting of several bars of chocolate.

    Review CCTV, vague description, face covered. Listen to shop owner moan on for ages about "us doing nothing". 2 hours, suspend case.

    Landlord reports former tenant stole appliances from house (TV, washer/dryer, etc.)

    No CCTV available at residence. Gate to area (private gated community) does show a rental van arriving & leaving around that time. Can't make out plate, partial rental company serial number visible on van. Work through that with rental agency, no luck, not enough data. Former tenant never rented a van from them. Former tenant won't talk to us. case suspended as it's likely a civil matter. 8 hours. Chief fields angry call from landlord, as does DA's officer & legal department about "cops doing nothing". Yawn :-)

    And so it goes.........



  • Registered Users Posts: 12,259 ✭✭✭✭DrPhilG


    I was just going to ask, The Shield or The Wire...


    But you already answered just above.


    Thanks for the AMA.



  • Registered Users Posts: 14,786 ✭✭✭✭Panthro


    What's the funniest call out you've ever had?



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


    What's the funniest call out you've ever had?

    There have been a few good ones over the years, one I do remember, was this guy who called us because he didn't know what to do as his girlfriend was pregnant by another bloke. There was another woman there, when asked, he tells us she's his "side bit" who is a stripper and could we not tell other girlfriend about her. It should be noted, they lived in the same apartment complex own door apart.

    Once we figured out there was no actual crime, we just left shaking our heads. Told him, "don't know what to tell ya mate, it's not a matter for us".

    Those are always funny in a pathetic sort of way I suppose. Had a few others, minor car accident where I watched a woman get into her car, put it in reverse and slam right into the parked ambulance behind her car. it was 2:00 AM in an apartment car park, we were assisting the medics with some random call, it was a simple job, no paperwork up to this point. The woman was not drunk/high, when I asked her "what were you thinking" with a straight face she told me "Well I saw all the flashing lights, didn't know what to do, so I just hoped for the best". Of course because it's an official vehicle, reports had to be written, medics had to be taken for drug/alcohol testing, traffic unit come out.....three hours later.....

    I assure you gang, none of this is made up.

    Be off the net for a few days, taking a short trip for the bank holiday weekend here. Next week, Greg, one of our Homicide detectives has agreed to answer some questions.



  • Registered Users Posts: 10,786 ✭✭✭✭martingriff


    About 4 years ago KFC ran out of chicken in Britain and it was all over the TV as the cops had to put out a statement to okease stop ringing 911 (or whatever it is in Britain) as it is not a police matter. There was a lady on the news in hysteric as she had to go to Burger King. Has anything like that happened that you can remember



  • Registered Users Posts: 5,070 ✭✭✭Padre_Pio




  • Registered Users Posts: 2,108 ✭✭✭CGI_Livia_Soprano
    Holding tyrants to the fire


    Have you ever framed a wrong ‘un to keep him off the streets? I heard that’s common in the US, for the “greater good.”



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


    About 4 years ago KFC ran out of chicken in Britain and it was all over the TV as the cops had to put out a statement to okease stop ringing 911 (or whatever it is in Britain) as it is not a police matter. There was a lady on the news in hysteric as she had to go to Burger King. Has anything like that happened that you can remember

    Not like that as such, but 911 does get a lot of really dumb calls. Time wasters really.

    Looks like we need better CCTV.

    CCTV is everywhere these days with the Ring doorbells and so on. Problem is most of the footage is just crap. Grainy, out of focus video of a person wearing a mask and hoodie doesnt help solve crime. If you have one of those systems, position it so it captures faces so we have a chance. And no we cant enhance it like on the movies.

    Have you ever framed a wrong ‘un to keep him off the streets? I heard that’s common in the US, for the “greater good.”

    No, we dont fit people up and I’ve never heard of someone being fitted up for the greater good. Thats illegal, sure we’ll make a legal arrest to get someone off the streets if we have PC and its legal. An illegal arrest would likely cost you your job if not criminal charges. All our arrests are reviewed at the jail for sufficient PC and good paperwork by an ADA, so a fitted up charge is not likely to pass scrutiny.

    As shown in We Own this City, Baltimore was making BS arrests to take people off the streets, then reviewing and dropping the charges 24 hours later. As you can see that didnt go so well and now that city is tied up in years of well deserved litigation. Baltimore deserves everything it gets.



  • Registered Users Posts: 6,771 ✭✭✭knucklehead6


    i assume you are also a regular poster, and possibly have had interactions with some people on here.

    Have you seen any questions and thought “oh Jesus, not this tool?”



  • Boards.ie Employee Posts: 12,597 ✭✭✭✭✭Boards.ie: Niamh
    Boards.ie Community Manager


    One post removed, this is your reminder that this is not a discussion thread but for asking questions to the AMA guest only. Thanks.



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


    I assume you are also a regular poster, and possibly have had interactions with some people on here.

    Have you seen any questions and thought “oh Jesus, not this tool?”

    LOL, for the most part no. I'm fine answering questions, even difficult ones. I don't care for inflammatory statements. Ask your question, fine, just don't make random statements. Being a cop is a world of nuance and is mostly misunderstood by everyone outside the legal profession.

    There was a removed post above about the media. I don't buy into the "war on police" that some cops do. The media will report a headline grabbing story because it grabs headlines and mouse clicks which sells advertisements. Like it or not, it's reality. And there is a narrative of "the cops shoot too many black/brown/whatever people". Like the BBC story I mentioned to earlier about "black preacher arrested for watering plants". Based on what we saw, those appear to be the facts, but it seemed a bit sensationalist, especially for the BBC.

    A colleague, Greg, who is a homicide detective has agreed to answers your questions, so fire away.



  • Registered Users Posts: 6,406 ✭✭✭Damien360


    One for the homicide detective and maybe extend to the regular beat cops with regard to personal safety.

    Although the film Se7en went a bit overboard on the idea, does it ever cross the mind of the detective that they and their family are in danger from either someone deciding to find them and their home or in a general sense that the world is a mess as they see some of the worst of it day to day.

    Is gang crime/murder the main day to day work for the detective. As witness statements are probably hard to come by in gang crime, how do they go about solving the homicides.

    How does their family handle the life of a homicide detective. Or do you leave your work in the workplace. Is that really possible?

    Are there cold cases in the division and who does the responsibility fall on to for dealing with them given that there is a rotation of detectives to different disciplines every 18 months to 2 years.

    Odd one for each of you. Do you live locally in the community. It would be rare here for the local police to live in the same area as they work so I get a sense they sometimes don’t care.

    Is there an expectation that a detective should retire early (earlier than general population). I’m thinking of movies and series on tv where you get the copper getting to the end by the time they get to 50. Are there fitness protocols for detectives or is that even necessary.

    Do homicide detectives ever work alone or is a partner a essential part of the “business “.

    Thanks in advance. Keep safe.



  • Registered Users Posts: 178 ✭✭Larry Bee


    Hi Greg, hows it going? Thanks for doing this. A couple of easy questions off the top of my head...


    Whats the procedure when a body is found and you are called?

    Who contacts the next of kin? How difficult is that? do you get special training for dealing with them? Is it difficult to question them?

    In your experience what is the main motivation for murder?

    How gruesome does it get?

    Is as much as your day wasted

    Whats the success rate for homicide investigations? Is there an average on how many hours are spent on solving a murder? (see post 56)

    When do you decide the case is not going to be solved and drop it? is that a tough call?

    Whats the best way to get away with murder?


    I'm sure I'll think of some more.

    Thanks

    John



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


    One for the homicide detective and maybe extend to the regular beat cops with regard to personal safety.

    Although the film Se7en went a bit overboard on the idea, does

    it ever cross the mind of the detective that they and their family are in

    danger from either someone deciding to find them and their home or in a general

    sense that the world is a mess as they see some of the worst of it day to day.

    No, not really. I’ve been a cop for almost 20 years, and I don’t feel any threat to me or my family. Retaliation is a serious offense here in Texas and the thugs leave us alone for the most part. Going after a cop brings a level of heat they just want to avoid. A few years back, a guy took a shot at a judge outside her home. She survived thankfully, we caught the guy quickly and he was sentenced to 35 years no parole.

    Is gang crime/murder the main day to day work for the detective.

    As witness statements are probably hard to come by in gang crime, how do they

    go about solving the homicides.

    We deal with all suspicious deaths, the majority of what we handle are suicides and accidents. They all have to be investigated to make sure it was in fact a suicide or accident. It gets the same level of investigation, crime scene, autopsy, investigation etc. Yeah, sometimes witnesses will clam up, especially the gang bangers, but weirdly, even they will talk to us. Death has a strange effect on people. Plus, we have forensics, CCTV, and other technical means (phones, etc.). Most murders are heat of the moment things, a dope deal gone bad, fight escalated to guns, family argument, jealous lovers. It’s not as hard as it seems sadly.

    How does their family handle the life of a homicide detective.

    Or do you leave your work in the workplace. Is that really possible?

    I was a cop when I met my wife and she’s a nurse, so we’re used to seeing tragedy. Having said that, my daily job is in an office 90% of the time. I’m writing reports, reviewing files, writing warrants for phone records, bank accounts, CCTV etc. Yeah, I have to go sometimes and watch an autopsy, but it’s part of the job. Likewise, I’ll get called in to the scene but that’s no different to being on patrol. We’ll talk about it a bit at home, but its not an issue for us. As my wife said about being a nurse “it’s nothing personal, just work”.

    Are there cold cases in the division and who does the

    responsibility fall on to for dealing with them given that there is a rotation

    of detectives to different disciplines every 18 months to 2 years.

    Yeah, our department has a cold case section, they handle all the cold cases. There isn’t really a legal definition of a cold case as such. I’ll work it until I hit a dead end, then we suspend it. If new evidence comes to light, I can re-open it, or, if it’s older, it’ll go to the cold case unit. Our supervisors will make the decision based on the time, evidence and personnel. Our homicide section detectives tend to stay there for years, it’s an interesting job, takes a while to get there, so we stay.

     

     

    Odd one for each of you. Do you live locally in the community.

    It would be rare here for the local police to live in the same area as they

    work so I get a sense they sometimes don’t care.

    Some do some don’t. This has more to do with what we can afford, where we want to live, local schools, and so on. I (Greg) live outside the local area as I have a small farm, the OP lives in the town where he works.

    Is there an expectation that a detective should retire early

    (earlier than general population). I’m thinking of movies and series on tv

    where you get the copper getting to the end by the time they get to 50. Are

    there fitness protocols for detectives or is that even necessary.

    No expectation on retirement. We’ll retire when it suits us, depending on your pension, life, family and so on. It’s easier to be a detective than patrol, we mostly work 8-5 other than on call, easy to take leave and it’s mostly office work.

    Do homicide detectives ever work alone or is a partner a

    essential part of the “business “.

    We work alone, just like all the other detectives in the dept. We’ll partner up to go meet someone, that’s officer safety. I can request other detectives to help if it’s complex or a huge workload, but mostly we’re alone. I know some agencies use partners, we don’t. 90% of the time it only needs one person.

    Thanks

    in advance. Keep safe.



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


    Hi Greg, hows it going? Thanks for doing this. A couple of easy questions off the top of my head...

    What’s the procedure when a body is found and you are called?

    Our patrol division will do the intitial investigation, secure the scene. A SGT will call the on call detective, Crime Scene Team, media team, drone team, medical examiner, etc. No one touches anything until the detective arrives. If needs be, we’ll write up a warrant if it’s a house, get it signed off by the on-call judge before we make entry.

    At that point we’ll confer with the patrol guys, CST on how to approach the scene. The drone team will take overhead pictures, they have amazing software to mark things on pictures and can do 360-degree pictures. We’ll suit up in the white bunny suits, start taking video and pictures and marking evidence. Once we’re all happy with that, we’ll remove the evidence. (Shell casings, guns, whatever). At this point we’ll get with the ME and decide how we’ll move the body. They’ll direct the photographer to take more pictures of the body as they move it. While this is going on, we’ll have uniforms canvass the area if needed, get names, take statements, note CCTV, identify witnesses. We can interview witnesses on scene, we’ll do it in a patrol car if possible so it’s captured on video, although we prefer to talk to them at the station in the interview room.

    At this point, we’re done, if everyone’s happy, we’ll release the scene back to the owner. This whole process can take up to six hours. It’s not fast, it’s through. I’ve had cases where the body is in a remote rural location, that takes even longer. We’ve had to have the firefighters help us gain access with ropes etc. Those calls take 12 plus hours.

    Who contacts the next of kin? How difficult is that? do you get special training for dealing with them? Is it difficult to question them?

    We have a Victims Service Unit who do notifications. They are not cops, they have a social worker background and are trained to do this. I’ve gone with them, it’s never easy. The VSU will stay with the family as long as needed, they can access any other community resources (mental health, etc). It sucks having to question the family, but memory is perishable, so we need to ask those questions as soon as possible. Some are better than others in handling the grief, not easy but part of it.

    In your experience what is the main motivation for murder?

    Most murders are spontaneous things, a crime of passion as it were. It’s a dope deal gone bad, lovers argument, domestic or sometimes a robbery. That’s most of them, there are occasional deliberate murders, but even those are rare. A gang-banger will decide to whack someone, and won’t put a whole lot of thought into it, to the point of driving over and unloading on the victim. They usually get caught.

    How gruesome does it get?

    The most gruesome ones are the bodies that have been left for days, especially in the summer. They’ll be decomposing, covered in maggots, they stink. Otherwise, its just work.

    Is as much as your day wasted?

    Not sure what you are asking. I spend a lot of time writing warrants and subpoenas for phone companies, social media, banks, credit card companies. It’s a nuisance and they take months to come back with the information. They don’t care and doing this for LE doesn’t make them money, so they are never in a hurry. Social media average turn on a warrant/subpoena for a murder is about four months or longer.

    What’s the success rate for homicide investigations? Is there an average on how many hours are spent on solving a murder? (see post 56)

     

    We’re pretty successful, although the percentage varies slightly from year to year, but we average about 98%. Like I said earlier, most of these are crimes of passion and easy enough to piece together. Whodunnits’ are actually pretty rare.

     

    Time spent on a case varies, from days to months. It all depends on the complexity, which drives the workload. I had one recently, neighbor was worried about her next-door neighbor, mail & packages were piling up. Patrol made entry (they could see her on the floor). Investigation as above. After about two days’ work, I figured out her daughter was last one in the house. CCTV and License Plate Readers put her there. Did some digging on bank accounts & credit cards (faster than social media), found daughter was taking her moms money due to drug debt. Interviewed some associates who told us they were arguing a lot over money. Interviewed daughter, she came in voluntarily, she denied everything. Wrote warrant after interview (had to confer with DA), turned it in to fugitive team, they arrested her. All in all, about two to three weeks’ worth of work. Like I said it varies, some are simpler than others.

     

    When do you decide the case is not going to be solved and drop it? is that a tough call?

    We never drop a case, we suspend them. If we hit a dead end, and don’t have enough evidence to make an arrest, the case is suspended. This means its “on hold” pending new leads or evidence. We’ll have it reviewed by another detective to see if anything was missed, and at some point, it’ll go to Cold Cases for review. They stay this way as there is no statue of limitations on murder.

    What’s the best way to get away with murder?

    Don’t do it! 😊 I think this has gotten harder with time. As I said earlier, random acts are rare. And it’s hard to simply disappear these days. Committing a murder in Mexico has a low likelihood of conviction, there is that.

    I'm sure I'll think of some more.

    Thanks

    John



  • Registered Users Posts: 2,277 ✭✭✭dinorebel


    Hi Greg, Hope you're well.

    Have you ever investigated a serial killer?

    Whats the most trivial/stupid reason for a murder you've seen?



  • Registered Users Posts: 8,166 ✭✭✭funkey_monkey


    One for both of you - how reliant are you on informants to solve crimes? How do you get get informants - is there a pool of them or is there a special division of 'handlers' that act as intermediaries between yourself and the informant?



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


    Hi Greg, hows it going? Thanks for doing this. A couple of easy questions off the top of my head...

    What’s the procedure when a body is found and you are called?

    Our patrol division will do the intitial investigation, secure the scene. A SGT will call the on call detective, Crime Scene Team, media team, drone team, medical examiner, etc. No one touches anything until the detective arrives. If needs be, we’ll write up a warrant if it’s a house, get it signed off by the on-call judge before we make entry.

    At that point we’ll confer with the patrol guys, CST on how to approach the scene. The drone team will take overhead pictures, they have amazing software to mark things on pictures and can do 360-degree pictures. We’ll suit up in the white bunny suits, start taking video and pictures and marking evidence. Once we’re all happy with that, we’ll remove the evidence. (Shell casings, guns, whatever). At this point we’ll get with the ME and decide how we’ll move the body. They’ll direct the photographer to take more pictures of the body as they move it. While this is going on, we’ll have uniforms canvass the area if needed, get names, take statements, note CCTV, identify witnesses. We can interview witnesses on scene, we’ll do it in a patrol car if possible so it’s captured on video, although we prefer to talk to them at the station in the interview room.

    At this point, we’re done, if everyone’s happy, we’ll release the scene back to the owner. This whole process can take up to six hours. It’s not fast, it’s through. I’ve had cases where the body is in a remote rural location, that takes even longer. We’ve had to have the firefighters help us gain access with ropes etc. Those calls take 12 plus hours.

    Who contacts the next of kin? How difficult is that? do you get special training for dealing with them? Is it difficult to question them?

    We have a Victims Service Unit who do notifications. They are not cops, they have a social worker background and are trained to do this. I’ve gone with them, it’s never easy. The VSU will stay with the family as long as needed, they can access any other community resources (mental health, etc). It sucks having to question the family, but memory is perishable, so we need to ask those questions as soon as possible. Some are better than others in handling the grief, not easy but part of it.

    In your experience what is the main motivation for murder?

    Most murders are spontaneous things, a crime of passion as it were. It’s a dope deal gone bad, lovers argument, domestic or sometimes a robbery. That’s most of them, there are occasional deliberate murders, but even those are rare. A gang-banger will decide to whack someone, and won’t put a whole lot of thought into it, to the point of driving over and unloading on the victim. They usually get caught.

    How gruesome does it get?

    The most gruesome ones are the bodies that have been left for days, especially in the summer. They’ll be decomposing, covered in maggots, they stink. Otherwise, its just work.

    Is as much as your day wasted?

    Not sure what you are asking. I spend a lot of time writing warrants and subpoenas for phone companies, social media, banks, credit card companies. It’s a nuisance and they take months to come back with the information. They don’t care and doing this for LE doesn’t make them money, so they are never in a hurry. Social media average turn on a warrant/subpoena for a murder is about four months or longer.

    What’s the success rate for homicide investigations? Is there an average on how many hours are spent on solving a murder? (see post 56)

     

    We’re pretty successful, although the percentage varies slightly from year to year, but we average about 98%. Like I said earlier, most of these are crimes of passion and easy enough to piece together. Whodunnits’ are actually pretty rare.

     

    Time spent on a case varies, from days to months. It all depends on the complexity, which drives the workload. I had one recently, neighbor was worried about her next-door neighbor, mail & packages were piling up. Patrol made entry (they could see her on the floor). Investigation as above. After about two days’ work, I figured out her daughter was last one in the house. CCTV and License Plate Readers put her there. Did some digging on bank accounts & credit cards (faster than social media), found daughter was taking her moms money due to drug debt. Interviewed some associates who told us they were arguing a lot over money. Interviewed daughter, she came in voluntarily, she denied everything. Wrote warrant after interview (had to confer with DA), turned it in to fugitive team, they arrested her. All in all, about two to three weeks’ worth of work. Like I said it varies, some are simpler than others.

     

    When do you decide the case is not going to be solved and drop it? is that a tough call?

    We never drop a case, we suspend them. If we hit a dead end, and don’t have enough evidence to make an arrest, the case is suspended. This means its “on hold” pending new leads or evidence. We’ll have it reviewed by another detective to see if anything was missed, and at some point, it’ll go to Cold Cases for review. They stay this way as there is no statue of limitations on murder.

    What’s the best way to get away with murder?

    Don’t do it! 😊 I think this has gotten harder with time. As I said earlier, random acts are rare. And it’s hard to simply disappear these days. Committing a murder in Mexico has a low likelihood of conviction, there is that.

    I'm sure I'll think of some more.

    Thanks

    John



  • Registered Users Posts: 1,325 ✭✭✭cuttingtimber22


    Two general questions:

    Do any of the procedural TV shows get close to reality? Or is the reality very different between NY, LA and TX.

    Do the police unions take political stances? Is Beto popular with police?

    Have you ever had a serial killer case?

    Have you ever had to work with FBI?



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


    Have you ever investigated a serial killer?

    No, haven’t had one here in over 25 years. They are pretty rare really even nationwide. They get a lot of publicity, but they are actually very rare.

    What’s the most trivial/stupid reason for a murder you've seen?

    Argument over a parking space, ended up shooting the guy. Dumb, two lives ruined (one in prison for 25) the other family destroyed.

    One for both of you - how reliant are you on informants to solve crimes? How do you get informants - is there a pool of them or is there a special division of 'handlers' that act as intermediaries between yourself and the informant?

    We don’t use them that much, it's too much of a liability. Informants have to be vetted & depending on the case, even screened by the DA’s office. If they are a criminal looking for a break, you have to be very careful as if it goes to court, they can ruin a case. Mostly its narcotics who use them and it’s usually to “sell up”. IE a low-level dope dealer will dime out his higher dealer and we’ll not press charges against the low-level guy. Even then, it’s pretty sketchy, they are just inherently unreliable as they are looking to use you as much as you use them. If we use them, we handle them ourselves, and it’s closely monitored, calls & meetings are recorded, documented, any money handed over is very closely scrutinized. Even the serial numbers on the bills are recorded and copied.

     Do any of the procedural TV shows get close to reality? Or is the reality very different between NY, LA and TX.

    OP here (Alan) No, most of them don’t as the reality of what we do makes for poor TV. Even on patrol it’s pretty routine, not a lot of high-speed chases, fights, etc. It’s not uninteresting, but it’s not dramatic. I actually drew my pistol on a subject a few weeks back, first time I’ve done that in almost a year. As I said, the Wire really shows the process well as did Scott & Bailey.

    Greg: Yeah, the cops shows never get it right. I spend 80-90% of my day at a desk on the phone, email, writing reports, warrants, etc. Yeah, I’ll make a scene, or an autopsy and I like interviewing witnesses and interrogating suspects. But even that is pretty low drama really. I’ve met some NYPD cops over the years, that department just has a unique personality. But they pretty much do the same thing we do when it comes to cases. LA can’t speak to them. I think it was Atlanta Homicide on Netflix which was accurate (it’s a documentary) and the First 48 is pretty decent too. Again, they are low on drama and more reflective of what we do in homicide.

    Do the police unions take political stances? Is Beto popular with police?

    Alan: Yeah, the unions will back candidates, especially at the local level (city, county) as those organizations impact us more than national level candidates. As a whole, cops trend conservative, but the unions tend to align with Democrats as the Dems are generally pro-labour & union. It’s a weird mix. As for Beto, politically he’s probably not popular as it’s a conservative crowd, but he’ll do more to protect our pensions & bargaining rights.

    Greg: Screw politics!

    Have you ever had to work with FBI?

    Greg: Yes, worked with them from time to time. They are professional and easy to work with. They can get a gun, shell casing or DNA processed faster than our state lab. But they’ll only do it if there is a federal connection in the case and they are working it too. If there is any kind of terrorism connection, they are a great link into the other federal agencies too.

    Had a case a few months back, woman shot another woman who she accused of having an affair with her boyfriend. We figured out who she was and found out she had bought a plane ticket & fled to another state. Brought the FBI in, they helped us track her using the airline databases to another state. In the other state (being vague as the case has yet to go to court), they helped us track her. She went dark for a while, then she popped up on a federal database of stolen passports. Unfortunately, she had left the country by the time they got the hit on the passport. FBI worked with the US Marshalls Fugitive Task Force, and they tracked her down overseas. The locals were cooperative, arrested her on our warrant & extradited her back to us, now she’s waiting trial locally. The feds are throwing in some federal charges to do with the stolen passport and credit card fraud. All in all, went well.



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


    Gang,

    Our next guest will be Anne from Child Abuse, she's been a detective there for a few years, so fire away with questions.

    Slight delay in responses as I'll be travelling, but answers will be provided?

    Stay safe.



  • Registered Users Posts: 6,406 ✭✭✭Damien360


    What supports are in place for a detective in that division to deal with the emotional impact of seeing child abuse and it’s effects first hand.

    I am guessing that getting convictions is fairly difficult when kids are involved so how does the case get dealt with when there is obvious signs of abuse and a conviction never comes.

    I’m guessing that child abuse encompasses not just sexual abuse but broken homes and neglect. Does it link in with children running away from home. Once that child crosses a state line, do investigations stop locally.

    Where do the investigations begin in general ? What I mean is what brings the cops in. Other state services or tip offs. Once a child is involved, who talks to the child ? Is that part of detective training to be allowed to talk to the child ? Who else is always present with the child during these talks ? What I’m getting at is who is there to support the child.

    The last detective considered his role as just a job, which given the division he was in, it made sense. It may sound cruel to think of your role as just a job but how do you seperate the role from getting on with your own life.

    Thanks for your time.



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  • Registered Users Posts: 19,248 ✭✭✭✭Donald Trump


    Was Internal Affairs in on it all along?



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