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Now Ye're Talking to a US Police Officer III

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  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators, Regional West Moderators Posts: 59,879 Mod ✭✭✭✭Gremlinertia


    To Anne from Child Abuse

    Would there be a 'shelf life' on an officer in that department?. A guidance from superiors for instance?.



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


    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.

    We have access to mental health services through either the department shrink or though our insurance. There are also a variety of other LE support systems too available. It's all confidential and can't be disclosed to work.

    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.

    Actually we get more convictions than you think, a surprising number of people will confess when confronted, especially when we have evidence from phones or such (where these pervs text pictures, etc.) to an underage. Sometimes it does come down to a "he said-she said" situation and without other evidence, the case can't go forward. It's frustrating, especially for parents, we suspend the case (put it on hold as it were) and can re-open it if new evidence comes to light in the future.

    I’m guessing that child abuse encompasses not just sexual abuse but broken homes and neglect.

    Well broken homes are not a crime but child neglect is. We'll try to get simple neglect handled by state welfare services, as education and training for the parents is a better solution than an arrest. If it's a repeat offense, it can lead to an arrest and court mandated evaluation or visitation by welfare for the family until they sort themselves out. In worse case scenario, the kids can be put in a foster home, but that's a fairly last resort.

    Does it link in with children running away from home. Once that child crosses a state line, do investigations stop locally.

    Runaways are a pain tbh. Patrol takes those calls, and they can be a real nuisance. Kids get in a argument with the parents over the phone, TV channels, whatever and storm off. Parents call 911 to report a runaway, this causes a load of paperwork to be entered in the state and federal databases. Of course the next day, little Timmy or Susie shows up back home, and inevitably the parents never call us back to remove the kid from the system. Kids encounters LE later on and end up being detained as a runaway when they are not which takes hours to resolve.

    Weirdly being a runaway is not actually a crime in Texas, it's a "status offense" like buying cigarettes or booze underage, it's not a criminal offense, but it's still "illegal" if you can get your head around that. We can't arrest a child for running away, but we legally can compel them to return home, i.e. if we find them, we can detain them and bring them back against their will. We don't investigate runaways unless there is a concurrent criminal offense involving the child, i.e. theft, shoplifting, etc. This pisses of a lot of parents, too, but legally we can't do much other than report it, put out alerts. If we think the kid has crossed a state line, we'll send the alert to the locals if we have a good bead, but its a complex issue. It gets even more complex if the parents don't want the kid back, now there are social services, child advocates, etc. involved. It's messy.

    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.

    Our cases start with an outcry from the victim. That could be from a 911 call, parent, relative, friend, doctor, teacher, etc. Teachers schools, nurses, social workers, coaches, etc. are "mandatory reporters" as in, by law they are required to report an abuse allegation to the police. Once we start our investigation, we'll usually start with the parents, other witnesses or reporters, then if we have a good outcry, we'll bring the kids in for a Forensic Interview. (FI). The FI's are done off site at a child welfare center and are done by specially trained social workers who are credentialed to do this. We collaborate with the interviewer beforehand, go over the report and they work with the kids to talk though answers. We watch the interview remotely, make notes and then use that for the basis of furthering our case. If it's an acute outcry (within 72 hours) we can request a Sexual Assault Exam (the same as a rape exam) be conducted at one of the local hospitals by a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner. (SANE) This collects DNA, hair, fiber, we seize clothing, bedclothes, etc. where possible for DNA & so on. These are invasive exams and not fun for the victim, child or adult, but a necessary part of the job. The kids are supported the whole time by the Victim Advocate & care team. As a rule, cops never interview anyone younger than 17, be it us or a beat cop. We'll get basics, name, address, etc., otherwise its an FI. They meet the legal standard for information from a kid, and you generally can't go below age 5, as they really can't understand things. During an FI, it's only the kid & the FI, no one else and the FI's are done in the "soft rooms", nice carpets, toys, comfy chairs, teddy bears, etc. During a SANE Exam, it'll be VA & social services, it's better parents don't see that. The cops aren't there for that either, just the nursing staff.

    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 separate the role from getting on with your own life.

    Well it is my job and I volunteered for it, and I can keep it separate in my mind. It's disturbing, but honestly we don't get that many abused kids as such, a lot of is is perv's preying on teen boys & girls "I swear, he/she told me they were 21 officer....", sexting, revenge porn (huge amongst teens these days), boy or girl breaks up and they put the nude pics of each other on the internet or blast it out to the rest of the class. But, again, it's still just work and I turn it off when I leave the office. But I do have a better awareness for my daughters, who are both college age, some honest mother/daughter talks all right.

    Would there be a 'shelf life' on an officer in that department?. A guidance from superiors for instance?.

    We stay in the unit for five years, after which you are rotated out unless you request another year. It's long enough, I've been there almost five now, I'll request another year, then move elsewhere. It's long enough.

    Thanks for your time.



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


    Alan here, wanted to mention too, that something like 75 to 80% of criminal cases in the US never go to trial, they almost always do a plea bargain, be it to a lower offense or a lesser sentence with parole or whatever. As any good lawyer will tell you, if they offer a deal, take it, it rarely gets better in court. Its a combination of saving time, money and getting a conviction for the DA's office. It can be frustrating for us, you put all this time into a good case, DA takes it, then they offer a plea down to a fine, probation for five years, counselling, whatever. While jail is not the answer to all cases, sometimes I just don't get the DA's office. When a child abuser gets 9 months, then 10 years probation for sexually assaulting a 12 year old, it does make you go WTF???? The perv is still in the community, and victims can be gutted by this.



  • Registered Users Posts: 12,246 ✭✭✭✭DrPhilG


    Do child abusers often get stupidly light sentences? Over here it's so bad that some judges (won't name him) is often rumoured to be a perv himself given the outrageously light sentences he always gives sex offenders.



  • Registered Users Posts: 997 ✭✭✭Peppa Cig


    Do you have a Reserve Police Officer rank in your district?

    How are they perceived and integrated?



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


    Do child abusers often get stupidly light sentences? Over here it's so bad that some judges (won't name him) is often rumoured to be a perv himself given the outrageously light sentences he always gives sex offenders.

    It varies really, there are a fair number of cases which get pled down as I mentioned earlier, and it is frustrating, especially for the victims and their families. The system is inherently slow, and the pandemic put things behind by almost two years. We only started having tails again about 6 months back, its going to take years to clear the backlog. It does get frustrating, but at the end of the day, I can't influence it, so I just keep doing my job. Here we have sentencing guidelines and precedent which guide the judges, but they still have a lot of latitude. Under federal law, there are minimum sentences doe some offenses, but not so much under state law. I don't care for minimums generally, as each case has to be judged on its merits, as they are all very different. California tried that with the "three strikes" rule, and it just ended up creating a huge prison population and did nothing for crime prevention.

    Do you have a Reserve Police Officer rank in your district? How are they perceived and integrated?

    Yes, we have an active reserve program in the agency. They have all the same powers, are fully armed, same training and requirements as a full-time officer. They are generally well received as they cover shifts for leave, provide extra manpower on busy shifts and are generally pretty competent. Some people roll their eyes at them as "part-timers playing cop" but they are helpful really.

    It's a huge commitment, the reserves, by state law, have to have the same training as the regulars. Some were previously cops, others just did the nights & weekend classes, we have a few retirees who want to stay in the community, etc. They are a mixed bag (I know a few of them), from all sorts of backgrounds, they have to put in minimum hours monthly and meet the same continuing education & weapons qualifications as the rest of us.

    I admire them, they don't get paid and do a lot to support us.



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


    Attached is a picture of one of our detectives' cars layout, as you can see it's very exciting!!!! And if there are reserve specific questions, fire away, I can pass them on to one of our reservists who I know well.




  • Registered Users Posts: 6,395 ✭✭✭Damien360


    I was under the impression, from the older thread by the traffic copper, that a lot of your paperwork was digital. So why all the paper ? Witness statements surely on the recorder ? Looks a standard car and not the same as the truck pictured in the wing mirror. Who went mad with the screws/rivets making a basic platform to hold the siren control ? Do you bring that car home and if so, what gets removed ? No mount for a gun holder/shotgun holder or is that just the traffic guys ? You don’t get onboard video recorder same as traffic guys ?



  • Registered Users Posts: 6,395 ✭✭✭Damien360


    For the reservists. What are the minimum monthly hours. Do they tend to be unwanted hours such as night shift/holiday periods or football day stuff ? Given it is unpaid, why put yourself in danger ? How much notice of start of a shift do you get ? How does your family feel about a unpaid commitment (in light of all other cops above stating it’s really just a job, which is fair enough for them as it pays) ? Do you have other employment and how does it fit in with this ?



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


    I was under the impression, from the older thread by the traffic copper, that a lot of your paperwork was digital. So why all the paper? Witness statements surely on the recorder?

    Detective here: Yes, our paperwork is digital in that we write our reports in a software system. Having said that, there is still a lot of paper floating around the justice system. Patrol will respond to say an aggravated assault (assault with serious injury). They'll take a written statement from the victim assuming they can write, as in not unconscious or such. They'll interview the victim and witnesses and it's all captured on the car/body cam. Still, the victim and witnesses have to write out an affidavit of fact and swear this is true and accurate. This is a legal requirement under law, they have to sign a document affirming it's true. There are forms for evidence receipts, state mandated data collection forms, Miranda warning, jail booking forms, car towing forms, etc. While a recorded statement is good, it's not generally under oath, so it's not as strong as a written declaration, it's a law thing.

    When I'm assigned the case as a detective, I'll receive all the paperwork thru interoffice mail. I review the patrol report, scan all the witness statements into the digital case file, review the video from patrol (this is tedious btw, watching an hour of a call is not very exciting) and maybe go get CCTV from a business. All this is loaded into the digital case file (a folder on the server). I'll follow up with the victim, and witnesses, and if I have to re-interview them, I'll have them come into the station. Those interviews are audio/video recorded. I'll write up a summary of any interviews for my report. If there are new facts that emerge, they write another affidavit & sign it. I'll also have them sign a release for medical records and request those from the EMS and the hospital. If I have enough, I'll write up a warrant and get the judge to sign that. Once the perp is arrested, I'll bundle all my digital files and transfer them to the DA for trial. They also get copies of the paper stuff and have access to the originals. It's what lawyers do, they kill trees.

    Looks a standard car and not the same as the truck pictured in the wing mirror. Who went mad with the screws/rivets making a basic platform to hold the siren control? Do you bring that car home and if so, what gets removed? No mount for a gun holder/shotgun holder or is that just the traffic guys? You don’t get onboard video recorder same as traffic guys?

    Yes, it's a police package Tahoe, one of our older ones. They are being replaced by the hybrid Ford Fusion, I'm just on the bottom of whatever list for a new car. The installers did all the drilling & such, it used to have a mounted radio, those were taken out and we just use the walkie talkies, they don't really worry about what these things look like as far as drilling and so on. Yes, our detectives (and some others like SWAT, drone team, negotiators, etc.) take them home as we take on call. If it's not in a garage, can't leave weapons or the radio in there overnight. Detectives aren't issued shotguns or patrol rifles, so no need for the mounts, only the marked units get those, we just wear our pistols. Likewise with the camera system, as we don't do patrol, we don't need the cameras. We are getting body cameras which will replace the recorder and digital camera, as it can take stills as well. The cars have emergency lights and siren but rarely use them.

    I've passed on the reserve questions, more later.



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


    For the reservists. What are the minimum monthly hours. Do they tend to be unwanted hours such as night shift/holiday periods or football day stuff?

    From Mark, one of our reservists: We have to put in a minimum of 16 hours/month, but they are pretty flexible so long as our annual average adds up. Gives us flexibility for work and family. Hours vary, they tend to be mostly evenings/nights/weekends due to our other jobs. We'll also be asked to support big events like 10k races, football, and we'll usually be asked to add extra on bank holiday weekends which tend to be busy.

    Given it is unpaid, why put yourself in danger? How much notice of start of a shift do you get? How does your family feel about a unpaid commitment (in light of all other cops above stating it’s really just a job, which is fair enough for them as it pays)? Do you have other employment and how does it fit in with this?

    I like serving my community, and this is a good way for me to do it. People do it for different reasons, we have some people who were cops and went private sector but still want to stay involved, we have a few who retired from LE, but still want it. Our dept has a pretty good program, they weed out those who just want to carry the badge and not help. We have full LE powers, and once training is complete, we patrol on our own just like the other cops. We even have two guys who are on SWAT as backup to the team. Their day jobs are pretty flexible which allowed them to meet the extensive training.

    My family are fine with it, I can't speak for the others, but it doesn't seem to be an issue. The danger is there, but then it's everywhere really. Yes, I have an IT job, they are pretty good with it and will allow me to flex a bit here and there, otherwise I fit it in around work. Others in our reserve unit are in banking, IT (several of those), retired cops, firefighter, accounting, retired Army, stay at home mom, advertising, mechanics, flight attendant, mixed bag really.

    Some agencies in the US have reserve programs where they are more of an auxiliary force with no police powers, they use them for public events, working desks, traffic control sort of thing. We're fully qualified and have full police powers.



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


    Team,


    Our next guest is Tim, a Sex Crimes detective. He'll answer any questions you might have. By way of background, our Sex Crimes section deals with all sexual assaults against adults. In TX, the law uses the term "sexual assault" instead of the lay term "rape". Thus, any sexual assaults, either attempted or completed are investigated by Tim and his team. Sadly, they don't lack for work and it's a grind, especially on the victims.

    Anyhow, fire away.



  • Registered Users Posts: 6,395 ✭✭✭Damien360


    What is the success rate for prosecutions for sexual assault and what are the main causes of its failure to prosecute at all ? What level of evidence is required in a “he said- she said” case with no sexual fluids of any description involved. Is that a non-runner as a case ?

    If the victim refuses to say anything for fear of their life, what can the cops do ? In that case if the family wants to push the prosecution but the victim doesn’t, what next ?

    Do you work with the lawyers to advise on the case before pushing forward ? Or do you just present the evidence as the other detectives do ? The sensitivities are a bit different for your line of work so I am wondering if it’s approached differently.

    Do you get many fake or revenge claims ? How is that dealt with for both the accuser and the accused ?

    How do you deal with cultural norms within non-US ethnic groups. For example, more than once in Uk especially, I have read of the excuse that sexual behaviour to a spouse that is deemed unacceptable in the west is considered normal in another country (although not legal in that country, a blind eye is thrown at it).



  • Registered Users Posts: 273 ✭✭global23214124


    Do you get a lot of complaints from survivors of abuse that are later taken back?

    Is there enough shelters and services for the survivor to engage with after said abuse?

    Do you feel that sentences are strict enough in the US?



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


    What is the success rate for prosecutions for sexual assault and what are the main causes of its failure to prosecute at all? What level of evidence is required in a “he said- she said” case with no sexual fluids of any description involved. Is that a non-runner as a case?

    The question of what is the success rate has to be viewed in context of crimes reported, cases that can be investigated, then those that are sent forward to court. As a rule, most of what we send to court gets a conviction as the DA will only take a strong case. Others get pled down maybe to a lower offense, where the perp enters a guilty plea and usually gets a lower sentence. To make a successful case ideally you have a willing victim, strong evidence, especially physical evidence (DNA, etc.) and an identified suspect. Those are the easy ones.

    When we lack physical evidence due to a delayed report, say the victim waits weeks, then we look for other evidence. We'll talk to witnesses, look at CCTV, credit cards statements, geo-location records from phones, get detailed interview from the victim, etc. Each of these are taken on their merits and whatever facts we can gather to where we have probable cause for an arrest. Bear in mind, most sexual assaults suspects are known to the victim, the random creeper rapist is actually very rare. It's usually someone they've met, even that night, or dated a time or two, so we can ID a suspect. Then we'll listen to the victim, maybe they have very strong recollections of where this occurred (house, apartment they've never been to), might recall something unique about the suspect (tattoo, clothing) they wouldn't otherwise know. If the vic consents, we'll request a medical exam to see if there is scarring, scratches, unless it's been months or years. When we get to that point, we'll interview the suspect too, you'd be surprised how many people will admit to offenses when we just ask them. I'd say about 80% of suspects will come down and talk to us when we ask them. And we make it very clear this is a voluntary interview, they don't have to say anything, but they'll talk away. The smarter ones just lawyer up and don't even come in.

    We'll add up the totality of events, then staff it with the DA (they are lawyers) to see if we have PC for an arrest. if we do, we'll make the arrest and hand it off to the DA. If we don't, then I have the unhappy task of telling a vulnerable victim, "Sorry, there is nothing we can do". That sucks. And bear in mind, if this goes to trial, which could be two years later, the victim has to be willing to be traumatized on the witness stand again by the defense attorney. I've had solid cases, where, when it goes to trial the vic no longer wants to participate, so the case is dropped. I get it, they've moved on mentally, don't want to relive it. It's frustrating for sure.

    If the victim refuses to say anything for fear of their life, what can the cops do? In that case if the family wants to push the prosecution but the victim doesn’t, what next?

    If we don't have a willing victim, we really don't have a case unless it's a minor, then it's handled by child abuse. Regardless of what friends & family want, if the vic doesn't want to press on, we can't move. The crime was committed against the victim, not their family.

    Do you work with the lawyers to advise on the case before pushing forward? Or do you just present the evidence as the other detectives do? The sensitivities are a bit different for your line of work, so I am wondering if it’s approached differently.

    As I said above, we'll staff it with the DA's office before going forward. If the DA won't take the case, there is little we can do. While that can be frustrating, the DA looks at it through the lens of "can I get a conviction & is this a strong case?". All our cases, not just sex-crimes are staffed with the DA, as they take it to court, not us.

    Do you get many fake or revenge claims? How is that dealt with for both the accuser and the accused?

    Like anything else, we follow the facts. It's not as simple as just making an accusation, the vic has to swear out an affidavit of fact before we do anything with a case. Once we start the investigation, we'll get a sense of how factual this is. Our general concept is "support the victim", so we'll see what we find. if it looks like a completely superfluous accusation, we'll re-interview the 'vic" and make it clear that making a false report to the police is a crime itself. If it looks like that's the case, we could prosecute them, but the DA generally just drops it. They are concerned about the possible publicity of going after victims which could deter real victims reporting. We get these reports from time to time, but once we ask them to come down and swear out an affidavit, they'll decline, as htye've calmed down and realized this isn't as simple as a quick phone call.

    How do you deal with cultural norms within non-US ethnic groups. For example, more than once in Uk especially, I have read of the excuse that sexual behavior to a spouse that is deemed unacceptable in the west is considered normal in another country (although not legal in that country, a blind eye is thrown at it).

    We follow US law, a crime is a crime regardless of a cultural norm. If it's a crime here, and as above we have a good case, we'll go forward with it.



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


    Do you get a lot of complaints from survivors of abuse that are later taken back?

    As I said earlier, we'll get survivors who just don't want to go through it all over again, so they'll recant. Then the case ends. I've seen cases where friends & family have pressured a survivor into recanting as they don't want the shame. Or even where the suspect & victim know each other (same social circles), the suspects family have asked the survivor to drop it. It's frustrating.

    Is there enough shelters and services for the survivor to engage with after said abuse?

    Here locally, we have a decent shelter & support system for the short term. The longer-term systems aren't great. Once the vic has passed the initial crisis, they are more or less left to themselves to get on with life. These people are scarred, I've seen them not be able to work, afraid to go out, not be able to be where they might see the suspect again, especially if the work or socialize together. I don't know the answer here, the suspect has rights too. it's finding that balance.

    Once study here reports that 70% of college aged women (18-25) have been touched/assaulted in an unwanted sexual manner. It's pervasive in society as we're too tolerant in my mind of bad behavior. Boys being boys, oh, he/she really wanted it, he/she should have said no and not led him on, or what did she expect dressed like that are all the excuses thrown out by society. Working here has made me realize that so many men are just assholes to put not too fine a point on it. It's a vastly under-reported crime too according to some advocacy groups.

    Do you feel that sentences are strict enough in the US?

    The laws on the books are fine, it's judges who I just don't understand some days. A slam dunk sexual assault and the perp gets 6 months and probation, that doesn't send a strong message to larger society and the victims. Think about, you've been violated, gone through the humiliation of reporting it, the forensic exam, the interviews, the process, you are trying to move on with your life. Two years later, you summon the courage to confront the suspect in court, go through all that and then he gets a slap on the wrist. I don't get it.



  • Registered Users Posts: 6,395 ✭✭✭Damien360


    A general question. Given the salary isn’t as good as it could be (even FBI was just about $55k), is recruitment and retention of staff an issue ?

    Would you class the training for the role as detective adequate or do you think it should be revamped ? Does your training have enough time with a more senior colleague to learn the ropes or is that really necessary.

    Police here are haemorrhaging staff at an alarming pace for various reasons mainly (from reading the press) around disillusion with how justice is served. Sentencing is light and it can be seen as a waste of the officers time processing petty crimes.

    Does the US get concurrent sentencing. Here, if someone robs ten shops, the judge will give a sentence of let’s say 12 months for each offence but as it runs concurrently, that means a sum total of 12 months minus good behavior is served. The result is lots of people with 100’s of offences walking the streets.



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


    A general question. Given the salary isn’t as good as it could be (even FBI was just about $55k), is recruitment and retention of staff an issue?

    Yes, we're hurting for people here, and it's not just locally, its nationwide. We are desperately short of officers, to the point where non-priority calls will wait hours for a response, or maybe they'll get a call from one of us. It's a weird combination of things, officers hitting minimum retirement and bailing as they don't feel supported and it's not worth sticking around, safer to retire and do something else for a few years. Others, younger, same thing, just don't want to deal with the daily hassle & lack of support from the city, add in the usual issues of criminal backgrounds, obesity and our recruit pool is shrinking rapidly. And you can simply make more money not being a cop, especially if you have any sort of tech background at all. I've met techies in their early 30's making 200 000/year, nice house, car, the lot...we can't compete with that. We're short over 200 patrol officers right now, and we expect to lose another 100 this year due to retirement, so morale is low. We have mandatory overtime, get held over at end of shift and the public are pissed because it took us hours to get to the noisy party call.

    Would you class the training for the role as detective adequate or do you think it should be revamped? Does your training have enough time with a more senior colleague to learn the ropes or is that really necessary.

    I'd say our training is ok, we are assigned a Training Detective and have to go through a certification process before we are "cleared" to work cases without oversight. For the first 6 months, our SGT reviews all our cases and provides feedback. They send us on courses as they come up, interviewing, your specialty area child abuse, financial crimes, auto theft, etc. By the time you make detective, you've been a cop for about 5 years, so you have experience in LE, it's more a case of learning the processes and being thorough.

    Police here are hemorrhaging staff at an alarming pace for various reasons mainly (from reading the press) around disillusion with how justice is served. Sentencing is light and it can be seen as a waste of the officer's time processing petty crimes.

    Most of us don't get wrapped up in that really, we do our jobs and roll our eyes. Don't get me wrong, it pisses us off but what can we do really. Biggest thing to help police morale would be pay us better and give us the support we deserve. This is a hard job, and giving a sex offender a slap on the wrist is BS. Having said that, we still do our jobs, and I've met cops from all over the country, and they all say the same thing, about sentencing, so part of me just thinks its what cops feel like they have to say.

    Does the US get concurrent sentencing. Here, if someone robs ten shops, the judge will give a sentence of let’s say 12 months for each offence but as it runs concurrently, that means a sum total of 12 months minus good behavior is served. The result is lots of people with 100’s of offences walking the streets.

    Yes, Texas does allow concurrent sentences, generally for offenses arising from one episode. Example, arrested for DWI, assault on a police officer and possession of controlled substances could get concurrent sentencing if the defense agrees to have the offenses tried in one trial that could get a concurrent sentence. Otherwise, they are tried separately, and a judge can order concurrent sentencing or stacking (finish one sentence before starting another). We have the same thing, people walking around with multiple convictions. But then, as California tried with the three strikes rule, locking people up for extended times did nothing for crime prevention.

    I wrote a warrant this week for Abuse of Elderly (assaulted 67-year-old lady), the perp, who is in the community has 2 DWI's, 10 traffic tickets, 5 burglaries, and 2 other assaults.... what can I say....



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


    I feel when it comes to a female sexually assaulting a male, it is generally laughed off. What’s your opinion?



  • Registered Users Posts: 1,707 ✭✭✭lintdrummer


    A question for all of you but for Greg and Tim predominantly: Do you take an interest in high profile cases that make the news internationally? Do you ever wish you could be involved as you feel you could help solve it? I'm thinking of our own unsolved Sophie Du Plantier case that was covered by some recent documentaries on Netflix and Sky. It seems the Gardaí here made a mess of the investigation and if a more competent, experienced force had been involved it may have been solved years ago.



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


    I feel when it comes to a female sexually assaulting a male, it is generally laughed off. What’s your opinion?

    It's not a common offense, but it does occasionally happen. However, a female coercing sex from a male is unusual to say the least. What we do see when it happens, is the unwanted sexual contact, i.e. unwanted touching of the genitals sort of thing. The penal code defines one aspect of sexual assault as: Sexual contact any touching of the anus, breast, or any part of the genitals of another person with intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person. While rare, like anything else, we'd investigate and take it where the facts go.



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


    A question for all of you but for Greg and Tim predominantly: Do you take an interest in high profile cases that make the news internationally? Do you ever wish you could be involved as you feel you could help solve it? I'm thinking of our own unsolved Sophie Du Plantier case that was covered by some recent documentaries on Netflix and Sky. It seems the Gardaí here made a mess of the investigation and if a more competent, experienced force had been involved it may have been solved years ago.

    Alan here, had to do some explaining to the lads about the Du Plantier case :-)

    Tim: In a way, it would be good to bring justice on a high profile case, but then I don't pay much attention to cops stuff away from work. Rarely watch cop shows, don't do true crime podcasts, it keeps work out of my home life. High profile cases generate a lot of pressure from the media, public and the brass, which can be good as it generates more resources I might not always have an easy time getting. But then the down side is there are expectations, and just because it's high profile, doesn't mean we'll solve it. We can only go where evidence takes us, and while we might be confident we know who did it, proving that is something else.

    Greg: Some of my murders have gotten attention, but not at the international level. While I like the help, I don't like people breathing down my next every day asking questions. I have enough to do without having to manage the brass. Yeah, it'd be cool to get a solve on a big case, but at the end of the day it's still work. I've watched a few shows on Netflix etc. some are ok, most are crap. They are journalists/TV people, not cops, they don't have to follow the rules we do, so I don't put much store in what they bring up, they are looking for a drama angle, not the level of proof I need for a conviction.

    Alan: I actually watched the Du Plantier show, it was interesting enough, especially for me as the case happened after I moved over here. I'll agree, the Gardai didn't exactly cover themselves in glory by any means. They came across as ham fisted and dropped a ball or two, but in the context of the Guards in the 90's that was about what could be expected IMHO. AGS back then, probably to a greater extent in the rural areas, were still operating like this was Ireland in the 1960's, and just weren't that sophisticated a force which is shown by the fact they missed evidence, and some other steps. Watching the Netflix show (like a lot of other cop shows) did make me go "ohhhh, wouldn't have done that myself......" I'd also say that if AGS hadn't bollixed it up, while an unusual murder in rural Cork, it wouldn't be as high profile.

    As for a high profile case, like Tim & Greg, yes, be interesting, but that knife cuts both ways. The public all think this is like on TV, and the reality of an investigation isn't. I don't know that I'd want the hassle of public pressure to get a result. My LT worked a sensational case here some time back when he was a detective. It had murder, sex, money, all very juicy. He said it was mostly just dealing with never ending media requests, updates for the brass and the usual circus when it went to court. It got made into a documentary and a book, he declined to participate in those, not his thing. Ended up in a good conviction and the perp is still in jail, but he told me it just took a lot more energy to deal with it.



  • Registered Users Posts: 473 ✭✭Ramasun


    In encounters with Hairdressers, do they ever argue that they've had to do more hours of training to be qualified for their job?

    Or

    Do you think LEOs should have a higher standard of minimum training and qualifications than any civilian jobs with less responsibility and risk to society?



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


    In encounters with Hairdressers, do they ever argue that they've had to do more hours of training to be qualified for their job?

    Well as I'm as bald as a cue ball, it's been over 20 years since I went to a barber, let alone a hairdresser :-) But I accept you point. No, it doesn't take more training to be a hairdresser than a cop. FWIW, in Texas, it's 770 hours to meet the minimum requirements to be licensed as a peace officer. For a hairdresser, it's 300 hours. As a point of reference some other qualifications in TX:

    EMT: 250 hours

    Paramedic: 1300 hours

    Firefighter: 468

    Corrections Officer: 250 hours (this is a jailer or back in Ireland a Prison Officer)

    Electrician: 4000 hours of OJT (there really isn't an apprenticeship scheme over here)

    Plumber: 48 hour course and 700 hours of OJT

    Massage therapist: 500 hours

    So, you can see where educational priorities lie with our legislature. oddly enough, most paramedics will actually make less than a lot of cops yet it's almost two years of training. Locally the medics start at $48K and the cops (in my agency) start at $60K. Go figure.

    Do you think LEOs should have a higher standard of minimum training and qualifications than any civilian jobs with less responsibility and risk to society?

    Aside from the risk of a very dodgy haircut by a poorly trained barber, yes. I think cops should have more training and education. I'd like us to get to more like the paramedics, with more education on mental health, ethics, crisis management, and social studies.

    However, this gets a mixed review from society. Cities will say they can't afford to keep recruits in training that long, too expensive. Other voices will say requiring a college degree (or close) discriminates against those minorities who can't afford college or never had the opportunity. And within the profession, these are plenty (mostly older) voices who say you don't need college to make a good cop. Raising the requirements will lead to requests for higher pay, and cities won't like that either.

    It's a wicked problem. One one hand we ask very advanced decision making of our police, and on the other hand we rail against paying for it. As I may have said before, we're asking our cops to drive like a NASCAR champ, run & chase like a Olympic pentathlete, fight like a black belt, shoot like an Olympian, be a medic, social worker, conflict resolver, constitutional attorney, mental health professional, write like an English major and have the empathy of a counsellor all for $60K/year with no college degree.

    Policing in the US, just like in Ireland, was traditionally seen as a blue collar job, where brawn trumped brains. Things have changed, and its taking time for the profession to catch up for many of the reasons above. We, as society, have to decide what do we want our police to be, and be willing to resource it. it will take time.


    great question, keep them coming.



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


    Corrections: The plumber is 7000 hours of OJT. And in my agency, the training academy is closer to 1200 hours. Agencies can add what they want, but the above is state minimums. We do 80 plus hours of mental health, de-escalation, crisis intervention, active shooter and advanced driving.



  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]


    I've heard that 99% of cops in the US vote Republican.


    Do you think a Republican government is the only way to restore the feeling that cops are supported by those at the top?


    To my eyes the Democrats care more about the feelings of criminals than the sanity of the police.



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


    I've heard that 99% of cops in the US vote Republican.

    I don't know who votes for who, it's a personal thing of course. As a cohort, LE tends to be conservative politically, and there are plenty of cops who dislike what is described as "the woke liberal agenda". Having said that, Republicans have savaged our pensions and are working hard to dismantle union bargaining rights. I can see how some of my politically conservative colleagues are stuck between their political beliefs and voting for a party which just removed their bargaining rights. Most people are single issue voters, so I guess they'll vote for what matters to them. Republicans do like to tout themselves as the party of law and order. I did ask a Republican chap "well if you support law and order, why did you change our pension". Predictably the response was "well, that's different....." :-) My personal, non-scientific observation is voting is more personal, we're not a monolith.

    Do you think a Republican government is the only way to restore the feeling that cops are supported by those at the top?

    I think this depends on what you define as "supported". Sure the Republicans shout "law and order", but at the end of the day it comes to resourcing. I find it hard to square supporting the cops when you removed my right to bargain for pension rights. Sure, they'll beat the other side up with the "defund the police" which is more of a click bait/red meat slogan, than any kind of substantial argument. On my patch, we have a very liberal local government. Lots of accusations about "not supporting LE", yet we got a serious pay raise, additional positions, upgraded kit and funding for more training.

    Now to be fair, I don't agree with some of the positions our new DA takes, he has an agenda to "go after cops" which is more style than substance. In that respect, I don't thing he is supportive of LE, he's moved some programmes backwards, especially with Child Abuse investigations.

    To me, support goes beyond the slogan, show me the money and I'll feel supported.

    To my eyes the Democrats care more about the feelings of criminals than the sanity of the police.

    It's more complex than that. American criminal justice is too focused on locking people up, we need to go beyond jail as a solution to things like mental health and addiction. As a society, if we can divert mental health from the cops, then it allows us to focus on being cops, not social workers. Likewise with bail conditions. Getting nicked for shoplifting and having to post $5000 bond is silly. Now this person (assuming no other violent offenses) is going to lose their **** job, maybe lose their flat and end up homeless driving further criminality. This sort of thing creates more problems than it solves. So, yes, if the Dems will address that and it makes my job easier, I'm all for it. Being "tough on crime" is an easy slogan, but I think as a society we need to be more wholistic about our approach to crime as a social problem beyond LE.

    And FWIW, the Dems do more to protect our pensions, bargaining rights and workplace rights than the Reps....



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


    Some random thoughts on policing...

    We're tired and feeling pretty beat down. This will take some time to shift the needle on. While we're well used to criticism, after nearly two years of the "Defund the police" and "ACAB" (All Cops are Bastards) getting shoved in our faces, it gets old. Sure, there are some bad cops who made bad decision, but that by no means is representative of all of us. There are doctors who have made terrible, life ending or altering decisions, but where are the protestors?

    For a lot of society, cops are the face of government. Outside of interactions with a random civil servant at the driving license office or a librarian or teacher, most of society never interacts with their government. Have you ever thanked the bin collection team or the waterworks guy up to his waist in freezing water fixing a broken water main. These are the invisible reps of YOUR government, yet we see through them daily.

    Yet we see cops every day, either walking past them or interacting with them. And most people have strong opinions about law enforcement, generally not founded in any kind of analysis. We are quick to judge based on the actions of a small few out of thousands.

    So we become an easy target for anger and injustice, especially for matters of racial inequity and the criminal justice system. Sure, policing in America is only less than 100 years removed from when police enforced race laws. And those laws and history, are America's original sin. We're working on it, but what no one wants to hear is its' very complicated and ALL society has a part in this. Culture in LE is slow to change, like anywhere, but it is. The younger cops are more diverse, broader minded and not burdened by historical baggage. And sadly, all the social unrest is turning the very people we need away from the profession. I've had black colleagues endure hurtful and frightful remarks about being traitors and Uncle Toms. What message does that send to a young person of colour thinking about the profession?

    Over the years, I've had some of my more liberal friends do rideouts. The common thread, post rideout, is generally along the lines of "I can't believe you guys get called out for this", "your job is dangerous", and "how do you go to work every day and get treated like that? I'd never talk to a cop like that". My point being there is a LOT of nuance, greyness and some degree of danger in what we do and it's complex.

    Example: Mrs. Jones lives in a nice, comfy mostly white suburb. She sees a car she doesn't know parked up outside her house, driver is a black male. She calls 911 reporting a "suspicious" person, provides description. She's not a "Karen", has no history of calling us. So now, you're the cop assigned this call. What do you do?

    Is this a driver from Uber/Lyft waiting for a fare? Is it the pizza guy lost? Maybe the driver is new to town and simply checking out the place looking at houses. Or is he waiting for a buddy who lives close by? Perhaps he's ill or having a medical issue?

    Based on the call, he is not breaking the law, he's legally parked. So do you do a quick drive by, see nothing going on, and go on about your business? This opens the door to the criticism of "cops don't do anything when I call"

    Do you stop and check on him to make sure he's ok? If you do that, do you just knock on the window and ask "You ok mate?". he says yes, and you say "OK, cool, making sure you are ok" and off you go. Now you could be criticized for not asking for ID and checking who you are dealing with. What if he had warrants or history of burglary and you let him pass? OR, could criticized for racial profiling and harassment. He might say "You picking on me because I'm black, I'm not doing anything wrong".

    My point being, in this job you can be 100% right and 100% wrong depending on perspective. Some cops I know won't ticket a person of color, just give warnings. They just don't want to deal with it. is this fair to the other drivers who get the ticket? Where do we draw the line?

    Crime, like it or not is connected to many other parts of society's issues. We're the public face of it, and we're tired. Personally, I think it'll get better as things normalize and we'll move on, but it'll take time and some navel gazing from all of us. Soap box going away......



  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 16,267 Mod ✭✭✭✭Manic Moran


    The Governor has decided to place a little more emphasis on the Southern border of late, with thousands of Guardsmen and DPS troopers down there to help Border Patrol. Whilst undoubtedly you won't notice the lack of Guardsmen (beyond those plucked from your PD), has the shift of DPS (and whoever else) resources to the South affected anything in your neck of the woods? Extra patrols to pick up slack, or more emphasis on Sheriffs, etc?

    What's the vibe like in the department for major events like Austin City Limits or SxSW? You all enjoy yourselves in the party atmosphere, or are you cursing the extra workload, and being taken away from other areas which still need 'routine' policing?

    And I still haven't figured out what to make of Constables.

    Post edited by Manic Moran on


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


    The Governor has decided to place a little more emphasis on the Southern border of late, with thousands of Guardsmen and DPS troopers down there to help Border Patrol. Whilst undoubtedly you won't notice the lack of Guardsmen (beyond those plucked from your PD), has the shift of DPS (and whoever else) resources to the South affected anything in your neck of the woods? Extra patrols to pick up slack, or more emphasis on Sheriffs, etc.?

    Where I'm at, we don't really notice the lack of DPS as we're a pretty urban spot. The more rural parts of the state are suffering, and the Troopers I've spoke to hate it. They get sent to the border on temporary duty, living in hotels away from family etc. Some I've spoken to have no interest in it, as one of them said "I'm a Sate Trooper, not the Border Patrol".

    The governor did make a big thing about sending state troopers into cities that he felt were defunding their police, which has drained more resources away from highway policing and it's just window dressing. The state police are not set up to be a urban LE agency. A 911 call will be routed to the local police not the staties as they are not integrated into our dispatch system. And they don't have the administrative or investigative processes for things like domestics, pub fights, etc. They are primarily a highway patrol not beat cops.

    What's the vibe like in the department for major events like Austin City Limits or SxSW? You all enjoy yourselves in the party atmosphere, or are you cursing the extra workload, and being taken away from other areas which still need 'routine' policing?

    Like any cop, we welcome the OT but overall those things are a pain in in the hole as it's drunks on a grand scale. Yes, they can be fun as there usually is a good vibe at some of the shows and ya might get to see a flagship performer more or less for free. These events are not free to the organizer. Cities will negotiate with the organizers to recoup some of the costs to pay for the extra OT for the out of venue costs. IE extra cops downtown, road closures, traffic, etc. The in-venue policing is typically either contracted as off-duty OT with individual officers, or sometimes they'll direct contract with the agency for off duty OT. Personally, I don't care for big shows, too many drunks & fights, I prefer to work the marathons, races, etc., better crowd, less hassle.

    And I still haven't figured out what to make of Constables.

    Yeah, constables a unique Texas thing and some sort of artifact left over from the past frontier days. In principle, they are process serves and bailiffs, serve civil and some criminal subpoenas (summons in Ireland), deal with evictions, and support the Justice of the peace Courts. However, it's an elected position and so to an extent are personality driven by whoever is in charge. Most constables offices stay in their lane, but some do get into full LE duties, traffic, etc. They have full police powers and are much a cop as anyone else.



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