Police Officer

Police Officer

BlueSheepdog

10 Years Experience

Around the Way, FL

Male, 40

Cheating death and fighting communism: that is how a fellow officer once described our job. It was meant to be funny, but as time went on it seemed all too true.

I spent more than ten years in law enforcement, all of it on the street in uniform patrol. I've been a patrol officer, instructor, sergeant and lieutenant.

Do not report crimes here. Nothing here should be considered legal advice. All opinions are my own.

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Last Answer on October 29, 2014

Best Rated

When you pull over or arrest a minority, does race cross your mind? Do you worry that you might be accused of racism?

Asked by astutegoose about 10 years ago

Race is merely a descriptor to me when looking for someone. For example, if a white male just robbed a store, I will be looking specifically for white males. Beyond that, I don't care what you look like, where you are from, etc. All people are capable of good and evil. I'm looking for what people are doing, not what the look like. Every cop, no matter their own race, is accused of racism. Criminals don't like being arrested and can make all sorts of outlandish claims in an effort to "get back" at the cop who arrested them. It is annoying, but part of the world in which we work.

Have you ever shot and/or killed anyone?

Asked by Amy S. about 10 years ago

No.

Have you worked with any openly gay police officers? If you have, do they get a hard time from or get snubbed by other cops?

Asked by JSB about 10 years ago

Yes, I have worked with several officers who are openly homosexual. No, they are not given any grief about that from the other officers. Most people/officers don't care about your sexual preferences. How you are treated by other officers comes down to the content of your character. Are you a hard worker? Are you honest and honorable? Are you effective as a police officer? These are the things that cops care about when evaluating their peers.

Regarding immigration laws like Arizona's that give police the right to stop people and demand proof of immigration status, do you think it's possible for cops to apply that without regard to race?

Asked by Maria about 10 years ago

I don't work in Arizona, so I am not an expert on their laws. However, two things: 1. Police officers cannot just "stop people and demand proof of immigration status." I've heard a few people state this on various news programs, but it is a statement made for political ends or out of ignorance. The Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution governs the seizure of persons, and various cases (Terry v. Ohio, et al) have clarified the legalities of investigative detentions. Investigative detentions are short-duration stops of a person where the officer has reasonable, articulable suspicion that the person is engaged in unlawful activity. For example, a subject wearing a ski mask and carrying a crowbar at the back door of a business at 3 am can be lawfully detained as the officer can articulate specific facts that would lead him to believe the subject was engaged in a burglary. Absence reasonable, articulable suspicion, officers may not lawfully stop people. So to stop someone and check his or her immigration status, the officer must have already established facts that would lead a reasonable person to believe the subject being stopped was a foreign national inside the US illegally. 2. Being an illegal alien has nothing to do with race. Being an illegal alien is about nationality. Don't be fooled by politicians with personal agendas. Citizens of other countries are (generally) not allowed to visit or immigrate to the United States without permission of the federal government. Permission typically takes the form of a visa. Absent that permission, the person is violating federal law. The funny thing is law enforcement is already required to determine the nationality of all people who are detained or arrested for the purposes of conforming to international treaty. The US is a signatory to various treaties regarding consular notification and access. Officers are required to determine if someone is a foreign national, and offer to contact their consular officers if so. By treaty, we are required to notify certain foreign governments even if the arrested subject declines. You can read more about consular notifications here: http://travel.state.gov/pdf/cna/CNA_Manual_3d_Edition.pdf It would seem that if someone was arrested, and they advised they were a citizen of another country, that INS would be able to tell law enforcement officers if the subject was in the US legally. If not, it would seem INS should get involved and address the issue. Of course, I have arrested many felons in the past who were in this country illegally and the feds failed to take any enforcement action. Probably the worst case was a subject I arrested once who was a member of an international gang, and who was a known drug trafficker. I arrested him for rape. He plead to a lesser charge and INS decided not to deport him. Bottom line: race isn't part of the issue, except for people using immigration as a political football.

Is it true that cops' benefits and pension are really top-notch?

Asked by SD joe about 10 years ago

Depends on the area of the country where you are doing the comparing. Where I started my career in Georgia, no. Our benefits, pay and retirement were significantly below what was available in the private sector. At my current position in Florida, my benefits are on par with much of the private sector, with a better retirement plan than many in the private sector. Other areas of the country, benefits and pensions vary - some significantly better than others.

How much truth is there to the Blue Code of Silence? Have you ever seen a cop lie or claim ignorance to protect a fellow officer?

Asked by CarGo about 10 years ago

There is some truth to it, as people who are friends (regardless of profession) do tend to stick up for each other. You can find the same dynamic on a sports team, in a military unit, and in any organization where tight teamwork is essential for success. I've never seen a police officer lie under oath to protect another officer. Nor have I ever seen another officer turn a blind eye to unethical or criminal behavior. Does it happen? Sure - but no where nearly as often as Hollywood depicts.

When do you call a forensics team in to look at a crime scene? If my apartment gets robbed while I'm on vacation, is that considered "important" enough to dust for prints, or do they only get called for homicides and stuff?

Asked by jorgegrenada about 10 years ago

The severity of the crime generally dictates who will process the scene. At my department, all of the patrol officers are equipped and trained to lift prints. So, on a relatively minor crime like an auto burglary, the patrol officer is responsible for processing the scene for evidence. We also have officers in patrol that are cross-trained to be evidence techs. These officers have been through multiple training classes for advanced evidence collection and have more tools than the average patrol officer has. In your example, a patrol officer would likely call one of these officers to help process the scene. For major cases, such as murder investigations, a specialized crime scene unit will be called in to work the scene. Traffic homicide cases are handled by a specialized unit of traffic homicide investigators. Evidence collection in these cases is similar, but these investigators are having to collect a lot of physical data that will allow them to reconstruct the physics of the accident. All crimes are important. However, a finite amount of resources requires departments to ration services. The more serious the crime, the more resources a department will be able to devote to it.