Police Officer

Police Officer


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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615 Questions


Last Answer on October 29, 2014

Best Rated

When cops pull over an off-duty cop for speeding, is it understood that just flashing your badge will get you out of it? What if the off-duty cop is doing something really bad, like 100+mph or driving drunk?

Asked by Oren1 almost 12 years ago

It is situational and individual dependent. The examples you gave are crimes, so "flashing a badge" would not save you. Often, the consequences are worse for an officer since he/she has a sworn oath to uphold the law, not break it. In some jurisdictions, that opens the officer to an additional criminal act of violating the oath of office. But, yes, off-duty officers sometimes get consideration that others do not. (Don't ask me to defend the ethics of such activity, because I cannot. It is what it is.)

Would you encourage or discourage one of your children to become a police officer?

Asked by Jamie K almost 12 years ago

Interesting question, and one I have considered before. Frankly, I'd rather my kids do something that was much safer, was less likely to result in a wrecked marriage, didn't put them in regular contact with the ugliness of humanity and that paid better. However, if they express an interest, then I will make sure they understand what they are getting into. If they wish to continue down the path, then I will encourage them to be the best cops they can possibly be.

Do cops become cops to protect people, or because they enjoy the power? (Funny movie scene to illustrate the point: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VGfYX7NmYnU.)

Asked by Kooomar almost 12 years ago

Generally, cops are alpha personalities. Think about it: passive people don't seek out the most violent criminal elements in society and try to stop their anti-social behavior. Some officers are more "touchy-feely" than others, but at the end of the day, you have to be more "hunter" than "nurturer" to do the job. In fact, an FBI study illustrated the more easy-going an officer was, the more likely he would be killed. I think it is very rare for officers seeking power to actually get into police work. Most people craving power are the bully-types, who are ultimately cowards. Cowards don't make it in this profession. Instead, many officers got into the job because they had a fundamental desire to try to help their community. No doubt, there are some unqualified people who seek employment as an officer. Most of these get weeded out in the pre-employment testing. At virtually all law enforcement agencies in the US, candidates have an extensive background investigation plus must pass a polygraph and psychological examination. Even with these safeguards in place, a few idiots make it through. Most of these get weeded out in the training process, but a few do make it into the ranks. As they say, there are bad apples in every profession. Unfortunately, officers have a great deal of power and bad apples in police work can cause major problems.

Is a "citizen's arrest" a real thing? What's the correct way to actually make one?

Asked by Mahoney!!! almost 12 years ago

Each state varies, but yes a citizen can make an arrest of another citizen in certain circumstances. Typically it is limited to felonies that happened in the citizen's presence, but vary from state to state. Some states allow merchants to detain/arrest shoplifters, for example. Other states have no provision for a citizen's arrest. Generally, you have no civil or criminal liability protections if you attempt to make a citizen's arrest (even if it is legal in your state.)

What was the most horrifying scene or situation you ever had to respond to? (Sorry, the Miami cannibal attack is still kinda fresh in mind...)

Asked by Brooke-lin almost 12 years ago

I've been to a lot, but I hope you will forgive me for not talking about them.

Have you ever been shot or seriously injured on the job?

Asked by Jonah J almost 12 years ago

Shot, no. Shot at, yes. While I have been injured, thankfully, all of my injuries have been relatively mild. Only one required any kind of "light duty," meaning that I had to work a desk for a few weeks until I was seen and cleared by a surgeon due to a knee injury.

My friend rants about how talking to the cops is ALWAYS a bad idea, even if you don't think you've done anything wrong. You're probably biased, but isn't there truth to that? Have you actually ever NOT arrested someone because he was cooperative?

Asked by samsam almost 12 years ago

Yes, I suppose I am biased in this. But, here is what experience (from my side of the badge) has shown me. Talking to the cops is generally a bad idea if you have engaged in illegal activity. However, being honest with the officers can help lessen the seriousness of the situation. I have genuinely worked to help out people who have committed crimes when there were mitigating circumstances and they were honest about what happened. For example, I worked a property crime recently where the accused called me because he wanted to do the right thing. Based on his honesty and willingness to turn himself in, I asked the jail to give him a lower bond (bail) and talked to the prosecutor about reducing or dropping the charges. I wouldn't have done any of that if he had not been up-front and honest. Yes, I have not arrested many people who talked to me. A perfect example is when I responded to an assault recently. The complainant advised the accused beat him down for no reason. There were marks on the complainant consistant with being attacked. A passerby advised the accused hit the complainant. So it sounds like the accused should go to jail. However, against your friend's advice, the accused talked to me and explained that the complainant had just stolen his bike. The accused advised he approached the complainant to get the bike back, and the complainant spun around to hit him. The accused said he then defended himself and was able to get back his bike. Eventually, I was able to confirm his story based on some of the particulars the accused gave me. The end result was the accused did not go to jail, but would have had he not talked to me. (FYI, the accused chose not to prosecute the complainant for theft. He felt justice had already be served.) Not talking to the cops is a personal choice. I talk to people all day; it is my job. How can I know what is going on in my patrol area if I don't talk to people, and they talk to me? Not talking to each other does nothing good - it just reinforces mistrust and barriers. I'd much rather work WITH the community than against it.

What's the hardest part of training to become a cop?

Asked by ATLuke almost 12 years ago

In the academy, it seems like most people fail out because of firearms or academics (not passing tests) rather than just giving up. In field training (the initial on-the-job training), encountering violence is often what causes a lot of people to rethink their career choice. Law enforcement can be an ugly business and the environment is very toxic. Discovering that evil is something real, and not just stuff from a bad movie, is a real eye-opener. Most people never get into a fight as an adult. Depending on where you work, fighting people on a daily basis is part of the job. For some new officers, they can't handle the physical danger. Most of them decide on their own to move on. It doesn't mean they aren't great people, just not suited for police work. I don't think most people are prepared to encounter violence on a daily basis.

What was it like the first time you shot a gun?

Asked by borat almost 12 years ago

I started shooting a long time before I went into police work. Shooting has always been fun and relaxing for me. I don't recall the first time I shot a gun, though it was likely one of my dad's .22 rifles. BB guns before that.

Hands down one of the best threads I've read on this site. My question: do cops and firemen get along? Thought there was a little bit of a rivalry there.

Asked by Car 54 almost 12 years ago

Thanks for the comment about this thread. There is a very friendly rivalry between the cops and hose draggers (errr...firefighters) in my area. We work together all the time, and the firefighters in our city are top notch. Sometimes there are practical jokes back and forth, and always a funny jibe, but it is always friendly. Several of our officers have relatives on the fire department.

The AZ law allows cops to demand proof of status when there is mere suspicion that a person is in the country illegally (even if he hasn't been otherwise detained/arrested). So I think the real Q is whether you can truly be blind to the race factor?

Asked by CarGo almost 12 years ago

As far as I know the Arizona law is about nationality, not race.

Can I become a cop if I have a couple misdemeanors on my record?

Asked by anon almost 12 years ago

Depends. Some misdemeanors will automatically disqualify you, such as anything related to perjury or domestic violence. Others will not necessarily exclude you (like a bad check when you were in college, for example). However, any criminal record is going to make it difficult for you to get hired. If you have multiple arrests, it will be very difficult indeed.

If I refuse to take a breathalyzer when I'm pulled over, is that treated the same as had I agreed to it and blown over the limit?

Asked by TesstheBess almost 12 years ago

Depends on where you live. Different states have different laws on the subject. Generally, there are legal repercussions for refusing the state administered chemical tests (breathalyzer, etc). Sorry I cant be more specific.

If I get pulled over for speeding, will a PBA card or windshield sticker affect whether I get a ticket?

Asked by Sherm68 almost 12 years ago

No. Politeness and honesty are your best friends in a traffic stop. Many officers already have an idea of what enforcement action they will take when they stop you. However, honesty and good manners are so refreshing that many officers will cut you some slack. Rudeness, on the other hand, can turn a warning into a court appearance. On a sparate note, the folks doing the soliciting for the PBA and other law enforcement organizations are often telemarketing companies who only give a small portion of the money they collect to the organization they claim to represent. If you want to donate to a law enforcement charity, consider Concerns of Police Survivors http://www.nationalcops.org/ They help the families of police officers killed in the line of duty.

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 almost 12 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. almost 12 years ago


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 almost 12 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.

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 almost 12 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.

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 almost 12 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.

What's considered to be the best and worst assignments or "beats" as a cop? For example, I could swear I've heard that if a cop is in the doghouse at work, he might get assigned traffic duty or desk/paperwork stuff...

Asked by mark almost 12 years ago

Depends on the officer and the jurisdiction what could be the "worst." For example, some cops work hard to make detective, while I would hate the job. The worst for them would be to have my job, and the reverse for me. In most jurisdictions there are some patrol districts that are busier than others. Getting assigned to one of those could be considered a punishment for some people.

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

Asked by SD joe almost 12 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.

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 almost 12 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.

When you approach a situation where a lot of people have guns drawn, how do you determine who the bad guys are? e.g. if you show up and one guy's pointing a gun at another, how do you know he's not a plainclothes cop?

Asked by barryschiller almost 12 years ago

It is very situation dependent. What information has dispatch relayed to us? Is there someone that is displaying a badge or other identifiers? What are the circumstances? Do we have prior information about undercover officers working in an area? Misidentifying a good/bad guy is always a problem, and shooting an off-duty or plain clothes officer is a very real possibility. There is no simple answer to this question and the circumstances will offer responding officers "context clues" to the nature of the incident.

Do you and other cops actively avoid donut shops given all the stereotypes and jokes?

Asked by johnson22 almost 12 years ago

Some officers avoid the places, while others don't mind. For a lot of areas, these are one of the few places open if you are working midnights. So if you need a cup of coffee, the local Dunkin Donuts might be your best bet. I'm not a huge fan of donuts or coffee, so I don't generally have cause to stop in.

What's the absolute bare MINIMUM I have to say to or do for a cop who stops me on the street? Do I have to show him my ID if he asks to see it? Do I have to speak to him at all? Can I just ignore him and walk away?

Asked by mister almost 12 years ago

It depends on the circumstances. There are three tiers of police-citizen interactions: consensual, investigative detentions and arrest. Your question relates to the first two tiers. If it is a consensual encounter, you do not have to stop and talk with the officer. An example of a consensual encounter is an officer engaging in friendly conversation with a shop clerk, stopping out to talk to kids playing basketball in a park or talking to someone on a street corner. This conversation is another example of a consensual encounter. If it is an investigative detention, then you must stop and identify yourself to the officer. Depending on the circumstances, you may be required to give additional information (such as on a traffic stop, you would need to provide a driver's license, registration and proof of insurance in many states). An investigative detention is predicated by an officer's reasonable, articulable suspicion of illegal activity by the person being stopped. This is more than a hunch, but far less than probable cause (needed for a lawful arrest). Examples of reasonable suspicion that would warrant an investigative detention could include a subject hanging out at the rear of a closed business late at night or seeing someone matching the description of a person fleeing from a crime. The problem with just ignoring the officer and walking off is you don't know which of the encounters the officer is initiating. If you ignore and walk away from an officer who is attempting to stop you as part of an investigative detention, expect to get grabbed and possibly face obstruction charges. Your best bet is to stop long enough to talk with the officer and inquire if you are being detained. If the officer says no, then feel free to walk away. Of course, being friendly and introducing yourself to the officer is always an option as well. Cops are people too, and unless you are involved in criminal activity you might find that we can be quite engaging to talk to.

What happens to the drugs that are seized during drug busts?

Asked by HGHG88 almost 12 years ago

Drugs are held in evidence storage until the conclusion of the criminal trial. At that point, a judge will typically issue a court order for their destruction.

Does the murder of a minority gang member in the projects get as many resources allocated toward solving it as the murder of a white victim in a wealthy part of town?

Asked by billO almost 12 years ago

Yes. It saddens me to see certain political "leaders" suggest otherwise for their own personal gain. It saddens me even more that their are people gullible enough to believe it.

Do cops have monthly quotas for speeding tickets?

Asked by slowgrind almost 12 years ago

Some agencies have used quotas as a method of ensuring officers maintain a high level of productivity. Frankly, quotas are unethical and are just a lazy supervisor's attempt to look good. If officers are not active, a supervisor should demonstrate leadership and inspire his or her people to provide superior service. Even if an agency employed a quota, I don't know that timing would have any bearing on enforcement. It is possible though. Maybe a topic for Mythbusters?

Is it true that any time a cop discharges his firearm, the objective is to KILL? In other words, are you ever trying to merely wound or incapacitate, and if not, then why?

Asked by pete almost 12 years ago

The short answer is no, police officers are not trying to kill anyone when they are forced to shoot them. The long answer: A police officer is authorized to use deadly force only when confronted with an imminent deadly threat, or to prevent/stop a forcible felony (armed robbery, rape, etc). The use of a firearm is deadly force. So, any time a police officer is authorized to shoot someone, it is an emergency situation where the officer or innocent citizen is in immediate danger. The objective is to stop the threat as quickly as possible. Or, in other words, to get the bad guy to stop whatever he is doing to create the dangerous situation. Shooting is a very precise activity. In a stress situation, with people moving and other variables, putting a bullet that is a fraction of an inch wide into any specific location is virtually impossible. So, officers are trained to shoot for the torso, which is the largest target. Additionally, wounds to the torso can cause rapid incapacitation due to blood loss. Wounding someone in the arm is not realistic as it is a very hard target to hit, and it is not likely to stop the violent behavior of the suspect. So, officers are trained to shoot to stop the threat. Death is sometimes a byproduct of that, but it is not the goal.

What's the difference between a good cop and a great cop?

Asked by c-town almost 12 years ago

Motivation. I know a lot of really good officers. But the really great ones are the ones who are self-motivated to excellence. The problem is maintaining the motivation over a career. Dealing with the stuff on the street is bad enough, but inept leadership in departments can crush morale and motivation.

When you respond to a domestic violence call, if the woman insists that "everything is fine" but you suspect (though cannot prove) that all is not fine, what do you do? Do you have to take her word and leave?

Asked by NOLA Brad almost 12 years ago

Depends. What other evidence do I have that something criminal is taking place? For example, do I have witnesses telling me something different? Do I see injuries on the woman? Can I see damage inside the residence from a fight? If someone called 911, do I have recorded statements from the woman (or others) that give me evidence that things are not "fine?" There have been numerous cases where a woman has been standing at the door telling the officers "everything is fine," while the man is behind the door/around the corner threatening to hurt/kill her if she tells the cops anything else. Officers are obligated to investigate each case fully, but within the confines of the law. If no evidence exists, and the woman insists "everything is fine," that may be the end of it. If other evidence exists, officers will investigate as far as they legally can.

Are there any laws that even cops think are excessive and don't go out of their way to enforce? Like someone doing 60 in a 55, or jaywalking on an empty street, etc?

Asked by iceman almost 12 years ago

Of course. There are a lot of laws that police officers feel are excessive. Different cops have different views, but most officers tend to have a libertarian streak to them. (I know - it's not what it portrayed on the internet and in the media, but it is true.) So, many/most of the laws telling people what they can/can't do with their lives & property don't sit well with many of us. Things like getting permission from the local government to cut down a tree on your property or how many cars you can park in your driveway really don't sit well with most of us. Ultimately, most cops try to apply a little common sense to a situation. From your example, most of the officers in our jurisdiction won't stop someone for less than 10 mph over the posted limit.

What kind of hazing do rookie cops experience?

Asked by Erik the Gr8 almost 12 years ago

No one has time for hazing at any of the departments I have worked. The closest thing to a rite of passage for new officers is they tend to get all of the bad calls when they are starting out. This normally isn't a "dump job" on them for being the new guy, but rather part of their field training. We try to get them as many calls as possible during their first 14 weeks, which is the initial on-the-street training they get. We want them to get as many different experiences under their belt while they still have an experienced training officer riding with them. New guys are going to make mistakes, but with a field training officer with them, the mistakes are fewer and can be corrected immediately. Typically, the "first" kind of calls are small hurdles they cross. "First" chase, "first" arrest, "first" fight, "first" death investigation, etc. Once a rookie is on his or her own for a while and other officers know they can count on them in a dangerous situation, they are accepted as an equal.

Have you ever worked with corrupt cops? Have you ever been offered substantial bribes to look the other way at the scene of a crime?

Asked by 305mayday almost 12 years ago

No, I have never worked with corrupt cops. The only bribes I have ever been offered have been by drunk idiots who probably didn't know what they were saying. Regardless, there is no amount of money that someone can offer that would make me want to risk my freedom, and destroy my honor and integrity.

Are cops allowed to lie when interrogating a witness? Like, could they say "we already have your prints on the gun, so just confess to save time" even if it's not true? How about promising a lighter sentences - can they offer that and then reneg?

Asked by darrynscholes almost 12 years ago

Yes and no. Some lies are ok, but some are not. Criminals lie to cops constantly, and it is my job to figure out what the truth is. Suggesting I have more information that I actually do is one way that I can get a criminal to trip themselves up in their lies. But, with all things, a court is going to determine if an officer's actions were reasonable. Generally, promises of a lighter punishment, not being prosecuted, etc. you cannot lie about.

In your opinion, should having a 4-year college degree be a requirement to be a police officer? Does your department require it?

Asked by ironeagle almost 12 years ago

Every department is different on degrees. Some require 4 year degrees, but most do not. A college education is ok, but other than giving you general knowledge, it isn't of much use as a street cop. For promotion, it is requirement for many positions. Frankly, the problem with many new officers is their sense of entitlement and lack of worldly experience. Generally, I have found that new cops that were in the military are far better equipped to be police officers. Most of them have had life experience beyond sitting in a classroom and partying all weekend. At the end of the day, officers are required to seek out the most dangerous elements of society and confront them. When someone starts shooting, everyone runs away except a police officer, who runs toward the danger. Most colleges don't prepare people for that action.

Why do some cops still ride horses? Is that just for tradition's sake, or is there some practical reason for it?

Asked by naynay almost 12 years ago

Depends on the department. Most agencies do not have mounted officers. However, horses are very good for assisting with crowd control. I think New Orleans and NYC still have mounted units exactly for that reason. Also, for rural areas, horses can go a lot of places that vehicles cannot. So, they also make sense for some departments that have to patrol or conduct search and rescue in rugged environments.

You mentioned that you'd hate being a detective, but why is that? What kind of cops are drawn to detective work?

Asked by watson almost 12 years ago

I enjoy working in uniform patrol as I am responding to crimes and emergencies as they are happening, not merely following up on a case later. A detective's life is fairly routine, whereas a patrol cop's day is completely unpredictable. It isn't a simple matter to quantify who wants to be a detective. Some officers make the move because they like taking a major case and running it to its conclusion no matter how long it takes. Other guys make the move simply because of a pay increase or they want the weekends off. A lot of officers transfer over just as a change of scenery. There are a lot of perks for being a detective, but its just not a job thats interested me.

If you're off-duty with family/friends and you see one of them doing something mildly illegal, do you act as a cop in that instance? E.g., your 19-year-old nephew has a beer at the family BBQ, or your poker buddy drives home after he's had a few ...

Asked by Darren S. almost 12 years ago

I'd never allow anything that puts the public at risk to happen in my presence. So the idea that I'd let a friend/family member drive if he/she is intoxicated is alien to me. I deal with the consequences of other people's actions all day, and I don't tolerate stupidity around me. The family and friends I associate with aren't involved in criminal activity, so it isn't typically a problem.

Do you wear a bulletproof vest at all times on the job?

Asked by Kev-Lar almost 12 years ago


If you ask to search someone's veihicle and they refuse, do you assume they've got something to hide?

Asked by Slam J 74 almost 12 years ago

Not really. Chances are I'd decline to give consent to an officer for search my vehicle as well. Of course, I wouldn't ask for consent to search a vehicle without some suspicion of criminal activity to begin with. So, the mere act of declining consent wouldn't affect my suspicions one way or another.

What's the talk been in your precinct about the Colorado Batman movie shootings re: the police response, what they did well/poorly, etc?

Asked by eric almost 12 years ago

There are too many questions and not enough facts for people to comment much. But a couple of things have been discussed by my fellow officers: 1. The media coverage sucks. The media seems more interested in banning guns than they do in reporting facts about the incident. I'm pretty tired of reading ignorant articles that use terms like "high powered magazine" or refer to four guns as an arsenal. The rush to get the bloodiest photos and information (incorrect is ok) on the air is disgusting. 2. Just one off duty cop or lawfully armed citizen sitting in the theater could have stopped the killing. Sure the guy was wearing body armor, but when he is now taking rounds (which will still REALLY hurt), he is going to stop killing the defenseless to either retreat or focus on whoever is shooting at him. Too bad the theater's no gun policy only applied to people who follow the law - not murderers. 3. The Aurora PD had an extremely fast response time. As far as just how the officers handled the situation - they ran toward the shooting rather than away from it. Not much else needs to be said. As the department debriefs all of the officers involved and evaluates the overall response, we may get a feeling of what could have been done better, but I doubt there is anything different they could have done.

Do cops really have high divorce rates?

Asked by the bam almost 12 years ago

I don't know what the specific rates of divorce are, but I suspect the numbers are higher in law enforcement than in other professions. There are probably many more people that are better qualified to answer the "why," but I can give you a few things that don't help: shift work, working on holidays, working on off days, sitting in court all day instead of taking the kids to the beach, rarely seeing your spouse due to your work schedule, the high-stress environment tends to negatively affect the home life, spouses don't like the idea of their cop being hurt or killed and pressure them to leave the job, etc. There are a lot of things about police work that negatively impact a marriage. Many cops will tell you that you're still a rookie if you are still on your first marriage. Sad, but closer to reality than comfortable.

What's the career arc for a police officer? How do pay raises and promotions typically work? Do all officers start out on a "beat" and work their way up to something else? Do officers stay beat cops for the duration of their career?

Asked by Andy Sipowicz over 11 years ago

Everywhere is different. Some departments have a defined pay advancement plan (sometimes called a step plan), while others do not. My agency does not have such a plan, and we negotiate with the city for annual raises. How promotions are handles also varies. Often, there are minimum standards set for a position, such as X number of years with the department, certain training classes completed, etc. College degrees may be required for some/all advancement positions. Many police officers stay in uniform patrol for their entire career. Patrol is the backbone of an agency, and accounts for the majority of the officers. Only a few can move out of patrol into other positions. For many officers, patrol is what they like, and where they want to be. I prefer patrol over most specialty positions for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is the ability to respond to incidents and help people in crisis. By the time a detective shows up to a scene, I've already done a lot to shape the course of the investigation.

Is it standard for cops to be put on required administrative leave after they shoot someone?

Asked by ErinWright almost 12 years ago

Yes. This allows time for the agency to investigate the incident and evaluate the officer's fitness for duty. Involvement in a deadly force encounter is extremely draining, emotionally and physically, and even when everything happend "by the book," it can be very hard on the officer.

Is there anything stopping someone from grabbing your gun right out of your holster? Do they train you to watch out for that?

Asked by Leslie over 11 years ago

Yes - there is a lot of training that goes into defeating disarming attempts. Should anyone try to take my firearm, they should expect an immediate and extremely violent reaction. Someone trying to take my firearm is a imminent threat to my life and the lives of the citizens around me, and any officer will respond appropriately to that. Also, departments generally issue or require the use of special duty holsters that also have a series of movements, snaps, levers, locks and/or other devices that prevent an unauthorized person from removing the firearm from the holster.

I don't understand why some speeding violations result in just a warning while others result in a ticket. If someone's speeding, shouldn't it just be a ticket, end of story? Why is it up to a cop to make some arbitrary decision?

Asked by jonah almost 12 years ago

The short answer is "That's the way the laws are written." If you believe that police officers should not be allowed to exercise discretion, work with your elected representatives to change the law. I think, however, most people want police officers to be able to exercise discretion. For example, if I stop a parent rushing to the hospital after their child was taken to the emergency room, I'm not handing them a speeding ticket. There are a whole host of reasons why I might not issue someone a citation. The point of traffic enforcement is to modify behavior. In other words, it should not be about generating income for the jurisdiction, it should be about encouraging the safe operation of motor vehicles for the purpose of reducing accidents and traffic fatalities. If I can get someone to drive in a more safe manner with an encouraging word, why should I instead drop a $200 fine on them?

If you don't read a suspect his Miranda rights, I know his STATEMENTS are inadmissible, but what if he tells you where the gun is and you go get it and THAT blows the case open? Is EVIDENCE gathered as the RESULT of a flawed interrogation admissible?

Asked by Jax about 11 years ago

Your premise is incorrect.  Just because someone is a suspect doesn't mean that you have to read the Miranda warning to him or her.  As a police officer, I can talk to a lot of suspects, and usually will, without ever reading the Miranda warning to them and the statements are completely admissible.  

If a suspect is in custody, and I am questioning them, then they need to voluntarily waive the rights enumerated in the Miranda warning.  But, even if they do not waive their rights, or if I never read the warning to them, any spontaneous statements are still admissible.

If a suspect is not in custody, i might need to read the Miranda warning to them, but it is a wide, gray area that is interpreted by the courts based on the totality of the circumstances.

If I am questioning a subject who is under arrest or otherwise in a position where I would be required to read the Miranda warning, and the subject exercises his or her right not to talk to me, then any evidence that I coerce from the individual...and anything that develops from that including physical evidence that I would not have found anyway...would be inadmissible.

Keep in mind these are generalities, every case is different, there is more than 200 years of case law interpreting this area of the law in the United States, and I am not an attorney.

Also keep in mind that "Miranda rights" do not exist.  You may understand this, but many people do not.  The Miranda case did not grant any new rights to people.  Rather it was an interpretation of the rights conferred by natural law and codified in the Bill of Rights.  The Miranda warning is merely a procedural reading of some of the rights that the accused has.  

In the wake of the horrible CT massacre, has your department/precinct received any new instruction or precautionary protocols dealing with schools, schoolchildren, etc?

Asked by Concerned dad over 11 years ago

No. From the information I have gotten from officers who actually responded to that incident, the responding agencies did everything right to stop the killing as quickly as possible. From the time the first 911 call was received to when the first officer was pulling on scene was less than two minutes if I recall correctly. That was an amazingly fast response time. Once on scene, the officers deployed and went straight toward the killer to engage him. The response techniques they used are the same ones we use for these incidents. While the incident will be studied and each officer's performance evaluated, as a whole, the tactics appear to have worked as designed. However, even more children could have been saved had a armed teacher or parent been on scene.

If you catch a few teens or 20-somethings smoking a joint but otherwise minding their own business, will you arrest them?

Asked by Cheech Jr. over 11 years ago

In my state, the possession of marijuana is a crime. So, yes, as a general rule, people committing crimes are arrested.

i filled out my pba for lapd. it says, i am disqualified. I answered honestly saying i did cristal myth once, and i have done marijuana in the past. i called to see if i can still go to the testing site. I thought honesty is best

Asked by marium almost 12 years ago

Honesty is an absolute requirement for being a police officer. I'm not sure if you are asking if you should lie on a background application or not, but no...you should always be completely honest. There are any number of reasons why someone might be disqualified, and a history of drug use is one of those things. Methamphetamine is a dangerous drug, and one with a high likelihood of addiction. The public is entitled to be reasonably sure that officers are not using dangerous, illegal drugs. I hope you are clean now, and stay clean for the rest of your life.

Do you get personally annoyed when news stories about cops misbehaving or abusing their power are in the news? Do you notice people being meaner to you after high-profile incidents like that?

Asked by Sotmay about 11 years ago

Yes, hearing stories of police officers abusing their positon pisses me off.  Cops that commit crimes or otherwise act in unethical manners are very few when compared to the number of law enforcement officers on the job, yet they bring a lot of negative attention to the profession, tainting the public's view of the honest, hardworking cops.

There are plenty of time the media doesn't get the story right, which makes good cops look bad.  How many times does the media run a broadcast of a mother who is crying the cops didn't have to shoot her son, yet never balance that against the fact that the "poor son" was a convicted felon who was trying to stab an officer to death?  (The media is in the advertising business, not the factual reporting business.  Never forget that.)

I live in Europe and I just don't understand when I see that american politicians won't even admit that guns contribute to deaths. Are you frustrated with that because you are the one who actually has to face the armed bandits?

Asked by santosarena almost 12 years ago

I'm frustrated by politicians who push for more gun control. Restricting the sale and possession of firearms only harms law abiding citizens. Criminals, by their very definition, don't follow the laws. We currently outlaw murder, yet that law does not prevent a single murder. We outlaw rape. That law fails to protect a single woman against sexual assault. I work in an urban area where our crime rate is above that of the national average. I deal with gangs, thieves, drug dealers and other associated scum on a daily basis. I respond to suicides, homicides and accidental deaths regularly. I've seen a lot of ugly things, and here is what I know from experience: 1. The leading method of accidental death and suicide: prescription drugs. Most of those deaths were with prescription drugs handed out through various government programs (Medicaid, etc.) 2. I have responded to many more cases where a person used a gun to defend themselves, than had one used against them. For example - the woman who drew a pistol to stop two men who were trying to drag her from her car. Or how about the man who got his shotgun when three or four gang members were kicking in the door to his house? I could go on and on. Prior to joining my current department, I worked for a city where gun ownership was required of all residents. Even though the city was located near a very high crime international city, our jurisdiction had the lowest crime rate for the entire state, and one of the lowest for the entire region of the country. Don't believe the media hype. Guns save lives.

Is there a quick way to tell if a badge is fake?

Asked by Marques almost 12 years ago

Not really. Badges vary largely from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. If someone comes to your door claiming to be a police officer, but you have some suspicion they might not be, simply tell them that you are going to call the department and confirm their identity before opening the door. This might be a slight annoyance to a real officer, but they should understand.

Does compassion ever get in the way of being a good cop? Like do you ever want to go easy on a guy who was clearly born into a crappy life situation?

Asked by bluefish over 11 years ago

Compassion is an absolute necessity to be a good police officer. If you cannot be compassionate, I don't care to work with you. It is a tough thing, though, as we are constantly encountering people who need help - day in and day out. Where the average person may only experience strong feelings of compassion when watching a TV program or when a friend or family member needs help, we deal with it daily. It is very draining, physically and psychologically. For example, most people will never have to try to comfort a toddler after she had been abused by a parent. On a recent shift, I did that plus work with a mother who's son was missing and suicidal, deal with multiple homeless people, and work with an elderly man who is exceptionally lonely after his wife's death. And that is a pretty typical day. A number of psychologists developed the term "compassion fatigue" that describes what happens to cops when exposed to this environment long-term. Officers can internalize much of the despair and pain they see, and develop a more callous attitude.

What does someone have to do in order to get arrested for "disturbing the peace"? Can't you basically use that as a catch-all to nail anyone?

Asked by Luiz over 11 years ago

For the elements of any crime, including disturbing the peace, I would suggest you research your state's laws and local ordinances. Every state has different elements for every crime and this is one law where there is a lot of variation. Additionally, many local jurisdictions have ordinances that cover this topic as well. It is impossible for me to give you the elements of this crime. In fact there is so much variance from jurisdiction to jurisdiction on this topic, that it is hard for me to even provide a general definition. Most breach of the peace type crimes involve some type of boisterous activity that serves no legitimate purpose which is likely to, or actually does, disturb the peacefulness of the citizens in the area. There may be certain activities that are specifically listed as examples, or even certain activities that are exempted from these statutes. In the past, some states and local jurisdictions have written these laws to be a "catch-all," and have been subsequently ruled unconstitutional as being too vague. Many/most of the disturbing the peace laws on the books today have withstood constitutional scrutiny. Exercising common courtesy will prevent anyone from being arrested and charged under these laws. Or as Michael Bane once said "Don't do stupid things in stupid places with stupid people."

Do you keep tabs on the release dates of violent offenders you help convict? Have you ever been worried that one would try to track you down?

Asked by darrynscholes over 11 years ago

I'm always concerned that someone I have dealt with will try to find and hurt me. There are plenty of examples of that exact thing happening throughout the US. I even had someone try to do so once. They are back in prison, but have an upcoming release date. I do say that anyone who finds me better be ready for a fight though. I'm never unarmed, and the people around me are armed and trained as well.

Do the police ever use psychics to assist with investigations? Sounds crazy to me but have heard this more than once before.

Asked by The Missing Link over 11 years ago

Outside of the TV shows, I've never seen a department use a psychic. I'm sure there are occasional incidents, but as a general rule, no.

Do you think that going forward, schools should have armed guards at all entrances?

Asked by big fan over 11 years ago

Nope. I am presuming the question comes from the recent debate surrounding the spree killer who murdered many children at a school recently. I'll try to address some of the issues (as I see them) surrounding the proposals offered. More Gun Control: Banning/outlawing the possession of certain kinds of guns that look or sound scary does not lessen the likelihood of future murders or even reduce the number of deaths. I know it sounds cliched, but it seems many people don't understand that laws do not prevent crime. We have laws making it criminal to commit murder, yet that law was violated more than two-dozen times in that one incident. We even have laws against bringing firearms onto a school campus, yet that did not prevent the murders. Plus, many people seem to gloss over the fact that Connecticut already has an "assault weapon" law in place: http://www.cga.ct.gov/current/pub/Chap943.htm#Sec53-202c.htm So even an "assault weapon" law did not prevent the crime. Guns are not the root problem anyway, as shown by other mass murders. For example, Timothy McVeigh killed 168 people, including 19 children, with nothing more than a rental truck, fertilizer and fuel. Terrorists killed nearly 3000 people on September 11, 2012 with nothing more than box cutters. And in a buried story, the same day of the Sandy Hook murders, 22 children were violently attacked by a knife-weilding man in China, a place where there are extremely few guns in the hands of the citizens. Evil is evil and gun control laws have never been shown to reduce crime - only increase tyranny. Armed Guards - The NRA (full disclosure: I am a member) recently proposed an initiative that calls for armed guards/police to be in all schools. While I appreciate the sentiment, and the effort may actually be helpful in some instances, it is not a plan I like. I can foresee a Federal government run program like the TSA to put pseudo-police into every school for the appearance of security. Much like the "real" TSA, it would be for show only and would be a huge money pit. Never mind the civil rights violations. I guess I'm with Ron Paul on this one. Possibilities Not Talked About Many of the current school plans help murderers carry out their bloody attacks. First of all, most schools are considered "gun free zones." That means no law abiding person is carrying a firearm on campus. So, the murderer will be unmolested when they begin killing. Secondly, teachers are frequently taught to move all of their children into a confined location and have them sit and wait. Maybe it will be the murderer...maybe it will be the police...but sit and wait for someone to show up they will. Lastly, people are taught to be passive. "Just give them what they want" is what everyone is taught when confronted by violent criminals. Well, what happens if that criminal wants to kill you? In my opinion, three things can be done to enhance security on campus without spending much money at all. 1. Allow people with a CCW permit, teachers and parents, to carry on campus. These folks have gone through an FBI background check, have been through some type of training, many have law enforcement and military backgrounds and they are ON SCENE when the killing starts. They can end the murders RIGHT NOW rather than waiting on me and my fellow cops to show up some two to five minutes later. How many children will die waiting on a cop to show up? 2. Teach children and teachers to get the hell out of the area when some nutjob shows up. If a killer is shooting people across the hall, your odds of surviving go up dramatically if you and your kids run like hell to get out of the area. Sitting in a classroom and waiting to see who shows up is foolish. 3. If confronted by a killer, don't expect mercy. He wants to kill you. Don't go out without a fight. Not fighting will get you killed, whereas fighting only might get you killed. Yep, you might get shot and you might get killed, but you might also save yourself by taking the bastard out. Don't sit there waiting for the bullet, DIE WITH YOUR BOOTS ON so to speak. Bottom Line: Evil exists. You may not want to believe it, but it does. Violence is the only thing that can stop evil. People who say violence is never acceptable are fools. Violence might just save your life.

Did you also interrogate people at the station, or is that someone else's job? Are you ever amazed at how many people waive their right to have a lawyer present and end up incriminating themselves?

Asked by Canucks4Cup about 11 years ago

I've interviewed people at the department's main HQ many times.  For serious felonies (rape, murder, etc.) an assigned detective would usually take over the investigation.  For less serious crimes such as theft, counterfeiting, domestic violence, etc. usually the patrol officer would handle the interview.

A lot of criminals do incriminate themselves when they should probably shut up.  I guess many of them figure they are smarter than everyone else, or that they can talk their way out of anything.

Most entertainment usually depicts tension between law enforcement agencies when they have to work together. How often do law enforcement agencies work together (e.g. federal and state, city and state, etc.), and is there tension?

Asked by Ron Mexico over 11 years ago

At my department (a city agency) we frequently work with the surrounding cities and the sheriff's department on cases. We rarely have any problems, but you sometimes run into an idiot. I'm pretty sure that's the same in any job. We also work with agencies at the state level fairly frequently. I've rarely butted heads with anybody here either. For street cops, we don't deal with the feds too often. If you are in a specialized unit, it is more common. For example, our narcotics unit, gang unit, and detectives work with the feds on various cases. While I've never had any significant problems with any of the guys at the federal level, I have seen a greater tendency for their people to be a little too self-assured. I suspect that is from a lack of working the street. I've found the best investigators at the federal level started life as a street cop somewhere. Other officers at different departments may have different experiences.

Are cops allowed to have beards? I literally can't remember ever seeing one.

Asked by Kappy.13 over 11 years ago

Some are - it depends on the department. Some agencies, mine for example, do not allow a beard except for undercover officers. Other agencies allow them. One Florida department I know doesn't allow a beard generally, but will allow them for officers that raise a certain amount of money for charitable organizations. A small perk for some that go "above and beyond" in helping others.

the hiring process for police where I live makes me really nervous because the department I apply for has 800 candidates that passed all test and there hiring about 100 how would they pick the 100 would it be like "picking 100 names from a hat"

Asked by tyler about 11 years ago

Generally departments have a process that includes pass/fail portions (such as criminal background, polygraph) and scored portions (interviews, oral boards, physical fitness, written testing, job history, veterans preference, etc.)  

Everyone must pass the pass/fail, but then acrues a rank/score based on the other testing.  Then the hiring is done from the list.  Chances are that agency would offer jobs to the top 100, but not all of them would accept.  So, the top 150-200 might get offers depending on how many are still looking for employment with the department.

There are a lot of other factors that can come into play.  I'd suggest talking to your recruiter and asking them for more information on the department's process.

What's the most split-second decision you ever had to make?

Asked by Barry about 11 years ago

Whether or not to shoot someone. It has happened many times. One time in particular, my partner and I ran on a home invasion call. A woman called at about 1 am saying a man way trying to kick down her front door. When I arrived, I saw the man trying to force entry on the residence. Pointing my Glock at him, I ordered him to stop and put his hands in the air. Instead, he looked at me and jammed a hand into his pocket, which is a move consistant with going for a weapon. Considering that he appeared to be committing a felony, I was in uniform and he had obviously seen me, he refused to obey my lawful order, and was making a move consistant with drawing a weapon, it was definitely a situation when deadly force could be reasonably applied. For those who know the Glock pistol, you know there isn't much slack in that trigger. However, I definitely recall taking up the slack on the trigger while screaming at him to stop. Just prior to discharging the firearm, he stopped moving and got an "Oh, crap" look on his face. He stopped, and ater a few tense moments, my partner and I were able to get him into custody. As it turns out, he was just an angry drunk trying to get into a residence that he thought was his own. I never knew what he was thinking when he looked at me and then made a move like he was going for a gun. If he was trying to bluff me into thinking he had a gun, he succeeded and almost paid for it with his life. Incidents like this are all too common in police work.

If you pulled someone over for drunk driving, but he only doing so because he was rushing someone to the hospital, would he still get arrested?

Asked by Tripp over 11 years ago

Driving drunk to get someone to the hospital is a pretty ignorant move. You should just call 911 and have paramedics respond to you. By driving while intoxicated not only are you putting the injured party at greater risk, but also putting a lot of other people in danger.

Hello Im 17 an finishing high school in 2014 well I'm going off to college in about a year and u want to know what to major or minor in.
Ps I want to be a DEA

Asked by Jose about 11 years ago

I don't know what the DEA might be looking for, but I'd suggest a business degree or something else that has practical applications.  Criminology degrees are useless.

You might want to talk with a DEA recruiter to see what they are looking for in an applicant.

Personally, I'd suggest 4+ years of military service, then college, then DEA.  You will be a much better candidate for the position.  

i hav the rite to ask what im being pulled over for

Asked by jo about 11 years ago

If you are asking "Can I ask the officer why he pulled me over," the answer is yes.  Most folks probably have a pretty good idea when they see the red/blue lights.

My neighbor is a police officer in anoather town. While off duty, he came to our front porch, rang the door bell, & began yelling at my husband on the porch. My husband diffused the situation, but, I was very frightened. Do we have any recourse?

Asked by dolly1925 almost 11 years ago

If your neighbor was acting in some type of official capacity (Was he in uniform? Was he threatening some type of official action? etc), and you believe he acted in an unprofessional manner you can call his department and speak to his supervisor or professional standards unit.

If your neighbor was not acting in any kind of official capacity, and instead just happens to be a cop, then it doesn't sound like his job doesn't have anything to do with the dispute.  Neighbors sometimes don't get along and this might be one of those cases.

As with anyone, you can always ask your neighbor to leave if you don't want them on your property.  If they refuse, call the local department for assistance.

Keep in mind that nothing can make someone be nice to you.

What weapons police officers carry at all times?

Asked by FPS over 11 years ago

Typically, at least one handgun and two or more intermediate weapons such as oleoresin capsicum (pepper spray), impact weapon (expandable baton, PR-24, etc.), and/or electronic control device (Taser or similar).

When there's NO formal plea bargain in place, will a judge typically take a suspect's cooperation into account when deciding sentencing?

Asked by darrynscholes over 11 years ago

Generally speaking, yes. Judges have a lot of discretion when handing down sentences, and many factors come into play. The cooperation of the defendant can result in a less-harsh punishment.

Thank you for this site. I will recommend it to others. These are solid answers, and we appreciate it.

Asked by Mark Mitchell almost 11 years ago

Thanks for reading Mark!

I recently started dating someone who says he is a cop however he works in a jail I'm assuming as a correctional officer. This does not mean he is a Police officer correct? What questions can I ask him, or how do I find out if he really is a cop?

Asked by Demison over 10 years ago

Different jurisdictions have different rules & laws.  Some deputies or officers who work in a jail setting are fully sworn law enforcement officers who have the power of arrest, etc.  Some deputies or officers who work in a jail have powers limited to the jail setting.  You should probably ask him your specific questions, and if something doesn't sound right you can always check with his employing agency to confirm his employment.

What's a law that people are careful not to break but in reality, the cops hardly care about? (e.g. jaywalking, talking on cell phones while driving)

Asked by JT III about 11 years ago

I'm stumped on this one. Different officers place a different emphasis on different enforcement activities based on a wide range of experiences and motivations. For example, an officer who works my area of the world is more likely to be concerned about jaywalking due to the extremely high number of pedestrian fatalities we work every year. In other areas of the country/state/country jaywalking probably isn't enforced vigorously, if at all. I wish I could give you a good answer, but I can't think of any law that is universally ignored by officers.

Do police officers eat for free at local restaurants?

Asked by Tripp over 11 years ago

Not typically. Many restaurant owners choose to offer certain people discounts, such as members of the military, firefighters, paramedics, police officers, etc. Those are individual choices a business owner makes and there is no hard and fast rule. Some businesses do offer a free meal to officers, but they are an exception. Some kind of discount is more common, and most places do not offer that. I have been honored to have my meal purchased for me by a kind (and always anonymous) citizen on occasion. Those are always appreciated and humbling.

Well ok, but do your arrest people for driving 66 in a 65? Point being, when you witness a minor infraction (like smoking a joint in a park) where no one's in real danger, wouldn't your time be better spent addressing more serious crimes in your area?

Asked by Cheech Jr. (again) over 11 years ago

Speeding is not a crime, so no, I do not arrest anyone for speeding. Its not my job function to make value judgements on what is and is not a crime. Society does that through its elected officials. If you think marijuana should be de-criminalized, then I would encourage you to contact your elected officials and like minded citizens to work to change the laws.

On an episode of 48 Hours an interrogator says to a kid "we know you weren't the shooter, so that's good for you," to get him to admit he drove the car (enough for a murder charge!) Not a "lie" but clearly exploiting the kid's ignorance. Is that OK?

Asked by twotimes about 11 years ago

Not having seen the show in question, nor the actual interview (not the cut down for TV version), I don't know. However, depending on the circumstances, there are certainly times when a lie is an acceptable interviewing technique.

Do you need to get a person's consent before you test his DNA looking for a match? Or if the person is in a public place and, for example, discards gum or a cigarette can that be collected and tested without his consent?

Asked by twotimes about 11 years ago

The collection of DNA evidence is still an evolving body of case law, so there are few absolutes on obtaining it.  Its admissibility into a court of law is beyond my area of expertise.  Generally, however, discarded items are considered abandoned property and can be collected, tested, etc. without anyone's consent.  

what would you do in the scenario of you pull over a car with 4 people you arrest one of them with only one pair of handcuffs and the other 3 gang up on you injure you where you cant radio dispatch with no handcuffs and the 3 guys coming after you?

Asked by tyler about 11 years ago

First of all, I would never try to arrest anyone by myself in the scenario presented.  Secondly, I always carry two pairs of handcuffs on my person, and have additional restraints in my patrol car.  

However, if I found myself in a situation similar to what you describe, i.e. three people attacking me without any backup, I would treat that as a deadly force situation.  In other words, it is reasonable to believe that three people who are attacking a police officer are likely to cause the officer great bodily harm and/or death. Additionally, an incapacitated officer would not be able to prevent them from taking his firearms and other weapons to do additional harm to the public.  Since they are an imminent deadly threat, lethal force is a reasonable response for me or any other officer.  

Shooting them would certainly be a reasonable course of action.  It is unfortunate, but attacking me is the choice they made and dictated my response.


Thank you for the previous answer. Just wanted to add, I did tell the lieutenant I wanted to meet in person so that I could bring someone for moral support. Now I can't. I was assaulted by someone I trusted. I had hoped he'd have been more sensitive.

Asked by Carolyn about 11 years ago

I hope everything works out for you.

I'm 14 I was wondering if I can move in with y boyfriends family . Because my parents are threatening me to break up with him. Why because of racism. He said he's going to call the police on me if I won't break up with him. Can I leave home.

Asked by Stacy about 11 years ago

You are 14.  As a child, you must obey your parents.  Running away won't solve anything, and can have negative consequences for you and the other involved people.  At your age, your intimate involvement with another person could land them in prison.

I'd suggest talking to the school resource officer at your school or a member of the clergy at your church for guidence. 

hello, I was just wondering what kind of person would you have to usually contact for a police ride-along.

Asked by tyler about 11 years ago

I'd suggest calling the non-emergency phone number for your local police or sheriff's department.  The call taker should be able to direct you to the correct person.  Also, the officer/deputy working the front desk probably can help you out also.  There is typically a liability wiaver you have to sign and a background check to make sure you are not a felon or are wanted.

I am in college and trying to get an internship in law enforcement. Unfortunately I have made regrettable decisions 2 years ago and experimented with molly and ecstasy once each. Will admitting this hinder me getting any internships?

Asked by alex about 11 years ago

Hinder you - possibly.  But they won't rule you out completely.  If one agency turns down your internship request, keep trying.  Everyone makes mistakes, but if you haven't been using drugs or been involved in illegal activity since then, you can likely land an internship somewhere.  If you want it - don't give up.

if you ask an officer to see his badge does he have to show you?

Asked by dariansmith about 11 years ago

If the officer is acting in an official capacity and is not in uniform, you can certainly ask to see his credentials.  For example, a plainclothes detective shows up at your house and asks to come in and talk - you better make sure you know he or she is a police officer.  If  you have any doubts - and I mean any - politely explain that you need to confirm his or her identity with dispatch first.  Then call the non-emergency line for the police/sheriff's department and make sure the person is who they say they are.

I am a Police Officer Candidate. I recently passed my initial officer selection test and physical testing. However, I am deaf in one ear. How much does this affect me?

Asked by Hans about 11 years ago

Only you can make the decision on how much it affects you.  If you have passed the physical, then the department does not seem too concerned about it.

I will say that I have serious concerns for your safety if you are unable to hear in one ear.  If you have a radio mic plugged in your "good" ear, how will you hear anything going on around you?  At night when it is difficult to see, and you rely more on your hearing, how impaired will you be?  If someone is walking up behind you on your deaf side, will you be able to hear them?

These are questions I cannot answer.  I do not want to discourage anyone from getting into police work that has a genuine interest, but I don't want to see you get hurt or killed because of the deafness.  FYI - If it is only partial deafness and your hearing can be enhanced with a hearing air of some kind, I don't see any problem.

I traded a fake pair of Nike shoes on Craigslist. I was scammed, so I put them on to someone else. I never said they were authentic, nor did I forge anything. The only info the buyer has of me is my #. No receipt. Will the police come after me?

Asked by QuestionAsker123 about 11 years ago

Possibly.  Trading in known counterfeit products, such as Nike sneakers, is a felony is many states.  Additionally, there are federal laws on the subject.  If the person you scammed files a police report instead of trying to screw over his fellow man, you could be looking at criminal charges.  I'd suggest finding a good criminal defense attorney immediately.

Oh, and your phone conversations are recorded nowadays.  NSA does that for your "safety."  So whatever you said on the phone conversation could be recalled as evidence.

I am 31, turning 32 in December, a point where I want to do something with my life. I have strong interest in law enforcement and had a few questions. 1.) Do you have to attend police academy? if so how long is the course.

I am from Ohio

Asked by Joe over 10 years ago

Yes, you will need to attend a police academy.  Every state's academy is different in length of time, course of instruction, residency requirements, etc.  

Some departments run their own academy that meets the state's requirements and then adds additional course material specific to the department.  For example, a state highway patrol is likely to add in-depth accident investigation courses that go beyond the basics.  

I am not familiar with the requirements for Ohio, but it looks like your state requires a minimum of 568 hours (14+ weeks) to obtain a peace officer certification.  Check out http://www.ohioattorneygeneral.gov/OPOTA for more information.

Good luck!

Do radar detectors work? Are they illegal? Have you ever pulled someone over and caught him with one?

Asked by radarrr over 11 years ago

Some work better than others - I'd suggest checking out the online reviews of them before spending your money. I'd actually rather see people drive at reasonable speeds, especially since speed tends to be the largest factor in fatality accidents. Regardless, do your research before spending your money. Some are a complete waste of dollars, while others offer some advanced notice. RADAR/LASER detectors are illegal in some jurisdictions, but not all. Check your local laws. Yep, I've stopped a lot of people with a detector in plain view. They are legal in my area, so its no big deal. Personally, I don't care one way or another about them. Sometimes people get flustered when they realize I can see it - it is mildy amusing. One guy got really angry about how his detector didn't work, even though I didn't even have a RADAR/LASER in the patrol car (he had an expired tag.) I think he had unrealistic expectations about the detector.

When a speeding ticket says "Direct Observation" Does that mean that the Cop made a visual assessment and then Confirmed with the radar? And can a Direct Observation be taken when the Cop is positioned the same way as the flow of traffic?

Asked by Charles C. almost 11 years ago

Which way the police officer's car is pointed doesn't tell you anything about which way he or she was looking.  The officer could observe you in a mirror or be turned within the vehicle to watch traffic.

I was pulled over and told my wife in the passenger seat to record the traffic stop on her phone. When the cop came to our window he told her to stop recording and took her phone away before ticketing us. Are you allowed to record a police stop?

Asked by LA1985 about 11 years ago

Depends on what state you are in.  Some states have laws that prohibit it.  I'd argue that such laws are unconsitutional, but I'm not a lawyer and I'm not offering legal advice.  Why not call the department and speak with a supervisor?  He or she can clarify the law, if one exists.  If the officer was out of line, they might like to know about that as well.

Hi I just got a car today and its Sunday an I can't go to the Mva there closed is it ok to drive the car to and from work without tags till tomorrow in the morning when I go get y tags

Asked by H. Orton over 10 years ago

Depends on your state law, and it may not be legal.  I'd definitely say to keep the proof of insurance, bill of sale & title paperwork with you if you do drive it.

I took a voice polygraph on the phone with Pacific Polygraph/. It is BBB accredited company. It is the same type as was given to George Zim. except he was present. Insurance co. use it on phone calls. I know many argue against them but is it legit?

Asked by Lee about 11 years ago

I'm not an expert on voice stress analysis or traditional polygraph testing.  They are useful, but not foolproof according to my reading.  I'd suggest hitting Google or Bing with any specific questions or research information on the machines and testing processes.

Hi Blue

I'm doing research for a novel. I was wondering, if a lawyer was found murdered, could the police look through his files and cases or does attorney client privilege still apply.

Asked by John Lenahan almost 11 years ago

A warrant would likely be required , and a judge would have to make a determination on what could be searched.  You would be better served talking to an attorney and judge on what could be searched and what would be excluded, and under what circumstances.

Intruders first entered home before tenants moved in--were in the process of moving in. Sheriff claimed maybe someone forgot to lock the door. Tenants knew they had locked the door. Would the sheriff take fingerprints with no proof of entry 1st time?

Asked by mjd almost 11 years ago

Sounds like the tenants had lawful possession of the home, so anyone entering without their permission should be treated criminally.  The door being locked is not relevant to the crime, other than being a possible/likely point of entry.

If the situation is that the victim "thinks" someone entered the residence, and the backdoor being unlocked is the only evidence to support that belief, then no...the deputy or officer is unlikely to try and collect fingerprints.  If there is something more to the incident, such as something has been stolen, damaged, moved, left, etc, then the responding deputy would be more likely to collect evidence.

It is all going to hinge on the idea of has a crime been committed.  If the victim cannot show or testify to actions that indicate a crime happened, then there is not going to be much of a law enforcement response.  So, the victim (or witness) needs to have seen the intruders, or there needs to be some type of evidence beyond an unlocked door.  Something like dirt tracked into the residence, some trash left behind, things moved around, somethign stolen etc.

Can a BB Gun be considered a concealed weapon? I wouldn't have it out in public, at the most it would be in my car. (I live in South Carolina.)

Asked by Emily almost 11 years ago

I'd suggesting checking South Carolina law:  http://www.sled.sc.gov/SCStateGunLaws1.aspx  If you don't find what you are looking for, contact SLED for more information.

Recently, I have encountered problems with my vision in my left eye. Due to this, my vision is permanently obstructed. However, I can correct this with contacts. Can I still become an officer in these circumstances?

Asked by Michael almost 11 years ago

Many departments would still be willing to hire you if your vision is corrected to 20/20.  However, this will vary from department to department, so make sure you ask about vision requirements with the agencies you apply to.

hello, im 17, in high school. I want to be a police officer. and I was wondering if its ok to be scared when you first start the job as a rookie knowing that you have to be physically and emotionally strong.

Asked by tyler about 11 years ago

As I was told by a vet when I was much younger, "Only fools and liars never get scared."

Fear is merely your survival instinct telling you that something dangerous is happening.  It is all in what you do when you are scared that matters.  Combine training with a "never give up" attitude and you will be fine.

I just want to know the procudures that people go through to become a police officer? What kind of records do you guys look at? What about people that have a criminal record?

Asked by mauisheriff@gmail.com over 10 years ago

The best bet is to contact the recruiter at the agency you are most interested in applying to.  He or she can give you the exact details of what they require.  

Every state and department is different.  There are some generallities.

A background check will be conducted to ascertain the general nature of your character, job history, military service, drug use, criminal history and financial history.  Depending on the department, an agency may interview your neighbors, former employers, former co-workers, relatives and other people with knowledge of your work ethic, demeanor and character.

Things like poor credit, large debt, unstable work history, etc. are not automatic disqualifiers, but they can be red flags.

Past criminal activity is a problem.  Felonies, domestic violence, DUIs and other crimes can be automatic disqualifiers.  Misdemeanor, non-violent crimes may not automatically disqualify you, but they are significant red flags.  Mitigating circumstances, the nature of the crime, and other factors can help.  (For example, you passed a bad check your freshman year in college at age 18.  You are now 28 years old, graduated college, have had a stable work history, and are an officer in the US Navy reserves.  Those factors will go a long way to show the prior criminal act was a one-time event.)

Hope that helps.

I Iive in Ohio. I am twenty years old and living with my parents and am not asked to pay rent. My parents are threatening to kick me out. Are they allowed to throw my stuff outside without an eviction notice?

Asked by Brittany about 11 years ago

I don't work in Ohio, so I don't know the landlord-tenant laws there.

However, at 20 years old you are an adult.  You probably should have moved out two years ago to start your own life.  Clearly they don't want you there, so why not strike out on your own instead of having someone else paying your bills?  Why do you think you are entitled to stay in someone else's home without paying rent?

I have another question. What do you htink kabout these police shows such as the three Law and Orders, In The Heat Of The Night, and COPS; COPS in particular? Is COPS real or is it staged?

Asked by Donny almost 11 years ago

The fictional TV shows you mentioned bear little resemblance to police work.  They might be interesting stories but are not accurate representations of the job.

COPS is real, but edited.  They film hundreds of hours of activity to get a few 20+ minute shows.  That means the vast majority of the job is never seen, and when something exciting does go down, that is highly edited also.  The officers shown on COPS are criticized for poor police procedure, not reading someone Miranda, atc.  The reality is all of that stuff probably wound up on the cutting room floor.

I don't watch a lot of cops shows fictional or otherwise.  I do the job, why do I want to watch it when I'm off duty?

What is your opinion on people owning guns and what’s your opinion on arming the teachers in the US?

Asked by Perfect Student about 11 years ago

The ownership, possession and carrying of firearms is part of our natural right to self defense and codified in the US Constitution.  There should be a minimum of restrictions placed on those rights.  Keep in mind that "gun control" has nothing to do with "crime control."  Gun control is about control.

I have no problem with any citizen acting in a lawful manner, including teachers, to be armed on school grounds.  

pt2. It was a Stalker Dual Radar device, I was traveling at 64, moving with the flow of traffic, I was being tailgated and boxed into the fast lane. The ticket was for 73 in a 55. Not denying speeding, But not pleading guilty to 73. Can i fight this?

Asked by Hilliary M. almost 11 years ago

So, you were speeding, but you don't believe you were going as fast as the measuring device stated?  Sure you can fight it, but bring a checkbook: for your lawyer and/or clerk of court.

How do you know you were not going 73?  Have you calibrated your spedometer in the last six months?  

Assuming this is your first ticket (or perhaps the first in a long time) courts often have an option to plead nolo to a reduced charge coupled with a driver's improvement course.  Depending on the jurisdiction this might keep points off of your driving record, reduce the fine, etc.  Be sure to contact the court and/or a lawyer about that.

I accidentally passed a school bus with it's stop sign out. I feel terrible about it. No cops were around? Can i still get ticketed? I've only had my license for 3 weeks. This would be my first offence.

Asked by Brad about 11 years ago

You will not likely get a ticket at this point.

my husband has used coke in the past and i have a sinking feeling he's using again, call me paranoid but i looked in the waste basket and looked for kleenex he may have used. some had blood and others were quite sparkly, like very fine glass shards.

Asked by angie about 11 years ago

Trust your gut.  Drug habits are tough.  I'd recommend reaching out to some resources in your community that might be able to help you.  You cannot make him quit, you can only protect yourself and your children (if you have any.)  Good luck.

My neighbor, who I must add is currently on probation, admitted to me shes been recieving and opening my mail. there was a cop present responding BC both her & my tires had been slashed, & he did nothin. What can i do about this? Than!

Asked by SingleMama almost 11 years ago

Tampering with the mail is a federal offense and the local officer does not have jurisdiction to enforce those laws.  Contact the US Post Office law enforcement division and file a report with them.  They can invesitgate that aspect of things and take whatever enforcement action is appropriate.

Regarding the slashed tires, what evidence do you have that she (or anyone specific) committed the crime?  Just because she may have done it, doesn't mean that the officer had probable cause (a legal burden of proof) to make an arrest for it.

Does part of your work involve patrolling areas and 'walking the beat' or is it mostly responding to calls from a station?

Asked by Ian about 11 years ago

Patrol - mostly in a patrol car.  I'm assigned a section of the city as a patrol zone and I am responsible for all calls that come into that area.  A portion of the time includes getting out on foot and walking through businesses, parks and apartment complexes, but most of my time is spent going from dispatched call to dispatched call via automobile.

No one really responds from the station (like a firefighter).  Sometimes you might be there for paperwork or submitting evidence and then get a call, but it isn't normal procedure.

I just got a ticket three months ago for running a stop sign. I paid some and took defensive driving about a month ago. Well last night i received a ticket for speedin and violated my probation period. Now what will happen?

Asked by alice almost 11 years ago

It depends on the conditions of your probation.  For example, if you were placed on probation in lieu of jail time, and now you have violated that probation, it is possible that a judge will revoke your probation and you will serve the balance of the sentenced time in jail.

None of this is legal advice and you should probably consult with an attorney.

Is it possible to be a Police Officer and a Realistate Agent at the same time?

Asked by Tristan almost 11 years ago

Unless your state has a law prohibitting it, yes.  Most police officers have second jobs, and I've known a few that were real estate agents.  As with anything, you just have to be clear not to mix the two and do any private work on the public's time.

hey i really want to be a police officer wat can i do

Asked by shadain johnson over 10 years ago

To optimize your chances at being a police officer, there are several things you can do.  These include:

1.  Stay in school, learn proper english and get good grades.

2.  Obtain and hold a steady job.

3.  Join the military, work hard, earn commendations and be honorably discharged.

4.  Complete a higher education degree.

5.  Avoid doing stupid things with stupid people in stupid places.  Or in other words, don't get into trouble, do drugs, drink to excess, go into debt and hang around with the wrong people.

6.  Join a law enforcement reserve program.  This is volunteer work that can give you valuable experience in law enforcement.  Getting into a reserve program requires you to go through the same background investigation and meet the same standards as a full time officer does.

Can estimated passing speed (over speed limit) be cited to ticket, without PO pacing car for a certain distance/time period. Say driver passed another car going 58 mph but then slowed down to 40 mph in a 40 mph speed zone. No radar involved.

Asked by Steve Davis over 10 years ago

For specific questions of law, you should contact an attorney in your jurisdiction.

I’m asking as a writer for a story. Would a report be made if Person A called about intruders being in their house when no one was home? This happened 2 times and the 2nd time the intruders were identified & names given to sheriff. Continued--

Asked by mjd almost 11 years ago

(see below)

Does the state trooper in Ohio state have the right to ask the immigration questions when somebody got pulled over for speeding? Is it legal to ask for the I.D of the Passengers in the car in ohio?

Asked by Peter Johnson almost 11 years ago

I can't speak to the specifics of Ohio law, but generally yes and yes.

Hello there! I'm writing a story in which a minor is framed for murder while on drugs. If convicted, what would the sentence be?

Asked by NutjobWriter about 11 years ago

It depends on what state the story happens in.  Murder is a state level offense in most cases, so there is no real uniformity from state to state.  In many states, a life term with some opportunity for parole later in life is the maximum sentence.

if a man hits a woman and child what is the maximum and minimum sentance possibe

Asked by darian almost 11 years ago

Depends on what state the crimes happened in, what the laws of the state are, the severity of the injuries, what (if any) special circumstances are in play and the defendant's criminal history.

For example, if a man slaps a woman and there are no injuries, prior convictions or other special circumstances, it would likely be a misdemeanor.  It would probably be up to one year in jail.

If the woman is pregnant, elderly, or significantly injured then the charge might be elevated to an aggravated circumstance and be classified as a felony.  Depending on the laws of your state, 20 years in prison is probably the top end.

Likewise, someone with one or more prior convictions for battery might also be charged as a felony.

Hitting a child might start off as physical child abuse and escalate depending on some of the prior concerns (severity, history, etc.)  Most child abuse cases are felonies, so figure up to another 20 years on that one.

It really depends on the specifics of the case and the laws of your state.

Does it matter median is 100 feet.

So northbound green light

Left to median westbound

Six lights in total. Two north south
Two in median east west
Two east west

Asked by Peter s almost 11 years ago

(see below)

Could I be in trouble for owning a electric cigaret and under the age of 18 but does not contain nicotine ?

Asked by Jerammy almost 11 years ago

I have no idea what the laws of your jurisdiction may be.  Contact your local law enforcement agency.

Can a cop who is "watching" me, talk to other civilians about the case?

Asked by bobby sue almost 11 years ago

I don't know what you mean by "watching me."  If you are the subject of an investigation, then yes, the police will definitely talk to other people about you.

if you apply at a police department and you don't get hired but if you keep applying will chances be good that you will eventually get in?

Asked by tyler almost 11 years ago

Depends on why you were not hired.  Assuming you have a clean record, good job history, and don't drool on yourself during an interview, then yes.  ;)

If you have lied on an application, have criminal convictions, or come off as an arrogant SOB in an interview, then no.

Can an off duty officer (in plain clothes) flash his badge and threaten to arrest you? (Verbal argument, nothing physical and no threats)

Asked by Eric almost 11 years ago

State laws vary, but generally a police officer, on- or off-duty, can arrest someone if they have probable cause to believe a crime has been committed.  

When is it OK to ask a cop for his badge number? If you are not being arrested or charged with anything, is a cop still required to give it to you? What if the cop is off duty but still in uniform?

Asked by Mara about 11 years ago

Feel free to ask for a badge number any time you like.  Badge numbers aren't magic talismans.  I'd suggest asking the officer his or her name instead, as some departments don't use badge numbers for anything.  In fact, a lot of agencies don't even have numbers on the badges.

One thing I always think is funny is someone who wants my badge number who is standing in front of me.  Both my name and badge number are clearly visible, as well as the agency I represent.  Additionally, I almost always introduce myself when talking to anyone.  Yet, the common courtesy of using someone's name in conversation has largely disappeared.  Now it seems everyone is just "dude" or "bro."

sorry I think my first part got cut off the board...I wish to turn in info on a compony i'v ordered synthetic marijuana from my question is how should I go about it because the

Asked by Anono almost 11 years ago

Generally, you cannot/will not be prosecuted if you once possessed/used a drug.  So, I personally would not worry about talking to the police about having ordered it in the past.

Is this a company that is public about their sales (i.e. they advertise in High Times, etc)?  If so, I doubt you need to tell any law enforcement agency about it.  I think most High Times subscriptions go to police stations and drug units.  

If the company is located in another state or country where the substance is legal don't expect that law enforcement can do much about it.

If you really want to stay anonymous, call one of the "tip lines" for the DEA, FBI or local police department.

Just from my own observations, the synthetic stuff is far worse than the natural stuff.  It is more akin to a crazy mix of meth and PCP than MJ.

If the mother of the child is 19 year old and the father is 19 years old but, the mother of the of the child lives with her parents and the father of the child liaaves with his parents and the baby goes to the father house but the father's house is an unsafe environment,and everyone knew this mother , father and grandparents on both sides and the baby gets hurt at the fathers house who will get in trouble

Asked by dony about 11 years ago

If the child is in an unsafe environment, I encourage you to contact your local law enforcement agency or state child protection agency.  There are too many unknowns in your question to give any kind of realistic answer.

I had honest questions to ask about why i was being stopped and ticketed and the cop proceeded to insult me and not answer my questions. Am I legally protected? I did everything she asked but i just had some questions for her(she insulted me also)

Asked by h.g.kells almost 11 years ago

I'm not sure what you mean by "legally protected."  If the police officer was rude and you wish to complain, I'd suggest talking to his or her sergeant.

3rd time tenants lived in the house and took the intruders sitting in drive as a threat, so they called to report that incident. Since nothing happened sheriff didn't need to come out? But a report could be filed on the phone then?

Asked by mjd almost 11 years ago

Most agencies would probably not come out since no one was on scene, but yes, the complainant could make a report by phone.

If I said I went on a police ride along when I didn't. And I didn't names and I didn't do it to get it anyone in trouble. Is it illegal?

Asked by goingcrazy about 11 years ago

Identifying yourself as a police officer is a felony in most/all states.  Saying you rode with a police officer breaks no laws that I am aware of.  Contact an attorney if you are really concerned about this one.  

When is it wrong to film cops; bearing in mind the first amendment? How do you or how would you respond to anyone who's filming you?

Asked by Donny almost 11 years ago

Wrong or illegal?  Different states have different laws and I am not an expert on all of the laws across all of the states.

My personal opinion is that anyone in a public place can be photographed and/or video taped.  My opinion does not hold the weight of law.

I've had lots of people photograph and video me while on the job.  Its never bothered me, except when they are interfering with my job.  In one instance a man had been run over by a car and was laying in the street.  These morons with their camera phones were trying to record the man bleeding and in doing so were blocking the roadway, preventing an ambulance from pulling up.  While I personally think their actions were distasteful, my only issue was that they were preventing the man from getting medical attention.  I encouraged them to get onto the sidewalk and we didn't have any more problems after that.



Are you allowed to lie about being a police officer if you're asked point-blank, like in an undercover sting or something?

Asked by Jax about 11 years ago


are all these questions kept confidential

Asked by wolfgirl almost 11 years ago

Of course not.


Do you think unethical behavior by police officers could be acceptable in certain limited circumstances if it helps to solve a major crime.

Asked by CECE over 10 years ago

Unethical behavior is not acceptable under any circumstances.

I was walking home and saw my friend and asked for a ride. i was in stolen car for 30 seconds and he dint have a license but i didnt know, he told me he did. it was the day after he drove me that he got busted. can i get in trouble? i did no wrong

Asked by Stephen almost 10 years ago

I'd suggest considering is a learning experience.  You are not likely to be in any trouble if what you have described is true.  However, it could have all gone very badly for you. 

I was in a similar situation once when I was in college. I rode in a (unknown to me) stolen car with the friend of a friend.  The driver (unknown to me) was wanted for murder.  It wasn't until two days after that ride I learned about him and the car.  It taught me a valuable lesson about who to catch rides with.

Just a comment. Thank you for being available to help people. I was praying to get back my good feelings about police. Reading your answers has been very helpful to that end. You've helped restore my faith in law enforcement.

Asked by Carolyn about 11 years ago

I'm glad I could help.  Best of luck!

Is there anything that might pop up in police screening?

Asked by mauisheriff@gmail.com over 10 years ago

Can you rephrase the question?  It sounds like you are asking me to tell you if there is anything in your background that might cause you problems in being hired.  Without knowing you, that would be an impossible question for me to answer.

Can I shoot my hand gun outside city limits of chillicothe illinois

Asked by Bryan Lloyd almost 11 years ago

I don't know.  I'd suggest contacting your local sheriff and asking him or her.

What do you think of the George Zimmerman case? did the jury make the right call?

Asked by Anon almost 11 years ago


I saw no evidence that indicated George Zimmerman committed any crime, and yes, the jury's duty was to acquit.  

Frankly, it is my belief that this was a case of wrongful prosecution for political gains, and testimony from at least one employee within the State Attorney's office stating the prosecution was withholding evidence from the defense team certainly affirms that belief.

Continued here: Takes place in Tucson, AZ. A 3rd time, intruder pulled in the driveway, sat in car, then left. Sheriff was called, but didn't have to come out. Would these 3 incidences be on record? This is a build-up for an additional scene. Thanks

Asked by mjd almost 11 years ago

Unless the responding officers were lazy, yes a report would be made.  Uninvited people entering your hom when you are not present is criminal.  Depending on AZ law, it would likely be a form or trespass or burglary.  Depending on the circumstances and evidence available, probable cause may or may not exist for the officer(s) to make an immediate arrest.

In the third incident, did the victim make an actual report over the phone?  Many callers start to report something, then decide they don't want a report.  Reports for many not-in-progress calls can be taken by an officer over the phone depending on department policies.  Depending on how you want your story to run, you might want to make it obvious to the reader what the victim chose to do.  Was he/she frightened and insisted on a report?  Were they largely unconcerned and minimized the event?

I hope this helps.

So i was going 98 miles an hour in a 75 zone. Will they take my license?

Asked by Ivie Hone almost 11 years ago

I don't know.  It depends on the laws of your state and your driving record.  You might want to contact an attorney.

Can't help myself as I see your Q&A approach 100 answers(!) What's the single most common question you get when you tell people you're a cop?

Asked by Jobstr Dan about 11 years ago

Most frequent question: "Shoot anybody?"

The most annoying thing people do is loudly announce "I didn't do it!" when you walk into any store or business in uniform.  The folks making these announcements seem to think it is both original and funny.  What they don't realize is it is hardly original: I probably would hear it 10 times a day.  At that point it is about as funny as a toothache.

how will they know it is i that is braking the law does one not have to be caught innocent until proven guilty

Asked by wolfgirl almost 11 years ago

Online fraud cases are pretty easy to trace and prove, even when people use VPNs, proxies, etc.  Offline fraud is even easier.  Don't expect me to tell you how.  

If you have no criminal history, but you have at times in your past committed undetected crimes like taking something from a grocery store or driving home after dinner when you POSSIBLY could have been over .08, will this disqualify you in general?

Asked by tobias funke over 10 years ago

Committing crimes like theft and DUI are serious, and will be seen as such by an employing agency.  Your best bet is to be completely honest (any lies will get you immediately barred from employment.)  A department will generally take into consideration the circumstances surrounding the crimes such as how long ago did it happen (were you a 13 year old when you stole from someone as opposed to having done it last week.)

Arrested Development fan, I assume?  Funny show.


what if a 13 year old girl ran away and she got caught how long would she have to be in juvenile?

Asked by Hailey over 10 years ago

It depends on how the judge applies the laws of your state.  There is no set answer, and much of the judge's decision will be based on the circumstances and history of the child.

my 15yr old daughter does not want to come home she wants to stay at her boyfriends house and the boyfriends mother is not realy helping she allows her to stay at her house and it is making it easy for my daughter to be there what can i do about this

Asked by renee over 10 years ago

If you know where she is, go get her.  If another adult is interfering with the custody of your child, that could be a crime & feel free to call the local law enforcement agency.

If she refuses to come home and you don't know where she is, you can report her as a runaway.

Is it illegal to be a Christian in the U.S now? Preachers across the country are getting arrested for preaching in public, that's why I'm asking.

Asked by Michael over 10 years ago

I'm guessing this is a rhetorical question.

There is a lot going on in this country that I don't agree with.  Arresting people for peaceably assembling or for exercising their freedom of speech in public is unconscionable.  All law enforcement officers have taken an oath, which includes upholding the Constitution.  Any law enforcement officer who violates his or her oath should be held accountable.

If a police officer is called out several times for the same incident, should a police report be made out for each occasion? Are there any rules for that? Mind you, the offender has never been around, when the officer has shown up.

Asked by Clayboo over 10 years ago

Department policies dictate when a report will be filed by a police officer.

Generally:  The same incident will generate only one report.  Multiple incidents of the same nature, by the same subject may generate more than one report depending on the circumstances.

Can I get in trouble if I have a backpack that is decorated with weed all over?

Asked by Santi.. about 11 years ago

Seriously, who writes these questions...?  If you want to have a backpack with images of marijuana all over it, knock yourself out.  I always like the folks who advertise their recreational activities.  

If you want to decorate your backpack with actual "weed all over," be my guest.  Depending on where you are in the world, that could be anything from completely legal to a capital offense (death penalty).  Laws inside the US vary, and unless the actual marijuana was significant in quantity, you are probably looking at a misdemeanor arrest.


Can a retired police officer flash his badge and threaten to arrest you or cause you trouble? Is there any legal ramifications for him doing this if it isn't allowed?

Asked by Chris over 10 years ago

It depends on the laws of the state.  In many states, a retired officer has citizen's arrest authority.  If you believe his/her behavior is abusive, contact the local law enforcement agency and file a complaint.

If an off-duty police officer in Florida starts a fight and pulls out his badge afterwards presenting himself as a police officer, does that by law puts him on-duty?

Asked by Melvin over 10 years ago

On duty generally means he/she is currently being paid by the agency as part of regularly assigned duties.  So, it would sound like the officer was off duty.  

This is a great thread. I appreciate your high ethics. Is it ethical for an on-duty cop (sgt) to ask for your phone number or ask you on a date? Is that frowned upon or okay? (Not pulling you over, chatting outside a store.)

Asked by Suzie about 11 years ago

Thanks for the compliments.  I am not an ethical expert, but I have always tried to do the right thing.  Teaching me that is one of the many things I thank my father for, and hope to impart to my own children.

If the situation is a casual encounter, and the officer is not involved in some type of enforcement activity (traffic stop, investigating your involvement in a domestic dispute, etc.) I don't see it as a problem.  I see it similar to a UPS driver who is grabbing a soda at a store and talks to someone in the parking lot.  As with all social encounters, discretion and tact are important.

Of course, some departments might have more restrictive policies.  But, I don't see it as being an ethical problem.

Just a follow up to last question.

Would you ticket an individual if you saw it?

Asked by Peter s almost 11 years ago

If I understand the question correctly (entered on green, waited for traffic to clear to complete the turn, light turned red and then you cleared the intersection) - no.  But then, laws vary from place to place.

does an off duty officer have to show you a badge, and does an on duty officer in plain clothes have to show you a badge on top of saying on duty officer or off duty officer

Asked by bea almost 11 years ago

In what context?  If an officer is taking enforcement action, then at a reasonable time he or she should identify him- or herself in a reasonable manner.  That will likely include a badge and ID card.

If someone knocks on your door and asks to speak with you it is certainly reasonable to request to see identification.  Call the local law enforcement agency and confirm the officer's identity if you have any doubts.

Asking an officer to show you his or her badge in the middle of a fight, chase or in the middle of some other dangerous situation might not be feasible.  It is all situationally dependent.  Unfortunately, everone looks for a simple black and white answer, but life's not that easy.  Reasonableness is the key to everything.

I know the law states that airsoft weapons are required to have an orange tip. My question is this. My orange tip on my airsoft shotgun broke off. Can I use orange tape or paint the tip orange or will I still get in legal trouble?

Asked by Jon over 10 years ago

There are no such laws in my state that require an orange tip.  But, I don't live in some of the overly restrictive states such as New York or California that might require such a silly thing.  You definitely should check with an attorney or local law enforcement if you are unsure of the laws in your state.

Update - It seems federal law requires anyone selling a toy gun to have an orange tip on it.  I don't know that there is anything at the federal law that requires you to replace or maintain the orange tip.  Again, local laws may be more restrictive due to the eagerness of politicians to criminalize all aspects of life.

is it true you get to take home the k9's when your off duty

Asked by jacob almost 11 years ago

The handler and dog are considered a team.  Most departments require the handler to board, feed, and care for the dog off duty.  Typically there is a small stipend provided to the officer for this time, food and supplies.  Rarely does that stipend cover everything the human puts into the care of the dog.

What is your home life like is it very consuming being a police officer? What can officer's wife expect?

Asked by Brandy B almost 11 years ago

Working in law enforcement is a very toxic environment.  When surrounded by members of the criminal element for most of the day, police officers experience and witness violence, depravity and ugliness never shown on TV or adequately depicted in movies. 

Unfortunately, what happens at the job never really stays at the job.  A new officer will change, and must change, to survive in the environment.  If the officer fails to adapt to the violence and brutality, the officer will either not make it through training or will be killed.

Those changes will effect how the officer interacts with other people, including family.  The unprepared spouse will not always learn to adapt to the officer and conflict will arise.  

For example, a once-talkative person who is now a cop may be a lot less talkative with his or her spouse.  That's not a reflection on the relationship per se, rather is often a result of the officer not wanting to expose his/her spouse to the ugliness that he/she works in.  The spouse who wants to hear about the cop/spouse's day, however, may not realize that the cop/spouse just doesn't want to relive the child abuse call he/she investigated earlier.  So when the cop/spouse doesn't want to talk the non-cop/spouse takes it personally.

There is never enough time as a cop.  Even if the police officer isn't on any special units that require additional time and call outs (like SWAT, negotiations, etc.), he/she is always subject to court.  And courts NEVER take the officer's schedule into consideration.  More than once, I would work a midnight shift, leave the station at 7 am and go straight to court at 8 am.  Stinking from all of the fights, foot chases and sweating the night before, I then would sit in court until 5 pm or so.  Then go home, try to grab three hour's sleep before heading back into the PD.  After another night, right back in court the next morning.

Nearly every police officer I know has to work part time jobs to make the family bills.  So, on the nights he/she isn't scheduled to work, he/she is working security at a bar, directing traffic at a church, or working a security detail in a pharmacy.

Sound miserable?  It can be.  But, that is just life.  Every job has its downsides - police work just a few more than others, I suppose.

I highly recommend reading I Love A Cop ( http://tinyurl.com/krvampy ) which deals with a lot of the issues & questions you might expect.  It talks about what a family can expect if a spouse is in law enforcement, and offers solid suggestions on how everyone in the family can work to mitigate the problems the job brings.

For what it is worth, my wife has put up with a lot of long hours, very scary situations and crazy problems from my law enforcement career, but we are still happily married.

I mean that they have a history of violence. I know a friend that if she gets pulled over before the officer gets out of the car they have to call backup on her. I don't really understand why it happens. Its just something that made me curious.

Asked by Aleria almost 11 years ago

I'm afraid I don't know anything about your friend or the specific circumstances.

Im curious about something, I often see people pulled over by two police cars. Is it because they have a yellow or red card? Thus backup is needed?

Asked by Aleria almost 11 years ago

I don't understand the yellow card/red card reference.

Police officers do not know the driver/occupants of a vehicle when stopped.  They could be a nice family or it could be a murderous robbing crew.  Unit criminals start wearing signs that clearly identify themselves, police officers will back each other up on traffic stops and other calls.  It is a safety thing.

If an officer is forced to shoot a criminal, what kind of protocol would the rest of the department take? For instance, would CSI be contacted to investigate the scene? If so, when?

Asked by Writer23 almost 11 years ago

Every department has their own protocol.  First duty is to protect life:  citizens, officers, criminals (and in that order.)  Until the scene is made safe, no investigation can begin.  Once everything is safe, medical aid is rendered for anybody that is injured.  By this time, a sergeant or lieutenant is on scene and takes command.  Depending on the agency, either they or an outside department will handle the investigation of the use of force.  A CSI unit would probably be involved, but they are only a support unit to document and collect evidence.  They don't do any investigation.

The involved officers give a brief statement to the responding supervisor about what happened and are separated from the other officers who are investigating the incident.  How/when the officers are interviewed varies from department to department.  Officers are entitled to legal counsel as is anyone being investigated for potential criminal acts.


When entering an intersection from a divided highway, making a left on a green.

If you are in the median and face a red can you proceed through the red to complete your left turn if it is clear?

Asked by Peter s almost 11 years ago

It depends on the state.  Every state has different traffic laws.  I wish I could be more definitive.

If a person is arrested and has an animal in their vehicle, what is the protocol? Does it change based on breed (i.e; pit bull vs. teacup poodle?)

Asked by Ivan about 11 years ago

Policies vary depending on the department, but generally:

1.  If someone is there that the owner would like to take custody of the animal, they can.

2.  If no one is close at hand that the owner will allow to take the animal, the animal will be collected by whatever animal control organization is in the area.  Some jurisdictions this is operated by the government, in other areas it is contracted out to another organization.  Once the owner posts a bond, he or she can then go collect his or her animal.

When pulled over for a traffic stop, we know you need license, registration, and proof of insurance. Should I wait with my hands on the wheel until I am asked for these documents, or have them ready?

Asked by Mark Mitchell almost 11 years ago

Depends.  If you keep them all handy having them already isn't a bad idea.  If you are going to have to dig for them, leave them where they are and when the officer asks for them, explain what you are doing.  For example, "Officer, my registration is in my glove box.  Is it ok to reach in there and grab it?"  It just lets him or her know what you are doing and prevents any unexpected movement.

When in doubt, just sit tight and ask the officer to tell you what he or she would like for you to do.  It is a courtesy that can help reduce the tension.  The officer doesn't know who you are - good citizen or murderous fugitive - when he or she stops you.  

Politeness and helping to reduce the tension have even been known to change a ticket into a warning. :)

can a 13 year old fish by himself in the state of california?

Asked by alan carbajal about 11 years ago

Checking the California Dept of Fish and Wildlife website, it looks like anyone 16 or older must have a license to fish.  I did not see a reference to ages younger than 16.  In the sane world, a 13 year old should be able to fish by him or herself.  California, however, has some very bizarre views on what people should be allowed to do.  So, I'd recommend contacting them directly.  


Do police check messages received by a person who has committed suicide and contact the senders?

Asked by Frank S. almost 11 years ago

Depends on the circumstances.  Are you talking about letters, e-mails, text messages, Facebook posts, tweets...?  Under what circumstances did the death occur?  Is there some indication that the death was not self-inflicted?  There are a lot of variables that go into an investigation.

My Dughter is 17 and has a baby with a 21 year old. We live in the state of utah and I don't want to press charges if the state finds out could he go to jail?

Asked by ... about 11 years ago

You should probably contact a family attorney in Utah.  

Does having tattoos affect your chances on becoming a officer? And what if im thinkin about becoming an officer and joining the navy reserve's?

Asked by Michelle over 10 years ago

Different departments have different regulations regarding tattoos.  Many have in place policies prohibiting visible tattoos, while others have policies about the kinds or locations of tattoos (nothing obscene, nothing on the face or neck, etc.)  The more visible tattoos you have, the fewer agencies that will employ you.  Something under your shirt, on your back, etc. will not hurt you.

Being a member of the US Navy Reserve will greatly enhance your application and overall success in a law enforcement agency.

is it fun saving people lives

Asked by tayshaun king over 10 years ago

It is gratifying to know you make a difference.

I am the in the process of hiring in Virginia my question is if I passed my polygraph can I still not get hired? also my spouse has a assault and battery charge cause she was involved in a domestic does that play a role in my background check??

Asked by Mr Frazier about 11 years ago

I don't know Virginia law, but in many (most?) states, you can pass all of the tests and still not be hired.  If you think about it, say 100 people pass all of the tests but there are only 10 positions open.  90 people passed but won't be hired.

I have no idea what your department's background investigation requirements are.  If he/she was convicted of domestic assault or domestic battery, he/she is not allowed to be in possession of firearms by federal (and probably Virginia) law.  A department might not want their firearms to be around a prohibited person.  You should probably talk to your recruiter about your situation for more information.

If I am pull over by a police in the rural area of the city at night , is it okay to ask the officer to head to somewhere with more light before I hand them my ID or roll down the entire window?

Asked by E.L almost 11 years ago

I'm not sure what you mean by "rural area of the city."  If you mean out in the country somewhere, how far would you expect to drive to find a lit area?  Don't expect a trooper to follow you for miles just to look for a well lit area.  

If you are in a city, you should probably pull into a parking lot/gas station whenever available to begin with.

You can ask an officer anything, but he/she doesn't have to agree to honor your request.

(2/2) the aunt then proceeded to ask my friend and I our first names we told her them and then she put it in her phone. We left right after that happened. Can she do anything with this info? She was off duty at the time.

Asked by Butch over 10 years ago

If you lie to a law enforcement officer about your age, you could be charged with providing false information to the officer.  (The exact name of the crime varies from state to state.)  Sounds like you took a minor issue and made it into a crime due to your lack of honesty.

How does being a police officer impact a workers personal and family life?

Asked by Megan over 10 years ago

The impacts have been studied by many researchers for several decades.  The influence of the job on the personal life is significant, and few people are really prepared for it.  

Many friends, and even some family, will no longer associate with the new police officer because of the job.  The officer's spouse and other family will live in fear that this shift could be the one where the officer is killed or horrifically injured.  The officer is confornted by violence, death and evil every shift and begins to worry constantly about the safety of his/her family and loved ones.

It is a high-stress job and you are never really "off duty."  Officers with a very strong faith and solid family support tend to fare better than others, but the job has a very strong impact on all relationships, the health of the officer and every other aspect of the officer's life. 

You may have heard that officers have high divorce rates and high instances of alcohol abuse.  One of the dirty secrets of police work is a relatively high incidence of suicide as well.  All of these things obviously impact the family in a severe way.

There is a lot of research out there, but here are a few places to look:






My friend's family called the police on her boyfriend for physical abuse. But when the police tried to ask her questions she didnt say anything. What I wanna know would that go on his criminal record even if there wasnt a follow through investigation

Asked by Anonymous almost 11 years ago

If no arrest was made, then there is no arrest record (at least regarding this incident.)  Without the victim's cooperation, the officers probably were not able to establish probable cause to make an arrest.

Do you ever perform a traffic stop and then think of an excuse afterwards? One time I got pulled over at like 3am on a highway for "speeding", which as immaterial in nature. Seemed like the trooper was fishing, as speeding is customary in Houston.

Asked by bob about 11 years ago

No, stopping someone without reasonable articulable suspicion would be a violation of the 4th Amendment of the US Constitution and a bunch of state laws and department policies.  

Speeding, even if "everyone does it" is still illegal, hence the reason why you were stopped.  

I'm in college I already finished my first year. Im trying to do law enforcement as my major.I been goin some online info and it says that I have be good with listening & eyes etc,I have two ears but can only listen with one, would I be disqualified?

Asked by Adrian almost 11 years ago

It depends on the agency.  Most departments will require you have at least some hearing in both ears, but this can be augmented by the use of a hearing aid in many places.

If there is a specific law enforcement agency you would like to work for, I suggest contacting a recruiter and discussing the specifics of your case with them.

what can the police do to stop an armed person

Asked by deuntae winston over 10 years ago

Dealing with a violent person is a fluid and dynamic sitation.  There is no easy, one-size-fits-all answer.  Generally speaking, a police officer is authorized to use any force, up to and including deadly force, when he or she believes it is reasonably necessary to stop an armed person who poses an imminent threat to the lives of others.  That may include shooting the violent criminal.

My husband is going to court next week for his 5th oui arrest. We are in MA, he did not take the breathalizer and his defense is vertigo, and poor police work. If the jury does notknow about prior arrests/ jail time,how likely will he be convicted

Asked by tortured wife almost 11 years ago

It would appear that your husband has a serious addiction, and is not taking responsibility for his actions.  Hopefully he hasn't killed or maimed anyone yet, and will not have to opportunity to do so in the future.

Ask his attorney for legal advice, not me.

Is It Illegal to carry a fake/toy gun on you that looks real? Even If it's to protect yourself In the mean time until you can afford a real one and until you get licensed to carry? Obviously It'll be stupid to flash it, especially In front of a cop.

Asked by Sade' almost 11 years ago

Carrying a fake gun may or may not be illegal depending on your jurisdiction.  You should either contact a criminal defense lawyer for your area or the local law enforcement agency.

I'm not sure what kind of "protection" a fake gun provides.  If attacked by a criminal, a fake gun isn't going to offer you any protection.  The notion that you will see a known criminal approaching you and that you will have time to draw the weapon AND that the criminal will suddenly be struck by fear upon seeing it is not a realistic one based on my experiences with both violent encounters and the mentality of predator criminals.

If I am studying criminal justice in California but I want to move to Tampa florida would the requirements be the same as LAPD if i want to become a police officer in tampa ?

Asked by Michelle over 10 years ago

I suspect the requirements are very similar.  Click here for the Tampa PD recruiting page.

I'm thinking about becoming a police officer. Should I join a small suburban department, or should I join the LAPD, NYPD, or CPD?

Asked by AZlift almost 11 years ago

It is impossible for me to tell you where you might like to work.  If you've never lived in a large city, you might love - or hate- it.  Same thing about working in a smaller area.

From my personal experience, I would prefer a smaller department of 50-75 officers if I was starting all over.  Ideally, it would be suburban to rural.  I've worked for a very urban area and for a smaller department in a suburban bordering on rural area.  You get a lot more of the exciting calls in a short amount of time in the urban areas, but you can also burn out much quicker.

The upside to a large agency is you get a lot of opportunity to work in specialized units that you don't have in smaller areas/departments.  For example, a marine unit, aviation unit, SWAT unit, etc.  But smaller areas will sometimes pool resources for multi-jurisdictional units (like SWAT teams formed with officers from several regional departments.)

I'd suggest doing a few ride-alongs with different departments in different areas and get a feel for what things are like.

Hi, can you explain what police sergeants', police lieutenants', and police captains' specific responsibilities are? It seems like its more than just different levels of leadership. (More info in next question.)

Asked by 123 over 10 years ago

There is no single answer to your question.  You may as well ask "what does a middle manager in a company do."  The only real answer is "it depends."  Different agencies have different rank structures and assign job duties/responsibilities in different ways.  At one department something might be assigned to an officer, while it is assigned to a captain at another department. 

If I'm currently 17 years old with a Provisional Drivers License (with restrictions AG) in Texas, is it legal for me to drive my little cousins home from school? (I have car-seats and they are 6 and 7 years old)

Asked by Revitalize over 10 years ago

Contact the local Texas DPS or police department to explain your state's laws.

How involved is a police chief in individual cases? Do police chiefs participate in raids or investigations? Is a police chief contacted for cases when they happen? Are they present at crime scene investigations?

Asked by Writer23 over 10 years ago

It depends on the size of the department.  For any agency of more than about 15-20 officers, the chief is not likely to be involved in any case other than as a spokesperson in a high-profile incident.

For small agencies, a chief may patrol and handle calls like the rest of the officers.  There are many departments in the US where there are fewer than five officers.  In those areas, the chief handles a lot of the calls and investigations.

I'm currently a high school Junior in New Jersey. What steps should I take if I am interested in a career in Law Enforcement? What College decisions should I be making if I want to become a police officer?

Asked by HighSchooler25 about 11 years ago

Get good grades, stay physically fit and stay away from drugs/alcohol/trouble.  I was in high school too, but all of those things will play a role in your hiring process.

If your local department has an explorer program, check on joining that.  It will give you a good amount of experience around police officers and get you some training (plus a foot in the door when you apply for a job.)

Personally, I'd avoid any kind of criminal justice/criminology degree.  Stick to some kind of degree that can make you money - business, computer science, etc.  Don't waste time and money on an expensive degree or go into debt for it.  College debt is a trap.

Can you take college classes while in high school?  I know here in Florida, juniors and seniors can often take college classes and get dual credit:  high school and college for the one class.  I managed to get several of my college classes done for free before I ever left high school that way.

Joining the military (any branch) will help you get hired later and will help pay for advanced education.  

is there a law for under age swimming

Asked by james almost 11 years ago

There may be one somewhere.  Where and what it says...well, I have no idea.  Try using Google to find laws for your state/locality.  You should be able to find something pretty quickly.

I bought alcohol for my roommate once, I don't plan on ever doing it again, but can I get in trouble for something i did over a week ago?

Asked by Aleria almost 11 years ago

I assume your roommate is underage.  If so, you can still get in trouble, but probably only if he/she does something stupid such as gets alcohol poisoning, gets hurt while intoxicated, is DUI, etc.  There could be some pretty heavy reprecusions for that.

Dear BlueSheepdog, would it be considered sexual harassment if a male acquittance touched and poked my breasts when I clearly uncomfortable with it by folding my arms over my breasts? You must hear this so much.

Asked by Garnettoi about 10 years ago

What you describe is the crime of battery, an unlawful touching.  Depending on the state you live in there may be enhancers or separate laws regarind the sexual nature of the battery.

You are clearly in a dangerous situation when someone is touching your breasts against your will, and you should take such reasonable actions to protect yourself.

Also, is there anything that can be done about my tire getting slashed? Will it be looked into anymore than when the officer was on the scene, or am I just SOL? I suspect it may have been my neighbor, but didnt witness her do it... thanx again!

Asked by SingleMama almost 11 years ago

If no evidence exists, and no witnesses have presented themselves, then what additional actions would you suggest the officers take (within the confines of the law)?  Maybe your neighbor did it, maybe she did not.  People should never be arrested for "maybe."  

IF you neighbor damaged your tires, and IF she admitted to tampering with your mail, it sounds like your best bet is to file a report with the postal police and see if they develop probable cause to arrest her.  IF they do, then her probation can be revoked also.  

It won't likely keep her in jail for very long, regardless.

What's your opinion on good Samaritan laws? Does your State have any, and do you think it's a good thing to impose criminal liability on people for failing to act or notify someone if they see crime happening?

Asked by Priya Singh about 11 years ago

Offering protection from liability for people making a good faith effort to render aid at the scene of an emergency is a good idea.  There are a lot of dirtbag attorneys who will sue anyone, including good people trying to do the right thing.

Requiring people to act, such as calling 911, when they observe something that is obviously criminal in nature makes sense - but, I always have reservations about these kinds of laws.  In my opinion, they need to be narrowly written.

My ex-husband is in law enforcement how is he allowed to run every license plate on cars parked at my house even inside the garage. I live in Utah

Asked by Ginger over 10 years ago

If you believe he is doing this, and that it is not part of an official investigation, you can file a complaint with his department or with the Utah Peace Officer Standards and Training council:  http://publicsafety.utah.gov/post/inservice/decertify.html

Does a Detective typically drive a police car or does he/she have another type of unmarked car they drive around? Thank You

Asked by edwurd almost 10 years ago

A detective will generall drive an unmarked car provided by the agency.  The type of vehicle varies greatly.  I've seen everything from a Prius to a Mustang.  Most departments will go with a domestic sedan, though that is not always the case.  Sometimes the detective's job will dictate the need for a different kind of car.  For example, a narcotics officer will not be driving a Crown Vic.  Sometimes a vehicle might be seized through civil forfeiture and be used by detectives.  Unless you think the car is integral to the story go with a Ford Taurus or Chevy Impala.

How long does does it take to match a fingerprint at a crime scene to a person whose fingerprints are already on file?

Asked by Bailey almost 10 years ago

It depends on the priority of the case and the technology used to recover and analyze the prints.  If you already have a suspect, you can get a very fast match.  

I own a MTD garden tractor and sometimes drive it down the dirt road! I have a drivers permit and I added all the flashing red and orange lights, horn and reflectors and a slow vehicle sign in front and back..am I legal to use as a small tractor?

Asked by Franky almost 11 years ago

Most states have allowances for farm vehicles being used temporarily on the roadway when in accordance to your normal agricultural activities.  It sounds like you have probably met most/all of the requirements that many states have.  I would suggest contacting the local sheriff's department or highway patrol to make sure there isn't anything else you need.

i do believe i might have committed fraud what do i do

Asked by wolfgirl almost 11 years ago

You should probably contact a criminal defense lawyer.  Most attorneys will talk to you free, and only charge you if you have them perform some action (such as contacting the victim) for you.  If you (through your lawyer) act before the company realizes they have been defrauded, there is a possibility you can square things with them before they call law enforcement.  A lawyer can help with this.

How old do you have to be to purchase a gun in minnesota?

Asked by Vinny about 11 years ago

What kind of gun?  A quick Google search shows 18+ for long guns and 21+ for handguns.  Long guns that are scarey looking are still 18+, but require a purchase permit according to Wikipedia.  I can only assume that non-scarey looking long guns do not require the same permit.  You probably want to take a look at MN §624.7131 for more detailed information.

just saying if I seen some one do a hit & run on another car three years ago & didn't report it because it was my boss & didn't want to lose my job over it & would really like to report it now! Would I be in trouble for not reporting it?

Asked by G.F over 10 years ago

I don't know the circumstances of the case or the laws that might apply to your case.  I do know what the right thing is, but it is up to you to do it.

When a police officer dies ~ who would normally receive his badge. Is there a law in PA on who can receive it?

Asked by Jamie almost 11 years ago

I don't know if there is a law in any of the states specifying what happens to a fallen officer's badge.  Typically, this is covered in the department's standard operating procedures.  Most departments provide the badge to the next of kin.

Is there something that can be done about a parent who lives with you taking, reading and withholding your mail that contains information about your money on it? eg. bank statements bills 401k paperwork mail from school financial aid etc.

Asked by bhlargh27 almost 10 years ago

If you are an adult, they should not withhold your mail from you.  I would suggest considering some other housing arrangement if you cannot get along.

what is the Colorado statue, or what do you know to be law for an officer receiving a citizens arrest. Everything I read said I can make the arrest but where is your authority to "have to receive"

Asked by MH almost 11 years ago

I'm not familiar with Colorado law in that respect.  If you call the local Sheriff's Department, they should be able to tell you.

When an officer gets a report of underage drinking at a California public beach, does that give the policy enforcer "reasonable suspicion or probable cause" to investigate and conduct a search? (keep in mind its midnight, although closes at 3am..)

Asked by I'm 19 over 10 years ago

Reasonable suspicion and probable cause are built by the totality of the circumstances, which may include a citizen complaint.  It is impossible for me to tell you how the officers in your case established either since I was not there and I am not privy to the details of the investigation.

if you try to steal something and the girl that works there sees you and you put it back with out leaving with it can you get in trouble( just asking never did it)

Asked by emily dumont over 10 years ago

It depends on the laws of the state, but generally attempting to commit a crime is punishable as if you completed the crime itself.  Based on your scenario, the only reason why the item was not stolen was the clerk saw the theft taking place and the thief put the item back.  The intent to commit a theft existed, and the thief took an action to commit the crime, so in many jurisdictions it would be a criminal act (attempted theft or something similar.)

Consider the guy who runs into the liquor store to rob it.  As he begins to demand money, the store clerk pulls out a gun and the robber flees.  The robber did not succeed in the crime, but intended to rob the clerk and took some action to commit the crime.  Therefore, the attempted robbery could be prosecuted.

I hope that makes sense, and these things vary from state to state depending on the laws of each.

Do detectives participate in raids? If so, when?

Asked by Writer23 over 10 years ago

Detectives can participate in a warrant service, and frequently do.

A high risk warrant service is usually handled by a SWAT team, which can have detectives on the team.  Once the scene is secure, non-SWAT officers/detectives will frequently be responsible for the securing and documenting of evidence.

most ppl where im from become products of their environment when i was younger i did some bad things. i sold drugs for a week but i felt so bad i quit, then joined the military to atone. will my past destroy any chances i have as a police officer...

Asked by Young. over 10 years ago

Maybe not.  If you have been convicted of certain crimes, there isn't much you can do about that.  However, without any prior arrests or convictions, you may still be able to obtain employment as a police officer.  A solid military record with an honorable discharge (staying in the active reserves is even better) will go a long way to showing you aren't the person that you may have been in the past.  The longer the time space between criminal activity and when you apply is better.  Also, holding a secret clearance shows you have previously passed a background check, which helps.

how much paperwork does a police officer have for a charge like assault on a police officer

Asked by tyler about 11 years ago

It depends on state laws and department policy.  For example, on the above charge I would have to complete an arrest affidavit for the court, an incident report for my department, a use of force report for my internal affairs division and a evidence submission form for any and all evidence I was submitting.  Additionally, each item of evidence would have to be tagged and bagged and then submitted to the property division.

Of course, there is likely another charge that would go along with the above charge.  For example, in the course of investigating a domestic violence call the subject assaulted me.  I would also have to complete an arrest affidavit for each additional charge (such as battery on his wife) plus complete a domestic violence supplemental report.  For something like a DUI, I would also have to complete a variety of additional paperwork including a field sobriety worksheet and any traffic tickets I was giving, in addition to the charging documents for the DUI.  

If the assauit occurred when I was conducting a DUI investigation as part of a motor vehicle accident investigation, I would also need to complete a multi-page accident form plus criminal supplements to that form.

If during the course of the investigation I was injured, there would be additional paperwork.

I think you are starting to get the idea.  There is a lot of paperwork associated with being a cop.  Unfortunately, most of the forms are created by people who don't have to do the job so they wind up being very cumbersome.

To possess either probable cause or reasonable suspicion, an officer must be able to cite specific articulable facts to warrant the intrusion. Please explain to me how a citizens complaint of underage drinking can jeopardize my 4th amendment right?

Asked by i'm 19! over 10 years ago

As I explained, it is a totality of the circumstances.  Sometimes a single fact/observation can amount to RAS or PC.  Other times, an officer may have to build a series of facts/observations to meet the legal burdens.  I'm afraid you cannot present a general scenario and get a specific answer.

Some kids have been coming to my house and messing around with my water pipes. Am I legally allowed to shoot them with a BB gun?

Additional info:
I live in North Carolina
I am unsure if my gun penetrates, but I will only aim for legs

Asked by Brian almost 11 years ago

Why would you think that it would be even remotely ok to shoot children with a BB gun?

1.  None of this is legal advice.  Consult an attorney.  Wrongful use force against another, especially a child, can land you in prison for a long time. 

2.  The use of force is generally resricted to "reasonable" self defense.  Re-read #1.

3.  BB guns are not toys.  They can and have killed people.  Use Google and you will see multiple stories about BB guns killing people.  For example:  http://www.foxnews.com/us/2013/03/21/florida-boy-10-dies-after-brother-accidentally-shoots-him-with-bb-gun/

4.  BB guns can also take out an eye or do other serious injury even if they were incapable of killing.  Re-read #1.

5.  You're not Alvin York and your aim on a moving target isn't that good.  I don't care how good a shot you think you are, you can't guarantee where you would hit someone anyway.  Re-read #1.

6.  None of this excuses whatever trespass these children may have done, but shooting them with a BB gun sounds way beyond the realm of reasonableness.  What would you do if your child had been shot by an adult with a BB gun?  Re-read #1.

7.  Use of force is generally restricted to the defense of persons, not property.  Re-read #1.

8.  If someone is coming into your home and you feel threatened, things are different.  Re-read #1.

9.  Re-read #1.

if a crime was committed early in 2012 can a person still be charged with that same crime a year afterwards

Asked by monalisa over 10 years ago

Probably - It depends on the crime and the laws of your state.

How would you like me to use your name in the acknowledgement in my book? You've helped with some police procedure questions. Police Officer at Jobstr or BlueSheepdog? Next- Do you mind if I do this? Thanks.

Asked by MJ almost 11 years ago

Thanks MJ.  Send me a note via http://www.bluesheepdog.com/contact-bluesheepdog/ when you can.

I'm meeting with a lieutenant to tell him about some upsetting experiences with some officers. The only time he can meet is at 6:45 a.m. in front of the station, which doesn't open until 8 a.m. Is there video surveillance in front? I'd feel better.

Asked by Carolyn about 11 years ago

No idea what department it is, or what equipment they have in place.  The agency may have recorded video, but it is impossible for me to know.

If this lieutenant works midnights and gets off at 7 am, the time is pretty reasonable for his/her schedule and doesn't suggest any nefarious activity. 

Is it more common for police cars to be manned by two officers or one? Are two-person police cars usually found in more dangerous areas? Thanks.

Asked by Jet almost 10 years ago

The deployment of one or two officers to a car is largely dependent on the ingrained culture of the department.  Many years ago a study suggested officers were no less safe patroling solo as they are with a partner.  

What can I do legally so my mother in law and her family stops posting pictures on facebook without my consent?

Asked by Wilma almost 11 years ago

Sounds like a civil issue with no criminal aspect.  Call an attorney for advice on a civil remedy.

I have a young son interested in becoming an officer. What are some of the steps I can take as a mom to point him in the right direction?

Asked by sweetbutsassy over 9 years ago

Keep him in school. Ensure he learns self discipline. Get him involved in things like Boy Scouts and martial arts. Teach him about the Constitution and what the underlying principles of freedom are.

It sounds like you are a concerned mother, and that goes a long way to ensuring he is on the right track.

I have a sentry safe in my home that contained 2000dollars. The money was stolen which means the safe was broken into but there's no sign of it being broken into can the nypd come and dust for fingerprints

Asked by Sikeisha over 10 years ago

They can, but there are a lot of variables that go into lifting useable prints.  There are no guarantees the officer(s) will be able to recover a print, but they can certainly try.

Bck w/ more ? 4 book. Intruders in house. Homeowners shoot after intrud. shot the father, attempted to shoot wife. Deputies come in, see two shot, two homeowners holding guns. How would this be handled when deputies entered? They know the homeowners.

Asked by MjD almost 11 years ago

In a nutshell, the injured intruders would be transported to the hospital under police guard.  When released, they would be arrested and transported to jail pending trial.

The homeowners would be interviewed on scene but not arrested or charged with any crime based on the facts provided.

If the intruders were killed, pretty much the same as above, but the deputies would be in the house a lot longer and the M.E. would respond and take custody of the corpses.

There are a lot of minute details that go into any investigation, especially major felony cases like this, but that is the quick and dirty.

Would it be appropriate to call 911 for assistance if a door to door salesman refused to leave your house after you declined his product and you insisted that he leave?

Asked by Citizen137 over 10 years ago


At the very least it would appear that he is trespassing.  But, do you know that he doesn't have something worse planned?  Rape, robbery, murder?

Door to door salesmen are certainly capable of committing very bad crimes.  Additionally, criminals can pose as door to door salesmen with the intent of getting in your house to rape/rob/murder you.

A stranger in your home that is refusing to leave is a serious concern and possibly a very real threat.  Make sure you communicate to the dispatchers that the man is a stranger - not a friend or family member - and he is refusing to leave.  If you have any level of fear, make sure you communicate that as well.

I hit a car at a red light because I was bending down to get something out from under my feet. The cop that arrived did not give me a ticket but can he mail one with the report it 3 to 5 days?

Asked by andy over 9 years ago

Depends on the state. Sounds like you should get one.

if someone has stolen a range of merchandise totaling 3000 pound would one take into consideration a first offence is it an arrest able offence or a caution or a criminal record

Asked by wolfgirl almost 11 years ago

In my state, the crimes you have described could result in multiple years in prison plus fines and resitution.  I do not know the laws of your country, but I'm sure it is equally serious.  I strongly suggest contacting a criminal defense attorney.

Sorry about that. What kind of tests do they go through when the are in the academy?

Asked by mauisheriff@gmail.com over 10 years ago

There are written and oral tests that cover everything from law to criminal procedure to firearms to first aid.

There are performance tests where the recruit has to demonstrate their ability to perform specific tasks such as firearms proficiency, physical fitness, defensive tactics, and medical techniques.

Then there are larger performance tests that measures the students' ability to handle complex scenarios such as investigating a traffic accident, processing a crime scene, investigating a domestic violence incident or responding to a spree killer.

Additionally, the entire academy is a test of the students' mental, emotional and physical ability to complete a long and demanding course of instruction.  Many students quit because of the pressure.

Many states have a comprehensive written test at the end of the academy the student must pass for state certification.

I was waiting to pull our of a space last night on a 30mph road. I had my indicator on a police car drove by and I had no lights on. I drove for about 10seconds before I put them on. Should I expect anything? it was a total mistake.

Asked by emma over 10 years ago


Can a auto part store order and sell you illegal parts ? I went to O'relly today and the man said he can order me white headlight for my car and im afraid it'll be illegal

Asked by eatbreathcheer almost 11 years ago

I doubt there are very many auto parts that are illegal.  What you do with them might be.  For example, selling exhaust cutouts is legal.  Running them on a street car is illegal.  Running them on a track is legal.

Chances are any of the headlights in an autoparts store are legal for your area.  If you have any doubts, contact your local department and talk to one of the traffic enforcement officers.  He or she will be able to give you the exact information you are looking for.

If someone is drunk and you write them a citation, are there things that you have to do to make sure that when they are sober they will know they have to pay a fine?

Asked by 123 almost 10 years ago

If they are so drunk they won't remember the citation, they are going to jail.

Is this a possible scenario, a young man gets pulled over and pot is found. He is arrested and taken in where he is persuaded to give up dealer names and then will be set free, no arrest.

Asked by ma almost 11 years ago

Its possible, but how valuable is that information to the officers?  Not terribly valuable probably.  The cops either know the names already, or have no way of knowing if the subject being arrested is giving them good info.

A more likely scenario would be the subject provides the officers with very detailed information on the dealers and is given a court date for some time in the future in exchange.  Then the officers can determine if the information is good.  If so, the officers can appear in court an explain to the judge that the subject was cooperative in an investigation and request favorable treatment of the informant.

I am not explaining this clearly

Traveling northbound through a green

Make a left going westbound

Facing a red light in the median which is 100 foot long.

You don't need to clear the median given it is 100 feet

Can a driver proceed.

Asked by Peter s almost 11 years ago

I'm sorry, but I'm not clear on the description of the intersection.  My previous answer is based on a standard cross-type intersection.  I'd have to see the intersection and know the laws of your state to give you my opinion (which has no bearing on anything, mind you - for that, contact an attorney.)

But, if you enter the intersection on anything other than a green, then you are likely violating the laws of your state.  If you enter on a green, it is going to depend on the circumstances and how the laws are written.

If you can please email me the answer it would be greatly appreciated: thepausemenu@gmail.com

I live in TN. If I break a car window to rescue an animal inside on a really hot day how much trouble am I looking at?

Asked by Daniel almost 11 years ago

You should contact a criminal defense attorney in that state.  Just because you see something as the "right" thing, doesn't mean there isn't the potential of having criminal charges filed against you.

How do you feel about "safety checks" where a police agency might set up a road block to stop random cars and ask them to produce registration and insurance cards? Isn't the real purpose of these roadblocks to fish for alcohol/drug smells from cars?

Asked by Rndballref about 11 years ago

Saftey checkpoints are a useful tool for helping to reduce drunk driving, accidents, and removing criminals from the roadways.  Driving on public roadways is a licensed privledge, not a right, and therefore is subject to limited intrusion.  The specific rules on how they are to be run vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction and are controled by law, court opinions and department policies.

When adequately staffed so undue delays are not generated, I have no problem with them.  

If you're traveling in the fast lane of a 3 lane thru-way, and you're passed on the right hand side by a vehicle in the middle lane. The vehicle that passed brakes hard after noticing a trooper, And you get pulled over and ticketed, What can you do?

Asked by Hilliary M. almost 11 years ago

You didn't mention if you were speeding.  I'd suggest paying the ticket if you were.  Other people were speeding worse than I was doesn't generate much sympathy from a judge. 

If the trooper was using laser, then you were definitely the person he measured going whatever speed was on the citation.  If he/she was using radar, there could be some doubt that an experienced traffic attorney could bring up in trial.

The above is not legal advice, of course.

Did you know that speed is the #1 contributing factor to traffic fatalities?

i let my sister use my debit card once but new she won't give it back what should i do

Asked by camelia over 9 years ago

Call your local police department and ask for their assistance. They will know what to do.

I'm currently a poolee for the Marine Corps and I am in the process of choosing my MOS. I'm highly interested in being a part of law enforcement after my service and I was wondering if there is an MOS that would possibly give me an edge when applying

Asked by BPraze over 10 years ago

I do not have a military background, but it looks like the USMC has a variety of law enforcement related MOS: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_United_States_Marine_Corps_MOS#58_Military_Police_and_Corrections 

That said, I've worked with plenty of officers who were former miltary that did not have a MP background and they did very well in the hiring process.  At my last department, I worked with a former Marine who was an aircraft mechanic, another who was in motor transport and a third who was a machine gunner.  All were good cops.

If there is something specific that interests you, go for it.  If you have a solid service record and even manage to get yourself promoted, it will all work to your benefit when you apply for a civilian law enforcement job.

Remember your oath, stay safe & thanks for your service.

If I used to cut myself, but was never admitted to a hospital or care unit and never took medications for it, as well as never been diagnosed with any mental illness, will that disqualify me from becoming a police officer?

Asked by Jessica over 10 years ago

Not necessarily.  Psychological screenings and polygraph examinations are standard portions of the hiring process, so be honest about things and things should work out.

do most officers fire their gun at somebody during their career? Is NYPD more dangerous then other departments. I live in NY and I have wanted to be a cop since pre school and I am planning on joining NYPD.

Asked by Matthew over 10 years ago

Most police officers do not shoot another person.  Every police officer has to make life-and-death decisions on a regular basis, including if he or she needs to use force to protect another.  No one wants to shoot another person, but you have to be willing to do so if it is required to protect yourself or another person.

Hi I'm in college pursuing my criminal justice degree but I'm worried about getting hired because I used to smoke marijuana and tried ecstasy and cocaine once in high school, does that automatically disqualify me?

Asked by Jessica almost 11 years ago

Depends on the department.  Cocaine and ecstacy are serious drugs and can have serious long-term consequences on your brain.  I would suggest contacting the department(s) you are insterested in applying to and speak to one of the recruiters about your situation.  Any department would require a long interval (several years at least) between hiring and your last use of the drug.

When police officers patrol, do they decide on their own when to turn and where to go within their patrol area? Or is there usually/sometimes/rarely an exact route that they generally follow through their area?

Asked by Ryan about 10 years ago

No exact routes are ever taken/repeated.  It would be a good way to be ambushed and that's never a good day.

what are the chances of me and my best friend becoming partners after completing police foundation? were Canadian so we have to take a college course, I'm not sure how it is in the states.

Asked by marc over 10 years ago

I'm not sure I understand your terminology, but if you are asking if you and your friend could be assigned as partners at the same police agency, yes.  However, this would not happen until both of you had a few years of experience on the job.  No sergeant in his or her right mind would assign two inexperienced officers together.  

If pulled over by lets-say two officers, and my car was searched on 'suspicion of drugs' by means of smell (really they didn't) and came up with nothing.What can I do to stop these cops using improper law techniques. It has happened twice,please help

Asked by ProSlayer? about 11 years ago

If you feel you have been improperly searched by officers, you can contact their agency and file a complaint.

He has been verbally hit by his stepdad before and choked. Many family members has tried to call DHR before and try to get him out of that house hold but it never works what should we do to help him?

Asked by Breanna almost 11 years ago

If an investigation was conducted, it sounds like a lack of probable cause existed.  Probable cause is a legal burden that a law enforcement agency must meet before arresting someone.

Just because a parent hits a child does not mean the child is being abused.  Reasonable corporal punishment is legal in many cases.  

Strangulation is not likely to be considered reasonable.  If you witness violence, you should call the local law enforcement agency.

Even if the state was to remove him from the house, it is exceptionally unlikely he would be allowed to live with you.

Okay so I am 17 years old was smoking a cigarette at my friends sweet 16 party and her aunt who is a cop but was off duty asked my friend and I if we were 18 and if she could see our IDs. We said we were 18 but we didn't have our IDs on (1/2)

Asked by Butch over 10 years ago

(see second part of this question)

Does a Cop have to show a badge or can he just Identify himself as a Police officer?

Asked by 6721dd7a@opayq.com over 10 years ago

Thanks for the question.  This has been addressed twice before, so to save a little time, here is one of the answers from above:

"In what context? If an officer is taking enforcement action, then at a reasonable time he or she should identify him- or herself in a reasonable manner. That will likely include a badge and ID card.

If someone knocks on your door and asks to speak with you it is certainly reasonable to request to see identification. Call the local law enforcement agency and confirm the officer's identity if you have any doubts.

Asking an officer to show you his or her badge in the middle of a fight, chase or in the middle of some other dangerous situation might not be feasible. It is all situationally dependent. Unfortunately, everone looks for a simple black and white answer, but life's not that easy. Reasonableness is the key to everything."

Hello, my brother whom I live with in our dads house owes me money for helping him at work he is not willing to pay me and I have taken his computer screen he thinks its sold but its in my room can he report me for stealing and selling stolen goods?

Asked by Ashley over 10 years ago

Yes, you could be charged with theft. 

If he owes you money, it is likely a civil situation, not criminal.  Regardless, one wrong will not justify another.

I've been seeing a girl and if we have a disagreement she uses her sister's officer position as a shield. Is that legal and what do I do?

Asked by Derrick almost 11 years ago

I'm not sure what you mean by "using her sister's officer position as a shield."  Regardless, it would appear you need to find another girlfriend.

an acquaintance of mine has managed to obtain numerous credit with a range of catalogs using a fake name and contact details nevertheless has used her address is that still fraud

Asked by wolfgirl almost 11 years ago

Most definitely.  Since there is a pattern of fraudulent activity, this could be treated as a much more serious criminal enterprise akin to organized crime.  The specific laws vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.

my brother just came home for out of state and been here fore about 2 weeks I did some investigation and found he has a warrant out for hi arrest in another state what should I do

Asked by froggy over 10 years ago

Will the foreign state extradite?  If so, feel free to call the local authorities.  If not, the local cops will not be able to arrest him for the warrant.

If you are out patrolling an area where you have to pay attention to suspicious activity, and you see someone commit a regular traffic violation (not causing danger), will you ignore it so you can be on the streets patrolling?

Asked by 567 about 10 years ago

One of the functions of a police officer is to enforce traffic laws.  So, while on patrol I would be looking for both criminal and traffic vioations.  Since most criminals use a vehicle in some way (to get to a crime, to flee a crime, to move stolen property, etc.), making traffic stops will frequently result in the discovery of criminal activity.  

I have made major felony cases by stopping people for relatively minor traffic infractions.  Folks like Timothy McVeigh, Ted Bundy and others have all been located on traffic stops.  I can't tell you how many terrorists, murderers, rapists and others have been arrested after a seemingly small traffic violation. 

Thanks for taking the time to help me out sir. Is there a specific subject I should be majoring in? I noticed in earlier questions you regarded a criminal justice degree as being pretty much useless.

Asked by Chris almost 11 years ago

I'm no life coach :) but in my opinion, anything that teaches marketable skills and not merely theories.  For example, I love history, but unless there is a specific niche I can move into, its a degree that won't pay the bills.

Business degrees are good - especially if they have any type of entrepreneurial program.  Anything related to vets or medical skills, computer/IT/coding degrees, agriculture programs all would be great in my opinion.  Two other areas of study that would be excellent and apply to nearly any industry are communications and language studies.

Consider what kind of law enforcement you are interested in (city cop, game and wildlife officer, marine patrol, FBI, etc.) and your personal interests.  Then see if there is a program that you can get into that is interesting to you, will provide you with marketable skills outside of law enforcement, and might help with a law enforcement career. 

For example, foreign language studies will help in almost all areas of law enforcement.  Accounting might help with federal law enforcement (FBI, IRS, etc.).  Agricultural sciences could help with Dept of Natural Resources/Wildlife officers.

I hope this helps.  Ultimately, find something that works for you and go for it.

Can an Off Duty Police Officer who is out of his jurisdiction come to my place of residency with my landlord as her witness to serve an eviction without giving me his full name and Police Prescient he is offiliated with??

Asked by Melissa over 10 years ago

If the officer is acting as a police officer and provided his or her name (Officer Smith or whatever) and that the department he or she works for, that may be all of the information he or she is obligated to provide.  A specific zone, precinct, or other information may not be required.

If the officer is acting as an employee of the property owner, and not as a representative of the city/county/whatever, he or she may not even need to provide that.

My question can a Muslim woman be a cop if she is citizen? And she also wear hijab

Asked by Dina almost 11 years ago

First question - Absolutely.  There are no prohibitions or requirements for any specific religion or absense thereof to be a police officer.  Of course, any religious biases that prevent you from impartially and effectively enforcing the laws of your state should prevent you from pursuing a career in law enforcement.  For example, if you believe sharia law trumps the laws of your state, you have no place in police work.

Second question - I sure hope rules are not changed to allow police officers to wear a hijab.  Police officers are required to wear uniforms, and that means a standard way of dressing.  Clothing visibly worn for religious purposes should not be part of a police officer's uniform.  A law enforcement officer is expected to impartially enforce the law for all citizens, and when there is an obvious bias it undermines the public's trust in the officer and agency.

If you believe you should be able to wear a hijab at work, then law enforcement is not the job for you.  

Keep in mind that the nature of law enforcement does not allow you to regularly take off holy days.  This is the same for Christians have to work Easter, and Jews who work on Yom Kippur.

Faith is very important, and if your faith will cause you conflict in a law enforcement career, you might want to consider an alternative job path.

Who takes the call from a 911 dispatcher? How do 911 dispatchers relay info to cops? If a 911 call happens at night who is there to take it? Are off duty members of the force contacted as well?

Asked by Writer23 over 10 years ago

Many 911 centers have call takers who answer the phones.  They enter information into a computer (often called a call screen because it shows information about all of the active calls for service).  

A dispatcher pulls the information from the call screen and relays it to the patrol officers.  This can be done via computer (many agencies use computer aided dispatching), by voice transmission on the radio, or through a combination of both.

As the call taker gets more information, the call screen is updated in real time.

Depending on the size of the agency, call takers and dispatchers may be separate positions or all of the communication staff may be cross-trained and do all of the jobs.  At a small department, only one or two people may be on duty and have to do all of the call taking and dispatching.  Other departments may employ dozens or even hundreds of communications employees.

Off duty officers are rarely contacted.  In those cases it is typically because of manpower shortages and/or emergencies.  For example, a hostage situation requires the presence of a large number of officers, so off-duty officers could be called in to assist with normal patrol calls.   This tends to be uncommon at most departments.

If a Police Officer becomes injured and is knocked out during a routine Traffic Stop by oncoming traffic, a unruly citizen, or etc. What should you do as the person who is currently pulled over? Remain in the car?

Asked by Chase over 10 years ago

You can get out and help the police officer.  Sitting in the car while an injured police officer is laying in a lane of traffic is unconscionable.

Can off duty officer call in on duty officer to issue speeding ticket without showing ID to driver? Can off duty officer leave scene (when on duty office arrives) and not sign ticket. How far does an officer have to track to issue speeding ticket?

Asked by Steve Davis over 10 years ago

It depends on the laws of your state.  If I understand your question, it is legal for one officer to issue a citation based on another officer's observations (in at least some states - if not all states.)

My older sister got into a car accident minor fender bender while driving my moms car . She gave the officer my mothers info cuase her DL is suspendended. She then got a ticket n my moms name for not hving an interloock device. How can she fix it now

Asked by Sissy about 11 years ago

Your sister needs a criminal defense attorney.  It sounds like she has committed at least two crimes, and once discovered, she will likely be arrested for them.  An attorney can help her navigate through the system and get things corrected before they get any worse.

Brother was a suspect in a crime. He was killed by officers when my brother shot at them.. This part I do not argue. Since he will never be charged and get a trial . Why wont police tell me what evidence or proof that led to warrant being issued. I

Asked by LORIkAYE over 10 years ago

I don't know why they are withholding information.  It is very possible that it is an open investigation and exempt from open records laws.

What would you say are bully characteristics evident in an offender? What are preventions of recidivism? What recommendations do you have for preventing bullying behavior in children? What about for strategies dealing with parents of bullies?

Asked by Lisa Simmons almost 11 years ago

I'm not an expert on child behavior, nor on bullying.  There is likely a lot of research on the topic that you can find via Google.  I'd treat it all with a serious grain of salt though.  A lot (most?) research is funded by groups with specific goals in mind.

I can tell you from my exeprience, which is not scientific at all and should not be taken as such, that behavior is largely learned.  Kids imitate what they see, so both bullies AND victims are largely learned behavior.  Unfortunately, many parents, schools and even society is teaching people that being a victim is morally superior than standing up for one's self.  Sad really.


Who is present at a police station at night?

Asked by Writer23 over 10 years ago

Depends on the department.  There could be a desk officer, detectives and dispatchers in addition to any officers at the station taking a meal break, submitting evidence or completing paperwork.  At other departments, there may be no one at the station.  It just depends.

My ex boyfriend is harrassing me about my son. He keeps wanting DNA done but my son has already had it done and of course he doesn't believe me. What do I do? Do I have to go to court over this?

Asked by My ex boyfriend is harrassing almost 11 years ago

I'm unclear on your situation, and it is a civil matter regardless.  Your best bet is to contact a family law attorney and talk to him or her.

He will likely have to initiate court proceedings if he wants to obtain parental rights of a child born out of wedlock.  On the other hand, if you are trying to obtain child support from him, you would likely need to start court proceedings.

None of this is legal advice, and you should really contact a family law attorney.

In your experience, does offering a monetary award for info leading to finding a missing person or a wanted suspect actually work?

Asked by Pivot over 9 years ago


Are big city police stations more likely to be smaller than suburban stations? Because in the NYPD for example, there are many of them, so they can spread units out. Whereas a suburb has to have all its units working in a few or one station.

Asked by Ryan about 10 years ago

It varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.  There are no rules, and I doubt anyone can make any accurate generalizations.

How are officers assigned jobs? Is it just whoever's closest to the action or are skillsets considered?

Asked by Anonymous over 10 years ago

Patrol officers are assigned to zones or beats.  These are specific geographic areas that the officer is responsible for.  A non-emergency call in that zone will be held for the zone officer to handle.  Emergency calls will typically fall to the officer assigned to that zone, or if he/she is unavailable, the next closest unit.  

Certain calls may be held for certain officers.  For example, a department with officers who receive specialized training in dealing with the mentally ill may dispatch one of those officers outside of his or her zone to handle an incident that involves someone who is mentally ill.  

Thank you. And no I have no convictions or arrest and I do have a secret clearance....thanks for your time sir

Asked by Young over 10 years ago

Sounds like you are well on your way.  Good luck and thanks for your service!

I am working on a project. My topic is police screening. I just want info from a police officer.

Asked by mauisheriff@gmail.com over 10 years ago

Sounds great.  However, I do not understand what you are asking when you state "Is there anything that might pop up in police screening?" as a follow up to the prior question.  If you could rephrase the question, I will answer it the best I can.

There is a visible spade of law enforcement officials engaging in unnessessary violance or other abuse of powers. It is no longer outlandish to conclude that some police may be a threat to my survival. When am I allowed to resist or flee?

Asked by Khannea almost 10 years ago

"spade" - I do not think that word means what you think it means.

Oh, and your premise is false.

I have a friend who has police officers going around town saying she is a drug addict and that she goes out of town to buy drugs and brings them back to sale. I have known this woman for a long time and this is not true.

Asked by Monkey almost 11 years ago


If I see a child alone in a car on a hot day.....and notice that the child is struggling....can I break a window in that car to give the child some relief?

Asked by Klondike Cat almost 10 years ago

Possibly.  If the child is in actual danger, then yes, you can take reasonable actions to protect the life of the child.  However, the preumption is that you are damaging someone else's property.  You need to be able to prove that your actions were reasonable and necessary to protect the life of the child.  Calling 911 is probably the best bet in the specific scenario you described. As stated elsewhere on this page - this is not legal advice.

Do police officers usually have a time limit to how long they can be "out of service"? What exactly does that mean?

Asked by Ryan about 10 years ago

Out of service means different things to different agencies.  Do you mean off duty?  On break?  On a call?  If you are referring to a break, then yes - a department will likely have some type of policy on that.  Each department will be different.

Does a police officer have the authority to decide not to give someone a ticket for a traffic violation and instead give them a warning with the hope that the offender will appreciate it and take the message?

Asked by In about 10 years ago

Generally, yes.  Some departments may have policies that restrict the use of discretion.

Writing a book & have a Q. If an officer is shot on a call, in say, NYC, would someone call the family to inform them the officer's been taken to the hospital or would they send a unit to their house to inform them? Sad question, I know. Thank you!

Asked by Author almost 11 years ago

While I cannot speak to the precise policy of NYPD, I can say that almost every agency would send an officer to the spouse/family.  That's really not news someone should get over the phone, and they aren't likely to be safe to drive themselves to the hospital.

Can someone be stopped by a police officer just for looking suspicious? Not race or anything. Let's say a guy tries to avoid eye contact with you when you're patrolling in a police car. Can he be stopped for questioning? Can he be followed?

Asked by Red about 10 years ago

If a police officer can develop reasonable, articulable suspicion that you are involved in criminal activity, you can be detained.  You are not free to leave in this case.

Any police officer can walk up and start talking to you, including asking for ID, without any articulable suspicion.  However, you are free to leave in this circumstance.

If you want to leave, and don't know if you are able to, politely ask the officer if you may leave.  He or she will let you know.

How do I become a sheriff

Asked by mark over 9 years ago

Run for the office during the next general election. Becoming a deputy is a little easier, and you should contact the local department and inquire about employment if you would like to give that a go.

A big police station will have some interview rooms, meeting rooms, and rooms dedicated to different teams such as a gang unit room. What will a typical small police station have? (What is the minimum?)

Asked by Ryan about 10 years ago

There is no minimum standard.  It depends on the size of the building and the needs of the agency.  It may have dozens of rooms with lots of specialized spaces or just a single desk.

When you were a sergeant and lieutenant what was your job assignment? I know it depends on the PD, but for you, how did the change in rank change what you did during your work?

Asked by Ryan about 10 years ago

I was a sgt at one department and a lieutenant at another.  The duties of the ranks were different at each of the two agencies.  For example, one of my duties at both jobs was being the commander of the field training and evaluation program.  Yet one department assigned that to a sergeant and the other agency to a lieutenant.  There are no hard and fast rules.

A lot of murder mysteries on TV have cops interviewed who seem very knowledgable about a lot of stuff! Is it all from experience or do you guys take special classes?

Asked by Anonymous over 10 years ago

Homicide investigators attend specialized training in investigations techniques, interviewing techniques and specialized classes on just death investigations.  They also have a great deal of experience as a street cop and general investigator prior to being promoted to homicides.  Once in homicides, a new investigator will be paired with a more experienced detective who will guide the on-the-job training.

Can you track a criminal through messages with a cellular device to find out where they are at ?

Asked by Jy over 9 years ago


If someone gets access to YOUR pictures and threatens to post them everywhere online, and blackmails you that way, could they be arrested?

Asked by Allyson over 10 years ago

Blackmail is illegal, regardless of who the victim is.  State laws vary on what constitutes blackmail.  

Depending on the nature of the photos and how someone came into their possession there could be other criminal activity.  For example, did someone hack into your computer and steal data (illegal) or photograph you in a public location (legal)?


Asked by taysuan over 10 years ago


how does policemen help each other

Asked by zay over 10 years ago

In many different ways.  On duty, the officers can go with one another on dangerous calls or when someone might need extra help.  Off duty, many officers help each other with normal activities such as coaching games for their kids.

I have a few questions. When just getting out of the police academy what are your options for what department you work for? (like homicide, vice,ect) Also when you get a job at a police department do you have to go through specific training?

Asked by April over 9 years ago

If you go to work for a local police department, you will go to uniform patrol. It is there that you will learn a lot about the job and people. If you become really good at your job, you can earn your way into a specialized position. Some people are really good but enjoy patrol, so they stay in uniform.

When you first get to the department, you go through a field training & evaluation program that will help get you the very basic level of proficiency in doing the job.

I'm attempting to write a book, I know, sorry; anyway could you tell me what happens when a dead body of a person is found. Which police force have jusisdiction; the police where the body is found or the police where they originally lived?

Asked by Michelle Pashley over 10 years ago

What happens depends on what happened.  For example, if an elderly person or someone suffering from a known medical condition is found dead inside their home, and there are no signs of criminal activity, a cursory investigation is done to document that information.

If a person is found dead in other circumstances, say with a gunshot wound or ligature marks, the situation is investigated as a homicide.  The results of the investigation could lead to a ruling of wrongful death/murder, suicide, accidental homicide, justified homicide, or undetermined cause of death.  Keep in mind these are all just generalities, and specific determinations vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.

Generally, the primary investigative agency will be the one where the body is located.  There are provisions in the law that would allow another agency to handle the investigation in certain circumstances.  For example, if a person was kidnapped in county A, was taken through county B, was killed in county C, and was dumped in county D, any of the jurisdictions where the crime took place (all four) could assume control of the investigation.  However, this is governed by state law (which varies) and common sense almost always applies.  For example, county B in the above case would not try to take control of the investigation.  Keep in mind that each state has its own set of laws that may be different that what I described.  Also, transporting someone across state lines during the commission of a crime can now involve two different sets of state laws plus federal law since it is an interstate crime.

Can a California sheriff ask a woman out while he's on duty responding to a 911 call to the residence of the woman even though she was not involved with the 911 incident. She was just a roommate to the people who called?

Asked by sunny71 over 9 years ago

Sounds like he did, so I guess so. Is it in good taste? Maybe or maybe not - I wasn't there.

should i panic do i need A lawyer

Asked by wolfgirl almost 11 years ago

I strongly suggest contacting a criminal defense attorney.

Between police officers, is it frowned upon to violate a persons fourth amendment rights? or is there a "he was guilty anyways" attitude?

Asked by JOHN over 10 years ago

It's not frowned upon; it is illegal.  Anyone that has a "he's guility of something" attitude has no business being in law enforcement.

if someone has two out of state vehicles with expired everything on them, how do you go about finding out what's really going on with this person? I don't mind helping people but something isnt right!

Asked by amicrazy over 9 years ago

What exactly do you think is going on? Are expired tags considered a heinous crime in your area? If so, let the rest of us know so we can get away from real crime and move there.

why do i need a lawyer when no one knows what i am doing there is no sufficient evidence on me

Asked by wolfgirl almost 11 years ago

Get one or don't get one; I don't much care.  I thought perhaps you felt bad about being a thief and wanted to take responsibility for your actions.

If my roomate is a convicted felon (Broward County) and I have guns in the home, will this be an issue for him as I heard it is a third degree felony for a convicted felon to live in a home where fire arms are present

Asked by Concerned Citizen almost 10 years ago

You need to contact an attorney for clarification.  If he has access to them, and since you know he is a felon, then -you- could be exposed to criminal liability.

My boyfriend is 17 he wants to move out of the house and live with me because his stepdad abuses him an uses him as a slave and his mom lets him. he has to wake up at 4am to crank car he has 2 cook an clean everything even has 2 take care of lil bro

Asked by Breanna almost 11 years ago

Getting up early, cooking, cleaning and taking care of a family member are not abuse.  If there is some type of actual abuse going on, he needs to contact the local law enforcement agency.

Is it illegal to fill an application giving fake phone number and name or have post redirected to another adress so they can not send out bills

Asked by Wolf girl almost 11 years ago

Yes, it is called fraud.  It is a kind of theft - taking something (a service or property) that doesn't belong to you.  Oftentimes it is a felony.

I received a text from someone claiming to be a detective from an out of state department (Florida) and claimed to be on a nation wide task force. Is there a way of verifying this information? I don't believe I have done anything wrong.

Asked by person over 10 years ago

Yes, call the department he/she works for to confirm his/her identity.  It could be a scam.

What can you do if your tenant kept ripping off the eviction notice as you are hanging it on her front door?

Asked by Suravit Suphavai over 9 years ago

I don't know - that is a civil issue.

How can someone get picked up for public intoxication when they are at their house when the police show up?

Asked by Makayla Oppman over 9 years ago

I don't know. How can someone get picked up for public intoxication...oh nevermind.

Obviously legal gun owners cannot always be trusted either. If you don't want to take away guns, what about stricter regulation of who can own one?
(Thank you for your service. I have complete respect for you and your opinion, just making a point.)

Asked by Hello over 10 years ago

I'm confused by the concept of "stricter regulation."  There are thousands of laws and regulations on the books now that regulate the purchase and ownership of firearms and ammunition in the United States.  There is an entire federal law enforcement agency dedicated to the enforcement of gun laws (and who gets to make arbitrary regulations regarding the legality of different types of firearms, importation, etc.).  

Murder, which I presume is what you would like to stop, predates the invention of firearms.  It is already illegal, yet it still happens every day.  People have tried to prevent people from murdering others for centuries, yet no one has been able to do so.

What stricter regulation on a firearm do you suppose would stop murder? 

Evil exists.  Real, true evil exists in the world.  Some people don't want to believe it, but it does.  Evil people will not obey laws and will harm and kill others no matter what laws you put into place.

 - I oppose new gun regulations in all forms.  

 - I support the repeal of many current gun laws.  

 - I support the disolving of the BATFE.  

 - I support the right of all citizens to use that force which is reasonably necessary to defend themselves and others from attack and forcible felonies.

 - I oppose anyone who would take away the freedoms of any law abiding citizen including the rights to privacy, speak out, assemble, practice a religion, engage in commerce, and keep & bear arms.  To quote Thomas Jefferson, "The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbour to say there are twenty gods, or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg."  In other words, if a man -without reasonable cause- harms another, then the goverment has authority to act.  But, unless and until that happens, a government has no authority to interfere in the lives of free men.  I should not tell another man how to live, nor should he tell me how to live my own life.

Pursuing more restrictions on lawful gun owners serves no moral purpose, but only serves the purposes of evil - preventing people from a legitimate form of defense from criminals and illegal governments.

How are police radio channels used? It seems like if officers are just patrolling, then one dispatcher could handle like 50 units on one channel. But if there's something going on, how is people cutting each other out avoided?

Asked by Name over 10 years ago

Essentially, officers take turns.  It is a team sport and everyone has to share the radio.  Many agencies have more than one channel, so when something comes up, officers can move to different channels if needed.  But fundamentally, everyone has to take turns and officers give right of way to anyone that has emergency or urgent traffic.

Hi, I'm determined to become a police officer, but I smoked weed from 17-18. Does that disqualify me? I'm 19 now. Also, does being shot prevent me from be able to join as I have some nerve damage and the bullet is still in me.

Asked by Chris almost 11 years ago

Most agencies will look for a significant period of time between your last use of an illegal substance and the current time.  One to two years is not enough time for most departments.  I would strongly suggest joining the military or attending college.  By the time you finish your service or obtain your degree, you will have been clean for 5+ years, which puts you in a much better position.

If the nerve damage isn't debilitating in some way (can you still lift heavy things, run, have a strong grasp, etc.), it shouldn't be a problem.  Just make sure you disclose that before you take a pre-employment physical.  I imagine the bullet will show up on the x-rays.

If someone has an exceptionally prestigious education (i.e. Ivy League college degree), does that give them a better chance for getting into a PD and getting promoted? (Of course in addition to experience and good performance.)

Asked by Ryan about 10 years ago

Unlikely.  It would indicate to me that the person overspent on education and might be a poor steward of the department budget.

My sister tried to choke me today ! If I call 911 can she get arrested

Asked by Michelle almost 10 years ago


What if you tell a police officer you're suicidal?

Asked by Lacie almost 11 years ago

Laws in different states dictate what actions may be required of a police officer, but in general terms he or she would talk to you and try to determine if there was some way to help you.  In some cases, a police officer may be required to take a suicidal person to a hospital or other medical facility if the person poses a risk to anyone.  

If you or someone you know is depressed or suicidal, there are people who can help.  Call 1-800-273-8255 from anywhere in the US and they can provide assistance.  Alternatively anyone can go to a hospital an explain that they are having some problems and need help.

I'm writing a novel about abuse, and am wondering about the terminology of serving papers re: a restraining order. Once the judge signs the order of protection from harassment, how would you phrase what happens next?

Asked by NYINME over 9 years ago

Every state uses different terminology. If you are talking about a domestic violence situation, it will likely be called an 'temporary protection order' or something very similar to it. I'd suggest contacting a victim advocate in the jurisdiction where your novel is taking place.

(Continued) I would be afraid of them finding out it was me and these kids aren't kids who no one likes who drinks. They are popular and I think they drink mostly to be cool. I'm not sure if I have a responsibility to act in this situation. Thanks!

Asked by Julian about 10 years ago

This sounds like something you should discuss with your parents.  Good luck.

What is your opinion on police screening? When do you think police screening of recruits should start?

Asked by mauisheri@gmail.com over 10 years ago

Police screening should be mandatory.  It should start when they apply to attend the academy or apply for a job with a department (depending on what the proceedures are for your state.)  Any earlier is called spying; any later would be foolish.

In the state of arkansas can a 17 year old move out of her parents house and can the cops do anything about it since she is close enough to 18

Asked by brooklyn over 10 years ago

I do not know what the age of majority is in Arkansas.  You should probably contact the local law enforcement agency.

Oh, and "close enough" is not a legal term that will be recognized by a court or law enforcement officer.

my friend daughter is sleeping with a older guy and her parents cant get him to stay away how can I take actions on this

Asked by garrett over 10 years ago

The parents should call the police.  You can also call the police.

Is there a ticket or fine for leaving my bumper and license on the street?

Asked by Sean over 10 years ago

Possibly.  You should probably inquire with your local law enforcement agency.

can you join the police academy in year 11 and 12 or is that to young?

Asked by lozza almost 11 years ago

I believe all states require a police officer to be at least 18 years old and have a high school diploma or GED as an absolute minimum.  Most departments have more requirements than that (21+, college or military) to be employed.

I would suggest getting involved in the Explorers program at your local department.  It is perfect for someone who is still in high school.

Is there a way for cops to get old texts that have been deleted?

Asked by Kate almost 10 years ago

Yes.  Information can be extracted from the phone itself, and all of the data is stored on the service provider's servers.

So if you find a dead body, and you don't know the victims name. Can't you just take a blood sample and run it through the system or finger prints.

Asked by person over 9 years ago

Running finger prints is one way to possibly ID a corpse. Keep in mind that someone would have had to have been finger printed so be "in the system."

Some states have a DNA registry for sexual predators, which may be a way of ID-ing a corpse if it was someone convicted of rape, molestation or a similar crime.

Do police write reports on false allegations and use name of the alleged person?

Asked by SusieQJohnson almost 10 years ago

Generally, false allegations are recorded in a report.

I was wonder if you can be an undercover FBI agent or similar but undercover and a doctor at the same time. I love doing investigation but at the same time being a doctor.

Asked by Saad Muhammad about 10 years ago

Both are full time jobs and it is not reasonable to do both.  You can be an MD working for the FBI in a variety of capacities, though endercover work is not likely to be one of them.

In the beep test what is the expected score?

Asked by Jono over 10 years ago

No idea - What's a 'beep test'?

(Continued) What do you recommend I do? Are there careers out their that involve law enforcement where my degree will be more useful? And do you think it's worth it to do into Law Enf. if I'm used to a high salary? Thanks for your service.

Asked by Ross almost 10 years ago

Only you can make the decision on what to do.  If you want to be a police officer, be a police officer.  If money is a motivating factor, try private enterprise.  Neither the Navy nor police work is a path to riches.  If a LT's salary is considered "high," you might be surprised at what is available if you started your own business or used your degree & experience to land a good career in the private sector.

If you are looking for the best salary in law enforcement, take a look at the federal agencies.  Local departments in the northeast and west coast pay the best, but also have outrageous taxes and costs of living.

im 18 and i moved out without telling my mom or dad can they call the cops and say im a missing person

Asked by maria about 10 years ago


there are issues BAD at home. i cant stay here im gunna end up killing myself. i have already got a runaway. what happens next?

Asked by Hailey almost 10 years ago

It sounds like you should talk to a local police officer or deputy sheriff.  If you do not want to talk to someone in law enforcement, call 211 for a referral to non-law enforcement assistance.  If you are feeling suicidal, please call 1-800-273-8255.

Girl is abused over years long duration by a boyfriend, sexually and mentally. After end of relationship tries to tell people the truth and isn't believed, everyone thinks he's a great guy. Kills herself afterwards - what happens to him?

Asked by Kim almost 11 years ago

If the woman made a report with the local law enforcement agency, you should contact them for the status of the criminal investigation.  If she did not, is there any evidence he committed a crime?  If so, that should be taken to the local law enforcement agency.

Criminals cannot be arrested and adjudicated without victims and witnesses contacting law enforcement and being willing to participate in the investigation and prosecution.  

While tragic, if this is a case of:

  -  a woman who did not approach the police,

  -  there are no witnesses, and

  -  the only evidence that the ex-boyfriend sexually abused the woman at some point in the past were statements by the victim made to friends,

then I would expect that there is a lack of probable cause to arrest the ex-boyfriend for anything related to that abuse.


If a former co-worker posed as me and hacked my 401k and savings account ( after I was laid-off ) from a former employer, should I call the police or a lawyer? I don't know if they have stolen anything or not yet as I cannot get into my own account.

Asked by Sherry over 10 years ago

I would call the police.

If there is a small village police department with 2 or 3 officers per shift, will they probably use the radio channel and dispatcher of the county PD that also patrols the village?

Asked by Sal about 10 years ago

It depends.  Some small agencies will work off of a county channel.  Others will handle the dispatching, but the county will handle the 911 call answering.  Others will have a full 911 center (take the emergency calls and dispatch.)  I hate to say "it depends" so much, but things vary a lot.

What is the California knife regulations

Asked by tray almost 10 years ago

I've no idea.  Try Google.

these people are posting things on the internet and they are making accounts using my name and post inappropriate comment about me on Facebook and making websites about and screenshots my pictures and my statuses and not leaving me alone at all ,

Asked by Gillian about 10 years ago

If you are a child, talk to your parents.

If you are an adult, you should file an abuse complaint with Facebook.  In some circumstances there may be something criminal associated with the theft or misuse of your personal identifiers.

my friend put his truck in his moms name cuz his license got revoked. he got pulled over the other day and got DAR. Now when a cop runs the plate or a LPR scans it will it flag and say he drives it?

Asked by absolutely667 about 10 years ago


Can officers investigate an unidentified parked car that your husband is driving without a license?

Asked by Concerned wife almost 10 years ago

I'm afraid your question doesn't make sense.  Can you rephrase it?

My husband was stopped last night for speeding, cop asked him to do sobriety tests.He was under arrest for suspicion of DUI. Did field sobriety test, which he passed. He blew.08. But he didn't speed. Can we get DUI thrown out with a false stop?

Asked by chopsitter over 10 years ago

Sounds like you need to talk to an attorney.  You probably wouldn't like my advice.

(Continued) I reported the neighbors to the county PD (the local one is village PD) and they said they won't investigate something that the village PD can handle themselves. Should I tell them that I suspect wrongdoing by the PD? Or just let it go?

Asked by Jackson almost 10 years ago

Are you kidding?  Just because the cops don't do what you want them to do doesn't mean there is any wrongdoing on their part.  You should stop being a pest to your neighbors.

In movies and TV shows, many members of the mafia engage in crime with out being arrested. Is this a realistic picture? If so, what are the factors that keep police from arresting them for simply being members of a criminal organization?

Asked by Writer23 over 10 years ago

95% (or better) of the stuff you have learned about law enforcement in the movies or on TV is garbage.  Movies are written, directed and acted by people who have no experience or first hand knowledge of law enforcement or crime.  

Regardless of the type of crime - shoplifting to running a criminal enterprise - law enforcement officers can only arrest someone if probable cause exists.  If this burden of proof does not exist, no lawful arrest can be made.

Have you ever heard of a person successfully winning a false arrest lawsuit?

Asked by JOHN over 10 years ago


When a police officer is not on patrol, what are they doing at the police station?

Asked by Ryan about 10 years ago

Any number of things including:  processing evidence, contacting witnesses, writing reports, picking up supplies, talking to a seargent, filling out school requests, showering after being exposed to blood or other bodily fluids, returning a phone call, sending out a subpoena, printing off reports for court, conducting a suspect interview, using the restroom, eating lunch, swapping radio batteries, entering stolen articles into NCIC, completing online or inservice training, submitting to a drug test, being inspected, picking up an item for delivery to another agency or court, etc, etc, etc.

Hi I want to get a family member out of my house because she is creating problems in my relationship with my husband but she doesn't want to leave.

Asked by julliana almost 10 years ago

Contact your local depaerment and inquire about forcing her to leave. States vary on the requirements regarding residency and tenant-landlord issues.

If I were to get into a confrontation with someone and the police were called. Am I allowed to ask for another police officer to take control of the scene. If the original one had history with the person I got into the confrontation with?

Asked by Machines over 10 years ago

No.  If you believe the officer handles the incident in an improper manner, you can request to speak to his/her supervisor.

When I was 13 I was caught for breaking and entering but I never went to court and I never has to go to Juvy. Or any other punishment but I did sign a paper and now I want to be a Maine state trooper can I become one?

Asked by Vincent Wade Hehl over 10 years ago

Possibly.  Contact the recruiting division of the Maine State Police.  They will answer all of your questions and assist you with the application process.

And if an officer gave someone a warning, could this be put on a record so if they were pulled over again, the officer would know that they were already warned? Thank you.

Asked by In about 10 years ago


1 hour after leaving the recovery room after hernia surgery, the police forced me to drive home. Is this legal?

Asked by MadeInNY almost 10 years ago

I'm guessing there is more to this story.

I traded a to someone on craigslist. Traded at verizon store it was working at the store I left and they left and now he's calling saying it's not working and wanting me to drive 1 and a half hours to trade back for a phone that he probably broke

Asked by Jon over 9 years ago

Ok. Is there a question?

Back in the 1970's, my father bought two fake grenades from a surplus army navy store. They look real, and if I throw them in the trash someone could freak out. Is there any way the local police would take them without freaking out if I call them?

Asked by JP almost 10 years ago

Yes, they are completely legal.  But, you are right and someone might freak out if someone sees them.  Calling the PD and explaining the situation should be fine.  We helped dispose of all sorts of stuff (ammo, explosives, etc.).

Why are police officers often at the scene of a medical incident? Is this only if there's a security or criminal concern? Or do police officers ever act as medical first responders in some places? (To give aid before the ambulance arrives.)

Asked by Richard almost 10 years ago

Reasons vary. Some jurisdictions require a police response.  Other times, medical responders might request law enforcement due to potential problems or safety concerns.  Police officers typically have some level of medical training, so they might be dispatched to the scene to help render aid until paramedics can respond.  In some jurisdictions, officers are cross trained as paramedic/firefighters.

I was driving home the spend limit 25mph... a truck had his brights on and was tailgating me... he was very close to my car. he then pulled over to the right of me almost hitting my car on purpose. what should I do?

Asked by Devon over 10 years ago

Follow the advice of the officers who responded to the incident when you called them.

i want to become a police officer but my family have been in jail can that have an affect on me ?

Asked by Michael Bover over 9 years ago

It can, but it depends on the circumstances.

I was taken to the police station for public drinking. This is the first time I have ever done something like this. I am of legal age. Will this get recorded on my file, and hence affect my future when applying for jobs? I live in Western Australia.

Asked by Daisy over 10 years ago

I have no experience with Austrailian law.

It very well may affect your future employment.  All actions have consequences, and the decisions we make - good and bad - will follow us throughout life.

My dad is verbally abusive person and sometimes physically but this only involves pushing my mother against a wall and holding her back. I don't want anything else to happen to her. what can i do in order to make him stop with the abuse towards us?

Asked by Anna over 10 years ago

Call the police if violence occurs.

How come on "COPS" (a show filming real police officers), I rarely hear people being read their Miranda Rights? Is this what really happens, while scripted TV shows have what does not really happen? Thanks.

Asked by Jorge over 9 years ago

1. There are no "Miranda rights."2. An officer is not required to read you the Miranda warning because you have been arrested.3. COPS is edited. Boring things - such as reading someone a Miranda warning - are cut out.

Do most police departments in the US have a K9 unit? Or is it mainly the bigger cities?

Asked by Sam over 9 years ago

I think more than half do. Nearly all have access to one through mutual aid.

I bought an iphone from a local store and and I want my money back I lost 500 dollars and the store owner told me to come back later and later and later and I'm tired of it every time an excuse and sometime even closed I had it with this 3w late

Asked by Jay over 10 years ago

I'm not sure if there is a question in there.  However, you have not described anything criminal.  Law enforcement does not investigate civil issues.

Is it jay walking when u cross the street when there's no streetlight?

Asked by Michelle almost 10 years ago

Each state has different laws.  Refer to your state's laws.  Google can help you find the official listing of laws for your state.

Can people with epilepsy join the police force if they cannot drive?

Asked by Jenna over 9 years ago


I understand that a detective cannot search or seize anything unless he has a warrant or exigent circumstances. Does that also apply to a burn down house? Does an officer need a warrant to search a house that is burnt to the ground?

Asked by Petal about 10 years ago

I would assume so, but there may be statutory or case law that says otherwise.  I'd suggest contacting a lawyer if this is more than a theoretical query.

If something requiring a lot of officer-to-officer communication happens, will officers involved switch to another channel than what officers who are not involved are using?

Asked by Asd about 10 years ago

Yes, that frequently happens.

Are there procedures in place that make it so if an officer is in trouble, they can say it on the radio without being blocked by less important use?

Asked by Asd about 10 years ago

Yes.  There are multiple methods.

would you be able to track my phone that i lost at work in a customers vehicle earlier

Asked by josh over 9 years ago

No. Call your cell provider.

Do you investigate window screens that have been tampered with and removed?

Asked by Marc almost 10 years ago


i had some threatening texts of my half sister, and my mum went to the police about them they asked if i wanted to give a statment but my mum said i dont and not to say anything whats going to happen? will they leave us alone?

Asked by Roxy almost 10 years ago

Nothing is going to happen if you don't do anything.  Why contact the police if you don't want to cooperate with the investigation?

I have stopped going to see my dad as of 12/31/12 and he is dropping me from health insurance. I am also taking a car back that is in his name tomorrow. He keeps calling and trying to argue with my mom and I. He calls repeatedly. What do I do?

Asked by Josh about 10 years ago

There are a variety of variables in this situation.  For example, you haven't seen your father for more than a year, yet you are still driving his car and he has been paying for your health insurance.  Does this mean you are a minor and incapable of providing for yourself?  Were these things required he provide you by court order?  If so, he may be required to provide certain things to you by law and/or court order.

If you are an adult, I would suggest that you (1) get your own health insurance, (2) get your own car, and (3) don't talk to him if you do not want to.  If you tell him not to call you and he continues to do so, you can change your phone number.

If a court order is in play, you and he need to abide by it.

Of course, none of this is legal advice.  You should contact an attorney for advice.

When do you call in SWAT?

Asked by XatosfX almost 10 years ago

There are different protocols for each agency, but in general for situations in which their specialized skills and equipment can more safely resolve an incident.  

What are some reasons to not go into law enforcement?

Asked by Emily about 10 years ago

Getting shot.  Getting stabbed.  Getting broken bones.  Getting killed in an accident.  Being strangled.  Acquiring incurable diseases.  Dealing with rotting bodies.  Telling people that their loved one has been killed.  Horrible hours.  Working weekends.  Working holidays.  Dealing with defense attorneys and other scum.  Low wages.  Poor opportunity for advancement.  Getting sued.  Being rained on.  Being snowed on.  Working in a hurricane while all sane people have long since fled.  Wrestling drunks in the mud.  Dealing with unrealistic expecations of the public.  Dealing with the unrealistic expectations of pencil pushers in city hall.  Stress and related health problems.  Chronic back problems from wearing a duty belt.  Not being able to have normal relationships with non-cops.  Hyper vigilance.  Not being around for your family.  Did I mention rotting bodies?  Polyester uniforms.  People throwing feces and urine on you.  Being spit on.  Fighting for your life as a regular job function.  Dealing with other people's children.  Going to the funerals of your friends.  

<sarcasm>Oh, but the paycheck makes it all worthwhile.</sarcasm>

Can someone go to jail for resisting arrest if it was found that the suspicion for why they were stopped in the first place was proven to be false?

Asked by Red about 10 years ago


From the perspective of a police officer, does it worry you or calm you to know that some citizens can legally carry firearms? Sure, they can help stop a shooting before the police show up, but should ordinary citizens have the power to end a life?

Asked by Hello over 10 years ago

Yes - Every citizen is entitled to self-defense, including the use of deadly force when they are in reasonable fear for their life or the life of another person.  What difference does it make if they use a firearm, knife, baseball bat or their own hands/feet?  The difference is that the weak can defend themselves from stronger, younger predators.  No law abiding citizen should be disbarred the use of arms for the defense of themselves and their family.

Hi, please my question is how does the responsibilities of the FBI influence the economy? Thank you.

Asked by Emmanuel over 10 years ago

I imagine the FBI has only a slight impact on the US economy.  It sounds like you have an interesting topic for research though.

In a large city, how many sergeants would be based in a particular station? How many at a time would be on duty?

Asked by Writer23 over 10 years ago

It is impossible to say.  A department will generally have guidelines regarding manpower as it relates to the call volume or work load of each unit.

Is it unfair that NYPD cops make as little as $30,000 per year, whereas in my town there is a small PD where they each make more than $100,000 and the chief makes more than Ray Kelly? (Never violent crimes in my town. And its not because of them.)...

Asked by Student over 10 years ago

Fair is a BS concept typically used by people who covet what other people have.  Life isn't fair.  Life is about choices.  

If a person wants to work for NYPD, they know what the job pays going into it.  If a potential applicant wants better pay, they will go elsewhere.  If the citizens of New York want the best possible people applying to be police officers then they will offer more competitive salaries.  

When applying to be a police officer you are asked if you had been involved in any criminal activity, if i answer honestly even though I have a clean record could it legally be used to obtain a search warrant or for a criminal investigation?

Asked by MICHEAL over 10 years ago

Depends on the circumstances.  However, I'm not sure that you are describing the ideal police candidate anyway...

well my son is 14 i got him a dirt bike i live in nj west new york 07093 is it illigal for him to ride it at the park during summe

Asked by hector about 10 years ago

I don't know, but NY and NJ sure do like to tell people what to do.  It seems just living is either illegal or nearly taxed to death in those states.  You should probably check with the local jurisdiction.

In the past when I've reported my neighbors to the local PD for things like noise and construction violations, they call back and say that they responded and found no violations. Sometimes I see the chief and the neighbor socializing and stuff. cont.

Asked by Jackson almost 10 years ago

I don't know why you would call the police for "noise and construction violations."  If the neighbor is playing the stereo too loud, I'll just walk over and talk to him.  If he is building something on his property that I don't like - well, that's my problem.  It is HIS property and he can do what he wants to with it.  Try talking to your neighbor and not calling the police for non-criminal matters.

When a police officer takes a civil service test to be promoted, does it take passing the test AND an appointment to the new rank, or is the test hard enough for anyone who passes it to reach a new rank?

Asked by Eagle about 10 years ago

No idea - I didn't work at one of those departments.

I would sincerely hope that people were not promoted based on a test score, but when you mix government and unions and there is rarely any room for common sense.  

Promotion should be based on ability.  Most tests are only analyzing a person's ability to memorize a set of facts.

I have just recently found out that a man that moved in to our neighborhood over a year ago is a convicted sex offender. Is it required for the police department to inform us somehow?

Asked by Concerned Dad almost 10 years ago

Probably not.  Laws vary from state to state, but law enforcement has no duty to protect you.  Law enforcement has a duty to provide general protection to a community, but not to individuals.  Most (all?) states provide a sex offender database online that you can access to check things for yourself.  For example, this is the one in Florida:  https://offender.fdle.state.fl.us/

I have a grad level question which I at first thought was a basic & silly for MS type work but here goes... U are a rookie cop under the control of a FTO & on your route the FTO stops & sucks down 4 beers, what should you do?

Asked by Renate over 9 years ago

Ask me a serious question.

is an officer of the law ever classed as off duty

Asked by kelly fuller over 10 years ago

Unless he/she is being paid, the officer is off duty.  Different states have differant laws on what authority an off duty officer has.

I am writing a screenplay and I have a few questions:

1. Can a suspect of a murder case that took place 4 years earlier, look at the crime scene photos & the crime scene evidence?

Thanks in advance

Asked by Edwurd almost 10 years ago

If the case is still open (unsolved), no.  A detective may show some piece of evidence or a photo of the crime scene to the suspect during an interview to get some type of response or information about the crime.  Other than that, no one outside of the officers working the case, medical examiner and prosecutor are looking at the evidence.

If a cop tells me to stop speaking spanish do I have to listen? Can he arrest me for not obeying his order?

Asked by Wondering about 10 years ago

It depends on the situation.

i just wanna ask you a quick question about something if you could help that would be so great

Asked by quan almost 10 years ago

I can only answer questions when they are asked.

What do o do if my email was hack

Asked by eric over 9 years ago

Change your password.

I plan on pursuing in becoming a police officer, I have had juvenile offenses though. I committed a first degree armed robbery, was tried in juvenile court but I now have a sealed ADULT record somehow. Is this still possible for me?

Asked by Julian almost 10 years ago

I don't know what your state's laws may be in regard to this.  I would hope that most departments would not hire a convicted armed robber, but that's just me.

My dad sold all of my things that he