Archive for the ‘Police Procedure’ Category

PostHeaderIcon Are You Writing What You THINK You Know?

I’ve been writing this blog for several years and I have to say it’s sometimes tough to come up with a new topic each and every day. However, as long as writers continue to write stories about cops and crime, I suppose there’ll always be questions that need answering.

Today, though, I thought I’d put the shoe on a different foot and have you answer a few questions. I want to see just how much you know about the world of cops and robbers. After all, it’s what you write…right?

So here goes…

(By the way, I’ve seen each of these used incorrectly in at least one book, or on someone’s blog)

1. Revolvers eject spent brass with each pull of the trigger. False

2. Thermal imagers can “see” through black garbage bags, allowing officers to identify the contents without opening the bag. True. Objects inside black poly bags are clearly visible.

3. How many locks are on a pair of handcuffs? Two locks for each cuff. One locks automatically as the cuffs are closed. The second must be manually locked using a key.

4. Speed Loaders are competition shooters who are extremely skilled at loading their weapons in a very short amount of time. False. Go HERE to see speed loaders.

5. Vehicles almost always explode when hit by gunfire. False. You’ve been watching far too much TV.

6. DNA evidence is used to convict defendants in nearly every case. False.

7. The FBI investigates all kidnapping cases. False. Local police investigate abduction cases all the time. Again, you’ve been watching too much TV.

8. Kevlar vests worn by officers are designed to stop punctures from knives and other sharp objects. False. However, there are vests designed to protect against sharp instrument attacks. These are typically found in jail and prison environments.

9. Are cops required to advise a suspect of Miranda (you have the right to…etc.) at the moment of arrest? False, only when suspects are in custody AND prior to questioning. No questioning = no advisement of Miranda. Some departments may have policies that require Miranda advisement at the time of arrest, but I’ve never encountered one.

10. Are police officers required by law (in every state) to wear seat belts while operating a police car? No, some states do not require officers to wear seat belts. The same is true for some delivery drivers and letter carriers.

11. Are all deputy sheriffs sworn police officers? No. Typically, deputies who work in the jails are not police officers.

12. Some California sheriffs also serve as county coroner. True

13. Small town police departments never investigate murder cases. False. All police officers are trained to investigate crimes, and small town officers investigate homicides all the time.

14. Robbery and burglary are synonymous. False. They are not the same, not even close.

Robbery occurs when a crook uses physical force, threat, or intimidation to steal someone’s property. If the robber uses a weapon the crime becomes armed robbery, or aggravated robbery, depending on local law. There is always a victim present during a robbery.

For example, you are walking down the street and a guy brandishes a handgun and demands your money. That’s robbery.

Burglary is an unlawful entry into any building with the intent to commit a crime. Normally, there is no one inside the building when a burglary occurs. No physical breaking and entering is required to commit a burglary. A simple trespass through an open door or window, and the theft of an item or items, is all that’s necessary to meet the requirements to be charged with burglary.

For example, you are out for the night and someone breaks into your home and steals your television. That’s a burglary. Even if you are at home asleep in your bed when the same crime occurs, it’s a burglary because you weren’t actually threatened by anyone.

15. Narcotics dogs are fed small amounts of cocaine at an early age to get them used to the drug. False. Drug dogs are NEVER fed drugs of any type. Instead, they’re showered with love and playtime, and lots of it.

16. Shotguns and rifles are basically synonymous. False. Two totally different animals.

17. It’s fairly easy to knock someone unconscious with a quick blow to the back of the head or neck. False.

18. No one has ever escaped from death row. False.

19. CornerShot is a bendable device that allows officers to shoot around corners. True. Read about CornerShot HERE.

20. Cops are trained to aim for arms, legs, and/or to shoot a knife or gun from a suspect’s hand. False. Officers are taught to shoot center mass of their target. It is extremely difficult to hit small, moving targets while under duress. Again, officers DO NOT shoot hands, legs, elbows, or weapons (well, not on purpose).

21. Officers always shoot to kill. FALSE!! Police officers are NEVER trained to “shoot to kill.” Instead, they’re taught to stop the threat. When the threat no longer exists the shooting stops, if it ever starts. Often, the threat ceases before shots are fired.

22. Registration for Writers’ Police Academy opens on February 14, 2015 (Valentines Day). True

23. 2015 WPA attendees will have the opportunity to fire real guns. True

24. 2015 WPA attendees will experience the most exciting WPA ever produced. True

25. You will attend the 2015 Writers’ Police Academy. We certainly hope so!!

PostHeaderIcon Cops: Damned If They Do, And Damned If They Don’t

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The NYPD uses a tactic called “Broken Windows,” the aggressive cracking down on minor offenses which, in turn, creates a ripple effect that reduces the number of major crimes such as murder, robbery, and rape.

Since the tactic was utilized the city has seen a huge decrease in its crime rate. For example, according to the New York Times, homicides are down by 82%. The number of rapes dropped 77%. Robberies are down 84%.

In 1990 (prior to Broken Windows), New York City saw 2272 murders. In 2013 there were 335. To add a bit of perspective to those figures, the last year I served as a police detective, Richmond, Va. recorded 333 murders. The population of Richmond is just over 200,000. New York City…nearly 8.5 million. Yes, that’s 8.5 MILLION.

New York’s prison population has also decreased accordingly…by 28%, meaning that more people were released than were entering the system.

So the Broken Windows policy works, and it works well. As a result, NYC is the safest large city in the U.S.

So what’s the problem? Well, let’s again visit the New York Times (post the murders and violent attacks on police officers), a paper that only five short months ago published the initial Broken Windows article that basically touted its successes.

According to a NY Times article published one month apart from the one mentioned above, in spite of the enormous payoff many are adamant that Broken Windows unfairly targets people of color, and they’ve called for an end to it. Communities United For Police Reform director Joo-Hyun Kang was quoted saying, “The continuation of broken-windows policing will only deepen the divide between police and community.” This statement comes after the report that NYC is the safest city in the country.

I’m sorry that race and emotions have to enter the picture, but when crimes occur more often in some areas than it does in others, well, that’s where the cops are forced to focus their attentions. That’s how it works. Think rationally for a minute, please. Violent crime (hypothetically) occurs in one neighborhood every single night of the year, but you want police to stop going there and instead patrol over on the next block, where the crime rate stands at practically zero?

Suppose your job is to troubleshoot problematic ice cream freezers. So you drive to a nearby grocery store whose manager has complained about all sorts of trouble that’s wreaking havoc on all flavors in the box. It’s no secret that every brand and tasty treat is suffering because of those problems.

So you enter the store, totally aware that the frozen desserts are located on aisle 14, but you avoid 14 by repeatedly walking up and down aisle 9—birthday cards and scented candles—knowing full well you’ll never see a single spoonful of Rocky Road. It’s a fact that the troubles within the freezer will never be addressed by avoiding them. Not ever. Nor will they mend on their own. In fact, things will only grow worse without intervention. The same is true in areas where the majority of crimes take place.

Law enforcement cannot be proactive by avoiding areas where crimes frequently occur. Even reaction times can be slowed to a crawl when officers are forced to remain on the outside of known crime areas. After all, you can’t catch fish if you’re fishing in the middle of a parking lot.

Anyway, back to the New York Times…

NYT Headline today – When New York City Police Walk Off the Job

This headline falsely insinuates that officers are refusing to work and that’s not the case at all. Instead, they are erring on the side of caution by not placing themselves in situations where they could be attacked and/or killed. And their concern and fears are just, considering the recent murders, violent assaults, and ambush attempts of police officers across the country. NYC officers are simply not setting themselves up as targets by making arrests for minor offenses—basically, the very crimes that fall under the Broken Windows tactic/policy.

The article reports traffic citations are down by 94%, summonses for public drinking and urination are down 94 %, parking violations are down 92%, and drug arrests are down 84%.

Dangerous and deplorable are the reporter’s words to describe the lack of enforcement of petty and minor crimes.

The ill-informed author of the NYT article concludes with a demand for officers to “Do your jobs.”

But…when the police did their jobs the NY Times practically condemned and blasted them for doing it, even when the numbers showed a safer New York City. Now they’re angry because officers not doing what you wanted them to stop doing?

So which is it, New York Times? Should cops enforce the law, or not. Should they stay out of certain neighborhoods, or patrol them? Which do you want? A safe city, or a city where criminals, by intimidation, get to pick and choose which laws the cops are allowed to enforce?

Yeah, cops: damned if they do and damned if they don’t…


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