Here are answers to a few of the most often asked questions I receive regarding police and the work they do.
1. How do I become a local FBI homicide investigator?
Easy answer to this one. You can’t. The FBI doesn’t work local homicide cases; therefore, this three-letter federal agency does not employ homicide investigators for the cases in your hometowns. That’s the job of city, county, and state police.
2. How long does it take to become a detective?
Hmm … As “long as it takes” is a good response to this particular question. There is no set standard. It’s all about who’s the best person for the job. One person may be ready with as little as two years experience, while another may not be ready for a plainclothes assignment in, well, they may never be ready. The job of detective isn’t for everyone. Some officers prefer to work in patrol, or traffic, in the schools, or in the division that inspects taxi cabs and buses to be sure they’re in compliance with local law and standards.
3. Why didn’t you read that guy his rights before you handcuffed him? Aren’t you required to do so by law? Don’t you have to let him go now that someone knows you broke the law by not reading him his rights?
Miranda, first of all, is only required when (a) someone is in custody, and (b) prior to questioning. Therefore, if I don’t plan to ask any questions, and that’s often the case, I don’t have to spout off the “You have the right to remain silent” speech. So, no, not advising someone of Miranda is not a get out of jail free card.
4. Why do cops wear sunglasses?
Umm … because they’re constantly exposed to bright sunshine and the glasses help reduce glare and eyestrain.
5. I got a ticket for not wearing my seat belt, yet the USPS letter carrier in my neighborhood doesn’t wear his. How can they get away with breaking the law?
Most areas have laws that specifically address delivery drivers and similar professions—letter carriers, delivery services, police officers, firefighters, etc., whose jobs require them to be in and out of their vehicles throughout the business day. And, those laws typically excuses the driver(s) from mandatory seat belt laws while performing their jobs. However, many of these businesses and agencies require their drivers to wear safety belts when operating a vehicle.
6. Why are there so many sheriffs in my county?
I’ll start by saying there is only one sheriff per county. The rest of the folks you see wearing the uniform and star are deputies. A sheriff, the boss of the entire department, is elected by the people. He/she then appoints deputies to assist with the duties of the office—running the jail, courtroom security, serving papers, patrol, and criminal investigations, etc.
7. No, it’s not racial profiling to stop a purple man wearing a blue shirt and orange pants in a location near a bank that was just robbed by a purple man wearing a blue shirt and orange pants. That’s called good police work.
8. No, you do not have the right to see the radar unit, my gun, or what I’m writing in my notebook.
9. No, turning on your hazard lights does not give you the right to park in the fire lane in front of the grocery store.
10. Yes, I am concerned about your ability to fight well. Please understand, though, that this is what I do for a living, and they didn’t teach me to lose. Besides, I have a lot of loyal coworkers who’re on the way, right now, to see to it that the good guys win. So, Junior, Jr., you’re coming with me, one way or another.
11. You keep saying you know your rights … but you really don’t. Can you hear what you’re telling me?
12. Yes, no matter how much you hate me, my badge, and my uniform, I’ll still come running when/if you call, even if you punched me in the face the last time I saved your butt from the trouble you were in.
Today’s Mystery Shopper’s Corner
Since the holiday season is nearly here, I’ve decided to feature a few fun items for your mystery shopping needs and wants. I’ll post these regularly throughout the remaining weeks of 2018.
So, for day three of MSC, especially for those of you who’re shopping for writer friends who enjoy a bit of research and/or relaxation, here are my picks.
First up, 400 Things Cops Know
Show your support for the men and women in blue.
Dazzle your friends with gun cylinder pen and pencil holder/paper weight.
Finally, I thought I’d wrap up with a couple of books by Michael Connelly. Highly recommended reading material because he really does his cop homework. The story and characters ring true, and Bosch is a detective with whom I strongly relate.
Those of you who met Michael at the Writers’ Police Academy already know what nice and humble guy he is and those traits shine through in his style of writing. Bosch … not so humble, though.
Michael’s latest …
Finally, one of my favorites …