Ask a detective/undercover cop

ace_of_something

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ScarletRider said:
My father has been arrested a few times over the years for domestic violence and perhaps spousal abuse, though I don't believe any charges were filed, nor do I think he's ever had a court appearance. Would there still be a record made of his arrests, and would I be able to look that up?
If he was arrested charges were filed though they may have been dropped.
If a report was written there is a record it will likely be listed as 'Nolle prosequi' or 'charges dropped'. Arrest records are public record. As far as obtaining them it's not very easy in most counties. You usually have to call a lawyer or the county clerk/comptroller and fill out some paperwork possibly pay a filing fee. Some counties have restrictions like you can only look up family members etc.
or do what most people do... ask a cop friend to look up the local records for you and have him/her write them down on a piece of scratch paper. :p
 

Enigmers

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I don't actually have a question, but I have to applaud you for deciding to go into a career (is it still called a career if you work for the country like this? Is it "civil service?" I guess that is a question.) and, among other things, providing me with a lot of interesting reading material (especially with your other thread)
 

ScarletRider

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ace_of_something said:
If he was arrested charges were filed though they may have been dropped.
If a report was written there is a record it will likely be listed as 'Nolle prosequi' or 'charges dropped'. Arrest records are public record. As far as obtaining them it's not very easy in most counties. You usually have to call a lawyer or the county clerk/comptroller and fill out some paperwork possibly pay a filing fee. Some counties have restrictions like you can only look up family members etc.
or do what most people do... ask a cop friend to look up the local records for you and have him/her write them down on a piece of scratch paper. :p
Interesting. Thanks for your answers! And wow, this thread hasn't had a reply since June? o_O Well, if you're still answering, here's another question: Let's say I stumble upon a dead body, say taking a short cut down a dark alley and stumble upon a murder scene. Naturally, I would call the police in on it, so what kind of questions would they ask? What else could I expect to happen?
 

ace_of_something

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Enigmers said:
I don't actually have a question, but I have to applaud you for deciding to go into a career (is it still called a career if you work for the country like this? Is it "civil service?" I guess that is a question.)
It's a career and civil service! Although we often just call it 'the job'
ScarletRider said:
if you're still answering, here's another question: Let's say I stumble upon a dead body, say taking a short cut down a dark alley and stumble upon a murder scene. Naturally, I would call the police in on it, so what kind of questions would they ask? What else could I expect to happen?
It all depends on the situation. Most dead bodies are 'found' by someone especially when said body is dumped in a public place.
More than anything they'd ask you things like:
"did you touch the body?" (for the love of god don't!)
"did you see anyone?"
"did you see what happened?"
and so on. Simply stumbling on the scene of a crime in a public place doesn't usually make you a suspect. Now, if you find a dead body in your living room... that might cause you some trouble you.
 

newguy77

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ace_of_something said:
Quoted for attention
Since this seems to be more like "Ask a Cop 2.0", I'll just ask my cop question here instead of necroing the thread that hasn't been posted in in a longer while. Anyways, I was recently pulled over at night (speeding), and they shine you in the face with a bright light continuously. Is that mostly so you can't drive away easily and what do cops do when they're just sitting in their vehicle while you're waiting for them to come over and get your license?
 

ace_of_something

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newguy77 said:
ace_of_something said:
Quoted for attention
Since this seems to be more like "Ask a Cop 2.0", I'll just ask my cop question here instead of necroing the thread that hasn't been posted in in a longer while. Anyways, I was recently pulled over at night (speeding), and they shine you in the face with a bright light continuously. Is that mostly so you can't drive away easily and what do cops do when they're just sitting in their vehicle while you're waiting for them to come over and get your license?
The light thing is to see in the car. It's not exactly easy to shine a flashlight (especially the bigguns we get) at the floor of your car and console with out it hitting you in the face. The way you react to the bright light it also one of the first signs of substance abuse. People who're really drunk/high tend to look into the light rather than away.
While you're waiting could be a lot of different things but in most departments when you pull someone over, you put the car's plate in the computer, or call dispatch if your dept. can't afford computers, That gives you who owns the car, their record, and if the car is stolen. The most likely place for a Cop to be injured is a traffic stop (2nd most is a domestic violence call btw) so it helps to know everything. In our dept you also have to turn on the camera and say where you are and all the information you just found from the computer (in case you die or something).

That and he's probably secretly calling his friends on the radio to make fun of your haircut.
 

Sindaine

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How can you tell if someone is impersonating an officer? There was a big to-do around here a few years back because this guy would attach flashers to the hood of his car, pull women over, flash a badge and demand to inspect their car--then he'd force his way in and rape them. Many of his victims kept silent out of fear they'd somehow be arrested for resisting his advances. Is there a way to tell a fake badge from a real one?
 

ScarletRider

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I do hate to beat a dead horse, so to speak, but if this thread is still accepting submissions, I'd be grateful for an answer. How does an average person generally react when they come upon a crime scene? A murder, specifically.
 

ace_of_something

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Sindaine said:
How can you tell if someone is impersonating an officer? There was a big to-do around here a few years back because this guy would attach flashers to the hood of his car, pull women over, flash a badge and demand to inspect their car--then he'd force his way in and rape them. Many of his victims kept silent out of fear they'd somehow be arrested for resisting his advances. Is there a way to tell a fake badge from a real one?
It depends on the department. Everyone has different protocol for badges. It's best to familiarize yourself with what it looks like.
That's very frightening. Ask an Officer who there supervisor is when they pull you over if you think they're some funny business in addition if the CAR doesn't look like a squad car. Politely refuse to get in asking for the supervisor or a second car. If your fear is that explain yourself. I think in an area where this has been occuring most officers will understand if you are calm. Keep in mind unmarked cars are for detectives usually unless there are two people in nearly all large cities detective always travel in pairs.
I am the kind of cop that drives a 'unmarked car' (though with the special mirrors and bumpers it's still pretty marked) and we do NOT make traffic stops unless you're doing something like going 100 mph in a 50 zone and happen to be driving by. Even than we might just radio a squad car in the area to intercept them (it's easier and safer than trying to catch up with them).

ScarletRider said:
I do hate to beat a dead horse, so to speak, but if this thread is still accepting submissions, I'd be grateful for an answer. How does an average person generally react when they come upon a crime scene? A murder, specifically.
There are as many different reactions as there are people. If it's a loved one usually with wailing, gnashing teeth, and the rending of garments. If it's a stranger. Most people approach cautiously and yell at the body... no matter how decayed or gross it is. ("Hey buddy!? You okay!?")

The exception is in neighborhoods that have high body counts. Those people tend to just call the police with slight panic saying 'we got a body here' and know to keep far away.

edit: Sorry about me not replying I just get busy sometimes :)
 

ScarletRider

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Thanks for your replies! :) This has been really informative, and I hope I can trouble you for another one. Let's say, hypothetically speaking, that someone was using my social security number without my knowledge or consent. My assumption is for a job, or for a credit card, but there's doubtless other considerations I haven't considered. If I find this is the case, what action should I take, and what penalties can the person in question expect to face? Also, what repercussions can this have on my part?

Thanks again, I really appreciate your answers. :)
 

ace_of_something

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ScarletRider said:
Thanks for your replies! :) This has been really informative, and I hope I can trouble you for another one. Let's say, hypothetically speaking, that someone was using my social security number without my knowledge or consent. My assumption is for a job, or for a credit card, but there's doubtless other considerations I haven't considered. If I find this is the case, what action should I take, and what penalties can the person in question expect to face? Also, what repercussions can this have on my part?

Thanks again, I really appreciate your answers. :)
Better late than never. A person using someone else's personal information is to be charged with various levels of fraud depending on the damages it does to the victim is what level of charge it will be. Best action is to contact either your credit card company (who investigates further and gets police involved if needed) or if it's a matter of people trying to get a job call the police.
In fact I investigate such things. They're actually really easy to track if it's local. Repercussions? You mean as the victim? None as far as I know.
 

GistoftheFist

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Do you know or call 'crime scene cleaners'? People who handle the bodies and cleaning up the blood and such. Most people assume it's the officer's job to clean up all the nastiness but it isn't.

What does someone do if the police don't seem very willing to help? A few years ago I was walking home from school when a black SUV pulled near the curb and the passenger threw a handful of broken glass in my face. I was wearing sunglasses so no shards got in my eyes but it still hurt. I managed to get the license plate (148 LND, i'll never forget it) and called the police station to report it, but whoever I talked to didn't seem to care very much. I got "there's really not a whole lot we can do but we'll look into it" as an answer. I would see that SUV with the same two douchebags driving around once in a while months after that.
 

Thaluikhain

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Hmmm...gone through the thread, very informative, and although the question of weapons has come up a few times, nobody seems to have asked about what other bits and pieces you carry around that helps in your job. Was wondering, do US detectives keep anything unusual in their pockets?
 

ace_of_something

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GistoftheFist said:
Do you know or call 'crime scene cleaners'? People who handle the bodies and cleaning up the blood and such. Most people assume it's the officer's job to clean up all the nastiness but it isn't.

What does someone do if the police don't seem very willing to help? A few years ago I was walking home from school when a black SUV pulled near the curb and the passenger threw a handful of broken glass in my face. I was wearing sunglasses so no shards got in my eyes but it still hurt. I managed to get the license plate (148 LND, i'll never forget it) and called the police station to report it, but whoever I talked to didn't seem to care very much. I got "there's really not a whole lot we can do but we'll look into it" as an answer. I would see that SUV with the same two douchebags driving around once in a while months after that.
Crime Scene Cleaners in the last 6 or 7 years has actually become an over saturated marketplace in the united states. There was some sort of movie that popularized how the initial investment of the very lucrative field isn't that bad. (it costs about as much as starting up a construction contractor business) Problem is now there are so many of them they have to price more competitively. They are usually only called if there is a biohazard mess. Two of the companies my dept uses are family owned and have about 3 employees each. This is all a town of 500,000 really needs.

The other one you have to realize it's your word against his. There are no other witnesses or evidence an overburdened dept can sometimes ignore things like that. It's a fact of life. It sucks. I always at least make a GESTURE that I tried. It helps people feel a little better.
 

ace_of_something

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thaluikhain said:
Hmmm...gone through the thread, very informative, and although the question of weapons has come up a few times, nobody seems to have asked about what other bits and pieces you carry around that helps in your job. Was wondering, do US detectives keep anything unusual in their pockets?
Most detectives keep a sketch pad/note pad (or PDA if their younger and more tech savvy) at all times, many also have something to record people during street interviews. Disposable non-latex gloves (latex leaves a powder residue). I'd say 75% of all detectives also keep cigarettes and the means to light them. Not because they smoke (though most do) but it makes you seem friendly if you offer a smoke.

Many are also very superstitious and keep a lucky coin/pen something like that.

I make my own damn luck.
 

Dags90

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ace_of_something said:
They are usually only called if there is a biohazard mess. Two of the companies my dept uses are family owned and have about 3 employees each. This is all a town of 500,000 really needs.
Unless there were more gory murders...Just sayin'...

Does your squad car have one of those fancy laptops? Also, are you a union member?
ace_of_something said:
I couldn't tell you the science behind it all and don't quote me if I turn out to be wrong. But blood is easier to contaminate and only gets you down to people in the same blood line (not an individual) which can be a problem. I'll see if I can't find you a better answer by asking people who know more.
My guess would be that blood has less DNA per unit volume. The vast majority of cells in a blood sample, red blood cells (erythrocytes if you want to sound fancy), are anucleated. They have no nucleus and no DNA. So a small sample may not contain any nucleated cells, or the few nucleated cells might die if it starts coagulating. Semen is obviously filled with millions of DNA carrying swimmers. Quick check at wikipedia reference ranges says there are about over four orders of magnitude more nucleated cells in semen per mL.
 

Heronblade

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ace_of_something said:
I couldn't tell you the science behind it all and don't quote me if I turn out to be wrong. But blood is easier to contaminate and only gets you down to people in the same blood line (not an individual) which can be a problem. I'll see if I can't find you a better answer by asking people who know more.
There are a couple of factors for that:
A.) Semen has a much higher concentration of DNA per unit volume (far smaller cells packed into a much thicker solution)
B.) Gametes (sperm cells and eggs) only have one set of chromosomes rather than the standard doubled pairs. When testing DNA, they use enzymes that snip the coding at locations with a specific data sequence. A single strand is slightly easier for those enzymes to deal with than a full helix, reducing error bars.
C.) Gametes contain ALL of the coding for an individual. Most specialized cells like blood cells only contain a portion of it, which also makes narrowing down to only one individual more difficult.
 

Dags90

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Heronblade said:
There are a couple of factors for that:
B.) Gametes (sperm cells and eggs) only have one set of chromosomes rather than the standard doubled pairs. When testing DNA, they use enzymes that snip the coding at locations with a specific data sequence. A single strand is slightly easier for those enzymes to deal with than a full helix, reducing error bars.
C.) Gametes contain ALL of the coding for an individual. Most specialized cells like blood cells only contain a portion of it, which also makes narrowing down to only one individual more difficult.
Restriction enzymes (used in DNA fingerprinting) only cut at double stranded DNA. This is why they're almost always palindromic, both strands have the same sequence. Also, gametes don't contain homologous chromosomes, but their DNA is still double stranded.

Here's the most common restriction enzyme used in texts, EcoRI:


All nucleated cells contain all the genetic material, at least. A kidney tubule (or cheek swab) cell has all the DNA required to become a brain cell. The difference is only in the expressed genes. They're there, just not doing anything.
 

GenericAmerican

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How would you feel if say, something/someone like Inquisitors from W40k existed?

If you don't know anything about 40k, it's basically an Investigator who is sanctioned by the government. He is encouraged to work within local laws but has the authority to conduct his investigation in whatever way he feels best, and is allowed access to whatever local or government resources he feels necessary.

If he wanted to go undercover and be low key, he can; if he wants to call in the military and have them smash doors down and make arrests without warrants or any reason, he can do so.

They wouldn't be someone who tries to take down joe the pot peddler who works on the corner of 5th and shyster. They'd be in charge of taking down major criminal organizations or operation. (a drug cartel for instance)


What would you do with that kind of power? Or would you refuse it, knowing that it would only lead to trouble? Hell, would you work under someone like that? Or for a government that would employ such a person?