Wednesday, January 24, 2007
Legislative Updates 2006
Not an Ask A Cop question, but for those interested in knowing the law before the law gets to know you, I offer you some updates to certain laws that went into effect in July of 2006. Worth a read: http://www.stjoepros.org/legislativeUpdates.html


In addition, I also added to the Links on the right side of the page, a link to commonly asked questions I recieve: Child Seat/Seat Belt law info, and Hiring/Job questions on our SBPD Jobs page. I hope this helps!

Onto the questions!
posted by South Bend Police Department @ 11:59 PM  
Need help for a project
Q:I am going to do a presentation on the police, but I need to know some facts first- like how many people are on the police force. and their races.

A: You can try contacting our training and recruiting division for more information, or visit our jobs page, which will also answer more of your questions!
posted by South Bend Police Department @ 11:20 PM  
Self Defense Class
Q: The staff at the office where I work are interested in a self defense class. Is this a service that the police department offers?

A: Classes are periodically offered that may be close to what you are looking for. Contact our Crime Prevention Unit at 235-9037 for information on what we offer!
posted by South Bend Police Department @ 11:13 PM  
Hit & Runs
Q:Is hit and run against the law? If it is what are the charges if caught? How do you find if the plates do not belong to the car hitting a parked car and the driver can not be found but the car was and can you use the VIN number of the car that hit the parked car?

A: Failure to report an accident, or leaving the scene of a crash IS an arrestable Misdemeanor in Indiana, and could be a Felony if the accident results in serious injury or death. Hit & Run accidents are taken very seriously and thoroughly investigated in South Bend. As defined by IC Code 9-26-1-1 you are required to report to police a crash you are involved in.

If the vehicle is located and the driver not located, the owner of the vehicle can be held criminally liable for damages and charged with the crime if evidence supports it, or you may be charged with interfering with an investigation if you withold driver information. License plates, VINs, and in some cases a complete BMV printout of all cars registered of a specific type of vehicle involved may be used to track you down. If you are involved, do the right thing and report it to police. Failing to do so will only make it worse when you are caught.
posted by South Bend Police Department @ 11:06 PM  
Detaining a shoplifter?
Q: Recently there was a shop lifting at a local store here and I was wondering why the police threaten the store owner with crimal confinement, when they stopped a man from running out of the store with a stolen item?

A: Without knowing the exact set of circumstances I cannot answer your question more. Typically, shoplifting under a $300.00 value may be charged as Conversion, or in some cases as a Felony Theft. Stores that have loss prevention or security officers may detain a subject as they have greater authority for investigation in such a matter as opposed to store employees or owners acting on their own behalf.
posted by South Bend Police Department @ 11:00 PM  
Warrants online?
Q:Why aren't a list of active warrants available on-line? Other departments have made this information available. Several contacts with SJCPD have not gotten an answer, except for it may be available in the future. At least a thousand new warrants cone down
weekly or monthly and citizen assistance would greatly aid the four county warrant officers in serving the warrants. I am sure the courts would appreciate gerring the cases resolved. There are many people out there who have a lot of information on wanted persons or persons suspected of being wanted...Getting some of these people wanted on warrants (Felony/and Misdemeanor ) would make the citzens safer.

A: I agree entirely. Warrants in St Joseph County are handled by, served, and fugitives generally picked up as a function of the Warrants division of the County Police. I believe the answer mainly is a matter of having the database be made available to other law enforcement agencies in a timely manner. As for making it available to the public, again, that is the decision of the County Police. If a time comes where it can be made available through the internet, we would list them, I am sure. In the meantime, SBPD provides "most wanted" fugitives in the Crime Stoppers ads in the South Bend Tribune.

And in general, if anyone does know where persons with warrants are currently residing, then you may report this at 288-STOP (Crime Stoppers) or to the SJCPD Warrants division at 245-6500
posted by South Bend Police Department @ 10:52 PM  
Adults not wearing seat belts.
Q: I read Cpl. Hechlinski's article in the Tribune on being stopped by police, and it lead me to wonder: Is the driver responsible for adult passengers' use of seatbelts? It makes sense to me that the driver is responsible for children's seat-belt use, but not
really for other adults.

A: Good question! You are correct. For children under the age of 16, the driver has the responsibility to ensure children are wearing the appropriate type of seat belt/seat restraint for their age and size, however over the age of 16, the passengers (adults) have that responsibility. If pulled over because driver or passenger is not wearing a seat belt, then the violator will recieve the citation. In short, if the front seat passenger is not wearing a belt (and you can be stopped for this alone), then the adult passenger would recieve the citation.
posted by South Bend Police Department @ 10:48 PM  
Old Case Report Copies?
Q: Any chance of getting copies of info on 2 reports involving me while I lived in South Bend?
1 - in about 1968 and in about 1977. Can you find this infomation for me? I have other info if necessary to confirm my identity.

A: In general, case report information is not released to the general public as case reports are considered law enforcement sensitive. In some cases, a general case synopsis report may be available, however this would not apply to cases this old, sorry.
posted by South Bend Police Department @ 10:45 PM  
School Crossing Guards
Q:I am looking for information on becoming a school crossing guard for the PHM school district, can you please lead me in the right direction on where to get the information. I would greatly appreciate it.

A: I would suggest you contact the school itself or possible St Joseph County Police. For anyone who is looking for info on South Bend school crossing guards you may contact Sgt Bill Kraus at 235-7515
posted by South Bend Police Department @ 10:42 PM  
More Jobs & Hiring Questions
 Q: I am currently in school to become a police officer, and I was wanting to apply for a job soon but I don't turn 21 until
May. Can I still put in an application and when is the next testing session in that time frame?

Q: About starting wages as a police officer and what is required to become a police officer in your county??

A: You must be 21 to fill out a job application, and under 36 at the time of hire by state law. Wage information, testing and other hiring questions is
all available on our JOBS page. Hopefully this will give you more info, or call our training division!
posted by South Bend Police Department @ 9:23 PM  
Child Seats Part 2
Q: My family and I just moved from Indiana from Michigan. What are IN laws concerning child-restraint seats?

A: This is a common question. Here is the link to our Seat Belt/Child Seat page.
posted by South Bend Police Department @ 9:12 PM  
Monday, January 15, 2007
Hiring and Ridealongs
Q:Ive been considering a career in the police force and right now I cant decide between a Conservation Officer and a city officer. What kind of training do you go through and how hard would it be to do ride alongs so I can decide which path I would like to pursue?

A: Those are two quite different paths to law enforcement, I know! As for being an inner city police officer I personally love the level of activity, the different situations and the manpower we have available, as well as the diversity of things to do and advancement opportunities we have in a department like ours. If you haven't already done so, check out our jobs page which has some good FAQs as well checking out the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy website for more info as well.

As for ridealongs, it is restricted to primarily active applicants at a certain point in the hiring process, and limited to other groups like cadets, Explorers, and college intern type programs. Contact our training and recruiting division for more information on this as well. Good luck to you!
posted by South Bend Police Department @ 9:56 PM  
Suicidal Thoughts
Q:I have a friend who has told me he wants to end his life, but after talking to him he has promised me he would wait one more week. I have asked him to go to the hospital but he is afraid, he is worried that if he is "checked in" he will be unable to get a job, which is one of the reasons he feels he wants to end his life. What should I do?

A:Your friend is giving you his own personal cry for help by informing you of his desire. I suggest that you continue to talk with him and encourage him to contact Madison Center to speak to the staff about getting help for possible depression or other issues. They are the trained mental health experts locally, there is no obligation, and it is entirely confidential, meaning due to patient privacy issues, getting mental health treatment cannot be made part of his employment records. Good luck to both of you.
posted by South Bend Police Department @ 9:50 PM  
Airsoft/real gun look-alikes
Q: What is South Bend's policy on Airsoft guns? (That would be the usually plastic but also highly realistic toy guns people use to shoot plastic BB's at each other, paintball style).

A: As a street officer I know we get many calls on "man with gun" calls that often involve persons (usually juveniles) carrying these types of guns, that ARE highly realistic, and usually are modified to disguise the 'toy' aspect of the weapon (orange painted over or cut off). These guns do look nearly identical to real handguns, and police do react accordingly on these types of calls including you possibly having yourself at real gunpoint when you are encountered by officers who have no way of knowing that these guns are just toys. If a call occurs like this your airsoft gun could be permanently confiscated by police if determined that the gun is or was being used, displayed, or misused in a manner deemed unsafe by responding officers. These weapons should not be used outside or used by juveniles without proper adult supervision at any time.
posted by South Bend Police Department @ 9:44 PM  
CDL Endorsements
Q: I just recently obtained my Class B CDL license with school bus endorsement. I passed my air brake test at the BMV. But when I took my skill test, I didn\'t not use a bus that had air brakes so the instructor told me he could not give me the air brake endorsement. I can not find on my license anywhere that says I can not drive a vehicle with air brakes. Would I be in the wrong if I happen to drive a bus with air brakes?

A: If you were found in violation of operating without the endorsement you could be heavily fined, your CDL disqualified, and possible found civilly liable (personally sued) should you have an accident for operating a vehicle you are not endorsed to operate! A CDL is a big responsibility and fines and penalties for violations are pretty severe. Some CDL FAQs are also here that may help.
posted by South Bend Police Department @ 9:36 PM  
Tuesday, January 09, 2007
Impounded vehicles and property
Q: What is the process for retrieving personal contents from an impounded vehicle (expired tags),ie. wallet, tools, computer supplies?

A: When a vehicle is impounded ALL items of value that were in the car should be documented on the officer's inventory of the vehicle on the impound paperwork. No property may be released to the vehicle or property owner unless it is of an identification nature (drivers license, title, registration, etc) that will allow the owner to get the vehicle out of impound. All other items will remain in the vehicle until it is released from impound.
posted by South Bend Police Department @ 8:18 PM  
Turning left on Red (part 2)
Q: I have heard and was wondering the truth about turning left on red. Is it legal to turn left on a red light if there is no sign stating left turn on arrow only?

A: Glad you asked. I already answered once before- try looking here!
posted by South Bend Police Department @ 8:15 PM  
TPing a house.
Q: Is TPing illegal if there is no criminal intent, or damaged property?

A: The intent behind "TPing" (throwing toilet paper onto trees and other property) IS causing vandalism, even if meant in harmless fun and not to cause damage. Someone still is causing possible damage to property and someone has to clean the mess up. Vandalism is an arrestable misdemeanor in Indiana, so yes, it is considered a specific crime, one that you could be arrested for!
posted by South Bend Police Department @ 8:10 PM  

Welcome to the newly reformatted South Bend Police Department Blog. This blog is an excellent way for us to be more accessible to the public through open communication not typical for law enforcement.

This blog incorporates SBPD related announcements, our popular Ask A Cop feature questions still answered, Twitter updates, and other Crime Prevention related tips you can use.

Take a look at the articles posted on this blog and you’ll find many inform-
ative and interesting topics. We try to cover issues that really affect you such as providing a wide range of safety and crime prevention tips, or explaining some of the mysteries of police work so you have a better understanding of why we do things.

You also get to hear periodically from our guest bloggers such as recruits going through the academies to become officers. “Ask A Cop” is still here, and since 2006 has been very popular with over 360 questions from citizens and our answers posted to date!


Thanks for visiting. If you have any questions or suggestions about the blog, contact us!

About Ask A Cop
The South Bend Police Ask A Cop forum and blog is provided for entertainment purposes only. Content provided is for general information and does not represent an all inclusive answer for every person and every situation.

As such, all content is provided 'as is' and without warranties or guarantees of any kind, either express or implied. Use of this site and reliance on the content is exclusively at the user's risk.

Information provided on or through this site does not constitute legal advice nor legal representation. For these purposes, the user should consult an attorney.

Questions submitted to Ask A Cop are read and reviewed to determine the eligibility of the question for publication.
The South Bend Police Department reserves the right not to answer or post a question, particularly if the content is deemed unacceptable or inappropriate.

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