Wednesday, February 28, 2007
Crash Report Procedures
Q: Do you respond to every traffic accident? Are there certain types that you would not go to and issue a police report?

A: If called, a police officer will respond to a crash for investigation. From there a state crash report will be taken if it is an injury accident, or if damage is over $1000.00, and if damage is estimated under $1000.00 no crash report is required by state law. Drivers may exchange information/insurance info themselves, or an officer may come out and provide this name exchange information for you. No official report is required in these cases.

In addition, any individual involved in accident resulting in injury, death or property damage in excess of $1,000.00 must now forward a written report of the accident to the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles within 10 days of the incident.

Previous state law required that an Operator’s Crash Report be forwarded to the Indiana State Police within 10 days of the accident. The State Police would then supply such reports to the BMV. Effective January 1, 2006, all Indiana Operator’s Proof of Insurance/Crash Reports (SR21), formerly known as the Operator’s Crash Reports, must be sent by the driver of a vehicle involved, directly to the BMV.

Hoosier motorists are reminded that the laws regarding individuals operating vehicles without legal insurance remain the same. Individuals who cannot provide adequate proof that they were insured at the time of an accident will receive a mandatory 90-day license suspension. Following the 90-day suspension period, all requirements for reinstatement must be met before driving privileges are restored.

A copy of the new form can be downloaded here or may be picked up from our records bureau in the front lobby of the central police station with a copy of the police report if applicable.

Hit & Run crash investigations (leaving the scene) may also have a report taken if suspect vehicle evidence can be recovered at the scene, or if witnessed and suspect information is known. If no suspect/vehicle information is known, then you can fill out the self reporting crash report (linked above) and forward this to your insurance company to process a claim on your own.
posted by South Bend Police Department @ 7:20 AM  
Wednesday, February 21, 2007
Become a Police Explorer
Q: My son is interested in finding out if there is a program for junior-High school students to learn more about the police.

A: He is in luck. The SBPD features our Explorer Program, which is targeted at kids from 14-21 years old who have an intertest in law enforcement as a possible careeer choice. The program meets usually twice a month at the central police station. The Explorers are involved in many community activities, fundraising, police training, scenarios, and other hands on training to give them a chance to see what happens on the job, including the ability to do police ridealongs if they are over 18 years old and meet other criteria. I also work as an advisor to our post and was a member of the program many years ago as well. It can be a great way to determine police work as a future career path. Take a look at our Explorer page for more info and who to contact!
posted by South Bend Police Department @ 11:36 PM  
Monday, February 19, 2007
Private Security Guard questions
Q: What detaining authority does private security have? (For example in bars or liquor stores.) Do they have authority outside of the business they are representing?

A: Private security (or store officials) in Indiana generally may detain someone if they are acting as an agent of the business and have probable cause to believe that a crime has been committed as i mention in another post this week. Private security guards in Indiana do not have "police" or "arrest powers" in terms of making a lawful arrest as spelled out in IC Code 20-12-3.5-2, but may act as an agent of the property for making a detention to contact police of the good faith belief of a crime having occured, such as shoplifting, or trespassing, as an example.

posted by South Bend Police Department @ 12:48 PM  
Safe Neighborhoods close to ND?
Q:I am looking to move into the South Bend area from Massachusetts to go to Notre Dame and was wondering what the safest neighborhoods close to campus would be to buy my first home. Also if you have information on Neighborhood Watch areas.

A: This is a question I get a lot. We obviously cannot recommend a specific neighborhood for you to live in, however there are many areas near campus that are being rehabilitated and improved. I would suggest you try contacting Student Affairs at the University, since they may be able to provide you with some options, or contact a local realtor to help you find an area that suits your needs. Many areas in the city have active neighborhood watch programs. I would suggest once you narrow down your house selections, you can contact our Crime Prevention unit for more information on what areas you are considering have such a program in place.

posted by South Bend Police Department @ 12:43 PM  
Another Turn On Arrow Question
Q:Can a vehicle turn left on a red (arrow) light as long as the light is green for cars going straight and there is no sign stating "Left on Green Arrow Only"?

A: I think I have answered this before here. In short, legally, no. You may only turn against the flow of traffic when the green light or arrow permits you to do so.
posted by South Bend Police Department @ 12:33 PM  
Dispatcher jobs
Q: How does one become trained and apply for a communications dispatcher position? Are open positions frequent? Thanks!

A: Communications specialist positions open up as needed, and since it is a civilian position, the job openings are announced through the human resources department of the City of South Bend, located at the County-City Building. You may try contacting the HR department for more information! All training and certifications are trained in house upon hiring.
posted by South Bend Police Department @ 12:27 PM  
Shoplifting questions
Q: I work in retail and my question is about shoplifting. We had an incident where I work the other night where a customer saw another customer shoplifting. Do we have a right to stop that person or does an associate have to see them? And if we do, do we have to wait until they pass all points of sale to take action?

A: Store employees and managers have certain limited powers of arrest. Store Officials may detain a suspected shoplifter for investigation (a reasonable length of time), whom they have probable cause to believe is attempting to take or has unlawfully taken merchandise. You are by law not required to wait until someone passes all points of sale, but for prosecution purposes, it is typically considered a good procedure to wait, as this eliminates the possibility of the suspect claiming they were putting the item in a pocket while they did other shopping, for example. Once detained by store officials, then the police should be summoned, and store officials need to fill out the St Joseph County Shoplifting Affidavit form to be filled out and given to the investigating officer.

posted by South Bend Police Department @ 12:18 PM  
Donating an old cell phone?
Q:Some time ago I believe I heard of a program that accepted old cell phones and programmed them to serve as 911 emergency phones for the elderly / handicapped. If memory serves the ad linked the program to local law enforcement agencies. Does such a program exist in the South Bend area? If yes, how may I contact?

A: You are thinking of a program offered through TRIAD. By donating your cell phone you are doing more than just providing emergency communications for someone in need. You are helping to provide funds that support theactivities of law enforcement and victims services organizations nationwide. The 911 Cell Phone Bank takes your cell phone donation and determines its best use. The link to donate and get more information is here: 911cellphonebank.com
posted by South Bend Police Department @ 11:40 AM  
Friday, February 09, 2007
Quiet at the news desk
The only inquiry that Ask A Cop received this week was about what they need to do to become a cop. I encourage you to visit our jobs page and review the FAQs for more information. Other than that, I assume everyone is shoveling snow this week! Have a good weekend!
posted by South Bend Police Department @ 8:53 AM  

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.

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