Tuesday, August 14, 2007
CSI Investigator
Q:I am interested in becoming a crime scene investegator, I was wonder if you could tell me the requirements...amount of schooling and the courses I would need to take. I have not enrolled in school yet but am really interested in this line of work.

A: Television has really focused a lot of attention and glamor on this side of police work, but the reality is that being a Crime Scene technician is really something that is a specialized law enforcement skill rather than a course taught in college. Here at the SBPD, certain patrol officers assume the role of Uniform Crime Scene Technicians in addition to regular patrol duties. For larger scale crimes, such as homicides, the St Joe County Metro Homicide Unit has four full time evidence technicians, who work with investigators. Their roles are specialized between the investigative and the evidence portions of a crime.

In addition, other technicians (including myself) work with these officers to go out and diagram crime scenes, including laser measuring stations, and old fashioned tape measures to show a representation and documenting the scene as well.

So the short answer is if you are interested in a career in law enforcement, your normal path is to become a patrol officer and with a few years of experience you can take advantage of training offered to Law Enforcement to steer you towards this specialty path. You will find that this type of position is usually for sworn officers rather than civilians with exceptions of very large metropolitian police agencies (like the ones on CSI). For more info please check out our CSI and MHU pages on our website!


posted by South Bend Police Department @ 10:27 AM  
Upcoming Pill Drop
Q: I am a youth group through the ICJI. Myself and seven others are working on getting unused drugs out of places they dont belong- like in someone's medicine cabinet for anyone to grab. When I was talking to one of my local pharmacist he told me about the med drop that the South Bend Police do every September. What I was wondering is if you would be able to tell me more about this?

A: The Pill Drop is actually a joint effort of the SBPD, St Joseph COunty Police, and TRIAD. This is held in the parking lot of the St Joseph County Jail (corner of Sample and Lafayette). This will be held September 20th, from 7 am to 6 pm at the St. Joseph County Jail Parking Lot. This year there will also be a location to drop off unwanted or expired medications at the Mishawaka Police Station also.
posted by South Bend Police Department @ 10:22 AM  
Crash Report Procedures
Q: Is there any way i can get my police crash report online or have someone get it for me? I ask because I can't make it due to my work hours. I need it for my automobile crash.

A: If you are involved in a crash, by law you must get a copy of the report, have it forwarded to your insurance agent, and have that signed form mailed downstate to the BMV within ten days. If not, the state can suspend your license. The quickest way is to stop by the records office of the police station at 701 W. Sample.

I have seen a website- buycrash.com that can also obtain crash reports by state for you for a higher fee ($12.00 instead of $5.00), but I don't know enough about the service to endorse it.


posted by South Bend Police Department @ 10:16 AM  
Driving on an Expired License Plate
Q: My friend was ticketed and her car impounded last year for driving with an expired plate. This year her plate was expired as of March 15 and she has yet to get a new one and here it is mid August. My question is: What happens when she gets caught as it will be a
repeat offense? She acts as if the police have better things to do than pull her over for an expired plate.

A: There is no enhanced penalty for a repeat expired plate violation other than her car will likely be impounded again, and she will be ticketed again. Expired plates may not stand out to the average motorist, but as an officer I find my eyes are constantly scanning plates in traffic all day, and they are actually very easy to spot. If I find an expired plate more often than not you can expect a citation AND having your car impounded.
posted by South Bend Police Department @ 10:01 AM  
Saturday, August 04, 2007
Q: My husband has a 49cc mini bike given to him by his sister. She told him he did not need a plate or a motorcycle license for it; it only goes (on a flat surface with no wind) maybe 30 mph, but it does have to be shifted. Are there any real rules, or not? Everyone we ask has a different answer.

A: Indiana Code 9-21-11 covers Mopeds. In short, persons under 18 must wear a helmet, and standard road rules apply to mopeds as well: A motorized bicycle may not be operated under any of the following conditions:
(1) By a person less than fifteen (15) years of age.
(2) By a person who has not obtained an identification card under IC 9-24, a permit under IC 9-24, an operator's license under IC 9-24, a chauffeur's license under IC 9-24, or a public passenger chauffeur's license under IC 9-24.
(3) On an interstate highway or a sidewalk.
(4) At a speed greater than twenty-five (25) miles per hour.

This type of bike is not required to be plated if under 50 cc.


posted by South Bend Police Department @ 11:54 AM  
Landlord/Tenant Problems
Q: My basement apt has been flooded out, because landlord (lives above) flushed paper towels down the toliet. They make me clean up the mess, and offer no help. and they still want all their rent when its due. I belive if I dont pay, they will lock me out without any
legal notice. If I am locked out, and call the police, can the police make the landlord let me back into my home?

A: As police we cannot order a landlord to allow a tenant back into a residence. Civil law action is a different process from criminal law matters, which is what we as police handle. You should consult an civil or property law attorney for advice given your situation to determine your rights and course of action.


posted by South Bend Police Department @ 11:51 AM  
More Weapons Questions
Q: I have a couple of questions about concealed carry. I have an IN concealed carry permit. My handgun is always in my vehicle with me. First, am I allowed to leave it on the seat right next to me, or does it have to be concealed, even in the vehicle? Second, if I ever get stopped by an officer, how will the officer handle the situation? Is there a procedure within the department for this situation?

A: You are allowed to have your weapon inside your vehicle with a permit. As for being stopped it is in everyone's safety interest to inform an officer that you do have a weapon present that you have a permit for upfront and keep your hands visible at all times when stopped. We appreciate this and will result in safe interaction for you and the officer.

I can tell you that when I am aware weapons are in the vehicle or on your person the stop usually takes on a higher risk element. You should expect to have your weapon checked along with the permit and both will be returned to you assuming properly registered at the conclusion of your traffic stop.Check this link out also.


posted by South Bend Police Department @ 11:43 AM  
RVs and 911 Calls
Q: Can I ask two? 1) can I park a rv on the street? How long can it sit between having to move it? 2) my friend recently had to call 911 and it was from a cell phone - they were told to call back from a land line as there were too many crank calls coming in on 911 and they no longer respond. Is this true?

A: RV parking is permitted on streets unless prohibited otherwise, however RVs and all other vehicles may not be parked without being moved for more than 72 hours or are considered abandoned and subject to impound under city ordinance.

As for calling 911, our dispatchers will respond to calls for service as needed and this includes "911 only" cell phones, of which we do see a high incidence of prank calls from as 911 only cell phones are difficult to trace. We do appreciate land line calls when 911 is being used because enhanced 911 capabilites allow for an exact address and resident information to be obtained quickly which can expedite emergency response


posted by South Bend Police Department @ 11:34 AM  
Crimes involving Illegal Aliens
Q: Currently, I am working on a research project at school looking to determine the effects of illegal immigrants on the South Bend community. I was wondering if you could tell me about how many crimes per year are reported where the suspect apprehended is an illegal alien.

A: Our crime analysis data does not track suspect information in this manner. As a result I do not have any data available to share in this regard. You could perhaps contact Immigration and Customs Enforcement on for regional data. Good Luck!
posted by South Bend Police Department @ 11:28 AM  
Left Lane Usage
Q: It seems that almost everyone is fixated on driving in the left lane these days. At one time it was drilled into our heads to "Drive Right, Pass Left". Was that a law? and if so, what ever happened to it?

A: Good question. I was not able to find any information indicating this is a law per se, but the BMV states in their drivers manual as the 'rules of the road' that you should stay in your designated lane except to pass, which is the intent of a multiple lane roadway. In addition, Police Officers, EMS and Fire are all required to pass on the left side of the roadway when in emergency operation mode. Every day I am stuck behind drivers who use the left lane improperly, however short of a vehicle failing to yield to an emergency vehicle under these circumstances there is no other penalty for using the lane incorrectly. In short, PLEASE use the left lane ONLY for passing or turning.
posted by South Bend Police Department @ 11:23 AM  
Job Questions
Q: What are the shifts you can work, and when are you eligible for getting issued a take-home car and what kind of patrol car will you get?

A: After completing your 15 week Field Training (FTO) period, officers are assigned to work the afternoon or midnight shifts as need and preferences allow. Take home cars are issued at that time for use. Patrol cars currently in use are primarily Chevrolet Impalas and Dodge Intrepids. Check out our jobs page for more info too!


posted by South Bend Police Department @ 11:20 AM  
Q: With all the spam email that comes to one email address hould I be to concerned about a spam email that comes in the way of a threat from a person demanding money not to terminate me?

A: If you consider the message to be spam then I would not waste too much time or concern with the email. If the email is coming from a person you consider to be credible I would suggest to contact your employer to discuss the letter and determine the best course of action from there.


posted by South Bend Police Department @ 11:18 AM  
Changing the Noise Ordinance
Q: There have been more and more complaints for loud neighbors which we also deal with in my neighborhood on a daily basis. Some people have no respect for others and that causes problems. I would like to see the noise ordinance changed, how can we as tax payers help to get this accomplished?

A: The city loud noise ordinance allows fair enforcement of the city ordinance (13-57). If you would like to see about getting the ordiance changed I encourage you to contact your respective city council member to discuss your concerns.


posted by South Bend Police Department @ 11:14 AM  
Dirt Bikes in County
Q: We have a neighbor who has a young boy that rides a dirt bike in the evening. We live in a sub divison and he has made a course both in his yard as well as in county property. The biggest problem with his riding is that ther are a couple of families that have small children that are in bed before 8:00pm. The family has been asked not to ride after 8 as a courtesy to us, but he still is out after 8. Is there anything that we can do to discourage this? Would reporting this help?

A: Your address indicates that you live in the county. As such South Bend's city ordinance on loud noise would not apply. You can contact the St Joseph County Police and they can give you information on what can be done in your jurisdiction.
posted by South Bend Police Department @ 11:12 AM  
Where to get Weapons Permits
Q: Where do I apply to get a personal protection gun permit, I was told that I cannot apply at the MPD?

A: Your address you list shows you to be a county resident (five digit address). If you live in the county you need to contact the St Joseph County Police. Residents of Mishawaka or South Bend need to visit the respective police department for a permit application (three or four digit addresses).


posted by South Bend Police Department @ 11:08 AM  
Loose Loads from Trucks
Q: I see gravel trucks around town, that have signs on the back stating "not responsible for broken windshields". If a rock falls from their truck, and breaks a window in my car, are they not responsible?

A: Indiana code IC 9-21-8-48 states that vehicles may not be operated while a vehicle's contents are dripping, sifting, leaking, or otherwise escaping from the vehicle. As such law enforcement can issue a citation if the load is problematic, but as for windshield damage you would need to file a claim with your insurance company or consult an attorney do determine damage liability.


posted by South Bend Police Department @ 11:03 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.

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

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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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