Thursday, November 29, 2007
A Friend In Need?
Q: If someone I know is extremely depressed and seems like they could hurt their self or someone else do I call the police, or what can I do to get this person the help they need?

Q: Unless they are commenting about being in immediate danger, I would suggest to speak with them and see what they may need. Perhaps talking with a friend may be enough for some, others may need the help of mental health professionals, such as Madison Center. Typically we as police refer persons in need to Madison Center to speak to a counselor who can provide more assistance and see if your acquaintance needs further help. As a friend I would try these steps and see if you can provide help in getting them to speak with a professional from Madison Center as a start.


posted by South Bend Police Department @ 9:41 PM  
Police Radio Codes
Q: Is there a web page with police 10-codes?

A:Police "10-codes" vary from state to state and agency. A search from Google should help you out, here is one example of codes we partially use.


posted by South Bend Police Department @ 9:38 PM  
Parking on Wrong Side of Street
Q: Is there a law about a person parking the wrong direction on a residential street.(facing the other direction). Also, is there a law about parking with only a portion of your vehicle in a handicapped zone?

A: Parking on the wrong side of the street is also a violation of city ordinance and is a $10.00 fine per incident. Handicapped zone violations are a $50.00 fine per incident if improperly parked.


posted by South Bend Police Department @ 9:35 PM  
Record Histories
Q: I was wondering how long does the police department keep records? The reason I was wondering is because about 19 years ago, my father passed away in Georgia and they said it was suicide but I do not believe it and I was wondering what I have to do to investigate this. I have heard a few stories from my family. I need to know the truth and what legal steps should I take to get there. Please help me in right direction of my own personal investigation.

A:It depends upon the type of records. Most records are kept for a period of ten years, with case information stored elsewhere for shorter or longer. Criminal Histories on a person are kept indefinitely. It's hard to say what different agency out of state may do differently. You may wish to hire a private investigator to assist you. Good luck.


posted by South Bend Police Department @ 9:30 PM  
Parking Violations
Q: The Indiana drivers manual states that it is illegal to park closer than 15 ft. of a fire hydrant. There is a SBCSC bus that has been parking anywhere from 2-5ft. from a hydrant in the middle of Concord Ave. on the odd side of the street. They also park in the tree lawn which is becoming "mud" biggest concern is that should there be a fire during school hours, the bus is far too close to the hydrant.

A: Parking obstructing a hydrant as well as parking on tree lawns is enforceable by parking ticket citations. If it is a repeat problem with a particular bus I would suggest to contact SBCSC Transportation to have them speak with your neighborhood driver first.


posted by South Bend Police Department @ 9:25 PM  
Hiring With a DUI?
Q: I got a DUI in 2005. I am 20 years old now and I want to know if I am still eligible to become a
police officer?

A: To be a SBPD officer applicant you must have no DUI/OWI related convictions.


posted by South Bend Police Department @ 9:21 PM  
Thursday, November 08, 2007
Happy Birthday!
As of October, SBPD's Ask A Cop is one year old. I would like to thank those of you who take the time to read online, in the paper, and who send in questions, because you are responsible for the success of this feature and for keeping it going!

Questions have been a bit slow lately, so the feature is getting monthly updates instead of weekly, so please keep your questions coming!

posted by South Bend Police Department @ 12:17 PM  
How to Find a Safe Neighborhood
Q: I am looking at a home for rent on the city's Northwest side. The landlord says this area of the neighborhood isn't that bad but I wanted to make sure. What is your honest opinion on the neighborhood.

A: This is a question that I get a lot, and I really cannot give advice on a specific neighborhood or street as far as favorable places to live. Many areas of the city have "bad" spots or houses in them. I would suggest doing some of your own research beyond the advice of a prospective landlord. You should contact a realtor for some neighborhood advice, you can contact the Crime Prevention office of the police department to ask about neighborhood watch groups in the area you are thinking of and speaking with concerned residents in these groups, or even knock on a few doors around the house you are thinking of and try to speak with the neighbors around the house you are looking at.

Crimes are best prevented by neighbors who know, care, and look out for each other, as police cannot be everywhere at once. Getting to know the other people living around you is one of the best things to do to try to keep your neighborhood crime down. Take notice of the properties around the one you are looking at- well kept lawns and homes, homes with few abandoned houses around them, and also the general cleanliness of the street and properties are all good indicators of what to look for!


posted by South Bend Police Department @ 12:03 PM  
Disabled Parking
Q:I was wondering what the policy is on handicap spaces in the City of South Bend. When I attended Ivy Tech they said that their handicap spaces could only be used by people who have legal plates or tags distributed by the Indiana BMV. However, now that I attend Indiana University South Bend they allow vehicles without these legal tags to park in handicap parking spaces simply by getting an IUSB handicap hang tags. I am confused by this because I thought that handicap parking spaces were a federally mandated thing.

A: Indiana Code 9-14-5 requires persons to display a state issued Disabled Parking placard, or state "disability" license plate upon the vehicle for proper parking. As for IUSB parking on campus, I suggest to contact the IUSB police department to clarify their procedures on campus.


posted by South Bend Police Department @ 12:03 PM  
Indiana U-Turns
Q:I am confused about u-turns in Indiana. Are they legal? Can I make a u-turn at an intersection?

A: In Indiana, U-Turns are prohibited on freeways or highways, and where No U Turn signs are posted. Otherwise, you may make a U-Turn at an intersection provided you follow all laws pertaining to doing so safely, when traffic signals allow, and you properly yield right of way.


posted by South Bend Police Department @ 11:53 AM  
Jurisdictions on Traffic Citations
Q:Can a Mishawaka police officer issue a ticket within the city of South Bend? I thought there were some jurisdictional lines or codes.

A: Any Indiana law enforcement officer has statewide arrest and enforcement powers, so in your case a MPD officer may write a citation in South Bend, in the county, or anywhere in the state, and vice versa for SBPD officers.


posted by South Bend Police Department @ 11:53 AM  
Open Containers
Q:Could you give me a full explanation of container law? Do the laws vary from state to state?
If container laws are what I think they are (meaning a minor can be arrested just for holding a bottle of beer, for example), can underage people be prosecuted for the pictures they put up on facebook/myspace?

A: Indiana bans open containers while driving. This refers to alcohol containers and motor vehicle operation, as outlined in IC 9-30-15-1. This is punishable as a ticketable infraction, in addition to any OVWI/DUI arrests that may apply.


posted by South Bend Police Department @ 11:48 AM  
Weapons Carry with Domestic Violence Conviction
Q:I was arrested in Michigan in 2001 for domestic violence. At the time, I was quite immature and got scared so we moved rather than attend the court hearing, fearing a jail sentence. I am now a single mother of 2 girls, just trying to survive. With all of the violent crimes going on in South Bend recently, I was thinking about getting a gun permit and purchasing a gun for personal protection. I have no interest in carrying a gun in public, just would like to protect my home & family. I am currently trying to find out what is going on with my case in Michigan, but I thought I would ask your opinion about my chances of getting a permit. Is there anything that I can do to get this off of my record? Please let me know! Thanks so very much!

A: Indiana law on concealed weapons is regulated by IC IC 35-47-2-1:

Carrying a handgun without a license or by person convicted of domestic battery
Sec. 1. (a) Except as provided in subsection (b) and section 2 of this chapter, a person shall not carry a handgun in any vehicle or on or about the person's body, except in the person's dwelling, on the person's property or fixed place of business, without a license issued under this chapter being in the person's possession.
(b) Unless the person's right to possess a firearm has been restored under IC 35-47-4-7, a person who has been convicted of domestic battery under IC 35-42-2-1.3 may not possess or carry a handgun in any vehicle or on or about the person's body in the person's dwelling or on the person's property or fixed place of business.


posted by South Bend Police Department @ 11:43 AM  
Take Home Cars
Q:If I live in New Carlisle but pay Laporte taxes can I still have a police car to take home?

A: The take home car program requires you to be a resident of St. Joseph County to qualify for the take home car program.


posted by South Bend Police Department @ 11:35 AM  
What is Parking?
Q:How exactly is "parking" defined in regards to a No Parking sign? Is that the same as no STOPPING, or is "parking" only when the driver leaves the vehicle. For example, can I stop at a yellow-painted curb to drop off or pick up a passenger so long as I have my
4-way flashers on?

A: IC 8-10-1 defines Parking as "the stopping or standing of a vehicle whether occupied or not". A vehicle shall not be deemed to be parked if stopped temporarily for any of the following reasons:
(1) Movement of the vehicle is obstructed.
(2) The vehicle is waiting to enter or leave a gate booth lane.
(3) The vehicle is in obedience to:
(A) the direction of a police officer, port security officer, or other commission employee assigned to traffic control

So in short, no parking means a vehicle is not to be stopped for any period of time.


posted by South Bend Police Department @ 11:25 AM  
Being a Bounty Hunter
Q:My son is interested in what it takes to become a bounty hunter. How does someone get that information?

A: Bounty Hunters- also known as bail agents- are not used in St Joseph County due to the cash bonding process used. Bail agents are also not law enforcement officers. Television promotes this as a glamorous job, but the reason Dog is tracking down fugitives is because they missed their court and as such, the bail agent will be out the money they posted- and do not get any pay- if the fugitive is not located! You can read more about his line of work here.


posted by South Bend Police Department @ 11:19 AM  
Retreieving Personal Items
Q:I have some few personal belongings stored at a family members home. This person is now angry with me and will not return phone calls or answer her door. I would like to get my things, is that something that the police can help me with?

A: You may request a police standby and attempt to retrieve your items, but if the other party will not answer, or will refuse entry you will need to go thru civil (small claims) court to get a court order to allow you to enter and get your things.


posted by South Bend Police Department @ 11:15 AM  
Unwanted Phone Calls
Q:I am having a problem with a female "stalker". She is calling my phone repeatedly daily. Her calls are coming into my cell phone as restricted. When I answer sometimes she won't say anything, sometimes she will. I am going to filing a restraining order against her. I would like to get a copy of her phones records showing her dialing my cell number from her land line and cell phone. Is this possible? If so, what is the process?

A: Typically phone companies will not provide you with a copy of this information but police may be able to access this for an investigation into your matter. First, you should document the calls with a police report to start your process. I also suggest to victims to contact phone companies to advise them of the problem, and in many cases, they can place a block on certain numbers or on your phone line to prevent these calls in the first place. Changing your phone number will usually help resolve the unwanted calls. AT&T residential customers may also report this by calling their Annoyance Call Bureau, or consider adding Privacy Manager service to the phone to eliminate unidentified calls.


posted by South Bend Police Department @ 11:10 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.

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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