Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Arrest Warrants
Q: Must a cop show you an arrest warrant if you ask to see one?

A: Indiana statute 35-33-2 deals with arrest warrants. In part,
IC 35-33-2-1
Grounds; indictment or information filed; probable cause
Sec. 1. (a) Except as provided in chapter 4 of this article, whenever an indictment is filed and the defendant has not been arrested or otherwise brought within the custody of the court, the court, without making a determination of probable cause, shall issue a warrant for the arrest of the defendant.
(b) Whenever an information is filed and the defendant has not been arrested or otherwise brought within the custody of the court, the court shall issue a warrant for the arrest of the defendant after first determining that probable cause exists for the arrest.
(c) No warrant for arrest of a person may be issued until:
(1) an indictment has been found charging him with the commission of an offense; or
(2) a judge has determined that probable cause exists that the person committed a crime and an information has been filed charging him with a crime.

If this is what you are thinking of, this is typically done when a person misses a court date for the charge. For arrest warrants the officers do not need to "show you a copy" of the warrant, but the charges and information regarding the court warrant (also known as a bench warrant, or a body attachment) and the summary of your charges will be read to you in your court appearance or by jail deputies who can confirm the active warrant upon your arrest.


posted by South Bend Police Department @ 3:31 PM  
Defamation of Character?
Q: I would like to know what I can do with someone I know that has sent me an email on my personal computer that I responded kindly back with a 'please delete me from your email list' that has since gone on with defamation of me in retaliation sending more emails to family and friends some of whom he does not even know, how am I able to be protected and defended how can I report this individual?

A: Your case sounds complex. To establish a claim of defamation in Indiana, a plaintiff must prove the existence of "a communication with defamatory imputation, malice, publication, and damages." In Indiana, the actual malice standard in matters of public concern applies to not only public figures but private individuals as well. If you wish to sue for damages arising from this civil legal matter you need to seek the advice of an attorney who specializes in these claims, and be able to provide the burden of proof of what happened and why/how you were damaged.


posted by South Bend Police Department @ 3:30 PM  
Neighbor Parking Woes
Q: My neighbors boyfriend parks in front of my driveway. Not all the the way just enough so I can't back out. I've tried politely asking him not to, only to be yelled at. What else can I do?

A: If you are unable to handle the parking situation yourself you may contact police at the time of the violation and request to speak to an officer to see if the offense can be cited as a parking violation. Perhaps a parking citation will get the point across to your neighbor!


posted by South Bend Police Department @ 3:28 PM  
Examining For Prints
Q: I am working on a fictional story for school involving a detective case. In the story there is a break-in with no items stolen the police were called but would they realistically do a fingerprint searching? On t.v. they probably would but how about real life. Thank you and I look forward to hearing
back, if this story is really realistic maybe I can even get extra credit!!

A: The answer is "it depends". In most cases if a person calls to report a burglary, the reporting officer will attempt to examine for possible latent prints. If no loss is reported, the likely points would be a probable point of entry/exit. I try to recover prints at all burglary scenes when possible, unless surface textures (uneven grain, wood, dirt, etc) prohibits a successful lift, or if it is apparent no prints are recoverable- such as gloves being used. Good luck, and share your story!


posted by South Bend Police Department @ 3:17 PM  
Reporting Suspected Child Pornography
Q: If you are aware of someone veiwing child pornography on their computer, should it reported and to who? At what point does this activity constitute a crime?

Good question. Because of the global nature of child pornography throughout the internet, this can be difficult to track and locate. In addition, malware infections or hijackers may have infiltrated a computer and may be used to store files and act as a server without the user/PC owner being aware they are acting as a server!

Online child abuse includes: (a) searching for, sharing and downloading images of children being physically and sexually abused and (b) “grooming” children in chat rooms, for example, with the intention of committing sexual abuse both online and off.

Because these crimes usually cross international borders, the solution is international cooperation by law enforcement agencies.

A single point of contact website has been setup here for this purpose for all participating countries: www.inhope.org/
Look for the link to file a report. Then look for the link for your country.

In the USA, you can report child pornography and child abuse through the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children here: www.missingkids.com

You can also report child pornography websites to the Association of Sites Advocating Child Protection (ASACP) here: asacp.org/report.php


posted by South Bend Police Department @ 3:06 PM  
Ignition Interlock Devices
Q: Hi there, my father is an alcoholic and has had 2 DUI arrests. After a year off from drinking due to a series of knee surgeries, he has started driving again and is basically intoxicated most of that time. My family is wondering if there is anything we can do to get him off the street and in turn get him away from potentially killing an innocent family or person. We have looked into an interlock system so that he will have to breath into a device in order to start the car. That seem like the best alternative since my mom works and cannot take his car keys away and cannot babysit him all the time and know what he is up to. Does that require a court order to get that done?

A: A breath interlock device for the ignitions is a smart idea. These are sometimes ordered in DUI/OWI convictions by judges, although this is unfortunately not a common option in St. Joseph County cases that I have seen.

All DUI offenders have the potential to benefit from the use of an ignition interlock - its installation allows offenders to maintain their responsibilities while also reminding them that their behavior has a direct impact on their right to drive. Court systems and motor vehicle administrations agree that it is a valuable tool because it deters individuals from driving while intoxicated while the device is installed. Additionally, when its use is required as a provision of probation/parole, the threat of doing jail time better ensures that DUI offenders will correctly use the device each and every time he/she gets behind the wheel.

In your case, the installation would be dependent upon court order or through the BMV. If your father is still on probation for an OWI offense, you may be able to petition for this by discussing it with his probation officer. If he is not, it is unfortunately unlikely that one can involuntarily be placed without his consent or court order. You may try contacting the BMV as well to see if they have any input. Another option may be to research the use and attempt to convince your father that it may be a valuable tool in preventing another OWI before it happens with possible tragic outcomes. Good Luck!


posted by South Bend Police Department @ 3:05 PM  
Registering a New Handgun
Q: About a month ago I filed for my permit to carry a handgun. Last week I bought a pistol at a gun show and the vendor didn't call anybody or anything. So it isn't registered in my name. I checked the link your page offers of the Indiana hand gun laws and can't find anything about it having to be registered. Did I overlook something? Does it have to be registered to carry it? I haven't gotten my permit yet and the gun doesn't leave the gun safe, but when and if I am granted my right to carry do I need to have it registered in my name? If it only needs to be registered how do I go about knowing if it is registered in someone else's name? Thanks in advance.

A: Indiana does not require handgun registration of the individual weapons you purchase. To carry the firearm you must obtain and be approved for a State Firearms Carry permit. The application for this can be handled by city residents through the police station records office. Other residents must visit the police department of the jurisdiction in which you live.


posted by South Bend Police Department @ 3:00 PM  
Saturday, November 01, 2008
911 Calls & Dispatch Priority
Q: I have wondered for a long time, especially in South Bend where you guys seem to be very busy, how does 911 prioritize calls? I assume that if there is a big call like a shooting, that takes priority over a drunk person, but I see so many officers on the news that seem to be at big calls- what happens when you are stretched thin because of these hot calls?

A: All calls requiring a police response are assigned a priority by the dispatch software and they type of call input. Priorities range from "1" to "9", "1" being the highest and "9" the lowest. While we understand that all callers believe their call is important, in the interest of public safety, we must have a method for determining what call should be dispatched first. While you are speaking to a call taker he or she is entering your information into a computer. This information is transmitted to the appropriate dispatcher who will in turn dispatch police to the required location.

Priority 1 or 2 calls require a police response and are generally dispatched immediately. As information is being obtained from callers of an "in progress" or "high priority" incident that information is simultaneously disseminated to the responding officers by the dispatcher.

Priority 3-5 calls are lower priority calls and may be have a considerable wait (up to an hour or longer for a police response), depending on call activity in the City at the time- especially in the case of the scene you describe in your question.

Priority 6-9 calls considered lowest priority and may be handled several ways. If an officer is sent and may only be required to drive through an area and make presence known, for example, if requested. Motor checks may be handled by a civilian volunteer officer (CVO), or a report with no suspect information may by just be a report by phone. A police officer is not dispatched to these calls, and you may be informed of same. Calls of this type are taken in the order they are received and require the caller to be available at a telephone.

Call back time where applicable is generally within the hour, depending on the call activity at the time. Reports fitting the criteria for telephone reporting are those that are not in progress, with no injuries, no suspects in the area, and no witnesses to be interviewed. Further, there must be no indication that a person is or will be in any immediate danger. Information for these type calls will be taken by the trained Public Service Officers (PSO) and forward to CID (Criminal Investigation Division), to be assigned to an investigator, as any other case. Taking these type calls by telephone allows us to keep police officers available for higher priority public safety calls and is often more convenient to the caller as well.


posted by South Bend Police Department @ 10:35 AM  
Being a Detective
Q: What is the difference between a police officer and a detective?

A:A detective is a 'plain-clothes' police officer responsible for the follow-up investigation of crimes and incidents.

A uniformed patrol officer responds to and handles the initial investigation of calls for police service. Once this crime report is taken, the detective continues the investigation started by the patrol officer but may also initiate specialized investigations directly assigned to the detective unit. In South Bend, a patrol officer and a detective are typically of equal rank, however detectives do receive extra compensation for their specialty.


posted by South Bend Police Department @ 10:29 AM  
Crash Witness- What Should I Do?
Q: What should I do if I witness a traffic crash?

A: If you witness a crash, if possible, stop on the side of the road and stay until the police can arrive. If you are not able to remain, you should call the police communications center at (574) 235-9361 or 911 if there are injuries, and advise the operator that you have witnessed the crash. The operator will forward your name and contact information to the investigating officer.

When the officer arrives we will need some basic information such as your name address and phone, take a short statement of what you saw (including if you noticed if either party was distracted, such as on a cell phone, any comments, or unusual behavior, such as driver and passenger swapping seats, etc), and you will be on your way shortly.


posted by South Bend Police Department @ 10:23 AM  
Self Defense Classes
Q: I would like to know if the South Bend Police Department holds a training-education class on Self Defense Classes? If so, how do I get the information and the date of the next class?

A: We do not offer any self defense classes at this time. Our Fraternal Order Of Police (FOP36.com) does hold a "Women On Target" firearms training class periodically, but no other self defense classes are held by the SBPD.
posted by South Bend Police Department @ 10:18 AM  
Trespassing Advice?
Q: We have been having issues with a lot of trespassing on our property lately. It seems that someone put up a fence on a public road behind our property so people now cut through our yard. We have tried talking to the people to let them know that this is a private residence but they just continue on their way.
I am concerned both for our safety as well as the people going through our yard in case they startle our dog. What should we do?

A: It is difficult to give advice here without seeing the property you describe. You can certainly put up a fence of your own on your property to contain your own yard, but you will need to get a professional survey or plat to be sure you are putting it up and not on a utility easement. If the fence is on a public road(?) and is otherwise blocking this road, you may contact the street department for other followup. In your case you may wish to follow up with a property law attorney to consult and see what your options are.
posted by South Bend Police Department @ 10:14 AM  
DUI with Drugs?
Q: I read your article on your Drug Recognition Experts and was wondering if someone can be arrested if they are taking a prescription drug, but have not been drinking?

A: Definitely. Prescription drug abuse is a HUGE problem nationally and one that I have run into during DRE evaluations as well. indiana Statute 9-30-5-1 states that it is a violation if a person drives, operates, or is in physical control of a motor vehicle while under the influence of a controlled substance:
(c) A person who operates a vehicle with a controlled substance listed in schedule I or II of IC 35-48-2 or its metabolite in the person's body commits a Class C misdemeanor.
(d) It is a defense to subsection (c) that the accused person consumed the controlled substance under a valid prescription or order of a practitioner (as defined in IC 35-48-1) who acted in the course of the practitioner's professional practice.

It does not matter if the person has a prescription or not (it is, however, an affirmative defense if they are taking the prescription as prescribed). It also states that it is a violation to be “knowingly under the influence of a hazardous substance that affects the nervous system, brain, or muscles of the person so as to substantially impair the person's ability to drive or operate the motor vehicle.” Those items include paint, paint thinner, glue, etc.

As many medications of depressants or narcotics indicate that alcohol may intensify the effects, or recommend to not operate heavy machinery (they also mean driving), mixing even one 12 oz. beer with a prescription drug like Vicodin and intensify the effects on a persons body which can impair them off, for example, one drink (maybe a .02 BAC) but when combined with the drugs in the system can impair a persons ability to safely drive a vehicle the same as a .11 BAC as an example. great care and forethought should be used if you are in this situation.

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posted by South Bend Police Department @ 10:06 AM  
Liability in OWI
Q: What is the liability of a person who serves too much alcohol to an individual who is then involved in a drunk driving crash?

A: Indiana law does allow both commercial AND social hosts (meaning businesses and individual persons to be held liable in cases of crashes/injury, either through laws on the books or thorough case law decisions. In one case, in Indiana, a jury awarded $60 million to two plaintiffs injured by a drunk driver who had been served free drinks at a grand opening in a civil suit. Hosts and servers need to be very aware of this possibility and have a legal and moral responsibility to take steps to ensure the overserved person is able to safely make their way home, through use of a designated driver, sober friends, or as always, it is far easier to take a cab for $20.00 than the thousands of dollars you will face for a OWI conviction.


posted by South Bend Police Department @ 9:58 AM  
Drug Offenses
Q:Is a drug arrest a misdemeanor or a felony?

A: It can be either, depending upon the type of offense, the actual drug, whether the drugs are in possession, or if there is intent to sell/deal the amount in possession, and if there is a prior conviction for drug possession, which will bump a misdemeanor possession to a felony. Take a look at IC Code section 35-48 for more information!


posted by South Bend Police Department @ 9:52 AM  

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