Wednesday, May 27, 2009
What's Going On
Sorry for the lack of recent Ask A Cop updates. Questions have not been as frequent to warrant weekly updates. I added some of the newest ones and should have more later this week.

This week we implemented our South Bend Police Twitter account. For those of you who are not familiar, Twitter is a social networking and microblogging service that allows you answer the question, "What are you doing?" by sending short text messages 140 characters in length, called "tweets", to your friends, or "followers."

Follow us @ Twitter here! http://twitter.com/southbendpolice

We are still smoothing out some details, but expect to see relevant news updates, crime prevention and safety tips, and other special features only for our Twitter followers. In addition you can be notified via tweets or SMS text massages from Twitter to your phone when Ask A Cop is updated!

Also our Fall Citizens' Police Academy will begin SEPTEMBER 8, 2009 and does fill up fast. You can sign up and download the form online from our home page!

Check back this week for more Ask A Cop questions and thanks for reading!

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posted by South Bend Police Department @ 11:27 AM  
Wearing A Seat Belt
Q: My shoulder harness chokes me. I have the clip set as low as it will go. My carotid artery in my neck gets choked off whenever I turn my head to look out the drivers side. I have tried many kinds of things that are supposed to prevent this, but none work. How can I drive with seatbelt fastened without injuring myself? I am short, but I can see out my windshield fine, so now what can I do?

A: Indiana law requires seat belt use for all occupants in passenger cars and trucks. One thing I routinely encounter is persons who wear the belts incorrectly; i.e. tucked under the armpit, or older motorized belts where the top part is on, but not the bottom lap portion. These are incorrect.

In short, to be compliant with Indiana seat belt laws, you MUST wear the belts as 'designed by the vehicle manufacturer intended', which is in the traditional lap and shoulder harness, worn on the outer portion of the shoulder.

If your car does not allow height adjustment on the B pillar area, and you find discomfort, you may look into aftermarket "clips" that can be designed to reposition the points of the belt. A google search should return several options for you.

Otherwise, I can tell you from first hand experience in working hundreds of crashes, that NOT wearing your belt does a lot more personal injury- and death I have seen- by not wearing that belt. Do yourself a favor and wear your belt when driving.

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posted by South Bend Police Department @ 11:08 AM  
HTV Offenses?
Q: If a drunken driver loses his license for life, does that mean he can get his license back after so many years?

A: The Indiana BMV can revoke or restrict licenses for persons deemed to be a Habitual Traffic Violator (HTV). There are three ways to become a habitual traffic violator under Indiana law.

First, you can accumulate at least 2 very serious violations (vehicle homicide, operating while intoxicated causing death, etc) within a ten year period.

Second, you can accumulate at least 3 serious violations (operating while intoxicated, reckless driving, etc) within a ten year period.

Finally, you can accumulate at least 10 violations (speeding, stop sign, turn signal, etc) with a ten year period.

The penalties can be a 10 year ban or a lifetime ban. HTV violations are a felony offense.

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posted by South Bend Police Department @ 11:03 AM  
Sex Offender Address Updating
Q: I know that a registered sex offender has moved and not reported an address change. Who do I report this to?

A: Contact St Joseph County Police Dept Detective Sonny Oakley or detective Steve Metcalfe at (574) 235-9569. These officers track Sex Offenders in St. Joseph County.

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posted by South Bend Police Department @ 10:54 AM  
About the ND Commencement
I received a lot of questions from non-area residents about the recent ND Graduation controversy. I will publish the best one to answer here>

Q: It showed an elderly Catholic priest protesting Notre Dame for having President Obama who undoubtedly is the most pro-Abortion President this nation ever had as a commencement speaker. This is not just wrong but what has the police to do with it. He didn't commit a crime, no he wasn't even standing outside an abortion clinic. Are we so derailed that we can't distinguish right from wrong, a crime from difference of opinion.

A: In short, the University of Notre Dame is private property, just like your residence. The UND chose to restrict persons from protesting on campus who did not have a right to be on campus property. After being advised they needed to leave UND property, those who chose to not leave were arrested by UND police officers (separate agency from our own), and they were charged with Criminal trespass, which is the Indiana statue for trespassing.

Other protestors who came and held protesting off campus on city streets were not found to be in violation of other laws and were allowed to exercise First Amendment rights. In short, the arresting charge was for trespassing, and no other offense related to the controversy.

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posted by South Bend Police Department @ 10:54 AM  
What's Happening Outside?
Q: Hello, I live in the 1700 Block of N Brookfield St. Last week, early morning, I awoke to what I thought was knocking my family was asleep, I looked out the front picture window and seen that there was like 4 squad cars across the street, with no one around or inside the cars. I was wondering if you could find out what was going on around here at that time of morning.

A: Unfortunately I do not have a means to track down individual details. That many uniform cars responding to a call is usually some sort of residential disturbance, a domestic argument type call, or possibly a search for a person with a warrant. My advice here to readers is if you see this type of call, for your own safety, please stay inside your homes, make sure your kids are brought inside, and let officers focus on the task at hand. Thanks!
posted by South Bend Police Department @ 10:49 AM  
Vacant Apartment Trespass
Q: Hi, I own a apartment on the northwest side. My tenants said they called about a unit next door that has a unit empty and kids congregate in the apartment by break in and party. The landlord of this building I have been told is bedridden and does not know this. When they called and told police, they were told them they could not do anything. Is that true?

A: If a unit is empty and is not secured, code enforcement should be contacted or the complex management should be informed to take steps to secure the unit. If persons are found inside and they are not informed by the property owner (if that owner can be found) they will be advised they are not welcome on the property. Further repeat incidents once informed can lead to trespassing charges.

Problem is when there is no known or reachable owner to advise police or the unwanted persons that they are not welcome on the property, it is near impossible to prosecute for trespass. Hopefully sealing the property will alleviate this problem.

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posted by South Bend Police Department @ 10:44 AM  
Hiring Questions
Q: I've decided I would like to join the police force. I have serious doubt that I can make the requirements. I have done some immoral and illegal things in my life as most of us have. I've never been charged or arrested simple traffic violations are all that are on my record. My question is a three parts. The first is I have experimented with marijuana. Will this stop me from joining the force? The other is I have partaken in some illegal action of which have stopped. I know that you have to take a lie detector test. If I answer truthfully to the question, will it disqualify me.

A: I can only encourage you to apply and see where it takes you. Experimental marijuana use will not necessarily disqualify you, but truthfulness about ANY illegal activity in the past is essential to being considered for employment. As for the other "immoral" activity you mention, I don't have anything to do on, so I would suggest you apply or call our recruiter by contacting our Training Bureau.

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posted by South Bend Police Department @ 10:38 AM  
Safe Streets Ordinance
Q: Can a group or individual solicit for a charity, themselves, or to sell items like candy at intersections?

A: No. In South Bend, the "safe streets" ordinance prohibits soliciting from a roadway area.
Safe Streets Ordinance 18-20(b) - states:

"No person shall at any time step into any street or alley, or use any object to reach over and into any street or alley, for the purpose of soliciting any donations, money, credit, property or other thing of value, or for the purpose of selling, distributing, offering or attempting to sell, distribute or offer any merchandise, membership, subscription, ticket, written material or other items. Any person found to be in violation of this subsection shall be fined one hundred dollars ($100.00)".

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posted by South Bend Police Department @ 8:57 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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