20 comments on “Answers To Your “Ask a Cop” Questions

  1. I guess I’m very late to the discussion, but one of my friends just turned me onto this website and I’ve been going over some of the older posts.

    I would just like to point out something about the Boston situation, and I had come across this video before. What I noticed, is that while I agree that someone should have called 911 sooner to try to get the Officer help, I don’t think that there was a wholesale inability or unwillingness of the bystanders to help. For one, most people believe that the Police always have things under control, and I think that it’s hard for some people to recognize the difference between a situation where the officer is just doing his job, and where he’s actually in a fight for his life. I think that’s why they didn’t call 911 for backup immediately. They believed that if the officer wanted backup, he would be able to handle that himself. The second thing, and I think the most important thing about the video, is that you notice as soon as the officer said that it was OK for bystanders to help, there were 4 guys who were immediately ready to jump in to help. Despite the frustration that “no one did anything”, I think it’s actually very important that they waited for the officer’s go ahead. It could be worse, in other scenarios, where whenever an officer went hands on, he would get 4 civilians jumping into the fray. It’s important that the officer makes it clear if this is a situation where civilian help is both warranted and necessary before civilians unnecessarily put themselves, the officer, and the arrest at jeopardy through untrained help.

    I like your blog, it’s nice to see police perspective on current events. have you seen the alabama police chase beating?

    http://www.cnn.com/2009/CRIME/05/20/alabama.police.beating/

    Keep it up, stay safe.

  2. I have a question. I am 23 years old and i always wanted to be a cop. Well i am going back to school and taking law enforcement classes and i was hoping to get into the field after all the testing. That will put me at 25 or 27 years old when i finish with school. Am i to old to join now? Or can i get into something else other then a cop job, maybe fingerprinting or something else?

    • Hi Anita,

      You are not too old now, nor will you be at 25 or 27. Many folks start at that age or even older. Remember most places you are looking at a 25 or 30 year pension picture, so that would still make you only 57 when you retire…NOT BAD!!

      College is great, and if you can get a degree (AA or BA) that is even better. It is becoming more important every year in policing, and in hiring.

      With the economy stinking it up, competition is hotter than ever for police jobs (folks look for civil service security when the $$$ stops flowing in the private sector).

      As for fingerprinting, etc., those jobs are generally civilian crime scene techs that pay less and have fewer benefits than officers. On the flip side, it is less dangerous, and requires less training. Your call, but I would say you should go for it and become a cop!

      Keep in touch if you like and I can answer any specific questions. Best of luck…

  3. There is a speed trap set up in front of my house. Ive never been in trouble or issued a citation in my life. I have received two in the last 15 days on the same .3 mile strip in front of my house. How do I report this where something is done about it. and do I have the right to demand the cop trap people elsewhere? (he isn’t sitting on my property, otherwise I would have called the cops)

    • Interestingly, there might be nothing LEGAL you can do. However that doesn’t mean there is not a solution. Find out who is the “boss” of the guys running the traffic enforcement. If you are in a large PD that might be a traffic division. If your police department has 5 cops total, it might be the chief. Respectfully inform them how pleased you are that they are enforcing traffic laws, but explain the problem with your area. They might move on for a while…

      It is the old balance between enforcement and PR, and these days with community policing being all the rage, it should ring loud and clear to them.

  4. How many years do beginner cops have to work the streets before they can move up in the ranks and do investigative type work or SWAT and things like that? Is there a general time frame?

  5. Generally cops need to work 2-4 years before moving on to specialized things like SWAT. That is VERY general, because a real star can do so earlier, and some departments it takes longer no matter who you are.

    General rule: Large department has more opportunity than a small one.

    Let me know if I can help…

  6. hey, i dig the website. i have two question for you, one that me and my friends have been debating for quite some time. what gives a police officer the right to search a vehicle? would weaving a little bit in your lane, or having an ashtray open make it possible for them to search you? just curious.

    the other question i have is what speed over the limit is generally acceptable? most cops dont pull people over for going 58 in a 55, but where is the line?

    any answer you can give is greatly appreciated

    • Thanks for the compiments! A vehicle is one of the easiest things for an officer to search, because of several US Supreme Court decisions. Without overcomplicating the matter, suffice to say that since a car can be moved easily, officers get to search it much more easily than, say, a house. The house is hard to move, so we need a search warrant more often for that.

      As for the probable cause to stop you on the highway, the weaving in the lane is plenty, as is any other traffic violation. And, believe it or not, 56 in a 55 is a citable offense. That said, reasonable officers use discretion in all stops.

      Hope you stop by again!!!

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