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  1. #1

    Default Police Behavior and Role During a Crime Scene Investigation

    When you call in the police to report a crime like larceny, how can the police react? I know usually there are two policemen or women who come in. One is to get the basic details and scenario, and the other is to collect evidence. Right?
    Are they the ones that work on the case or is it a detective?

    Because I recall my friend's old house in salt lake, being broken into and the police were looking at the situation and it was a weird situation. Like a window was broken from the inside outwards in the basement, and there was a broken window upstairs before the crime. The policeman asked my friend whether he knew about this because it was very unlikely that the robber came out the window rather than a door, despite all the doors being locked when he and his family came back from vacation. He was basically making assumptions with no basis of evidence and just assuming random things like his friends did it or he may have had a part of it. Are they allowed to accuse and make assumptions like that?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Police Behavior and Role During a Crime Scene Investigation

    Quote Quoting Lawstudent101
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    When you call in the police to report a crime like larceny, how can the police react? I know usually there are two policemen or women who come in. One is to get the basic details and scenario, and the other is to collect evidence. Right?
    Are they the ones that work on the case or is it a detective?
    There is no cookie-cutter "textbook" response. A police response varies by the nature of the call, resources available, etc. If you report a stolen bicycle (a larceny) you will get a patrol officer for a few minutes - or they might take it over the phone. if you report a residential burglary you might get the same officer, you might get an evidence tech, you might get a detective, you might get any combination of those.

    It also depends on resources available. In my agency we do not have evidence techs so the officers take their own. A detective here is not likely to be called to the scene of a burglary, but in bigger cities they might.

    So, you see, the response varies.

    He was basically making assumptions with no basis of evidence and just assuming random things like his friends did it or he may have had a part of it. Are they allowed to accuse and make assumptions like that?
    Of course the officer can make assumptions - they do it all the time. Whether he was correct or not is something I cannot say. Most such crimes will have one officer respond unless it involves some really serious stuff.

    And, the vast majority of residential break-ins involve friends or acquaintances of the victim or someone that lives there. Stranger burglaries are actually somewhat uncommon.
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    Default Re: Police Behavior and Role During a Crime Scene Investigation

    Well, it seems entirely legitimate to me to wonder why a burglar would break a window out in a basement to crawl out of a house through jagged broken glass rather than just walk through a door that's right in front of him. A window broken out from the inside is certainly evidence of something. Or should the police only consider evidence that the person reporting the crime wants them to consider?

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    Default Re: Police Behavior and Role During a Crime Scene Investigation

    Quote Quoting Bubba Jimmy
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    Well, it seems entirely legitimate to me to wonder why a burglar would break a window out in a basement to crawl out of a house through jagged broken glass rather than just walk through a door that's right in front of him. A window broken out from the inside is certainly evidence of something. Or should the police only consider evidence that the person reporting the crime wants them to consider?
    The question was about how the police respond, not the legitimacy of a particular officer's hypothesis.

    Since none of us saw what he saw, or know what he knows (or does not know) it is impossible for us to say for sure what the officer was thinking. Maybe he was way off base ... maybe he wasn't. We don't know.

    As for a standard response to a reported burglary, there is no such animal. The TYPICAL response is one patrol car with one to two officers and maybe someone else to dust for prints. I have worked for three agencies in my 19 years on the job and in two of them you'd get one patrol officer, and in the other one you'd get the patrol officer and eventually an evidence tech who would dust for prints and seize any evidence.

    If you are asking why an officer assumed what he did, we cannot answer that. He may have been brilliant, he may have been a moron - we do not know. Legally - and procedurally - the officer is allowed to make assumptions ... those assumptions should not necessarily be reflected in the report, but there are also different theories of report writing in some agencies, too.
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    Retired Cal Cop Sergeant & Teacher

    Seek justice,
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    -- Courageous, by Casting Crowns ... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pkM-gDcmJeM

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Police Behavior and Role During a Crime Scene Investigation

    The question was about how the police respond, not the legitimacy of a particular officer's hypothesis.

    I was responding to the following:

    The policeman asked my friend whether he knew about this because it was very unlikely that the robber came out the window rather than a door, despite all the doors being locked when he and his family came back from vacation. He was basically making assumptions with no basis of evidence and just assuming random things like his friends did it or he may have had a part of it. Are they allowed to accuse and make assumptions like that?
    The question seemed to me to indeed be the legitimacy of the officer's suspicions based on the evidence he was looking at. If I misunderstood the question, or that aspect of the question, sorry. But the setup of the question was to list certain facts of evidence. The legitimacy of any further investigation, questioning, etc. derived from those facts seems relevant.

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    Default Re: Police Behavior and Role During a Crime Scene Investigation

    Since we weren't there, it is impossible to say why the officer assumed what he did. There may or may not have been legitimate reasons for the assumptions he made. I saw the question as one asking about the typical police response to such crimes, not whether or not the investigating officer was correct in his assumptions. To the former, the answer is that there is no "textbook" response, and to the latter, we cannot possibly know.

    I am curious as to why he might be upset at the officer making these assumptions unless someone else was accused of the crime that the OP feels should not have been.
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    Love mercy,
    Walk humbly with your God

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    Default Re: Police Behavior and Role During a Crime Scene Investigation

    So if a police officer encounters a knife-wielding person covered in blood standing over a dead body, would you argue that it's impossible to know why the officer would ask "did you do this?" At some point these distinctions become silly.

    A basement window, obviously not an exit point, is broken from the inside. Mention is made of this to observe a reaction. Perfectly legitimate. Certainly not "random things" as the OP characterized them. He seems to think that the officer was off base in bringing these odd items up during his investigation.

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    Default Re: Police Behavior and Role During a Crime Scene Investigation

    Okay ... he thinks the officer was off.

    How are any of us supposed to answer that question?

    Once again, the question asked about a typical response. The answer that there is NO typical response.
    **********
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    Seek justice,
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    Walk humbly with your God

    -- Courageous, by Casting Crowns ... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pkM-gDcmJeM

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