Ask A Cop

How can I find out if a person has outstanding warrants?

The person who you suspects has warrants must go down to the police station themselves to find out.  Other ways are contacting the department that you suspect has the warrant and inquiring.

I'm thinking about taking a 3 year college course (in Canada) on policing. What's your opinion?

I would check with the department that you're interested in working for and find out their "exact" hiring requirements. Some departments have strict guidelines and requirements that must be fulfilled upon employment. I can tell you that most departments (now) require at least a two to four year degree and that every department is different on their standards.

I am on the 7th step of a 10 step selection process...what shift can I expect?

2nd. However, every department is different.

I've heard it's very easy to become corrupt and "bend" the law and get certain "privileges". Have you ever been tempted ? If so, to what degree and what stopped you (or did it)? Have you seen others who've strayed? What do you do when you know a cop is dirty?

I would have to agree that it is easy to "bend" the law, if that's the type of person you are. It has been my experience that officers who travel that route usually end up getting charged criminally or fired in the long run. I can tell you that within the last 5 years (at my department), there have been at least 7 to 10 officers who were fired with just under 2 to 3 years experience. Another dozen or so have left on there own seeking other careers. As far as me being tempted? I can honestly say that I've never been tempted. In fact, anytime I'm in a situation (with large amounts of money for example), I count the money in front of the person and another witness. I've arrested drug dealers with large amounts of cash, who don't even know how much they had. If I was a criminal, I could easily take some of their cash and they'd never know. As far as others who have strayed...yes, I've seen it. Not first hand, but you just get a feeling someone's bad, but can't prove it. I don't associate with those type of officers and I don't like them. However, off the top of my head, a couple officers that stand out in my mind for being "shaddy," are no longer with the department. As far as what to do...believe me, if I know, our Internal Affairs has already known for awhile. And I've said it before...not all the cops are the same. I would add, that when you hear about a story about a bad cop, keep in mind that's "one cop." There are hundreds of thousands of cops out there right now as we speak doing something good, saving someone's life, whatever, that you nor I will EVER hear about. But the media will tell you about one cop 2000 miles away. Thanks for the question.

I am going to Gordon College in Barnesville Ga. The cops around here are giving cops everywhere a bad name. Are cops allowed to search a person and their vehicle for not having on a seatbelt? this happened to my friend and I thought it was wrong. They pull us over just for having a school sticker on our car. They also pulled my friend over behind me and searched them b/c they said he was swerving. They weren't at all I was watching. They were searched. This really bothers me. Also cops are supposed to help us. A man was broken down tonight with a flat tire. A cop drove by us as we drove by the car. The cop saw the man broken down yet turned around to follow us when we weren't doing anything wrong. He didn't even help the Man. I would really like to do something about this what can I do. I would like to know my rights. Thank you.

Of course, I wasn't there, so I can't speak for those officers. And, as an officer, I always give officers the benefit of the doubt; however, that doesn't sound good. As far as searching your car for not wearing a seatbelt, NO. That's illegal. Generally, you can only search a car if the driver doesn't have a drivers license, is arrested or the car is impounded. You can however order all subjects out of a car and do a "pat down" on ALL of the subjects in a car for safety. As far as the swerving deal, that ALONE doesn't constitute a legal search. If this is happening, those officers are putting themselves in a high liability situation. As far as "helping," believe it or not, most departments have policies that don't cover you if, for example, you pull your back out when helping someone push their car off the roadway. However, it's sad when an officer just simply drives by (For what it's worth, I always stop and ask if they need help). In their defense, they might not have seen it. As far as what you can do...(and I apologize if this makes any cops mad, but if you're a good cop, you should agree this sounds like b.s.)...you can make make a "formal complaint" with the Sergeant in charge at the police department. You can also contact an attorney on a possible illegal search. If what you say is accurate, you're very correct...it does make police look bad and not all police are like that.

How should a possible police applicant answer the difficult questions. i.e.: You pull a person over for DWI and the person is a police officer. Do you give the book answer saying you would arrest the officer, call your supervisor or just take the officer home? I know what I would do personally but I need some advice about what the board members are looking for. This is my first oral board so I'm kind of going in blind (not a good thing) any advice is greatly appreciated. Also what if your responding to a family violence call and you hear an officer tone out or officer needs assistance/shots fired? What do you do? I know a lot depends on departmental policy. thanks.

Those are some excellent questions. Ironic...you're preparing the same way I did. A1: There's no "right" answer; however, the WRONG answer is a "book" answer, for sure. Here's what MY answer would have been: "I would call a supervisor and let them make the decision." A2: My answer would be, "I would stay on the domestic call until it was done." If they said why, my answer would be, "Because I can't turn my back on a domestic, knowing they could end up hurting if not killing each other." Other advice: Get a book called "Police Exam," which can be found in the "reference" section of most book stores. It sells for about $15. Also, be honest with your answers, and REALISTIC. I know of officers who said "Yes, I'd write my mother a ticket" when asked. Come on! They weren't hired either. Just explain your answers as to why you feel the way you do. Good luck my friend!


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