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03 April 2013

Police Myths

How many times have people told you some weird fact/rule about cops, such as the undercover cop one, that says if asked if he is a cop an undercover cop has to answer truthfully.  This seems like bullshit from the first moment you hear it.  How the hell would any undercover operation ever work?  I decided to ask my cousin about a few that I have heard before.

MYTH:  If you break a traffic law and a cop pulls out behind you, if he does not pull you over within two miles, they are not allowed to pull you over.

COUSIN:  That is stupid.  I can follow you for however long I like and pull you over whenever.

MYTH:  Police are not allowed to chase a motorcycle if they are speeding because it could cause an accident and the biker would probably not survive.

COUSIN:  If it is on the highway, we pull out and go after them, and radio ahead to get someone else involved.  Now, if the bike goes into a residential area, we tend to ease off and let them go because there is a danger of them harming someone.  Hell, if we do not give chase on the highway, every other car will be calling dispatch and letting them know that their troopers are allowing people to speed.

This myth is mostly true about four-wheelers.  If we see one on the road, we put on the lights, but as soon as they go down a dirt road, we do not follow.  If the person does actually stop, we usually laugh at them for being rookies to the whole four-wheeler thing.

MYTH:  Cops and Feds do not work together.  There is always an issue about the jurisdiction and they hate each other.  (You see this on TV or movies all the time)

COUSIN:  Sort of true.  For example, I had a murder investigation and needed to get a warrant for a cell phone tower, it would have taken about nine months to get the information, but the FBI said they could get it within ten minutes, but they wanted to take the case and use it for a drug case they were working.  We had to have a long  meeting with them and the DEA over this murder case and yes, there was a bit of a jurisdiction battle going on. 

He did say that The Wire was much more accurate with the relationship between FBI and police than most other shows or movies.

MYTH:  If a cop goes into a bank and sees that it is being robbed, he must identify himself before firing at the gunman.  However, an FBI agent could pull his gun and shoot the robber without saying a thing.  (I have no clue where I heard this one)

COUSIN:  Yes, I have to identify myself and unfortunately, I have no clue if the FBI agent has that privilege.  Although, why would they not want to identify themselves?  What if there is a security guard at the bank and he sees another gunman shoot the robber and thinks it is a second robber who just shot his partner?  He might decide to draw his weapon and start shooting.  Identifying yourself is just a safe practice.

MYTH:   When being questioned by police about a murder, people never stop working.  (I actually got this one from John Mulaney)



COUSIN:  (I told him about the Law & Order bit and he laughed)  No, if we interview someone, they stop what they are doing and give us their full attention.

Thanks to my cousin for his excellent help.  Glad I could finally find out the truth to some of these things.