Cop Talk Live

October 18, 2006 | Karin's Blog | 8 comments

Dear Officer Friendly,
How does it work if say a police department in county A has a warrant for a bad guy who they know is living in county B? Do they just go in or is there some type of protocol to be followed? Thanks.

Good question. It all depends upon the nature of the warrant. If this regards a high profile case, the issuing agency will usually want to serve the warrant themselves. Protocol and common sense suggests advising the host department where the warrant is being served, that you are doing so in their town. This way, in the event of things going wrong and John Q. Public dialing 911, at least the host department knows what is going on.

Early one weekday morning, a Federal Bureau of Investigation agency, which will remain anonymous, came into our town to serve a federal warrant. They got into a shootout and the 911 board lit up with phone calls. Unfortunately, they didn’t advise us they were serving the warrant which lead to a couple of tense moments with cops and feds pointing guns at each other.

With regards to lesser warrants, the issuing agency will normally send a teletype to the host agency, advising them that they hold an outstanding warrant for the bad guy living in their town and asking that host agency to serve the warrant.

Dear Officer:

Why is it always said (on the TV programs, I guess) that motive is the
LEAST important ?

Motive is always important to a case, especially when it gets to court and the D.A. is trying to show the jury why the defendant would want to have committed the crime. Evidence and eye witnesses are always going to be the strongest parts of the case but a jury needs to understand the why of the crime. “Gee, he seems like a nice enough guy. I can’t believe he would do such a thing. Why, would he want to do such a horrible thing?” He did it for money. He did it for love. He did it out of jealousy. “Ah, now I see. The dirty rat!”

I received a question this week regarding Internal Affairs investigations. Due to what will be a lengthy answer, I’m going to save that question for next week, so, don’t forget to tune in…

Last week I talked a little about Hollywoodisms that bug me on TV shows and in the movies. What have you seen TV/movie cops do that you know is a Hollywoodism and bugs you?




  1. John S

    What bugs me is when a citizen does not want to talk to the police, it’s always hinted that he could be taken in for obstruction of justice. I have been told by sources who know that although it is illegal to lie to the police, it is NOT illegal to choose not to talk to them.

    Perhaps the police just HINT this in hopes it will change the citizen’s mind–whether the implied threat is true or not!

  2. Officer Friendly

    148. (a) (1) Every person who willfully resists, delays, or obstructs any public officer, peace officer, or an emergency medical technician, in the discharge or attempt to discharge any duty of his or her office or employment, when no other punishment is prescribed, shall be punished by a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by imprisonment in a county jail not to exceed one year, or by both that fine and imprisonment.

    This is straight out of the California Penal Code. You do not ever have to talk with the police. However, if you truly have information that you are withholding and this info impedes or delays the investigation, you are in violation of the section and subject to arrest.

    That having been said, understand that the cops and the D.A. would have to be able to prove this in order to make the case against you. At the sametime, many people get arrested but never get formally charged. So, while I will agree that Hollywood does use this to excess, it is still valid and authentic.

  3. Tracey

    Officer Friendly,
    The thing that bugs the MOST – in CSI (yes I know) BUT when they go into a room carrying those flashlights – I feel like screaming just turn on the #@#@$$ light. It’s one thing if they are in an alley or something – but a house – come on….

    Rant over [sigh] now I feel much better.

    Thanks again OF

  4. Amanda

    Tracey, I have to agree. How hard is it to just flip a switch???

  5. Karin

    Tracey I just spewed iced tea all over my keyboard.

  6. Officer Friendly

    Tracey, I can’t tell you how many times a bunch of us cops would stand around in the dark at a scene using only our flashlights. It got so bad that I started doing it at home. Using the flashlight in the bathroom was a real pain in the ass.

    I guess they, Hollywood, feel it is more dramatic that way. Frankly, I think they look like a bunch of idiots and find it insulting to my intelligence. Nice observation!

  7. Kristi

    When the bad guy is smart enough to (basically) wrap himself in cellphane to avoid leaving something behind — but then leaves a piece of glass sticking out of a victims forehead…and it has some kind of DNA or a fingerprint on it. Urgh.

  8. Officer Friendly

    Kristi – you gotta love those writers, huh? I mean, without that piece of glass we wouldn’t have the scene where one CSI is looking through the microscope while the other leans over his shoulder waiting for the results while they talk about their latest sexual conquest.

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