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UPDATE! Missing Woman Found Safe in Elkhart. August 5, 2010

Posted by southbendpolice in In The News, News Releases.
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Missing South Bend Resident

Update: This missing person has been located>The SBPD is investigating the disappearance of a 60 year old South Bend resident who was last seen in mid-June of this year.

60 year old Jeanne Marie Wear last resided in an apartment the 1300 block of N. Michigan St. in South Bend, however she moved out when her lease was terminated in early June. At that point, Ms. Wear reportedly walked to Bremen, Indiana for unknown reasons but was returned to South Bend and dropped off at a local homeless center. From that point, relatives have lost contact with the missing woman. There is another report that states Ms. Wear may have returned to Bremen and spent the night of June 16th in a motel at that location and may have been spotted walking in the town the following morning. She also suffers from schizophrenia and needs medication to treat the illness. Additionally, Ms. Wear may use the last name “Humphrey” at times.

She is described as: Female White, 5′-06″; 195#; Graying-brown hair, with green eyes.

Anyone with information on this missing person’s whereabouts is asked to call the SBPD at 574-235-9201, or Detective Sgt. Michael Critchlow at 574-235-7502.

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Still More Ask A Cops: Jobs, Runaways, Neighborhood Watch, Burglaries July 24, 2010

Posted by southbendpolice in Ask A Cop, Crime Prevention.
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Q: I just got home from a 4-day weekend. I noticed that when I opened my screen door that a straw fell on the ground. It was bent as though it had been in there for some time. My house was robbed about 3-4 months ago and I fear that we are being targeted again. Should I report this so a police report can be filled out, or wait and see if it appears again?

A: As there was no damage or otherwise attempt with force being used, we would not take an official report in this case. If a burglary attempt is made (door kick, smashed window, etc>) we encourage reporting for documenting crime trends and tracking purposes, even if no actual loss occurred.

Q: Are South Bend police officers allowed to have well groomed beards, goatees, or any other facial hair?

A: The only facial hair officers are permitted is a neatly groomed mustache.

Q: I was medically separated from the U.S. Army. The reason for the separation is that I was experiencing knee pain, mostly from constant running and carrying lots of heavy gear, and because my job was combat arms they could not keep me. I do still occasionally experience stiff or sore knees but not like I did in the military. My question is if I can run, do pushups, do situps, and pass the agility test for the academy do you think I would have any problems going through the hiring process? I think an x-ray I had done some time ago did show that I have some onset osteoarthritis in one ore both of my knees. Would this disqualify me? Thanks.

A: Our physical fitness standards for hiring are the same as Indiana Law Enforcement Academy standards. If you can pass the physical agility testing process you should be able to go through the hiring process otherwise. Prior to final conditional offer there is a physical which must be taken, and a final determination can be made, but it sounds like you should be able to compete in the process. Good luck!

Q: If you are arrested but the charges are dismissed, why does the arrest still show up on your background checks? This is from an incident about 3 years ago and i have had several employers ask about it and have been denied employment.

A: If no charges were made in an arrest as an adult, that does not negate the actual incident that led to the arrest. As such, even if no criminal charges were filed, that does not mean the incident for which you were arrested is no longer counted as an actual arrest on your criminal history, and it will stay a part of your permanent record.

Q: In this past Sunday’s newspaper it showed a home burglary on our street on the map that is in every week. Wondered how I could find out the particulars of that incident, so that we could be more alert. Thank you.

A: You may want to call and find out about Neighborhood Watch program in your area. These are available in most areas of the city. You can receive alerts via phone, and also information pertaining to your neighborhood area is disseminated at monthly meetings for your area. Link is here.

Q: I have a girlfriend who is 16- she is having problems with her parents.They tell her to leave the house and I believe mistreat her. She cant take it anymore she wants to runaway can you help us please?

A: A great resource she can look into is the Youth Service Bureau here in South Bend. They offer family services for at risk teens, runaways, or for mediating between teens who are facing a choice of running away, and work with teens and parents to encourage a resolution to the conflict in the home. Also their Street Outreach provides education and prevention services to runaway, homeless and street youth who are subjected to or at risk of sexual exploitation. For youth in need of support and services, Street Outreach workers are available to assess needs, assist with accessing referral services, provide shelter through Safe Station or elsewhere, and support their efforts to reconnect to the community.

Also, The Youth and Family Crisis Line is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to offer support to youth and families in need. Professionally trained counselors provide assistance during difficult times, including crisis management and referral services to other community resources. (574) 235-9396 or (866) 460-4616.

(574) 235-9396 ~ (866) 460-4616

Lucky. July 21, 2010

Posted by southbendpolice in In The News.
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Found this photo online and tracked back the story. One of the luckiest people alive.. to be alive..

“Santa Maria PD Officer Damon Badnell was responding to a call for help from another officer on foot chasing a burglary suspect in the north end of town.

“It had just rained, the roads were slick and for unknown reasons he lost control of the car at Main and Broadway”, Macagni says.

Officer Badnell is being treated for broken bones at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital where doctors are optimistic about his recovery.

A three year veteran of the Santa Maria Police Department, Damon Badnell is a husband and father who grew up in the area and was just awarded by Mothers Against Drunk Driving for making the most DUI arrests in the city.

“It’s unbelievable he’s alive and survived this crash”, adds Chief Macagni.”

source

Not just “because we can” July 20, 2010

Posted by southbendpolice in Feature Stories.
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I overheard a woman talking the other day to another male at a restaurant while I was off duty and the part that perked my ear up was “and this COP was driving about 80 and flew by me with no siren or nothing”.. She assumed that the cop must have been driving that way for no reason, or ‘because they (we) can’.

There is a perception amongst the civilian public that just because police officers are driving ‘fast’ without our lights and or sirens in emergency mode operation that we are driving that way because we want to. Truth is, driving that way is dangerous to everyone, us included, and for the most part, we are not just driving that way because I have nothing better to do when working…. or off duty.

The calls that police officers get are dynamic, and many times officers respond with a minimum of information. Most often police are responding to back one another up. Officers make dozens of traffic stops in a day in this city, and while most stops do not require us to back one another up by running lights and siren, it is critical that we are able to arrive quickly and safely. As an example, rpr. Randy Vetter of the Texas DPS was murdered on a traffic stop August 7th 2000 after stopping a man for a seatbelt violation.. The dash cam video is on the internet. If you take the time to watch, from the time of stop until the man brandishes and fires shots with his rifle is TWELVE seconds.

Other times, we are responding to burglar alarms at residences, or businesses. If someone was breaking into your home do you want the police to arrive in 2 minutes or in 10? Telegraphing “police are coming” from several blocks away with sirens blaring and lights blazing can have a detrimental effect to the criminal deciding to stay inside and be captured on the scene.

There are many many more situations that I can go on about, but the point is that if people see officers driving fast, please consider the circumstances. When someone calls 911 and states that someone is physically hurting or trying to kill them (usually in a very frantic manner), those calls have to be taken very seriously. Admittedly, and unfortunately, many times it is not as bad as what the caller had stated initially in the phone call to 911, but on the other hand sometimes it is.

So help arriving 30 seconds to a minute earlier could mean the difference between life and death. Every second counts when it comes to emergencies whether it be medical or criminal.

As a further P.S. to the post, please remember to yield the right of way to police/fire/EMS vehicles any time you see lights or hear sirens. It’s the law. Do so by immediately pulling over to the right side of the curb as possible. including one way streets.

A Cop’s Life: Chicago Officer Down July 12, 2010

Posted by southbendpolice in In The News.
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This letter was written by a Chicago Police Department officer as a response to an article written about the killing July 14th of Officer Thor Soderberg on the South Side of Chicago, in the parking lot of a police station, by his own service weapon by an assailant who overpowered the officer in broad daylight.

As a department that has lost way too many good officers to needless acts of violence, this is worth sharing for its insight on what we all know and deal with everyday. Here’s the letter:

I am a Chicago police officer about to hit 20 years next month and also a Vietnam veteran, which often times seemed to be the same thing while on the job.

When we get up in the morning and put the uniform on, we don’t plan to encounter trouble, we don’t plan to run for blocks through gangways and streets in the dark after offenders.

We don’t plan on being told by a victim they don’t want an offender arrested while holding their hand over a swollen eye, and we don’t plan on having to stare down the barrel of our gun at someone who is staring down theirs.

We do what we did yesterday and today and will do tomorrow even in the light of another officer being murdered. We put on the uniform, go to roll call and into the street to serve and protect. We will think of Soderberg and other officers who have passed on but won’t lose our focus because we still have to serve and protect.

Some of us will think about getting home to take our little girls or boys to practice, pick up our wives or just sit in the yard and barbecue, but we won’t lose focus because we still have to serve and protect.

Our minds will be occupied with when, how and if we will ever get promoted, we will worry about working alone in a squad car at midnight, we will wonder if we will be able to pay a tuition by working overtime, but we won’t lose focus because we still have to serve and protect. We few, we happy few, we band of brothers will remain undaunted as we walk out the door in the morning, away from our families not knowing what we will face, but know this . . . there are those of us that will still go forward and serve and protect. We know the dangers, but we still go.

We are just men and women, with families like you, that only want to do what we do and be good at it. Sometimes it feels as if the city doesn’t really want us here, but until things change we are here for the duration. Sometimes with broken spirits, sometimes with broken limbs, sometimes with brothers or sisters that will go no further.

I love Chicago, I have loved this job though it has never loved me. To the brothers and sisters of CPD, God bless you all, walk tall and be safe.

Well put. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Officer Soderberg’s family and the Chicago PD family in your time of needless loss.

About Those Black & Whites.. June 29, 2010

Posted by southbendpolice in Community Announcements, In The News.
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If you read the blog a while back I did a story on the trend in American Law Enforcement of agencies going more and more to the black and white theme of car graphics. As we are in the process of taking delivery of 35 new 2010 Impalas, I noticed three are slated to be rolling out on sporting a familiar look.

These are tentatively slated to be assigned to the newly formed Street Crimes unit, so look for them soon!

What do you think?

Ask A Cops June 28, 2010

Posted by southbendpolice in Ask A Cop.
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Q: I have a License to carry handgun permit and I do carry quite often. Many people have stated to me that open carry is illegal and all handguns must be registered. I have found no evidence of these things online and while asking questions to local firearms dealers who either state they “cannot interpret the law for me,” or they tell me, “Indiana is mute and has no law on the subject of open carry thus making it legal.” And I’ve been told Indiana does not require registration and it’s actually illegal to register a handgun in Indiana. It seems I do know the answer here but can you back it up for me? Open carry is not illegal and firearms need not be registered? Thank you.

A: You are correct. Indiana laws do not require “registration” of firearms owned by an individual. A weapons carry permit is required to possess weapons outside an individual’s residence, and IN law does not prohibit “open carry” of weapons by statue, however, common sense and discretion of weapons carrying is strongly recommended for everyone’s safety.

Q: My street has no curb and people are parking on the grass down the street from our front door. Is this okay, or should they stop? I understand the the business nearby has limited parking area, but we have been trying to get our yard to look nice.

A: There is no specific reference I could find by city code, but Indiana Code on parking states: ” a vehicle stopped or parked upon a roadway where there is an adjacent curb must be stopped or parked with the right-hand wheels of the vehicle parallel with and within twelve (12) inches of the right-hand curb.” Where there is no actual curb, a general guideline should be to use the road edge/grass line as the “curb line”. If parking is coming from employees of the business you mention, I would suggest speaking to the management to help alleviate the issue.

NOTE: I initially was not going to publish this following question, however upon further thought I feel it is important for others who may be in this situation to receive the answer to the question.
Q: I filed a complaint against my husband for slapping me. I don’t want it to go to the prosecutors office because he is an amazing father and I feel like I pushed his buttons this morning. How do I stop the report from going anywhere?

A: As a victim you do have the right to not choose to seek prosecution of your suspect husband. I would advise to speak to victim counselors from our Family Violence Unit or from the YWCa before making this kind of a decision, to fully understand your rights, the cycle of domestic abuse, and for safety reasons for you and your family as a whole, so you can make an informed decision and understand repercussions first. In many cases, if charges are filed, this may not result in incarceration, but certainly would benefit the abuser to be able to get court ordered counseling. Even if you are separated , “dropping your case” changes nothing and a next victim could be harmed more seriously or even killed. Think: if the abuser gets no help how will he get over his tendencies towards violence? Also please see our domestic violence information in detail here.

South Bend Fireworks Laws June 24, 2010

Posted by southbendpolice in Community Announcements, In The News, News Releases.
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This is the time of year the phones are lit up with calls asking about or complaining about fireworks use. Here are a couple of frequently asked questions, as well as the city ordinance regarding fireworks use within the city limits.

Q: When Can I Use Fireworks?

A: There are three general time periods fireworks use is allowed:

a. Between the hours of 5:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. on June 29, 30, July 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9.
b. Between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 12:00 midnight on July 4; and
c. Between the hours of 10:00 a.m. on December 31 and 1:00 a.m. on January 1.

Q: What are the penalties for violations?
A: Penalties range based upon the number of events to a particular person or address, ranging from $100 through $500.00 per offense, and up to $2500.00 if fire related damage ensues from fireworks use.

Q: We are having a gathering in a city park. Can we shoot off some fireworks then?

A: No. All fireworks use is banned from all South Bend City Parks.

Q: How will police respond?
A: The 4th of July timeframe is generally the busiest time of the year for calls for all types of police service. As such calls are prioritized by call type. Noise complaints, especially for fireworks are considered low priority in dispatching. If an officer is sent to a specific address for a fireworks complaint the officer will generally, and at the officer’s discretion, give a verbal warning for a violation. The SBPD recognizes that fireworks are an inherent part of celebrations for this time of year, and we encourage responsible gathering and use. If a verbal warning is not heeded, then expect a fine to be cited to the reponsible party. This could include the person lighting, or the person/resident “in charge” of the location where the violation is taking place.

Q: I want to call to report this as a problem in my neighborhood.

A: Again, bear in mind the times and dates use is permitted. Also, due to police call volume, we request you first attempt to speak to your neighbors about the violations. Many loud party calls police are sent on, the loud party seemed unaware the neighbors were bothered by it. As a neighbor, please attempt to resolve on your own first without police being called.

If this does not work, then please report to our NON EMERGENCY number, at 235-9361. Fireworks calls are not worthy of 911 phone use, except in case of fire or medical emergency. Please try to be as specific as possible when reporting an address: “in front of 1110 South Michigan” rather than a general location “over by Sample and Michigan on the corner”. A contact numbr or your location is preferred as well so the officer may speak with you further about the concern.
Play it safe and enjoy the professional shows!

Q: What is considered “fireworks”?

A: See the ordinance below.

Q: What is the whole ordinance?
A: As follows:

Sec. 13-59. Fireworks regulation.(a) Consumer fireworks may be used within the corporate limits of the City of South Bend only under the provisions of this section.
(1) For purposes of this section, the term “consumer firework” means: a small firework that is designed primarily to produce visible effects by combustion, and that is required to comply with the construction, chemical composition, and labeling regulations promulgated by the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission under 16 CFR 1507. The term also includes some small devices designed to produce an audible effect, such as whistling devices, ground devices containing fifty (50) milligrams or less of explosive composition, and aerial devices containing one hundred thirty (130) milligrams or less of explosive composition. Propelling or expelling charges consisting of a mixture of charcoal, sulfur, and potassium nitrate are not considered as designed to produce an audible effect.

Consumer fireworks include:
1. Aerial devices, which include sky rockets, missile type rockets, helicopter or aerial spinners, roman candles, mines, and shells;
2. Ground audible devices, which include firecrackers, salutes, and chasers; and
3. Firework devices containing combinations of the effects described in clauses 1. and 2.; and
b. Do not include the following items:
1. Dipped sticks or wire sparklers. However, total pyrotechnic composition may not exceed one hundred (100) grams per item. Devices containing chlorate or perchlorate salts may not exceed five (5) grams in total composition per item.
2. Cylindrical fountains.
3. Cone fountains.
4. Illuminating torches.
5. Wheels.
6. Ground spinners.
7. Flitter sparklers.
8. Snakes or glow worms.
9. Smoke devices.
10. Trick noisemakers, which include:
i. Party poppers.
ii. Booby traps.
iii. Snappers.
iv. Trick matches.
v. Cigarette loads
vi. Auto burglar alarms.

When Can I use Fireworks?

(2) No person may use, ignite or discharge consumer fireworks within the corporate limits of the City of South Bend except during the following times:
a. Between the hours of 5:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. on June 29, 30, July 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9.
b. Between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 12:00 midnight on July 4; and
c. Between the hours of 10:00 a.m. on December 31 and 1:00 a.m. on January 1.

(3) No person may use, ignite, or discharge consumer fireworks on any public street or in any public park within the corporate limits of the City of South Bend at any time.

(4) Any person violating this subsection shall be subject to the following penalties:
a. One hundred dollars ($100.00) for a first offense;
b. Two hundred fifty dollars ($250.00) for a second;
c. Five hundred dollars ($500.00) for a third offense and every subsequent.
d. Any person issued a citation for violating any provision of section 13-59 shall make payment through the Ordinance Violations Bureau. Failure to make payment within thirty (30) days of the issuance of a citation for violation of any provision of section 13-59 shall result in the assessment of a late fee of fifty dollars ($50.00).

e. In such instances where using, igniting or discharging consumer fireworks results in a fire and damage is determined to be caused by negligence or the willful disregard or violation of any of the provisions of this article, a fine equal to the cost expended by the City to send fire suppression personnel and equipment to the location shall be assessed with said fine not exceeding two thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500.00).

f. A citation for a violation of section 13-59 shall be issued to the responsible party. A responsible party is defined as the person shown to have exclusive possession of the property (a present possessory interest). If no responsible party is present upon the premises, the responsible party is deemed to be the property owner(s), as determined by reference to the records of the St. Joseph County Assessor. In such an instance, copies of the citation must be mailed to the property owner as determined from the Assessor’s records.

(b) Any person wishing to give a supervised public display of fireworks may do so by first procuring a license from the City and filing bond in the sum of fifty thousand dollars ($50,000.00), conditioned on the payment of all damages which may be caused either to a person or property by reason of such licensed display or arising from any acts of the licensee, his agents, employees or subcontractors. The license fee shall be twenty dollars ($20.00) per day for each day of such public display.

(c) Any public display of fireworks shall be conducted in all things in accordance with the rules and regulations adopted and set out by the Fire Marshal of the State, and as the same are restricted or designated by the Acts of the General Assembly of the State. All definitions contained in such acts shall apply to the terms of this section.
(Code 1962, § 26-11; Ord. No. 9769-07, § I, 6-25-07)

Citizen Involvement June 23, 2010

Posted by southbendpolice in Street Beat.
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Partnerships and Education are at the heart of the concept of “community policing”. Sharing information and encouraging interaction is at the heart of my goal for our department to reach out , share information, and to be accessible to residents.

A majority of our crimes can be easily averted if people learn about and implement simple prevention measures. It is also crucial for citizens to get involved when crime occurs. Consider a recent robbery/theft case.

A south side woman was recently victimized by having her purse taken while loading groceries into her vehicle. during the commotion, the victim was able to alert other store patrons by yelling “stop him, he’s got my purse”. In this case, the suspect had parked his car next to the victim’s vehicle for a fast getaway.

As a result of her yelling, two other citizens heard this and chose to get involved. The first witness unsuccessfully tries to stop the suspect (which is not recommended). However, he was able to get a good look at the offender in the process. The second witness was able to follow the suspect’s vehicle and obtained license plate information for us.

As a result of the efforts of citizens who chose to aid another human being who was being victimized, the intelligence gathered during the investigation, and the resulting police work by officers involved led to the offender being located, with the woman’s purse, money, and ID cards being recovered a short time later not too far away from the store where she was victimized.

Yes, this is a story of good police work, but it also illustrates the importance of citizen involvement. It is sad that you can’t leave your purse on the car seat for even a brief moment, but this is the reality of life in South Bend and the area as a whole.

You have to protect your valuables and be alert to potential threats around you.

We were successful because people got involved when the crime occurred. I do not recommend trying to physically apprehend criminals, but it is always helpful to get a good description, including accurate tag information with a complete license plate number and an accurate desctiption of the vehicle and suspect(s) whenever possible.

We have a good community, which helps to directly influence our quality of life. We strive to keep it that way, but can’t go it alone. Thank you for your help.

Ask A Cops! June 22, 2010

Posted by southbendpolice in Ask A Cop.
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Q: Is there any law on the books currently or pending prohibiting animals on the laps on drivers of automobiles? I see this practice increasing with time and I would imagine that the public safety issue that it raises is an important one with regard to reaction times compromised and the animals being startled on the lap of the driver. I have inquired to State Senator Broden’s office about this topic, but have never heard back from his office.

A: Aside from being a distracting and potentially dangerous driving practice, there is currently no state law prohibiting such a practice.

Q: Is there any police involvement when a child is 16 yrs old and in high school but refuses to attend school. If none, any suggestions on who we can contact for help in this matter.

A: I would suggest working with your child’s school leadership, the School Resource Officer assigned to your school, and possible contacting the Juvenile Justice Center (JJC) to speak to staff about completing an “Ungovernable Juvenile: report with the JJC for further follow up.

Q: People come to my house, sometimes as late as midnight, asking for money in exchange for yard cleanup work. When I
tell them no, they’re extremely persistent. I find this disturbing. Should I be calling the police about these people? I don’t want to just call for annoyances, but this creeps me out more than a little bit. What’s the best course of action?

A: Common sense should signal you that a person looking for “work” after dark is likely not a legitimate offer. Often times burglars are casing places by knocking , especially at ‘odd’ hours, to see patterns, such as who is home, if pets are present, routines, the person who answers the door, and possibly to catch a glimpse of what’s inside if you open the door. I suggest to avoid answering the door at all, and refrain from opening the door. If you choose to call the police about this type of suspicious activity, please call our non emergency number (235-9361) to report, and try to obtain a good description of the person or any vehicles that may be involved for officers to make the best attempt to investigate.