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Monday Ask A Cops! April 12, 2010

Posted by southbendpolice in Ask A Cop.
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Q: My temporary plate was stolen and I was told you will not take a report? What can be done?

A: Temporary 30 day plates issued by the BMV have a number which for several reasons cannot be listed into a national database like NCIC, nor are the serial numbers easily tracked by BMV to be able to trace plates and the routing of them like ‘standard’ license plates. Also by IN law, Dealers may not legally re-issue a temporary plate if stolen.

Sadly if this is the case, the time remaining on a temporary plate is lost and replacement plates of the standard metal type must be purchased to be able to legally operate or park your vehicle on streets.

Many dealers now are doing a good thing by writing the descriptions of the vehicle (i.e.” 2006 Black Saturn VUE”) on the plate margins when you purchase the vehicle. This is a good deterrent, and also helps police identify the plates as being the proper one for the car in many cases. I suggested this be made a provision on the plates themselves as an official area on the plate similar to many other states. I emailed the BMV about this recently but did not receive a reply. As a reminder Temporary Plates are also subject to proper display laws, which also dictate they should be mounted where a normal plate would go, as they are required to be illuminated at night and properly affixed to the vehicle so as to be read and not obscured.

Q: In reference to registered sex offenders,is it written in the laws that they cannot be within 1,000 feet of a school,or residences that have children?

A: If the sex offender is convicted of a crime involving children, IC 35-42-4-11 covers residency restrictions, including:

An offender against children knowingly or intentionally may not:
(1) reside within one thousand (1,000) feet of:
(A) school property, not including property of an institution providing post-secondary education; (B) a youth program center; or (C) a public park

Good information on local sex offender registry is found at http://www.insor.org/insasoweb/, and the full criminal statutes HERE

Q: I was just wondering if you had any internship opportunities or what the best way for me to get into a police department?

A: We do not have long term internships, however several local colleges as part of their courses do have observations or limited internships as part of the course curriculum. If you are enrolled in criminal justice or law courses currently, ask your professor for more information. We offered a cadet program recently, but budget cuts have forced the suspension of this program. Good luck!

Q: My best friend is a police officer [with a different agency] and he advised me against carrying loaded/chambered because it is illegal. I have read the IC guidelines exhaustively and can find no reference to such a law. What concerns me is that police officers are being told this law exists and will act on it. If such a law exists, where can I find it in the IC code.

A: Indiana Concealed Weapons Carry law makes no such reference to, or restrictions on carrying your weapons “chambered” or not. Your friend has erroneous information.

Q: I frequently commute to work via cycle. Today a dog ran out into the street at me and proceeded to chase me for several blocks. While the dog did not try to bite me, he did pose a threat to my safety by running right in front of me several times and nearly causing me to fall while traveling at fairly high speeds. My question is this – is pepper spray or dog spray legal in Indiana/South Bend? I feel now that I need some method of defense or deterrent – even “friendly” chasing dogs can pose serious hazards to cyclists (and themselves) if they get too close.

A: Good questions- which we actually mentioned on our Twitter page last week. There are no restrictions for carrying chemical spray, and if you jog or bike, it is a good idea to carry a small can of spray for instances like you mention, or to use to ward off in case of attack. I can tell you from experience that Chemical spray (also known as OC Spray) is HIGHLY effective in taking the fight out of people, effective against aggressive animals, and is easily handled by just about everyone. If you spend time outdoors, it would be a good investment that you can use with confidence.

Also if you have issues with aggressive dogs, call SB Animal Control to report aggressive dog offenses: 574.235.9303.


New Ask A Cops! March 17, 2010

Posted by southbendpolice in Ask A Cop.
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Hey everyone! Submissions into the Ask A Cop blog have been few and far between for a while, so I apologize for not publishing often!

To make up for it I’ll fire several off! Lets get started:

Q: If I apply for a permit to carry a handgun in South Bend, does that permit only allow me to carry it in South Bend or can you carry the hand gun outside of city limits as well and still be legal?

A: Weapons carry permits are issued by the agency in the locality you reside in (i.e. South Bend) but are good for statewide carry, as well as any state that has a compact agreement honoring an Indiana permit.

Q: I’m a disabled vet. There is a new neighbor that has moved across the street and parks in front of my home. It’s not that they have alot of cars, only two a truck and a car. and they park in front of my house. everyone parks in front of their own home. If theres an emergency I want to make sure they have no problem getting to me. What can be done. I have asked them to please not to park in front of my residence.

A: Contrary to popular opinion, on street parking is not restricted or otherwise “assigned” to the space in front of one’s home. As a result, there is no enforcement action to be taken for someone simply parking in front of “your” home. An exception is for Disabled parking, in which case you may petition the street department for a reserved Disabled space designation. This would preclude someone without a disabled parking sticker to be cited. You can download the information here.

Q: I am going to be turning eighteen in about a month and I am curious about the Cadet Officer Program.

A: Sadly the Cadet program has been disbanded from future openings due to budget constraints. You may be interested in attending our Citizens Police Academy to get more of an inside look, but no cadet job openings are open any longer.

Q: I have wanted to become a police officer since high school. I am finally pursuing it and have filled out my application and gathered all necessary documents. First question, is it better to turn it in in person or mail it? Second, are there specific times of the year they are accepting applicants and is this one of them?

A: Congratulations on pursuing your dream! I would suggest turning the application in in person to our Training Bureau because if mails and data is omitted or incomplete this may delay or result in your application being rejected. Turning in in person may alleviate this concern. Second, job openings dictate testing and hiring dates. Your application may be turned in anytime, and will be held, and you will be notified via mail when tryouts are planned.

Q: My girlfriend has worked at her job for about 2 years. The owner has been sexually harassing her and others for years. He has gotten worse lately with his approach. She needs a job and is affraid to say anything to him. What can she do?

A: Obviously sexual harassment in the workplace is unwelcome and is a violation of Federal Labor Laws. While not a criminal violation, there are civil penalties that could be levied against her employer. First, anyone in this situation must tell the harasser that the sexual harassment must stop. If it does not, seek assistance through an employer grievance procedure. Document all activity. The next step is to file charges promptly with the nearest Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) office if harassment doesn’t stop. You can typically file charges in person, by phone or mail. Wait as EEOC investigators investigate allegations on a case-by-case basis.

Q: I own a small house in South Bend, at [omitted]. Some of the friends of neighbors and another person has told us that the 3 students living there are “druggies” and that the police come out there regularly. Is there any way that I can find out if any of this is true. I will evict the students if it is. If I have no way of finding out, I am evicting them anyways and selling the house.

A: As a landlord, you could be affected by the city “disorderly house” ordinance. You could try contacting our records bureau to see if there is in fact a history of calls to your rental house, and may be able to obtain more detailed information (see response below on steps). The City Attorney’s office also handles ordinance violations, you may contact them as well to see if your house has had significant issues.

Q: I am being harrased by some text messages. What shoud I do?

A: In most cases, contact your cell phone provider and report the problem. Many carriers can handle the filtering or blocking of unwanted messages/senders first, which will usually take care of the problem. A secondary step -while inconvenient- will also give you better results, which is to switch your number (again, usually done without charge under the circumstances). Just be careful who gets the new number to avoid the unwanted sender from getting the new number.

Q: I want a copy of a police report from 2002. I was not involved in this incident, I just know of it. Is it public record? Can I get a copy of that police report or is it too old. Can I get a copy of that police report even though I was not involved in that incident?

A: The answer is maybe. You would need to fill out a Public Records?FOIA request through the city attorney’s office which is reviewed and you will be notified if the request is approved or not. The report, if approved, may then be obtained for a nominal fee. Info on the process is here.

Thanks for reading- more next week, I promise!