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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

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!

Quick 3: Ask A Cop.. End of 2009! December 28, 2009

Posted by southbendpolice in Ask A Cop.
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Q: My husband is a Master Taser instructor and wants to purchase a C2 personal taser for me to carry for protection. We have recently heard that if you live in the city of South Bend that you cannot carry a personal taser. Is this true?

A: Correct. Possession of Stun Guns or Tasers is prohibited within South Bend City limits by city ordinance 14-36, which prohibits possession or ownership of ANY type of stun gun by any person, form or entity. Possession offense fines start at $250.00 for each offense/possession count, and will also result in permanent confiscation of the stun gun.

Q: How does an attorney obtain a recording of a 911 call and dispatch from police records? Phone number or address to place request.

A: Requests for public records re handled by the City’s Legal Department, which performs legal services for the City. The Department does not provide legal advice to members of the public. To request public records, you must fill out an Access to Public Records Request form. The request will be sent to the Legal Department to determine if the records requested are discloseable. Not all requests can be granted, some information is not discloseable under law. More info at our Records page.

Q: I live outside of the city, however can I report a drug dealer now (my husband), even though it was 15 years ago that he was the supplier to a local housing project there in South Bend?

A: This type of offense would by outside of the Statute of Limitations, therefore no action can be taken about this type of offense given the time lapse involved.

Ask A Cop- Obtaining Public Records/Photos December 4, 2009

Posted by southbendpolice in Ask A Cop.
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Been a slow couple of weeks with incoming Ask A Cops, but here is the most recent one I have!

Q: Due to the public information act isn’t it a law that information like arrest photos be available to be seen?  And how does one  go about getting that info?   Does S.B.P.D. try to put a charge on that since there isn’t a web site available?

A: Arrest photos are taken during the arrest process at and by the St Joseph County Police Jail division.  as such, those specific photos would have to be requested through the SJCPD.

Generally speaking, to obtain information, including photos or reports through the SBPD, any Public Records Requests are handled through the city Legal Department, using the following process:

To request public records, you must fill out an Access to Public Records Request form.

  • Submit this form to the Department having possession of the records.
  • The request will be sent to the Legal Department to determine if the records requested are discloseable.
  • Not all requests can be granted, some information is not discloseable under law