Thursday, July 19, 2007

Law Enforcement Quiz for Writers

by Joyce Tremel, with assistance from Lee Lofland

Drumroll please! Welcome to my first Law Enforcement Quiz for Writers. I'm challenging all the Working Stiffs readers to take the quiz. There's absolutely nothing in it for you. There will be no prizes, unless I can round up one of those plastic Shaler Junior Police Badges that we pass out to the kiddies.

Good luck! Oh, and by the way, Lee is NOT allowed to play, but he will be stopping by.


1. When is a police officer required to use the Miranda warning?
a. Any time they question a suspect.
b. Any time they make an arrest.
c. Any time they go out for donuts.
d. Prior to interrogation when the suspect is in custody.

2. When someone enters your home without permission, either with or without force, it is called
a. Robbery.
b. Trespass.
c. Burglary.
d. Harassment.

3. You report that your vehicle was hit and run sometime overnight. You report it to the police. The police will
a. Write a report for insurance purposes.
b. Canvass the neighborhood for witnesses.
c. Collect paint samples and send them to the lab.
d. Call you every day with updates on your case.

4. Your stolen car is recovered. You’ve been notified that the car was towed to the local towing pound. What will the investigation entail?
a. The car will be dusted for fingerprints and evidence collected and sent to the lab.
b. A report will be written that your vehicle was recovered and removed from NCIC.
c. The towing company won’t charge you anything.

5. When is someone in custody?
a. At the moment they’ve been handcuffed.
b. When they’ve been placed inside the police car.
c. When they no longer feel free to leave.
d. When they’ve been placed inside a jail cell.

6. When can an officer arrest someone without a warrant?
a. When his supervisor tells him to.
b. When a crime occurs in his presence.
c. Whenever he feels like it.
d. Never.

7. When can an officer “frisk” someone?
a. Whenever she feels like it.
b. She can frisk a convicted felon anytime.
c. When she believes the suspect may have a weapon concealed in his clothing.
d. When she believes the suspect may have drugs concealed in his clothing.

8. When can the police search a home without a warrant?
a. Whenever they feel like it.
b. If they think a dangerous criminal is inside.
c. If a citizen told them a wanted criminal is inside.
d. If they hear someone screaming for help inside.

9. You’re involved in a custody dispute with your ex-wife. It’s your weekend to have the kids and your ex refused to let them leave. You call the police. What will the police do?
a. Order your ex to abide by the custody agreement and force the children to go with you.
b. Cite your ex for contempt.
c. Cite you both for disorderly conduct.
d. Calm the situation down and suggest you both discuss this civil issue with your respective attorneys.

10. And last but not least, which of these sentences is NOT correct?
a. The suspect was taken into custody at 1600 hours.
b. The actor was taken into custody at 1600 hours.
c. The perp was taken into custody at 1600 hours.
d. The asshole was taken into custody at 1600 hours.

Check back later and see how you did!

42 comments:

Kathy said...

Love it, Joyce!

I am straining to remember all the crap - I mean important concepts in criminal law - I learned when I was studying for the Bar Exam.

Otherwise, I'd be relying on TV shows. Which would be bad.

P.S. I want one of those badges. Are you coming to Potter Night?

Tory said...

I csn't wait to compare my answers to the correct ones!

By the way, mental health professionals working in the area of child abuse DO use the word "perp." A friend of mine calls non-offending parents, "p.p.s" for "passive perpetrators."

Joyce said...

Kathy, I won't be at Potter night, but I'll try to remember to bring some badges to the next meeting. Everyone can be a "Junior Police Officer!"

Lee Lofland said...

Hey, I want a badge, too!

Hey Tory, "perp" and other slang like it are regional things. Very few police officers use perp anymore and not all mental health people do, either. In fact, one particular area where I conducted the research for my book required mental health professionals to use the term "patient" for everyone - suspects, perps, and assholes alike. It's kind of like the law, it's different wherever you go.

The entire word, perpetrator IS used a lot, especially in police reports, but not in everyday conversation.

Now, back to the quiz. I think everyone should post their answers on the blog. Come on you chickens...

Joyce said...

Yeah, come on you chickens...

Gina said...

I'm trying to remember those criminal law questions, too, Kathie, but after all my years practicing on the civil side, I'm lucky if I can remember how to spell Miranda!

Most of the police reports I've read use the term "actor," as if all crimes are committed by thespians.

Nancy said...

Okay, I have no law enforcement background whatsoever, so I'll go first and look idiotic:

1. b
2. I think it's c, but I'm chickening out and going with b.
3. a
4. b
5. I haven't a clue, so I'm guessing a.
6. b
7. c
8. c or d
9. d
10. Lee told us the preferred term is "asshole" but I dunno about the rest. Does "perp" sound the most ridiculous? I'll go with c.

I think I flunked this test.

lisa curry said...

Okay, I'll play...

1. b
2. b
3. a
4. b
5. a
6. b
7. a
8. d
9. d
10. a

And if they're all wrong, I'm placing the blame on NYPD Blue and Law & Order. :-)

Lee Lofland said...

It's getting interesting...

mike said...

Great quiz from the Devilish Duo! Thanks for the morning challenge. Okay, I'm game--and I'm not letting Nancy's or Lisa's answers influence me one bit (sure!).

1. a
2. b
3. a
4. I want to say "a" but I'll go with b (less work).
5. a
6. c (good question; I've really no idea, now that I think about it)
7. c
8. b
9. d
10. I gotta go with d.

I'm with Nancy...I think I flunked it too. From either side of the law, this crime business sure is daunting!

Annette said...

Sucking it up and giving it a shot.

1.a., 2.b., 3.a., 4.b., 5.a., 6.d., 7.c.(I find it interesting that for frisking, we've switched to the feminine pronouns), 8.d., 9.d., 10.d.(although I personally see nothing wrong with any of the choices!)

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

Just a reminder...if you like this, you'll love meeting Lee at Sisters in Crime's Forensic University of St. Louis, Nov. 1 through 4. Our other headliners include Dr. D.P.Lyle, Jan Burke, and Eileen Dreyer. We've assembled experts in a variety of forensic disciplines for 2 1/2 days of intense learning. Go to www.sistersincrime.org/ForensicU or http://forustl.blogspot.com
Or email me: joannaslan@aol.com

Kristine said...

Great idea, Joyce and Lee!

Here are my (probably wrong) answers:

1. b
2. b
3. a
4. b
5. a
6. b
7. c
8. b
9. c
10. b

Tory said...

Lee: I find "patient" much less offensive than "consumer," which we were all supposed to use on one of my jobs. Comparing utilizing mental health services with buying a washer and dryer, ugh!

Okay, just to show I'm willing to risk public humiliation for our blog team:

1.b, 2.b, 3.a, 4.b, 5.a, 6.d, 7.c., 8.d, 9.d, 10.c.

Why can't you guys do the magazine quiz thing, where all we risk is private mortification in comparing our answers to the "correct" ones?

And on an unrelated note, can anyone tell my why other people's comments come up with their blog link and mine never does (even though I insert it under "Your web page.")

Lee Lofland said...

This was all Joyce's idea. I'm just riding shotgun.

jody said...

1.d
2.c (unless you're home at the time, and the asshole has entered with intent to steal - then it's a.)
3.a
4.b (and sometimes a.)
5.c
6.b
7.c
8.d
9.d
10.d
okay...when do I get my badge?

Lee Lofland said...

Tsk, tsk. I see a some TV influence in a few answers, but great job, so far.

Kristine said...

Lee: I think this quiz is going to prove to all of us that we need to buy your book (and stop watching CSI).

Lee Lofland said...

I like the way you think, Kristine!

Joyce said...

I think Jody was the only one paying attention to Lee's presentation at Pennwriter's. Here are the stats so far:

Nancy - 6 1/2 correct (she had 2 answers to a question and one of them was right)

Lisa - 4 correct

Mike - 4

Annette - 5

Kristine - 5

Tory - 6

Jody - 9

Anyone else want to give it a shot? I won't post the answers until this evening, so there's plenty of time.

Joyce said...

Everyone who is able, should take Joanna up on the Forensics conference in St. Louis in November. I'd go in a minute if I could afford it.

Lee Lofland said...

Whew, that means I got them all right. I was worried, Joyce. :)

Would anyone like to discuss any of the answers after this is all over?

jody said...

Me? Miss ADD '07? Paying attention? Uhhh...no. I was randomly hitting keys on Lee's keyboard and listening to the circus music playing in my head.
I confess - I called my best friend (Officer Debi)and asked her. Nine outta ten, huh? I wonder which one she - I mean -*I* got wrong.

Joyce said...

We should definitely discuss the answers. Some of them need an explanation of why one choice is better than the others.

I have to go make dinner, but I'll be back later with the answers. I just hope *I* got them all right!

Lee Lofland said...

Before it slips my mind (like everything else seems to be doing these days) I'd like to post this link to the Writers Digest Books site. They've released a sneak peek at my upcoming book. Have a look if you get a chance.

http://www.wdeditors.com/wordpress/fall-2007-titles/police-procedure-and-investigation

Joyce said...

Okay, it's that time--I'm going to post the answers, with a brief explanation. Lee, help me out with these if you're around. If you have a better answer, or I'm off base let me know.

1. is d. Officers don't need to mirandize everyone they arrest. Suspects are only read their rights when they are in custody and are going to be interrogated. If someone is arrested for DUI, for instance, there would be no reason to read the person his rights.

2. is c. Even if you left your doors unlocked and someone entered the house, it's still considered a burglary. It doesn't have to be forced entry, and they don't even have to steal anything. Trespass would be if someone came onto your posted property without permission, or if you had warned someone to stay off your property.
A home invasion, however, would be considered a robbery. Confused yet?

3. is a. I've never yet seen anyone investigate a hit and run unless there was an injury or a pedestrian was hit.

4. is b. Too many stolen vehicles to investigate. The labs would be backed up for the next hundred years.

5. is c. I'll let Lee explain this one.

6. is b. The officer doesn't need a warrant if he sees the crime occur. One example is when he pulls over a DUI. Another is when one party has visible injuries when he responds to a domestic.

7. is c. I'll let Lee handle this one, too. Our officers will pat down anyone they're going to put into the police car for "officer safety." They want to make sure the person doesn't have a weapon.

8. is d. The only exception to this is a "consent search" when the homeowner gives the officer permission to search. Lee can explain further.

9. is d. Custody disputes are civil, not criminal. Officers try not to get involved.

10. is c. Perp is mostly used on TV. Although technically, you wouldn't see asshole on a police report. It would only be used verbally--one cop to another. In Pittsburgh we use suspect or actor. Sometimes I'll see them use ARR in a report--short for arrestee.

I hope everyone had fun with this. I sure did. If anyone has any questions, feel free to post them.

Kristine said...

Thanks, Joyce! This blog post is definitely a keeper. I think we should make this pop quiz format a regular thing.

I do have a question: Why is a home invasion considered a robbery? Does it matter if any personal items are stolen? What if the homeowners are hurt or assaulted?

Joyce said...

Kristine, a home invasion would be classified as a robbery because the victims are being "held up." The same as if a store clerk or someone on the street is held up. If the victims were also assaulted, the actors would also be charged with assault--most likely aggravated assault.

Kristine said...

Oh, okay. I get it now. Thanks for the clarification!

Lee Lofland said...

My answers are on the way.

Lee Lofland said...

1. is d. Officers don't need to mirandize everyone they arrest.

I've arrested people and sent them to prison without ever advising them of their rights according to Miranda. Joyce is correct. A suspect must be advised of their rights ONLY when he is IN CUSTODY and prior to questioning. The stuff you see on TV about cops chasing someone down and reading their rights is totally false.

2. is c. Even if you left your doors unlocked and someone entered the house, it's still considered a burglary. It doesn't have to be forced entry, and they don't even have to steal anything. Trespass would be if someone came onto your posted property without permission, or if you had warned someone to stay off your property.
A home invasion, however, would be considered a robbery. Confused yet?

This one can vary a bit in different areas, but essentially this answer is correct. In some states, the act of entering someone's property during the daytime without permission is trespassing. However, if the act act occurs during the nighttime it becomes breaking and entering. FYI - Nothing actually has to be physically broken or forced to charge the offender with B&E. Simply breaking the "plane" between public and private property (at night) makes the offense a B&E.

3. is a. I've never yet seen anyone investigate a hit and run unless there was an injury or a pedestrian was hit.

Ditto

4. is b. Too many stolen vehicles to investigate. The labs would be backed up for the next hundred years.

Ditto

5. When is someone in custody?

When they no longer feel free to leave the area. If four officers surround a suspect and will not allow him to leave, then he's in custody. Even if they never touch him. If they begin to question him they must advise him of Miranda or they cannot use those statements against him.

6. is b. The officer doesn't need a warrant if he sees the crime occur. One example is when he pulls over a DUI. Another is when one party has visible injuries when he responds to a domestic.

Correct

7. is c. I'll let Lee handle this one, too. Our officers will pat down anyone they're going to put into the police car for "officer safety." They want to make sure the person doesn't have a weapon.

Not only your officers, Joyce. This is the law. Officers are allowed to frisk (pat down) anyone who's in custody for the safety of the officers. They're also allowed to pat down anyone if they truly believe (that's the key - they must be able to satisfactorily articulate those beliefs in court) there's a concealed weapon.

8. is d. The only exception to this is a "consent search" when the homeowner gives the officer permission to search. Lee can explain further.

Even if someone tells an officer they saw a wanted criminal inside they'd have to obtain a search warrant. They could use that statement as probable cause for the search warrant. Also, if an officer is in hot pursuit of a suspect (chasing him) and he sees the suspect enter the house, he can follow him inside to make his arrest. No warrant is needed in this instance. BUT, if the officer ever loses sight of the guy before he enters the house the officer cannot go inside without a warrant.

9. is d. Custody disputes are civil, not criminal. Officers try not to get involved.

Cops avoid it like a STD.

10. is c. Perp is mostly used on TV. Although technically, you wouldn't see asshole on a police report. It would only be used verbally--one cop to another. In Pittsburgh we use suspect or actor. Sometimes I'll see them use ARR in a report--short for arrestee.

Right!

By the way, all these questions and many, many more are answered in my book! :)

Great job, Joyce!

Joyce said...

Thanks for your help today, Lee. I really appreciate it!

I'll work on getting you one of those junior police badges.

Lee Lofland said...

Yipee! I'm finally moving up!

This was a great idea, Joyce. Lots of fun. Let me know if and when I can join in again.

You guys are great!

I hope to see some of you again, soon. Maybe I'll get lucky and be invited back to the Pennwriters conference. Who knows?

Joyce said...

Lee, we KNOW people. We'll get you invited back to Pennwriters.

Joyce said...

By the way, Lee, you are always welcome here. Any time you want to blog, just let one of us know.

Lee Lofland said...

Thanks!

Kristine said...

Thanks for participating, Lee, and for all the helpful information. I feel like I took a seminar today...for FREE! I can't wait to buy your book.

And a big thanks to Joyce, too. This was a great idea. When can we do it again???

Lee Lofland said...

I wish I could take the credit, but it was Joyce who did this one. I just tagged along for the ride.

Joyce said...

Thanks for the help, Lee.

And thanks for all the fun everyone. We'll do it again when I come up with some good questions.

Anonymous said...

Cool stuff Joyce...I only got two wrong...#2 and #10. Not bad for a Nurse, eh.
Amy

mastephens said...

Okay, I'm game. :)

1 a
2 b
3 a
4 a
5 c
6 b
7 c & d ??
8 b
9 d
10 d

Glenna said...

By Glenna
1.D
2.C
3.B
4.A
5.C
6.B
7.C
8.D
9.D
10.A