The CSI Effect

Top 10 tips from inside the PD so you don’t sound silly on CopBlock,WorldStar HipHop, or COPS

1) DNA on everything

DNA is not the magical piece of evidence at all scenes. As a matter of fact, internal DNA such as bodily fluids may be at a crime scene, but hair fibers from carpets, touch DNA and even fingerprints are usually not present and if they are can be tricky for recovery. So when you are stopped by the police for suspicion of a crime, don’t say “Take my DNA”. If the unfortunate victim of a crime, don’t ask the responding police if they can take fingerprints from the seat of your car.

2) Lie Detectors

Lie Detectors are not admissible in criminal courts in most states. We aren’t Maury, we are the police. The uniformed patrol officer doesn’t have a lie detector set-up and there isn’t a spotless room in the police station with a lie detector technician.

3) Miranda — “your rights”

A police officer doesn’t have to read you your rights, unless they are questioning you about a crime. If you are arrested, police may ask for name, height, weight, address, date of birth, etc; and not read you “your rights”. When you see the hard nose Detective on your favorite crime drama cuffing someone and they start reading out, “You have the right to remain silent”; it doesn’t happen. So don’t yell when arrested that you weren’t read your rights. Casual observers please don’t yell out from the sidewalk what the police have to do.

4) Phone Calls

Yes, this falls eerily similar to the Miranda rights above. An arrested person is entitled to make a phone call during arrest processing, the police decide when. Central booking cells are equipped with pay phones, feel free to call someone…. Collect.

5) “Enhance”

The police do not have magic computers and monitors that can take the world’s worst video and enhance and sharpen to read a license plate from 100 yards away. Please watch this video and see who silly it sounds.

This one from CSI may be even more ridiculous

6) Detained for a crime

Different states have different names. The police can stop you to ask you your name — you can refuse. If they have a good reason to believe that you committed a crime they can stop you to ask you about your whereabouts or actions — sure you can run — probably not too wise. If the police have enough information that you committed a crime, they can stop you, aggressively, with handcuffs, and yes, may use force to arrest you, but we will get to that.

7) Use of force

The police are allowed in every state to use the minimal amount of force necessary to restrain and arrest you. They may call it different things but they are all allowed the same. Omelets cause broken eggs, resisting arrest causes injuries. Handcuffs are made of steel, they aren’t comfortable, but you asked to wear them, you may not remember.

8) Shooting in the leg or shooting the gun out of someone’s hand

Really? Do I have to talk about this? Those dangerous violent criminals who put themselves in the situation to be shot by the police need to be stopped. Being shot in the hand doesn’t stop someone. The second aspect of that argument is… let’s say you were standing behind said violent criminal, you want me to aim for his 6 inch hand? You can’t even fill the clowns mouth at the carnival from 7 feet away, you want cops to shoot hands?

9) Denying entry for a search warrant

Again, maybe different terminology in different states, but when a judge decides the police can enter your home to investigate a crime, and that judge signs the paper, you really can’t say no. Conspiracy theorize all you want, but the reality is judges are very serious people. They give police officers a hard time and demand an excellent explanation into the need for a search warrant.

10) Police trespassing on your property

You are right. The police cannot come onto your property or into your house uninvited. But when you are beating your spouse, shooting in your yard, or you choose to run from the police into your house — you are not on base, this is not tag. The police are coming after you. Thanks for the invite.

You have been fooled, by TV dramas and social media, into thinking you know something about criminal investigations. Did you ask the Dodge dealer if your new Dodge Challenger can jump through barns and over rivers? Probably not.