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Police Report Procedure
Old 05-05-2014, 08:53 AM   #1
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Police Report Procedure

I recently called our local sheriffs office about a number (hundreds) of gunshots I was hearing over a ridge near our property. I asked if they were aware of any new ranges in the area, etc. They said no and I thought that was the end but about 20 minutes later, a couple of deputies came to the house. He explained that there were no noise ordinances or anything in our county and although they get a lot of noise complaints, there was nothing they could do- about what I expected.

As he wrapped up, he asked me if I was carrying my drivers license as having it would make it easier for him to write his report. I had met them outside on the front porch when I saw them pull up. I said no but told him I could give him my info (name/phone/address, etc.). He said it would be better if I went to get my license so it would be easier for them. I questioned him on why it would be easier and he said it would be easier to run my information through several databases that exist to make sure I wasn't wanted or otherwise needed for questioning by using the license. They could do it without it but just a bit more work for them.

I'm not wanting to get in to whether this is right, wrong, good idea, bad idea but know there are a number of folks here that have prior law enforcement experience. I'm asking if this is fairly normal or a bit odd. As you can tell, not a lot of experience with something like this, in fact, this is the first time I ever called the authorities.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 05-05-2014, 09:06 AM   #2
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I was recently parked on the shoulder waiting for AAA to tow the car. A state trooper pulled up behind me and checked if everything was ok. He asked for my license and went to his car. When he returned he explained it was SOP for them to check for wants and warrants.
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Old 05-05-2014, 09:09 AM   #3
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I am not a LEO, but I have never heard of a homeowner complaining about noise (possible gunshots) having to provide a DL at their residence.
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Old 05-05-2014, 10:10 AM   #4
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When I called law enforcement due to my burglary last January, they needed my driver's license to fill our their paperwork. I guess it proved that I was the homeowner, and not the burglar? I'm not sure. But also it was easier to just copy my info instead of trying to get my name and birthdate from me verbally. I was glad to provide it. Overall they did a great job; even tried (unsuccessfully) to find fingerprints and looked for other clues.
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Old 05-05-2014, 12:16 PM   #5
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I'm one of the retired officers. It does sound a bit odd but bear in mind I retired 12 years ago. It doesn't strike me as terribly out of the ordinary though. We didn't have computers in the cars then but since almost all do now it probably has become routine procedure to do those checks on just about everyone the come into contact with no matter the reason.

I do remember that we'd get "hits" on people under the most improbable circumstances. One I remember the officer just randomly made the check on a guy who had run a red light and he was wanted for a homicide in the Midwest somewhere.

So ya just never know.
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Old 05-05-2014, 12:23 PM   #6
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Seems strange. Never had that happen around here that I have heard of, though my interactions with LEOs is rare. I think I would politely decline to provide my driver's license in such a situation. Just seems a bit creepy.
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Old 05-05-2014, 12:42 PM   #7
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?..

As he wrapped up, he asked me if I was carrying my drivers license as having it would make it easier for him to write his report. I had met them outside on the front porch when I saw them pull up. I said no but told him I could give him my info (name/phone/address, etc.). He said it would be better if I went to get my license so it would be easier for them. I questioned him on why it would be easier and he said it would be easier to run my information through several databases that exist to make sure I wasn't wanted or otherwise needed for questioning by using the license. They could do it without it but just a bit more work for them....
Maybe they thought you were the person the home owner had complained about and you had him tied up in the alpaca barn. But it sounds like they didn't want to just identify you, but to run you through the system, because you reported something? And it sounds like they were going to run you through the databases anyway, it would just be easier if you gave them your license? Wow. Bet you never call them again.
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Police Report Procedure
Old 05-05-2014, 01:41 PM   #8
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Police Report Procedure

Thanks for the feedback. I at first declined to give them my license and won't describe the rest of the conversation we had as it did not go well. You are right, I will think long and hard about about calling them again. Good news is the sheriff is an elected position so I can at least vote against him next time, lol.
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Old 05-05-2014, 01:55 PM   #9
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dave, I live in a semi-rural area and called law enforcement a couple of years ago about a similar incident. The deputy who showed up to talk with me did not ask to see my license. (I'd already given my name and address when I called.). It does seem a bit of a stretch.

FWIW, I got pulled over on a rural state highway last fall at 10 PM for having a burned-out light on my license plate - gave me a warning. Seemed to me to be a waste of the LEO's time, but I suppose they don't catch anything unless they go fishing. Maybe that's what was going on with your situation.
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Old 05-05-2014, 01:58 PM   #10
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I'm one of the retired officers. It does sound a bit odd but bear in mind I retired 12 years ago.
Slightly off topic ...

Did it change a lot over the 12 years? I watch crime dramas & reality shows a lot but suspect a lot of what I see (forensics, procedures, ...) is BS.
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Old 05-05-2014, 02:00 PM   #11
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FWIW, I got pulled over on a rural state highway last fall at 10 PM for having a burned-out light on my license plate - gave me a warning. Seemed to me to be a waste of the LEO's time, but I suppose they don't catch anything unless they go fishing.
We used to do that all the time and it paid off well especially on the roads out of D.C. The bars closed at 2:00 AM so starting about 1:30 we'd begin making stops for that and 5 mph over the limit and such. Nobody got a ticket for that stuff, we were just looking for drunks.

Given that the stats were that 1 out of 10 was DWI in that time and place we'd almost always get a few.
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Old 05-05-2014, 02:05 PM   #12
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Slightly off topic ...

Did it change a lot over the 12 years? I watch crime dramas & reality shows a lot but suspect a lot of what I see (forensics, procedures, ...) is BS.
Yes, discount 98% of what you see on TV. It's drama and actors.

The show CSI is and was a PITA. It shows what can be done with an unlimited budget plus some science fiction. No one has that. But people think it's real.
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Old 05-05-2014, 02:14 PM   #13
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FWIW, I got pulled over on a rural state highway last fall at 10 PM for having a burned-out light on my license plate - gave me a warning. Seemed to me to be a waste of the LEO's time, but I suppose they don't catch anything unless they go fishing. Maybe that's what was going on with your situation.
In the Chicagoland area where most of my family lives they publish the local police blotter activity. All the DUI's have a traffic violation. The fishing metaphor is appropriate. Municipal budgets have been under tons of pressure since the '07 recession. It wouldn't surprise me to hear that LEOs need to show increased effectiveness or see their positions in jeopardy.

Back to the OP, that would make me feel a bit uncomfortable as well. They can run a name without the license, asking for it sounds like an expression of doubt.
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Old 05-05-2014, 02:15 PM   #14
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We have a couple of PDs in my area that now 'run' every police-citizen contact. They do this as a policy, specifically because they've gotten into trouble in the past with allegations of racial profiling. I suppose this broadens the base of 'people who have had their records run'.
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Old 05-05-2014, 02:21 PM   #15
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I once reported a home theft, and the police asked for my driver license when they came to my home. I think it was SOP to be sure that what they put down in the record was the correct info.

I have been a juror in a couple of criminal cases, and can see the lawyer asking the cop "How could you be sure that the person you talked to was such and such? What proof do you have?"
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Old 05-05-2014, 02:30 PM   #16
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If needed it would be easy to prove by subpoenaing the person.

Remember, the OP was just making a noise complaint. It's odd that the responding officer seemed more concerned with the identity of the complainant than the party doing the shooting.
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Old 05-05-2014, 02:32 PM   #17
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We have a couple of PDs in my area that now 'run' every police-citizen contact. They do this as a policy, specifically because they've gotten into trouble in the past with allegations of racial profiling. I suppose this broadens the base of 'people who have had their records run'.
I like this explanation best.
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Old 05-05-2014, 02:38 PM   #18
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I reported my bicycle stolen in 2011 and when the police officer came to take the details I don't recall giving him my DL. He was very pleasant and was in the house for about 20 minutes while I wrote the report and gave him a photo of the bike etc.

If he had asked for my DL I would have given it to him and thought nothing of it.
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Old 05-05-2014, 02:55 PM   #19
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I reported my bicycle stolen in 2011 and when the police officer came to take the details I don't recall giving him my DL. He was very pleasant and was in the house for about 20 minutes while I wrote the report and gave him a photo of the bike etc.

If he had asked for my DL I would have given it to him and thought nothing of it.

I agree. I have to pull my license out and show it so often I don't even give it a thought.


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Old 05-05-2014, 03:27 PM   #20
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If needed it would be easy to prove by subpoenaing the person.

Remember, the OP was just making a noise complaint. It's odd that the responding officer seemed more concerned with the identity of the complainant than the party doing the shooting.
The shooting was legal, same as here. I can shoot hundreds of rounds every day, the sheriff's office can only stop it if the shooter is doing something wrong. My neighbors may not like it, but that's their problem.

Imagine, as someone else suggested the OP was not the real owner and someone had harmed them. So the sheriff's office responded to a 911 call, but failed to check the ID of a person they interviewed! How would the public feel about that(unlikely) set of circumstances.
MRG

Edit to add: Every time LE asks for my ID, I just give it to them.
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