1. Ross O'Keefe

    Ross O'Keefe Member

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    US Law Enforcement Mechanics

    Discussion in 'Research' started by Ross O'Keefe, May 28, 2018.

    Hi,

    I'm looking for a little help with this. I've written a character-driven thriller, so absolute accuracy is not essential, just enough to sell it I guess.

    I'm not a US citizen, but my story is set in a large town (not quite a city) in New York State. The town is fraught with problems, the largest of which is a drug problem that has taken root in the high schools.

    In my story, the town has a County Sheriff - but is this accurate?

    The problems are proving more than his resources (and his capability) can deal with, so the surrounding governing forces have assigned a special investigations detective from the State Police to support with problems.

    Would this town fall under the jurisdiction of a Sheriff? Or would it have a Chief of Police? Would they have Detectives in place? Or would they just have Officers/Deputies picking up a range of duties?

    Is there a difference then between County and City structures?

    Thanks to anyone able to help with this
     
  2. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll It's Coffee O'clock everywhere. Contributor

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    A County Sheriff (and deputies) have more authority than a town cop does, and can
    operate within and outside of city limits. Limited only to the county lines. Outside of
    that, they have to work with neighboring county Sheriff departments and/or call in
    the FBI depending on what the crime committed is. :)

    Typically County and City will work together on cases.
     
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  3. Ross O'Keefe

    Ross O'Keefe Member

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    Thanks for this.

    So does it seem likely that my supporting Detective might be coming from the City rather than the State Police?

    Thanks you again :)
     
  4. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll It's Coffee O'clock everywhere. Contributor

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    @Ross O'Keefe It does if the crime was committed within city limits.
     
  5. Stormsong07

    Stormsong07 Contributor Contributor

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    Speaking as someone who works for a county sheriff....the Sheriff's Office has jurisdiction over the whole county, yes, more so in areas that fall outside city limits. But each city will have it's own local police force. It would make more sense for your supporting officer to come from whatever local town/city the crime was committed in. State Troopers work more on the highways dealing with stuff there than grunt work in the cities. County officers will be "Deputy So-and-so" while city will be "Officer So-and-so", though either agency can also have a "Detective".
     
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  6. Iain Aschendale

    Iain Aschendale Lying, dog-faced pony Marine Supporter Contributor

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    It really depends on what sort of town it is as well. I worked in the Chicago suburbs as a dispatcher, and the county sheriff in heavily built-up suburban areas is mostly there to take care of the little bits and bobs that haven't been incorporated by anyone yet. Also, adjoining towns may have vastly different sizes, tax bases, and department resources, which can end up with county getting involved to a greater or lesser degree. None of my departments had SWAT, that was something the county specialized in. One of my departments had one detective and two dedicated traffic officers (with between four and seven officers on the street, depending on the time of day), another had only about ten or eleven officers in the entire department, so they went to county asking for help quite often. In a rural region, the incorporated towns would be tiny little blips in the middle of the county, which would mean that the sheriff is the primary law enforcement agency.

    The other thing that's worth mentioning is that, at least in my experience, departments don't fight over jurisdiction the way they do in the movies. In Hollywood, it's always "The victim died in my hospital, the case is mine, hands off!" but the other side replies "Yeah, but the shot was fired from my side of the line, it's mine!"

    Where I was working, it was more like "The victim died in your hospital, you deal with it." "Fuck you, the shooting took place on your side of the line" to which the first officer replies, as he kicks the empty shell casings down the road "Nuh-uh, your side." Slight hyperbole, but while it lowers the cases closed rate, it also keeps the crime stats in your town down.
     
  7. Privateer

    Privateer Senior Member

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    That system must simultaneously result in both a huge duplication of effort and at the same time severe local shortages?
     
  8. cutecat22

    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    I'm looking for similar help. The FBI have a section just for helping authors/film makers/writers, details can be found (eventually) on their website along with an email address where you can send your query (there is a boatload of other info you have to send too, like details of what you are working on and who you are) but the NYPD has nothing like this unless you are willing to pay to take on a consultant. There's more besides that, but I won't go into it here.

    So I'm in your boat too, looking for information on police procedures for the NYPD ...
     
  9. big soft moose

    big soft moose An Admoostrator Admin Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    id also suggest you don't need to go into painstaking detail - John Sandford for example is all over the place with his lucas davenport books (prey series) - doesn't effect either sales or action
     
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