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  1. #1
    Forum Member LawFowl's Avatar
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    Can Sgt. make you file something?

    This has happned to me on several occasions.

    The other night I hook a guy for DWI. As I'm getting my affidavit approved I'm told that he has several suspensions on his DL (which I knew), and I needed to file DWLI. I didn't want to. The guy had 7 priors for DWLI on his CCH, what's another one going to do?

    The other night a guy had a weed pipe on him and I had another good charge already (class A mids.). I submitted the pipe just because it was evidence and I didn't care to file other charges (and the jail hates when we instanter for class C and county charges at the same time). I was told that since it was submitted into evidence it needed to be filed as well (which isn't true). The guy was nice, 19 years old and I already had a good charge on him. I'm not the officer to just stack as many as I can on people. I'm all about giving people breaks, especially when they're cooperating, with no history like this kid.

    Would you say something to your Sgt. or just go with the flow? I'm not one to buck the system, and I do what I'm told.

  2. #2
    It's Complicated Iowa #1603's Avatar
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    No one can really make you do anything.

    Directions from your supervisor are pretty important in a para-military organization like a police/sheriff's department, so failing to follow orders/direction is at your peril.



    As a supervisor, if I instruct an officer to write a charge and the officer does not----------------we will be having a discussion, but the bottom line is he/she is the witness, not me.


    I can remember, as an officer, writing charges in a manner that would almost guarantee dismissal........after being told to file them.


    I see no problem with talking to your Sgt about the situation in general---he/she might have a solid reason for insisting on the charges being filed that you are not aware of......................example orders from above to clamp down on certain things etc.
    Last edited by Iowa #1603; 04-05-2011 at 01:00 PM.
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  3. #3
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    You should do what your sergeant tells you to do, so long as it is legal.
    Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored. -- Aldous Huxley
    Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity. -- Albert Einstein

  4. #4
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    Are you new? Is the sgt new? It certainly wouldn't hurt to talk it out. Think of the lesser charges as throw-aways that give the prosecutor something to bargain with.

  5. #5
    locked and loaded oneoldcop's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by just joe View Post
    Are you new? Is the sgt new? It certainly wouldn't hurt to talk it out. Think of the lesser charges as throw-aways that give the prosecutor something to bargain with.
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^yep.
    It's not the will to win that matters...everyone has that. It's the will to prepare to win that matters.
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  6. #6
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    a sgt can tell you to do anything as long as its legal. but remember.. karma a b**ch in life.. so if they ( sgt's ) r a**holes, someday when they least expect it.. it will eventually come back to them! and yes, they will be dumb enough not to remember why is this happening to me!!! i personally know a sgt who is a complete utter disgrace to his department. i don't know how he has kept his job this long ( sometimes i think the high ups like the issues in the department ) anyways.. this guy outside of work has the worse luck! divorse, car break down all the time for different reasons, remarried his 2nd wife wife cheated on him with his buddy, kids barely are involved with him, hum.. oh yeah... no personality and to me, ugly as hell! if i ever had to work for him, i dont know if i would be able to keep my job..

  7. #7
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    Who cares if the Sgt. tells you to write another charge on the guy. You know the DA will just drop it or amend it to something else entirely. You think this guy who just got arrested will understand or really appreciate what you did for him. Most likely not. Don't start unneeded flak for yourself and pick your battles.

  8. #8
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    I would hope your SGT has a good enough relationship with all his troops that he could talk talk to them, and they to him. I think both need to know why they are making the decisions; this keeps you from thinking he's doing it "just because" and he doesn't misunderstand & see you as either "unwilling" or "not recognizing a charge".

    In the end, I say you do what your SGT says.

    I would suggest filing the DWLI as well, since it looks like it would be a Class B. This could avoid the "If he was DRIVING While Intoxicated, why wasn't he DRIVING While License Invalid?" by a defense attny. If was just his 1st one, Class C, I probably wouldn't bother.

    With the pipe, I'm guessing you had POM on him since you called it evidence. I could go with or with out the Paraphernalia cite.
    Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God MATT 5:9

  9. #9
    Barefoot Ninja SRT936's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by just joe View Post
    Think of the lesser charges as throw-aways that give the prosecutor something to bargain with.
    +1. I've been told by defense attorneys in the past that the only reason we went to trial was because there were no following charges to plea deal with.

    At the end of the day, he who has the stripes makes the rules.
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  10. #10
    Forum Member LawFowl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Broke Hoss View Post
    I would hope your SGT has a good enough relationship with all his troops that he could talk talk to them, and they to him. I think both need to know why they are making the decisions; this keeps you from thinking he's doing it "just because" and he doesn't misunderstand & see you as either "unwilling" or "not recognizing a charge".

    In the end, I say you do what your SGT says.

    I would suggest filing the DWLI as well, since it looks like it would be a Class B. This could avoid the "If he was DRIVING While Intoxicated, why wasn't he DRIVING While License Invalid?" by a defense attny. If was just his 1st one, Class C, I probably wouldn't bother.

    With the pipe, I'm guessing you had POM on him since you called it evidence. I could go with or with out the Paraphernalia cite.
    It was "Falsifying of Drug Test Results" Maybe it's a class B... Had a bag of **** he said he was gonna use to pass a drug test. I see your point though. The only thing I could think of is that it gives the DA something to bargain with. My Sgt. is cool and I respect him very much. He just tells me, "He has several suspensions on his DL"...He isn't rude, he just tells me that (and I assume he wants me to file it). I don't even respond to him, but I had already made my mind up that I was happy with a DWI (and I did a search warrant for blood). It just kind of bothers me because I stop people who are class B suspended all the time and don't arrest them. I get to use my discretion there, but once they come to jail the discretion is out of my hands?

    Plus, I think DWLI is a stupid charge anyways for several reasons.

    Quote Originally Posted by just joe View Post
    Are you new? Is the sgt new? It certainly wouldn't hurt to talk it out. Think of the lesser charges as throw-aways that give the prosecutor something to bargain with.
    Neither of us are new. Well, I'm newer to the dept. but not new by any means.

  11. #11
    OH NO IT'S FIVE-O! PtlCop's Avatar
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    Pardon my frankness, but if you're not new, shouldn't you know whether or not your Sgt. can require you to file charges?

    Here at my agency its very simple, charges are up to the arresting officer, nobody else. The Sgt. or Lt. will, of course, step in and require you to do your job when there is a mandated arrest (OWI with a per se result, or DV) but other than that, they have no authority to make me arrest or charge somebody. Additionally, they cannot interfere with my paperwork after the fact, or require that I don't charge somebody.

    I've only run into it one time where it was an issue, and the Sgt. is no longer with the agency. (this was my first agency, not my current one) I was investigating a crash, during which I found the driver of the at fault vehicle to be intoxicated. After the two in the other vehicle were being transported to the hospital, the Sgt. arrived, recognized the driver as the son of a Captain at a neighboring agency. He told me to take the handcuffs off him and drive him home. I refused, he "ordered" me to do it. I told him that if he insisted on interfering with my investigation, that I'd march down to the court house in the morning and file for a warrant, on him, for obstructing. He backed off only after that, and when he realized that my in-car camera and audio were still on...

    When our Captain saw the video, he initiated an IA investigation, which resulted in the Sgt's demotion back to patrol, and then his resignation in disgrace.

    It was beautiful. Never did like that guy.
    Quote Originally Posted by K40 View Post
    To me, open carry is the equivalent of the couple making out and groping each other at the food court in the mall. Yeah, they are probably legal, as long as they don't start getting undressed. But they are still social retards.
    ‎"You go for a man hard enough and fast enough, he don't have time to think about how many's with him; he thinks about himself, and how he might get clear of that wrath that's about to set down on him." - Rooster Cogburn

  12. #12
    Forum Member RaucousSilence's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LawFowl View Post
    Can Sgt. make you file something?
    No, but he can make you wish you did.
    The academy teaches you skills, the street gives you experience, but it all comes down to your instinct.

  13. #13
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    An observation might be made that the Sgt is responding to administrative pressure not always known, recognized or even cared about by some rank and file officers. It's up to the Sgt to make sure everyone is on the same page and informed of expectations from CID, Admin and the Prosecutor. That it his function. As someone else pointed out a non argumentative discussion of the reasons behind his decision might clear up the matter and avoid further internal conflict.

  14. #14
    Retired Sergeant - CHP SgtCHP's Avatar
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    Wow, four years on the job and you are questioning if a sergeant can direct you to perform your duty? One answer, if the sergeant's directions are within departmental policy, lawful and not malicious, I would suggest you comply. File the paperwork as directed. That gives the prosecution something to work with, it will call the court's attention to the repeated violations by the defendant and perhaps, cause the defendant to realize that things are not always going to go his way. Bottom line, choose your battles wisely and save yourself some grief in the future.
    Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence!

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  15. #15
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    Perhaps, just perhaps, the Sgt. has more experience than you and knows what he is talking about and is actually helping you. I personally wouldn't challenge the Sgt. or Lt. too much myself. You work for them. Good luck.
    Retired

  16. #16
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    YUP! If it's legal, your wise to follow the order. However, if you have a relationship with him/her, I'd have a polite discussion with him/her. Also, where do they list DWI's on a CCH?
    Being a good street cop is like coming to work in a wet suit and peeing in your pants. It's a nice warm feeling, but you're the only one who knows anything has happened.

  17. #17
    Deputy Sheriff pujolsfan146's Avatar
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    I would strongly urge a leo to follow the orders of his sergeant. Especially a rookie. When I was a rookie I would do what my sergeants said without batting an eye. I am a veteran now and very comfortable with my decision making abilities.

    Recently I had a disagreement with my sergeant on how to handle a call. In a very respectful manner, I told the sergeant that I disagreed with the way he wanted me to handle the call. I just didn't tell him that I disagreed but I explained to him my point of view and why I disagreed. I am very fortunate in that he respects me and was willing to hear me out. A rookie needs to understand that a good sergeant is crucial. In the rookie years he or she may not understand why the sergeant is wanting something done in a particular manner but he or she also needs to be smart enough to know that the sergeant, in most cases, has been around for awhile and in all reality will probably be making a decision based upon past experiences.

    I am very fortunate in that we have some outstanding sergeants on our department. If I disagree I will give my point of view but I will make sure it is done in a respectful and appropriate manner. If it comes down to it the sergeant wins. He is in the position of authority and I do not want the reputation of being a whiner or insubordinate.
    Prov 17:17 A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by LawFowl View Post
    This has happned to me on several occasions.

    The other night I hook a guy for DWI. As I'm getting my affidavit approved I'm told that he has several suspensions on his DL (which I knew), and I needed to file DWLI. I didn't want to. The guy had 7 priors for DWLI on his CCH, what's another one going to do?

    The other night a guy had a weed pipe on him and I had another good charge already (class A mids.). I submitted the pipe just because it was evidence and I didn't care to file other charges (and the jail hates when we instanter for class C and county charges at the same time). I was told that since it was submitted into evidence it needed to be filed as well (which isn't true). The guy was nice, 19 years old and I already had a good charge on him. I'm not the officer to just stack as many as I can on people. I'm all about giving people breaks, especially when they're cooperating, with no history like this kid.

    Would you say something to your Sgt. or just go with the flow? I'm not one to buck the system, and I do what I'm told.
    Seven prior driving suspendeds and you want to give the ******* a break? You need to buck up and remember why you took this job. Your sergeant is absolutely right. And if you're already writing a report anyway, you may as charge him with everything. It only adds a couple paragraphs and gives the DA more to work with.
    Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem. - Ronald Reagan

    I don't think It'll happen in the US because we don't trust our government. We are a country of skeptics, raised by skeptics, founded by skeptics. - Amaroq

  19. #19
    Forum Member rgv_cop's Avatar
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    The way I see it is that my Deputies make their own decisions on calls as long as the result is appropriate for the call; however, when it comes times for an arrest, they are EXPECTED to charge for any and all appropriate criminal charges.

    We are not the DA, not the County Attorney, we are considered the enforcers of the law. So what they do is their business and their discreation on what they dismiss or prosecute.

    I also give my boots a standing order, if they make an arrest out of a traffic violation, ie DWI, POM, Money Laundering, etc...., the violator will get a warning for the traffic violation.

    I forgot who mentioned the part about supervisors being under the gun from the brass is absoutely correct. The road guys don't know how many phone calls we get during a shift from brass or even prior to briefing. As they say, its rolls downhill.
    "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called Sons of God - Matthew 5:9

  20. #20
    Forum Member rgv_cop's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stormz5192 View Post
    YUP! If it's legal, your wise to follow the order. However, if you have a relationship with him/her, I'd have a polite discussion with him/her. Also, where do they list DWI's on a CCH?
    TX has all criminal charges and dispositions on Class B and above in their CCH.
    "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called Sons of God - Matthew 5:9

  21. #21
    Conservitum Americum OneAdam12's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SgtCHP View Post
    Wow, four years on the job and you are questioning if a sergeant can direct you to perform your duty? One answer, if the sergeant's directions are within departmental policy, lawful and not malicious, I would suggest you comply. File the paperwork as directed. That gives the prosecution something to work with, it will call the court's attention to the repeated violations by the defendant and perhaps, cause the defendant to realize that things are not always going to go his way. Bottom line, choose your battles wisely and save yourself some grief in the future.
    10-4 to all of the above. Ole Sarge don't walk on water but he knows where the rocks are.
    Pete Malloy, "The only thing black and white about this job is the car."

  22. #22
    Forum Member RaucousSilence's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rgv_cop View Post
    I also give my boots a standing order, if they make an arrest out of a traffic violation, ie DWI, POM, Money Laundering, etc...., the violator will get a warning for the traffic violation.
    It's nice that you can do that. Here, if you get the bracelets as a result of a traffic stop, you get the paper for the stop too. Otherwise, you'll have a deputy prosecuting attorney so far up your pooper he'll be making dental hygiene suggestions.

    Also, what on earth is a POM? Other than a really overpriced juice my girlfriend loves in champagne, of course.
    The academy teaches you skills, the street gives you experience, but it all comes down to your instinct.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by RaucousSilence View Post
    It's nice that you can do that. Here, if you get the bracelets as a result of a traffic stop, you get the paper for the stop too. Otherwise, you'll have a deputy prosecuting attorney so far up your pooper he'll be making dental hygiene suggestions.

    Also, what on earth is a POM? Other than a really overpriced juice my girlfriend loves in champagne, of course.
    In my County, if an initial PC traffic violation arrest ( municipal court charge ) reveals a higher misdemeanor or felony charge that will be prosecuted by the D.A., their office strongly encourages not to issue on the original PC. Argument being that if you charge the misdemeanor PC and get a Not Guilty or Dismissal in muni, the rug may get pulled out from under the higher arrest charges.
    Anything class c and not PC related can be stroked.

  24. #24
    Forum Member Deputy_do_right's Avatar
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    Just be glad you get to catch em and clean em. Worked for one particular Sgt. a long time ago. He was our only Sgt. for part of day and evening shift. He had a terrible habit of finding a cluster (ie) DWI, DWLS, possession of drugs, whatever, and then he'd put out a general call for the closest Deputy. Most of us, who had worked with this guy a while, knew to start heading the opposite direction when he stepped out on a traffic stop. Inevitably, some poor Deputy would go to this Sgt.'s location and get handed an arrest.

    LawFowl; just do what your Sgt. request of you. If it's a lawful order there's not much you can do about it.
    Personally, I believe you'll cause more harm than good if you ask him to clarify why he's asking this of you.
    This too shall pass.

  25. #25
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    "Informed by sgt....."

    Then make sure to get a good luck at his face when he gets the notification for court. Also make sure to get a new pair of boots for the footpost you'll be on.

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