1. #1
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    Juvenile stuff: Make sense?

    Condensed version here:

    Ofc. on shift hooks a lady up on a traffic stop. She says she has two kids at home who are alone. One is 16 and one is 6. She also has a dog with her in the car. Another ofc. goes and drops the dog off and checks on the kids.

    The ofc. that dropped the dogs off made sure the kids were ok and in good health, etc. The 16 year old says he stays there all the time with his little brother (6). The ofc. goes back in service.

    The Sgt. confronts the ofc. and says that according to something in the family and/or education code an officer shall remain with a minor and turn them over to a responsible adult if they're skipping school or may be in danger (or something along those lines). Mind you this is in TX.

    The ofc. thinks that he shouldn't have had to wait there until a responsible adult could make the scene. The Sgt. thinks others wise. Sgt. says we're liable if something happens to those kids since their mom was taken into custody (she did leave them alone).

    What says the brain trust? This is a new one on me.

  2. #2
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    Being that I am not familiar with provisions of Texas law relative to this matter I will impart only my own inflection in general.

    In the end it’s not what the officer thinks but what the law and departmental policy requires. While there is potential liability once an agency becomes aware of a potential issue, you didn’t indicate that this case was either a violation of the law or one that caused concern for the children’s welfare. Generally, if there is no outright violation and the officers involved does not bear witness to a concern, I see no reason to do more than what was in this case.

    I would take a few moments to review both the applicable sections of departmental policy (which may or may not trump the law) and the applicable law.

  3. #3
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    How long are you talking? Out in an hour or overnight?
    For the cops out there: You are an adult. If you want to write someone, write them. If you don't want to write someone, then don't write them.

    "Jeff, you are the best cop on this board"-Anonymous Post

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    A 16 year old is certainly old enough to babysit the children of others, so I don't see why a 16 year old couldn't watch their own sibling. That said, it depends on the circumstances and dept. policy.

  5. #5
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    We don't have a department policy on that matter.

    Sgt. just kept bringing up the point that "What if the 6 year old and/or 16 year old doesn't make it to school tomorrow?"

    The law merely says that can't be left in danger. Well, technically everyone is in danger. You're never safe from a robbery or burglary or something. As far as I'm concerned the mom is the one that left them. You could "what if" it until your head falls off. I don't think it was our problem if the children made it to school. They were home. The 16 year old knew to make sure his little brother didn't starve to death and he knew how to dial 911. He could probably even hop into a car and go where he needed to go, i.e. bail mom out.

    But by that logic, we should just go knock on doors all night and see who's home to make sure there isn't a 16 year old left in danger.

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    Overnight, I would find an adult probably. Was mom ok with the 16 y/o being left in charge?
    For the cops out there: You are an adult. If you want to write someone, write them. If you don't want to write someone, then don't write them.

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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by LawFowl View Post
    We don't have a department policy on that matter.

    Sgt. just kept bringing up the point that "What if the 6 year old and/or 16 year old doesn't make it to school tomorrow?"

    But by that logic, we should just go knock on doors all night and see who's home to make sure there isn't a 16 year old left in danger.

    Perhaps your Sergeant is giving you a mental workout…or perhaps the old Sarge is just being a PITA. Who knows better than you.

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    In Maryland a 13 year can legally supervisor other minors.

  9. #9
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    16 is old enough to mind the store overnight. If I thought mom was going to be gone longer than I would have made sure mom made contact with someone to care for them or else notify children services.
    Today's Quote:

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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by mdrdep View Post
    16 is old enough to mind the store overnight. If I thought mom was going to be gone longer than I would have made sure mom made contact with someone to care for them or else notify children services.
    ^^^This^^^

    Quote Originally Posted by Smurfette
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    You are without doubt a void surrounded by a sphincter muscle.

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    I'm not sure about other states but in PA (or Philadelphia at least) when children under 10 are found home alone for any reason (regardless of the presence of a juvenile babysitter) the county child welfare agency is called. In an instance like the one mentioned above (especially if it occurred overnight) The officer would stay with the children until an adult that Mother identified is able to come and get the children. If no one is available, the children are brought to the child welfare agency and placed into foster care until the Mother is able to come and pick them up. These actions are required based on the Juvenile Act of PA and Child Protective Services Law.

    BTW, I am not currently in LE but have been hired by an agency and start the academy in two weeks. I currently work for the county child welfare agency. So that is the basis of my information.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffIL View Post
    Overnight, I would find an adult probably. Was mom ok with the 16 y/o being left in charge?
    Evidently. When she was stopped she was going in the opposite direction of home.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by sgt jon View Post
    Perhaps your Sergeant is giving you a mental workout…or perhaps the old Sarge is just being a PITA. Who knows better than you.
    He's extremely knowledgeable.

    I could see her having a complaint if her kid jumped out of the window while she was in our jail. However, I wouldn't think the city would be liable for a lawsuit. She shouldn't have left them alone in the first place.

  14. #14
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    Interesting question, I would probably agree with your sergeant on this one having a responsible officer stay with the kids until a responsible, over 18 yoa, adult arrived. I know it takes an officer out of service for a while, but liability is #1 these days. I figure, here in Colorado anyway, if you have to care for MJ plants on a seizure from a MMJ facility, you probably have to care for arrestees kids.

  15. #15
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    Hell where I'm from most of the "parents" are 16yrs old.
    "Lay there and bleed awhile before you feel some real pain."

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