Thursday, November 17, 2005

What to Do if an Officer Won't Take a Report

If you're a crime victim you should always call the police and you should always get a police report. You may need the report number for property or health insurance reasons. If a Baltimore City police officer won't issue a report, call the office of Colonel Debbie Owens at 410-396-2363. Owens is the Chief of Patrol of all Nine Districts in the city. Ask her assistant* what the chain of command is for your district. If you're in the Northern, the Deputy Major is Buzzuro (pronouced "Bizarro." Really), his boss is Major Lukasic and above those two at central command or whatever is the Area 1 Commander Beale Feld.

*Her assistant is very helpful but wouldn't leave a name: "I don't need my name to go in no paper."

Afternote: Debbie Owens, it turns out, e-mailed me back immediately after I contacted the office, giving me her personal cell-phone number-- it doesn't get much more responsive than that (I didn't see the e-mail b/c my mail program didn't know the address filed it under "junk" next to an ad for "enhansement".

In all of my experience I've gotten nothing but very fast responses and professionalism from the Baltimore city police, and I've called them at least 40 times since I moved here.

7 comments:

J G said...

Pretty much puts youi back with Invisible Steve, though.

JG said...

Last time I asked for the officer's badge number when they wouldn't take a report, I was arrested. When I referred the matter (after I was released uncharged) to the officer's superior, the Lieutenant explained that 1) it was unfortunate, 2) there would be no apology forthcoming, and 3) there would be no change in conduct or disciplinary result on the part of the officer.

Invisible Steve didn't return a single call to his office.

The Cybrarian said...

So property of yours was stolen, the cop wouldn't take a report, you asked for his badge number and he arrested you on the spot with no charges? That's the whole story? It sounds like there's a hole there somewhere. If it was me I'd ask for the officer's name and direct phone number "in case my insurance company has any questions." Then you already have all the information you need right there. Demanding a badge number sounds a bit hostile.

What I don't get: why every cop doesn't have a fingerprint kit and why fingerprints aren't routinely sent to a database in every single crime. Are they that expensive? Imagine the huge uptick in quality-of-life if you could get these robbers off the streets?

The Cybrarian said...

You know what else is weird? I've lived in the city for six years and never gotten jury duty.

Galt said...

After I requested the badge number which I needed to refer the matter up the line, the officer told me she was arresting for rereporting a 311 call after she had driven off without writing the report. When I got downtown, the charge miraculously changed to Disorderly Conduct. I do not swear nor do I raise my voice. The charge was dismissed because.. it was a big fib and she knew it. It went nowhere because officers who have known me for many years told her she was way off base. My neighbor witnessed the entire exchange and offered to testify on my behalf.

As for the kits, taking decent fingerprints requires a bit of skill. Some BCPD officers are still working on "C-A-T spells...?"
The problem with Crime Lab is that... they have no people. The headliner cast of CSI is bigger than the Baltimore crime lab staff. The whole Balto. City Police Dept. consists of the few who work and the many who have seniority. The rank-and-file cops get no vests and drive junker cars if any while on dutymk. Senior officers get brand new so-called take-home vehicles and spend much of their time playing politics with internal reports. Patrol duty is an expressway to nothing. Getting on a career track requires placement on citywide special units (homicide, ocd, iad, airborne, etc., so that all the best personnel leave the neighborhoods. Those who remain on patrol are often less motivated, looking forward to accumulating retirement benefits while undertaking minimum effort.

Cham said...

Fingerprints?

Um, not quite the exact science that you see on CSI. It's a sloppy process that rarely turns up a perp. I've recently learned it turns your house into a black dusty mess that will probably never be cleaned up as long as I live there.

The police are at-best report writers that take over after a crime has been committed. Police reports are good for insurance submittal forms and a paper trail if necessary.

toni said...

bad police.