snopes.com  

Go Back   snopes.com > Non-UL Chat > Police Blotter

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 05 March 2016, 10:09 PM
Skeptic's Avatar
Skeptic Skeptic is offline
 
Join Date: 16 July 2005
Location: Logan, Queensland, Australia
Posts: 1,797
Military Can a cop flash a badge, but no other ID.

How realistic is it that police in TV shows and movies only ever flash a badge that does not show any other ID. If a cop wanted to talk to me, I'd expect better. Anyone can get a badge, and with thousands of different law enforcement departments in the US, it seems unlikely to be acceptable.

The FBI portrayals seem more realistic, with a badge and an ID card in a fold-out wallet.
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 06 March 2016, 12:44 AM
erwins's Avatar
erwins erwins is offline
 
Join Date: 04 April 2006
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 12,161
Default

It's pretty realistic. If you are stopped while driving, you'd typically also see the officer's marked car and uniform, and the badge he or she is wearing, and that's it. If someone comes to your door and claims to be an officer, they would show a badge but, in most cases, probably not ID, at least, unless asked. But even so, I don't think ID is any harder to fake than a badge. As you point out, there are many different law enforcement agencies here, so the notion that proper ID would be recognizable to ordinary citizens doesn't seem very plausible.

What people here are encouraged to do if something seems off, or if they are afraid, is to call the police to verify before letting an officer in, or if driving, to put hazards on and drive slowly to a place that might feel safer, like a gas station or other place with people and lighting.

That last one is tricky though. If a person is being pulled over for something like suspected DUII because they are not driving safely, a real officer may not want to permit them to keep driving--and it might not be safe for them to do so. It has caused controversy at times.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 06 March 2016, 03:49 AM
Dark Blue's Avatar
Dark Blue Dark Blue is offline
 
Join Date: 26 June 2003
Location: Arizona
Posts: 1,335
Police

I don't know what you mean by flash a badge

Uniformed officers of course have a badge pinned to their chest as part of the uniform.

Plained clothes officers (such as detectives) typically wear their badge either on their belt in front of their holster or on a lanyard around their neck.

Those are usually the only ones that are expecting to identify themselves as officers on a regular basis. Off duty officers typically carry a "flat badge" which is a wallet with a badge inlay on one side an their ID on the other. Very similar to what you see FBI show on TV shows.

Both uniform and plain clothes officers typically carry their police ID with them and will present it if asked. I've only been asked once that I can remember by a citizen.

Quote:
if driving, to put hazards on and drive slowly to a place that might feel safer, like a gas station or other place with people and lighting.

That last one is tricky though. If a person is being pulled over for something like suspected DUII because they are not driving safely, a real officer may not want to permit them to keep driving--and it might not be safe for them to do so. It has caused controversy at times.
That can be dicey advice and like you have said has caused issues before.

Edit: Also I'm speaking from my knowledge in the US, don't know about other countries

Last edited by Dark Blue; 06 March 2016 at 03:51 AM. Reason: to add info
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 06 March 2016, 09:16 PM
Skeptic's Avatar
Skeptic Skeptic is offline
 
Join Date: 16 July 2005
Location: Logan, Queensland, Australia
Posts: 1,797
Default

I should have said I was referring to plain clothes officers, as it is not a requirement for a person in uniform.

But the main instance I am talking about is where a plain clothes officer shows a badge (not worn or displayed on his person) without any actual identity card being shown.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 07 March 2016, 04:07 AM
Dark Blue's Avatar
Dark Blue Dark Blue is offline
 
Join Date: 26 June 2003
Location: Arizona
Posts: 1,335
Police

I guess it really just depends on the circumstance. Plain clothes officers like detectives would typically be wearing business attire but with their badge displayed either on their belt or around their neck.

Their just aren't a lot of situations where an officer would be presenting a badge. In a formal setting such as entering a secured facility like a courthouse or something then displaying the ID which would also show the flat badge with it would be the most common. In a situation where an officer was working undercover and had his badge concealed then went to identify himself then it would likely just be the badge, which would be pulled out and displayed such as on a lanyard.

I guess it would be normal for there to be a situation where the badge alone is presented, but an officer will show you his official ID on request.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 07 March 2016, 01:28 PM
RichardM RichardM is offline
 
Join Date: 27 March 2004
Location: Las Cruces, NM
Posts: 4,444
Default

Can an officer just flash a badge of some sort and order you to do some thing seems to be the question. The answer is that if you don't believe the badge you can ask for the officer's ID. Most law enforcement agencies will tell you to do that. But if the officer pulls out a weapon first, all bets are off. They may be a legitimate officer or not.

ETA: Of course, this assumes you are not in the middle of robbing a bank or some such activity that would warrant you being stopped by the police.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 08 March 2016, 12:04 AM
WildaBeast's Avatar
WildaBeast WildaBeast is offline
 
Join Date: 18 July 2002
Location: Folsom, CA
Posts: 15,585
Default

The TV portrayal that stuck out to me as a little hard to believe was in an old Colombo episode. Lt. Colombo is tailing his suspect to the airport to see if he actually gets on the plane or was just making up the story about going on a trip (I think Colombo thought he was just going to pretend to go to the airport but actually come back and destroy the evidence while everyone thought he was out of town). He follows the suspect through the metal detector, sets it off, briefly shows his badge to the security guard and shouts "LAPD!", and keeps going. Could a real detective actually do that? Although maybe I'm just looking from the 21st century where airport security is much tighter than it was then. Maybe he could have gotten away with that in 1974.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 08 March 2016, 12:21 AM
erwins's Avatar
erwins erwins is offline
 
Join Date: 04 April 2006
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 12,161
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by RichardM View Post
ETA: Of course, this assumes you are not in the middle of robbing a bank or some such activity that would warrant you being stopped by the police.
This can be a dangerous way to divide things. You can be completely innocent, and the police could still be completely justified in stopping you, including with weapons drawn. Stops and arrests require, respectively, reasonable suspicion or probable cause. They do not require absolute certainty, nor could they. So you could have nothing to do with an armed bank robbery but still be stopped or even arrested if, e.g., you match the description of a robber and you are in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 08 March 2016, 11:20 AM
Crius of CoH's Avatar
Crius of CoH Crius of CoH is offline
 
Join Date: 13 February 2006
Location: Paragon City (Cranston), RI
Posts: 1,856
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by erwins View Post
This can be a dangerous way to divide things. You can be completely innocent, and the police could still be completely justified in stopping you, including with weapons drawn. Stops and arrests require, respectively, reasonable suspicion or probable cause. They do not require absolute certainty, nor could they. So you could have nothing to do with an armed bank robbery but still be stopped or even arrested if, e.g., you match the description of a robber and you are in the wrong place at the wrong time.
I strongly recommend reading the Illustrated Guide to Law, whose current chapter on Criminal Procedure (what the police can and cannot do) is about exactly this - the chapter starts here. Very enlightening, and entertaining.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 08 March 2016, 02:22 PM
KirkMcD KirkMcD is offline
 
Join Date: 22 March 2001
Location: Yorktown Heights, NY
Posts: 1,102
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by WildaBeast View Post
He follows the suspect through the metal detector, sets it off, briefly shows his badge to the security guard and shouts "LAPD!", and keeps going. Could a real detective actually do that? Although maybe I'm just looking from the 21st century where airport security is much tighter than it was then. Maybe he could have gotten away with that in 1974.
In 1974, yes it was plausible and I've seen it happen in the 70's. I remember once when the officer even had his gun on.
Now a days, I don't think you are allowed anymore.
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 09 March 2016, 04:18 AM
Saitaina Saitaina is offline
 
Join Date: 04 December 2014
Location: Roseburg, OR
Posts: 167
Default

If asked, plain clothed and uniformed officers are required to show both, and most plain clothed carry the wallet ID/badge combo (as well as their other badge that is generally visible on their waist/neck, with uniforms keeping their police ID wallet near their notebook (usually in a breast pocket). Granted, this I know from living in Oregon and CA, your state may vary.

And generally, no you can't just yell police and keep walking anymore, you have to have it vetted, at airports and elsewhere (UNLESS you actually work at the airport. I've seen the Eugene PD who have the airport as their duty walk around with even their guns out, but they're also well known to everyone there).
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Penises on the fashion catwalk – a flesh flash too far? A Turtle Named Mack Business Bytes 2 23 January 2015 02:07 PM
The Return of Flash Mountain? E. Q. Taft Disney 1 08 May 2009 12:56 AM
Rare green streak is there and gone in a flash snopes Science 13 23 July 2008 11:18 PM
Do Not Let Your Kids Go To Bed With A Flash Light! snopes Inboxer Rebellion 31 16 October 2007 04:36 AM
Matching Masterpieces with History’s Flash Points snopes History 1 18 June 2007 05:30 PM


All times are GMT. The time now is 11:14 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.