This last week I was asked to comment on a recent editorial written by a student who seemed to have a pretty bad night with the I.V. Foot Patrol. The writer brings up some issues with her contact and arrest that she is upset with. Some of these are legitimate topics that should be addressed; however, I am very hesitant to discuss specific incidents unless it is directly with the person involved.
The problem I am faced with is that it would not be fair for me to publicly comment as a third party to an incident that I do not have firsthand knowledge of. I can only discuss things as hypothetical or give a general response to what we (the cops) “usually” do in similar situations.
In so many cases, like the writer’s one, there are numerous details that aren’t said that would explain why things happened the way they did. In order to respond, I would have to make assumptions about details that may not be correct. That would not be fair to the writer. I will gladly talk or e-mail privately to discuss a situation, but I do not feel right about responding without the proper knowledge of what happened. I am hopeful that by doing this article, I can encourage people, such as the writer, to contact me and talk about what happened. I will gladly spend whatever time is needed to discuss problems and hopefully provide some perspective about what happened and why. I’m not asking you to agree with me but just consider it. I realize I’m not always right. I’ve bet on the Cubs to win enough times to know that by now.
How come I wasn’t read my rights when I was arrested? Don’t they have to do that every time?
This is one of the most common mistakes you see on television. Every time a crook is arrested, the cop walks him off-screen while reading him his Miranda rights. It looks cool and very “coplike,” but it is wrong. If real life was like what you see on TV, I would have to be Buford T. Justice and always be “in pursuit of the Bandit.”
In reality, though, the only time the Miranda admonishment is read to a person in custody is if we are going to ask them questions about a crime they committed (or didn’t). For example, if we caught Bart the Burglar inside your house and arrested him, we would take him back to the station. Before we could ask him questions about that burglary or any others he may have committed, we would read him his rights. On the other hand, if we arrested Danny the Drunk and took him to the station, we would not read him his rights since we would only be asking questions about who he is for the arrest paperwork. So in reality, 99 percent of the arrests we make would not involve us reading someone their Miranda rights.
I see that flasks are sold all over California and was wondering: Is a flask considered an “open container” if it has vodka in it and is in my pocket?
This is another one of those “wouldn’t it be cool if” questions. Just think of all the wasted beer being poured out so that you won’t be walking into the street with a full cup and face the wrath of the friendly policeman waiting across the road. If you could just put the cap on the bottle, you wouldn’t have to see all of that yellow foaming beer pouring down the driveways and into the gutter. But then you think: I don’t think that’s beer…
OK. No more gutter humor. So can you put the lid back on? Nope. Once a container of alcohol is opened, it will be considered an open container no matter how tight you put the lid back on. Whether it’s in a flask or a bottle, it will be an open container. Even once a keg is tapped, it can’t be resealed. So if you’re walking down the street holding a six-pack of kegs and one of them was tapped earlier, you could get an open container ticket. Of course, a ticket would be the least of your worries after you blow out your back trying to carry a six-pack of kegs. Man, what were you thinking?
So as we get closer to Halloween, the I.V. party scene is getting busier and crazier every weekend. I hope all of you have fun, but please be careful and watch out for each other. If you have a question or something happens, give me a call and I will see what I can do for you. Take care and be safe.
Ticked off by a ticket? Party popped by the Patrol? If you got questions, don’t let it eat away at you. Ask questions. Call or e-mail Sgt. Signa anytime at 893-4063 or Mark.Signa@police.ucsb.edu.