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Citizen Police Academy: week 3

Whoop Whoop!, originally uploaded by mattdesmond.

A squad car races down University Avenue at 2 AM. What's going on behind the scenes? We found out in this week's CPA patrol segment. First off, the driver is probably a rookie cop, since new recruits tend to pull the midnight shift. If you look closely at the car, you'll probably see a 100 number since most of University Ave. falls into the Western Patrol District.* Also, when they pull someone over, it's not to reach a quota. They don't do that in St. Paul. Good to know!

Internal Affairs was up next. Everything I know about IA was learned from movies. It turns out that their primary goal is not to punish cops, but rather to establish innocence. They do mete out judgment when cops behave badly, but police departments get lots of complaints, and most of them don't result in disciplinary behavior. They use the following dispositions for classification:

  • Unfounded: Allegation is false or not factual.
  • Not Sustained: Insufficient evidence to prove or disprove the incident.
  • Exonerated: Incident occurred but it was lawful and proper.
  • Sustained: Allegation is supported by sufficient evidence to justify reasonable conclusion of guilt.
  • Policy Failure: Allegation is factual. The officer followed proper departmental procedures, which have been proven to be faulty.
The last third of class had to be cut short, which was a shame, because it had potential to be the most interesting part. We learned that half of the Crime Lab staff are civilians, and their job is not glamorous. They don't operate as shown on CSI, and forensic scientists don't all dress like Abby Sciuto.

*In fact, the district office is right up the street from us on 615 University Ave; the former site of the infamous Belmont Club.

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