View Full Version : Police - Getting away with it

06-24-2010, 12:23 AM
In my current WIP I have a former police officer who needs, quite literally, to get away with murder, and I'm looking to get a feel for the sort of leeway he might get being closely tied to the recently deceased chief of police. I can always go the 'friends in low places' route, but I'm rather interested in learning what all I can get away with.

I have the evidence stacked in the former officer's favor - the robber tries to scrag him, leaves the scars to prove it - but I'd like to expedite the process a bit so as to not drag things down. As my current outline stands, I'm looking to use the courtroom stuff as a way to introduce a few characters, rather than to turn the book into a courtroom drama.

Devil Ledbetter
06-24-2010, 12:45 AM
A guy I know was shot to death in 1994 by an off duty cop. It was plausibly passed off as a hunting accident -- both were hunting at the time. But word has it they'd been in an argument at a bar the night before.

06-24-2010, 02:08 AM
Hunting 'accidents' like that are disturbingly common, it seems. I suppose it's not too much of a jump to go from that to a corpse in the kitchen.

Kathie Freeman
06-24-2010, 07:06 PM
Pretty much every cop carries a "drop piece" that he can plant on a dead body - self-defense is an automatic 'bye for a cop.

06-24-2010, 07:53 PM
While there is some truth to the stories of "Street justice" I wouldn't say that a cop will get away with murder in most cases. In fact, it's pretty rare.

I can't speak for large departments like NYC or LA, but officers in most police departments have strict codes of conduct, and would not turn a blind eye to the facts, if a serious crime were committed by a fellow officer.

We had an officer on our department who committed a string of burglaries. When we caught him, every officer worked his butt off to insure we got a conviction. Another officer was suspected of selling drugs he confiscated from junkies and dealers. He was turned in by an officer on his platoon.

Most police officers will not tolerate criminal behavior from their fellow officers. One bad apple...

On the other hand, where a scenario comes down to a split-second life or death decision, we will normally give the officer the benefit of doubt.

Many police departments forbid officers from carrying a "Backup" firearm. Those that do, require the officer to be range qualified with that weapon, and the firearm is registered. The weapon is used as a backup, not a throw-down. The chance of being caught carrying an unregistered firearm, versus the remote possibility that you'd have the need and opportunity to use it as a throw-down, far outweighs carrying one.

Still, there are a few officers/detectives who do it, giving people the impression that it's commonplace behavior.

06-27-2010, 05:44 AM
Pretty much every cop carries a "drop piece" that he can plant on a dead body - self-defense is an automatic 'bye for a cop.

I was a fed but worked with numerous local/state cops and didn't encounter anything of this nature. My father was also a cop and again--not so much. Being involved in a shooting is a nightmare for a cop...self-defense isn't just assumed (ie., internal investigation).

Personally, I think this notion of cops tossing a 'throwaway' piece on the bad guy generally only happens on TV/movies. ;) In real life, cops are held to even higher standards than the general population. I have to agree with RJK on this one---the chances of a cop getting away with murder are slim. Yeah, there are dirty cops---just as you have dirty politicians, quack doctors and lowlife scum in all walks of life/professions. But anything is possible in fiction, right? :)