PDA

View Full Version : Police procedure



TNWriter
12-10-2005, 12:20 AM
I have a detective in my story. He's investigating an accident scene where the driver is missing. What would be the steps of procedure for looking for this person?
Would he call around to hospitals and such? or Just put out a bulletin?
At the accident scene, a search party is formed. How long would they search the area?
Items found--identification and cell phone.

Any information would be helpful. Right now I have them utilizing a search party and sending out a bulletin. To me, seems like more would be done.

Thanks,
TNWriter

Perks
12-10-2005, 12:38 AM
I don't see any way around talking to an actual police detective for this kind of procedural info. I just recently had some detailed questions about the order of operations when a body is disovered, so I called the local police department. They put me through to a homicide detective and he was very pleased to be of assistance. He commmented that they really appreciated it when writers took a moment to get it right. It was a pleasant and very interesting conversation.

So my advice - pick up the phone and get it straight from the source.

Writer2011
12-10-2005, 12:48 AM
I was working on a mystery novel about a year ago which involved a Private Detective...I found a mystery writers website and actually contacted a P.I. She was very helpful and I learned a wealth of information. I didn't know that criminal records were public record.....It was very interesting.

Cathy C
12-10-2005, 01:32 AM
There's a TERRIFIC web resource just for this, called Ask-A-Cop (http://forums.realpolice.net/forumdisplay.php?f=112). You can post questions about things like this (make sure that you include information about the state you're asking about, whether the accident is on a county road, one in a municipality or a state highway. Since different officers would respond depending on where the accident is, the procedures will be quite different. All sorts of officers/agents from different backgrounds (including FBI, CIA and BATF) post there, so you should get a pretty complete answer!

Good luck!

kristie911
12-10-2005, 07:05 AM
I'll tell you how it would be handled here but that doesn't mean every police agency in the country wouldn't be different.

First, someone would call the house the car is registered to and find out if they know where so-and-so is...advise them to call if he/she shows up or they hear from them.

Second, someone (probably dispatch) would call around to the hospitals just to inform them we have a missing driver from an accident. They are required to inform the police if someone comes in with suspicious injuries i.e. gunshot or possible car accident...especially if they are evasive about what happened.

Third, unless we have a real reason to think someone was badly injured in the accident i.e. a fair amount of blood, cracked windshield (star pattern possibly from occupants head) we would not send out a search party...at least not one of any size. Maybe just a couple of personel on the scene would check the area but nothing on a large organized scale. They may call in a dog and if he indicated the person walked away it might be a bit larger. They probably wouldn't search more than an hour or so.

Now to qualify all this, if the person is missing from the accident for any length of time...enough to alarm family members...a more serious search party might be formed then. Possibly even a couple of search dogs and a helicopter.

Oh and we probably would put out a bulletin but not until several hours after the accident, when we start to realize theres a problem. I say that because in the case of many accidents where the driver is not located immediately, the driver is at a friends house trying to sober up before he calls the police! So, no, we would not make a huge deal out of a missing driver most of the time.

If he was a suspect in a crime, the story might be different too.

I hope this helps a little. PM me if I can help anymore...

Flapdoodle
12-10-2005, 03:45 PM
I was working on a mystery novel about a year ago which involved a Private Detective...I found a mystery writers website and actually contacted a P.I. She was very helpful and I learned a wealth of information. I didn't know that criminal records were public record.....It was very interesting.

I've got an old schoolfriend whose a DI (Detective Inspector) who answers my questions. However, the bloke who wrote Inspector Morse claims to have never even spoken to a policeman or been inside a police station!

Being in the UK, virtually all the books on the police were US based - I eventually found a UK one that was long out of print, but managed to get a second hand copy.

ideagirl
12-14-2005, 04:16 AM
Being in the UK, virtually all the books on the police were US based - I eventually found a UK one that was long out of print, but managed to get a second hand copy.

I don't know of a good nonfiction source, but you could always have a look at something by John Harvey (e.g. Easy Meat), a British writer of police procedurals set in Nottingham.

Jamesaritchie
12-14-2005, 04:31 AM
I have a detective in my story. He's investigating an accident scene where the driver is missing. What would be the steps of procedure for looking for this person?
Would he call around to hospitals and such? or Just put out a bulletin?
At the accident scene, a search party is formed. How long would they search the area?
Items found--identification and cell phone.

Any information would be helpful. Right now I have them utilizing a search party and sending out a bulletin. To me, seems like more would be done.

Thanks,
TNWriter

Different jurisdiction handle things in different ways. The best thing to do is such cases is to call the police in the area where the story is set and ask them. It's about the only way there is to get the details correct.

Frank Zafiro
12-15-2005, 02:36 AM
I'll tell you how it would be handled here but that doesn't mean every police agency in the country wouldn't be different.

First, someone would call the house the car is registered to and find out if they know where so-and-so is...advise them to call if he/she shows up or they hear from them.

Second, someone (probably dispatch) would call around to the hospitals just to inform them we have a missing driver from an accident. They are required to inform the police if someone comes in with suspicious injuries i.e. gunshot or possible car accident...especially if they are evasive about what happened.

Third, unless we have a real reason to think someone was badly injured in the accident i.e. a fair amount of blood, cracked windshield (star pattern possibly from occupants head) we would not send out a search party...at least not one of any size. Maybe just a couple of personel on the scene would check the area but nothing on a large organized scale. They may call in a dog and if he indicated the person walked away it might be a bit larger. They probably wouldn't search more than an hour or so.

Now to qualify all this, if the person is missing from the accident for any length of time...enough to alarm family members...a more serious search party might be formed then. Possibly even a couple of search dogs and a helicopter.

Oh and we probably would put out a bulletin but not until several hours after the accident, when we start to realize theres a problem. I say that because in the case of many accidents where the driver is not located immediately, the driver is at a friends house trying to sober up before he calls the police! So, no, we would not make a huge deal out of a missing driver most of the time.

If he was a suspect in a crime, the story might be different too.

I hope this helps a little. PM me if I can help anymore...

That is essentially the same process that would occur here, half a country away from Michigan.

There wouldn't really be a "search party" for a simple hit and run. A unit or two might check the area, the registered owner's home would be contacted and follow-up of that nature would occur. If the driver were a bad guy wanted for other reasons, then of course there would be an amped up response, but it wouldn't be much different, only larger.

Why is the search party being formed (in your book)? That might help for a more specific answer.

Feel free to contact me directly, too, if you want.