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Jan74
05-21-2017, 06:47 AM
Hi everyone, my father is a retired police officer he was once a Dive Master with the force and served as a Sargeant until his retirement, however because I'm in Canada and my wip is in the United States his knowledge may vary from what I need for my book.

My novel is current times and I don't necessarily name any particular cities or towns but when I write I write as if it takes place in the east specifically the Vermont area, a place I've never been to.

What I'm looking for is local police jargon. I did google but couldn't really find the answers to my questions.

My character, not the MC, is a state trooper with the Vermont State Police, I did go to their website which was informative to help me hone in what options my character has. He's been with the force for 10yrs and is ready for a change of work. He's obtained a degree in criminal psychology so he can advance to other fields, BCI (bureau of criminal investigation) and the FBI. I did see the SCUBA team on their website and since my father was a dive master I could always change it, but there again times change and OPP would be completely different from State Police.

What I want to know are some basic questions.

He's called away to the scene of an accident, I have him roadside eating a sandwich taking a break is that realistic or would he have to report to headquarters to eat? Would he eat in his car and have his lunch cooler bag with him?

I have him flip his cherries on, is that correct terminology for activating his sirens and lights? If not what would you say, just "he turned his lights on"?

Would he assist the paramedics? Would he call in the tow trucks or would dispatch do that?

Three people are in the accident, all three are taken to hospital, does he go to the hospital to take statements?
Does he investigate the cause of the accident or do special investigators come in? Would that be the BCI?
Essentially what does the state trooper do when he attends a fatal crash?
If someone is dead does he call the coroner?
Who exactly would do what?

Jargon, basic sayings police officers would use in Vermont, is there a slang term for collision on the highway?
A slang term for a death?
Any slang you can think of that State troopers in Vermont would use I would appreciate.

What shifts do they work, 12hrs? Four on four off? What would a typical work schedule look like.
Do they patrol alone or are they always with a partner? I have my officer alone.
Does he record everything, would there be a dash-cam? Would that have a slang term? Who looks at the footage and how often? Is the footage kept, for how long? Does he have a computer in his car or would he radio in plate numbers?
How would he file a report? Paper, computer?
What titles do they use? I refer to him as a trooper.

does he take the statements in the hospital? One of the MC is unconscious and her parents are called into the ER, he is waiting in the hall for her to resume consciousness and wants to obtain her statement, would that happen? Or would that be a BCI?
If so would he have access to the files after the accident?
Would he lose his job if he formed a relationship with the mother of one of the victims?

I appreciate any feedback on state troopers in Vermont :)

cornflake
05-21-2017, 07:03 AM
Hi everyone, my father is a retired police officer he was once a Dive Master with the force and served as a Sargeant until his retirement, however because I'm in Canada and my wip is in the United States his knowledge may vary from what I need for my book.

My novel is current times and I don't necessarily name any particular cities or towns but when I write I write as if it takes place in the east specifically the Vermont area, a place I've never been to.

What I'm looking for is local police jargon. I did google but couldn't really find the answers to my questions.

There is a load to unpack here, and some places I'm not sure what way you're asking things, so...

My character, not the MC, is a state trooper with the Vermont State Police, I did go to their website which was informative to help me hone in what options my character has. He's been with the force for 10yrs and is ready for a change of work. He's obtained a degree in criminal psychology so he can advance to other fields, BCI (bureau of criminal investigation) and the FBI. You don't need that to join the FBI -- you need a college degree, but not any particular one. Do you mean the BAU? How old is he? I did see the SCUBA team on their website and since my father was a dive master I could always change it, but there again times change and OPP would be completely different from State Police.

What I want to know are some basic questions.

He's called away to the scene of an accident, I have him roadside eating a sandwich taking a break is that realistic or would he have to report to headquarters to eat? Would he eat in his car and have his lunch cooler bag with him? He's a state trooper, just out on patrol here, right? Yeah, he can eat wherever.

I have him flip his cherries on, is that correct terminology for activating his sirens and lights? If not what would you say, just "he turned his lights on"? I've never heard cherries for lights. That may be regionally specific, but if it is, you're probably better off going with something more universal anyway.

Would he assist the paramedics? Would he call in the tow trucks or would dispatch do that? Assist paramedics how? Generally, no, unless you mean they're like 'help roll this vehicle back over, quick!!!'

Three people are in the accident, all three are taken to hospital, does he go to the hospital to take statements? Depends. How injured are they? He can't ask there? Depends when it'd be as to who'd go if they need statements.
Does he investigate the cause of the accident or do special investigators come in? Would that be the BCI? Depends kind of on what happened.
Essentially what does the state trooper do when he attends a fatal crash? Depends on what happened and what it looks like -- calls for backup and coroner and a forensic team most likely, but depends.
If someone is dead does he call the coroner? Obviously dead, yeah.
Who exactly would do what?

Jargon, basic sayings police officers would use in Vermont, is there a slang term for collision on the highway? Dunno if there's something specific to Vt., but see above.
A slang term for a death?
Any slang you can think of that State troopers in Vermont would use I would appreciate.

What shifts do they work, 12hrs? Four on four off? What would a typical work schedule look like.
Do they patrol alone or are they always with a partner? I have my officer alone. Often alone.
Does he record everything, would there be a dash-cam? Would that have a slang term? Who looks at the footage and how often? Is the footage kept, for how long? Does he have a computer in his car or would he radio in plate numbers?
How would he file a report? Paper, computer?
What titles do they use? I refer to him as a trooper.

does he take the statements in the hospital? One of the MC is unconscious and her parents are called into the ER, he is waiting in the hall for her to resume consciousness and wants to obtain her statement, would that happen? Or would that be a BCI?
If so would he have access to the files after the accident?
Would he lose his job if he formed a relationship with the mother of one of the victims?

I appreciate any feedback on state troopers in Vermont :)

Many things here depend on your timeline, kind of accident, what happened, etc.

Jan74
05-21-2017, 08:02 AM
Cornflake-Thank you for your responses! Much appreciated.

Timeline would be spring, snowstorm, two teenage girls in one vehicle and a tanker truck in the other(haven't decided yet what tanker truck was hauling, I was going to go with gasoline but most likely will be something non-flammable milk maybe, who knows.) So basically the girls are passing the tanker and the two collide, I'm not sure yet if I'll have it be something simple like a deer ran across the highway and startled the girl who swerved and hit the tanker causing them to collide or if the tanker hits ice and hits the girls as they are trying to pass.

Semi accidents are very common where I live, however we don't have double lanes or divided highways, so most accidents are caused by semi's crossing the yellow line and colliding with cars or somebody has fallen asleep, again usually the semi driver has nodded off for a split second and ends up in a rock cut, our highways are deadly here. Fatigue is the #1 cause of accidents. Texting is illegal and carries fines and demerits which would affect your insurance. Texting is frowned upon just like drinking and driving. I don't have my girls texting anyways so that doesn't matter.
I don't plan on having anyone charged with anything, the accident will be due to events out of their control.

jclarkdawe
05-21-2017, 05:52 PM
Hi everyone, my father is a retired police officer he was once a Dive Master with the force and served as a Sargeant until his retirement, however because I'm in Canada and my wip is in the United States his knowledge may vary from what I need for my book.

My novel is current times and I don't necessarily name any particular cities or towns but when I write I write as if it takes place in the east specifically the Vermont area, a place I've never been to. You should go. Beautiful country.

What I'm looking for is local police jargon. I did google but couldn't really find the answers to my questions.

My character, not the MC, is a state trooper with the Vermont State Police, I did go to their website which was informative to help me hone in what options my character has. He's been with the force for 10yrs and is ready for a change of work. He's obtained a degree in criminal psychology so he can advance to other fields, BCI (bureau of criminal investigation) and the FBI. FBI would probably involve having to move from Vermont. I did see the SCUBA team on their website and since my father was a dive master I could always change it, but there again times change and OPP would be completely different from State Police.

What I want to know are some basic questions.

He's called away to the scene of an accident You're called "away" from an incident., I have him roadside eating a sandwich taking a break is that realistic or would he have to report to headquarters to eat? Would he eat in his car and have his lunch cooler bag with him? He could. Lots of variation. Many eat at diners where they meet with other cops and have a chance to see the locals.

I have him flip his cherries on, is that correct terminology for activating his sirens and lights? If not what would you say, just "he turned his lights on"? He turns his lights on. If he has a multi-colored light bar, he might just turn on his blues.

Would he assist the paramedics? No. His job is to protect the scene and provide safety. Would he call in the tow trucks or would dispatch do that? If he is the officer in charge, he would advise dispatch of what equipment he needs, such as tow trucks.

Three people are in the accident, all three are taken to hospital, does he go to the hospital to take statements? No. His job is to provide security and protect the scene. An investigator would go to the hospital. After the scene is cleared, if this is a minor collision, he could go to the hospital as he would be assigned the job of investigating the accident.
Does he investigate the cause of the accident or do special investigators come in? Depends. For a serious accident, accident reconstruction comes in and investigators to see whether any crimes were committed. Would that be the BCI?
Essentially what does the state trooper do when he attends a fatal crash? If he's the first officer on scene, he assesses the scene and makes sure appropriate resources will be coming, provides safety, and secures the scene.
If someone is dead does he call the coroner? No. The officer in charge asks the dispatcher to notify the medical examiner on duty. It might be a few hours before the medical examiner could arrive on the scene.
Who exactly would do what?

Jargon, basic sayings police officers would use in Vermont, is there a slang term for collision on the highway?
A slang term for a death? Polite term is "code gray." Very impolite term is "road kill." Will not be said in public.
Any slang you can think of that State troopers in Vermont would use I would appreciate. Use 10- terms from the radio.

What shifts do they work, 12hrs? Four on four off? What would a typical work schedule look like. It depends. Usually 8 on. But it depends upon what the coverage needs are.
Do they patrol alone or are they always with a partner? I have my officer alone. Usually alone.
Does he record everything, would there be a dash-cam? I think Vermont now has dash cams. Usually with an on/off switch. Would that have a slang term? Who looks at the footage and how often? Depends upon need. Is the footage kept, for how long? Depends upon need. Does he have a computer in his car or would he radio in plate numbers? Computer in car.
How would he file a report? Paper, computer? Depends, but preferred is on the computer.
What titles do they use? I refer to him as a trooper.

does he take the statements in the hospital? One of the MC is unconscious and her parents are called into the ER, he is waiting in the hall for her to resume consciousness and wants to obtain her statement, would that happen? No. Unless very important. Hospital would notify him when the victim is able to talk. Or would that be a BCI?
If so would he have access to the files after the accident? Depends upon his role in the investigation.
Would he lose his job if he formed a relationship with the mother of one of the victims? This could be positional rape, where a person uses their position to exert influence to have a sexual relationship with a victim. Very strict rules on this these days.

I appreciate any feedback on state troopers in Vermont :)

Jim Clark-Dawe

cmhbob
05-21-2017, 09:20 PM
Some of these questions could be answered by emailing the public information officer for the Vermont State Police. Also check out the Wikipedia article on VSP. You can find images of the cars and uniforms at Flickr (https://www.flickr.com/photos/78149537@N05/ for starters)

VSP uses all blue lights. so I doubt they'd call them cherries. Not sure what the regional phrase or term would be. Interesting uniform note: VSP rank chevrons (like for sergeant) are sewn on pointing down, in the British manner.

Tsu Dho Nimh
05-21-2017, 09:32 PM
Would he assist the paramedics?

In Arizona and NM they might have the training, and do have a lot of great trauma gear in their trunks, but they only do it until someone (EMT or civilian first responder) comes along to relieve them.

Their primary roles are traffic control, communications, and scene security, evidence gathering (names of witnesses, etc.). And they handle the scene cleanup after the EMTs leave. Usually there are tow truck companies with a contract with the county or state to tow vehicles that are dispatched from the main dispatch office when they know how many vehicles need towing.


I have him flip his cherries on, is that correct terminology for activating his sirens and lights?

A "cherry" is old slang (I remember it from HS in the 1960s) for the old-style single red light on top of a police car, especially one of the black and white patrol cars ... one of them using its lights was called a chocolate sundae (vanilla and chocolate with a cherry on top). Or the flasher that was plugged into the 12V outlet and placed on top of a car that didn't have a permanent mount.

In context - we know he's a cop, and we know he's heading to an accident, so the "lights and siren" is going to mean the light bar with some combination of flashing red and blue lights front and back.

********
Possible AZ only, but the sheriff's department or state police have an officer whose job it is to let ALL the first aid givers know what the results of the accident were ... whether the victim survived or not.

Jan74
05-21-2017, 09:43 PM
Thank you everyone!!!!

Jim-Thanks and all of that info will be very helpful.

My novel has an accident that is the catalyst for events to happen, I just don't want to have a trooper eating alone and somebody reading it says "what? they don't work alone?" little details like that can be off putting, so it's good to have the general basics right. I'm not sure how detailed I'm going to go with this character. I was going to have him become involved with one of the accident victims mothers, but I think I'll have him married to another character who briefly pops into the book.

All the info I've been given is very appreciated!

ironmikezero
05-22-2017, 05:19 PM
In most jurisdictions in the US, uniformed state troopers generally patrol alone unless acting as a field training officer (FTO) for an assigned rookie, or when working an assignment that typically requires additional personnel (sobriety checkpoints, crowd control, etc.). Detectives are more likely to be assigned as partners (dependent on available manpower/resources). All personnel are effectively in constant communications contact via radio and cell phones.

With all this in mind, you actually have considerable leeway in crafting your story. Go for it!

Pony.
05-22-2017, 05:49 PM
The only bits I can offer are that 'cherries' is a term refering to the large red globes from days gone by. Now, almost everyone has the strobing LED light bars. The LEDs can offer myriad colors, so they arent limited to red and blue any longer, and can be placed anywhere on the car. I remember my early days of driving where you could tell if the car behind you was a police car by the enormous light bar on top of the car, or the shape of the headlights. Now those bars are about two inches thick, and the police put them on whatever type of car they want. The State Police where I live use Dodge, Ford, And chevy patrol vehicles.

For the jargon and prcedure questions pick a post and give them a call. Ask to speak to a community liaison, or public relations officer, and explain what you need. I've gotten some funny looks from police on a few of my questions, but they have always been willing to help.

Yzjdriel
05-22-2017, 06:08 PM
As far as "cherries" are concerned, MI State Troopers still have them on their vehicles, but that's admittedly nowhere near Vermont. I'll second the advice to send an email to the public information office of the VT State Police.

Jan74
05-22-2017, 06:22 PM
thanks everyone :)