Today’s Investigative Special Report – December 24, 2012 “Dealing With Today’s Law Enforcement Specialized Investigations” “The Night Before Christmas Law Enforcement Is Still On The Job”

English: United States Internal Revenue Servic...
English: United States Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division Badge (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By Lawrence W. Daly, MSc
Forensic Expert – Senior Author
There are only a few professions where no matter what day or time it is someone will be working. These obligations and responsibilities are public employees e.g. fire personnel, medical personnel; from medics to surgeons, all types of military and law enforcement officials, and so many other professions. Without them there would be many serious consequences occurring.
Imagine the United States not having anyone guarding the borders, the military and law enforcement deciding to take the day off and enjoy the holidays. The men and women who work in these professions are dedicated, sacrifice, courageous, relentless, and so many other gracious personality traits. We need them to be on the job at all times, no matter what Federal holiday it may be.
Most citizens take for granted that while their enjoying one of the Federal holidays others are working and taking care of so many responsibilities that without them no holidays would be possible.
Seniority is very important in the public employees and military professions. Determining if you get to enjoy the holiday with your family or your cohorts generally depends upon the number of years people have been working on the job. Most people no matter what their profession have to go through a process, the rite of passage, a customary process and practice. Each person begins at the bottom of the ladder and over the year’s climbs to the top of the ladder.
This rite of passage provides many professionals to look forward to when their day will come and they can put in for vacation and no one will be in front of them when it comes to seniority. There is nothing inappropriate with a rite of passage, it has been around for centuries and allows everyone the opportunity to bare the responsibilities of making sure everything is safe and sound so others can enjoy their holiday.
The law enforcement profession has a multitude of responsibilities to fulfill 24/7. The Special Operations Divisions (SOD) who generally works Monday through Friday with the administrative staff and management officials generally do not work on Federal holidays. The division’s which must work is the Patrol Operations Division (POD) and Criminal Investigative Division (CID).
The Patrol Operations Division (POD) is the Division responsible for reactive patrol. The calls for police service from the community may be reduced but this depends on the specific holiday. There is a ripple effect in the demand for public services. Holidays such as the Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day bring about an increase in the drinking of alcohol and drug usage, which then in turn brings about an increase in physical violence, drinking under the influence while driving, robbery, and other violent type crimes.
Children who are sexually assaulted by a relative rarely disclose that they were assaulted as they are full of shame and guilt and don’t want to ruin the holiday. Children believe they will be the person to cause the family to collapse and become concerned that they will be responsible for their mother, father, step-father, grandfather, or some other family member to go to jail.
Silence by the victim in child sexual assault cases speaks loudly for what a child has to endure until someone steps-up to the plate, listens to her, and they eventually reports the assault to law enforcement. If the assault is reported to law enforcement the detectives who are assigned to the Sexual Assault Unit (SAU) generally are not designated to work Federal holidays or if someone has to work one of the designated shifts, the number of detectives assigned to work would be minimal.
Most law enforcement agencies don’t have the manpower or the budget to have detectives from their Criminal Investigation Division (CID) assigned to work around the clock. Therefore, reactive patrol’s supervisors will need to make the decision to have one of the detectives called out to the crime scene. This also entails anyone in the Criminal Investigation Division (CID) who performs specific functions such as crime scene processing.
If a child is sexually assaulted and law enforcement is contacted, reactive patrol will respond to the call and ascertain what information has been developed in reference to the allegations. If the alleged perpetrator is a family member who lives in the home with the alleged victim, then several things need to happen. Until the investigation is performed by the detective the alleged perpetrator needs to find a place to go or child protective services needs to be called to take custody of the alleged victim. Protecting the child is of the utmost importance when sexual or physical assaults or neglect has been alleged.
Every State has their own child protection services laws as to who has the responsibilities of protecting the child’s safety and the accused Constitutional Rights. Child Protective Services (CPS) doesn’t have any law enforcement authority, therefore if a child is to be removed because the non-offending parent will not provide a safe and secure environment from the alleged perpetrator, law enforcement by law has to remove the child at that point and take custody of her. Law enforcement has the right to place the alleged perpetrator at the crime scene under arrest if they believe they have probable cause, but arresting him may prove to be a tactical mistake. CPS can request an administrative warrant from the court to remove the child, but law enforcement will have to accompanying them in order to take custody of the alleged child victim.
Reactive patrol in a serious sexual assault such a violent rape of a child should contact the on-duty CID supervisor so the proper detective can be altered of the situation and requested to respond. The detective must make decisions of what his responsibilities will be upon arriving at the crime scene. He will have to give the officers at the scene investigative responsibilities such as performing collateral interviews, protecting physical, biological, and trace evidence which may be immediately visible, and so forth. Until the crime scene technicians arrive at the crime scene no one is allowed to be inside the crime scene. Contamination is vital to maintaining the integrity and credibility of the evidence which may link the alleged victim and perpetrator together.
All major crimes which occur on Federal holidays should follow the policies and procedures which have been outlined in the above child sexual assault case. Although the more serious the type of crime, the policies and procedures may be similar but the personnel needs may change. The more serious the crime there will be a need for additional personnel and experts in reference to the specific crime committed.
The issue of which professions have to work shift work goes back to the above earlier statements. The surprising Bureau of Labor Statistics demonstrate just how many professions are willing or are forced to work different shifts than day shift. According to their statistics in 2001 14.5 million full-time wage and salary workers, 14.5% of the total work force were working a variety of shifts other than day shift.
In the criminal justice system there are a multitude of shifts available to work. The standard 7-3, 3-11, and 11-7 are the standard day, swing, and graveyard shift, working five days on and two days off. Some law enforcement officers are assigned to similar shifts but over the past several decades some law enforcement agencies have adjusted shift work making the shift hours longer e.g. 10 to 12 hours and the number of work days a week shorter e.g. working three and having four days off. These types of shifts in the criminal justice system have proven to be of value. There are less officers who call in sick, the less days of work give the impression that the officer has more time off; with the extra one or four days off per week, the officer are mentally, physically, healthy as the job is not consuming their lives. The stress and anxiety which causes serious health issues is reduced because the officer is allowed to expend time away from the job, more time to be with their family, and so forth.
Tonight, is Christmas Eve and there will be many law enforcement officers working a variety of shifts from the east to the west, from the north to the south. Most cities which are large enough have someone watching over it, making sure if an emergency occur someone will be there to take care of the situation. Another year which has brought us to a wonderful time of year and from me and the staff we want to wish all of you a “Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.” If you see any person from the criminal justice system working make sure you take the time to stop and tell them how much you appreciate them and what they do for you and your community.

Lawrence W. Daly
Kent, WA

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