Why do officers sometimes issue warnings?

Sgt. Chris Yagelski

Q: I think this is a good police question. I just don’t understand why some people caught speeding just get a warning ticket, and others get a paying one. If someone is speeding, shouldn’t it just be a ticket for everyone, end of story?

A: The short answer is that police officers are given the authority to use their discretion. Believe it or not, there are drivers that actually make mistakes and errors in judgment when it comes to safe driving. We must all admit, including myself, that we may miss a yield sign, not fully stop at a stop sign, or just drive sometimes a little too fast. There are also a host of other reasons why we would not issue a ticket, and of course, reasons we must. The point of traffic enforcement is to modify behavior not always just to generate monetary penalties.

Q: My buddy and I had a crazy bet recently and I ended up losing. My part in the loss is that I must be locked up in jail for the day! I am a little excited and also a little scared. What can I do to get arrested?

A: Nothing! This is a pretty dumb idea! Try doing something useful instead like working in a homeless shelter for the day or ringing bells for the Salvation Army.

Q: Can someone be stopped by the police just for looking suspicious? I am not just talking race or age. Let’s say a guy tries to avoid a policeman or avoid eye contact and is acting strange.

A: Any police officer can approach you and start to talk to you, including asking for your ID, without any articulable suspicion. You must ID yourself, however, you are free to leave after presenting identification in this circumstance. If a police officer can develop reasonable, articulable suspicion that you are involved in criminal activity, you can be detained. Depending on the circumstances you may or may not be allowed to leave. If you are unsure and want to leave, politely ask the officer.

Q: Well here is another crazy question, but it seems you are pretty good at answering them! Could I actually go to jail if I accidently used someone else’s credit card without their permission?

A: Well of course you will! I’m not sure how you would “accidently” use a credit card, but if you knowingly use a credit card that has been stolen, forged, canceled, revoked or otherwise unauthorized, you are subject to arrest for credit card fraud or theft.

Q: I just recently applied for an Indiana Gun Permit. I purchased a used handgun from my neighbor in which he explained to me that in Indiana you are not allowed to carry a gun with a chambered bullet in it and it must always be in a holster. No one told me this and I have not found anything online. Can you verify exactly what I am supposed to do. I really don’t want to get in trouble.

A: The state of Indiana, and Indiana handgun permits have no restrictions on carrying your handgun whether chambered with a live round, loaded or unloaded. As far as having to keep your gun in a holster, there are no written restrictions. However, I do recommend the use of a holster in order to keep your gun safe and help prevent an accidental discharge. I also highly recommend taking some sort of training both in shooting and safety as a gun is considered a deadly weapon.

Q: I recently was laid off of work and I see that your department is hiring police officers. I am very interested in trying this out and becoming a police officer. I’m in great shape for a 40-year-old. If I sign a waiver can I apply for your department?

A: Sorry, no you cannot. As set by Indiana State Law, under the Public Employee Retirement Plan you must be less than 36 years of age when appointed as a police officer.

To ask a question, please contact me, Sgt. Chris Yagelski at 873-1461, Ext 1020, or email ASKACOP@emichigancity.com.

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