Ask a Cop: Is it legal to carry a fake gun?

Sgt. Chris Yagelski

Q: All summer I have been constantly harassed by some jerks from school. I am only 17 and not old enough to get a handgun permit, so is it legal to carry a fake/toy gun that looks real? Can I get arrested?

A: Carrying a toy gun is not illegal, however, it's pretty stupid! I am not sure what kind of “security” a fake gun provides, but if you are attacked, a fake gun isn’t going to offer you any protection. The notion that you will stop a criminal from an action by the use of a toy or fake gun is unrealistic and can lead to you getting shot or injured.

Q: I was on my way to work and ran into a very long funeral procession. Are you allowed to pass through a funeral procession as long as you do it carefully?

A: Sorry. No, you cannot. This would be a great time for me to clear up some funeral procession questions. All participants of a funeral procession must have their headlights “on,” and identified by either a funeral pennant, a flag, windshield sticker or an amber light. As long as there is a lead vehicle or funeral escort, the vehicles in the procession have right of way at all intersections, and may proceed through cautiously without having to stop, following the preceding vehicle as closely as practical and safe. You may pass a funeral procession on the left side of a multiple lane highway but never through the middle or between funeral procession vehicles.

You also cannot misrepresent yourself as a funeral procession vehicle or join a procession for the purpose of obtaining right of way or proceeding through intersections. As my father had taught me, and it's not a bad practice, it does not hurt to follow some funeral etiquette. Pull over in respect.

Bottom line is…..Be courteous as no one is in that much of a hurry.

Q: What can the police do during a bank robbery? Are you just allowed to shoot someone?

A: Dealing with a violent person and bank robbery is a fluid and dynamic situation. There is no easy, “one-size-fits-all” answer. Generally speaking, a police officer is authorized to use any force, up to and including deadly force, when they believe it is reasonably necessary to stop an armed person who poses an imminent threat to the lives of others.

Q: I would love to be a police officer and have a K-9. Are K-9 handlers allowed to take their dog home with them or do they have to stay at the station?

A: Our K-9 officers and their dogs are considered a “team” and are truly partners. Our policy is to have them together as much as possible both on-duty and off. We require our handlers to board, feed and care for their dog at their home, and we provide a small stipend to the officer for this. Rarely does that stipend cover everything the officer puts into their partnership and care of their dog. When a K-9 is retired they are awarded to the officer’s family as their pet as we could never separate this bond.

Q: Thanks for answering my question as it helped a lot, but are the questions you receive kept confidential?

A: Of Course not. As you can see, I print the questions along with answers in this column. I do “re-write” some, so they make sense. I however never print names of the writers or release this information to the public.

The winner of the $30 gas card sponsored by Kevin Brown and staff at Reprographic Arts, was Mark Allen of Michigan City. Let’s answer the question of how many contestants were in the race and what place did the man come in? The answer of course was 6 contestants and the runner came in 4th!

The sponsor for this week’s riddle is Midwest Wheelcoaters on 800 Royal Road here in Michigan City. The winner receives a $30 gas card.

In an ordinary deck of playing cards there are 52 cards and four suits. My question is how many eyes appear on all four Jack cards? 

The 8th correct answer by phone or email at exactly 1 p.m. today wins! To answer a question or ask one, contact Sgt. Chris Yagelski at 873-1461, Ext 1020, or email

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