Sgt. Chris Yagelski

Sgt. Chris Yagelski

Q: Does everyone hired as a police officer actually make it? Do you let them go if it turns out they really don't have what it takes?

A: Actually, yes we do, and some officers choose to resign. Not everyone is made to become or remain a police officer. Some officers fail within the academy because they cannot pass the tests given to them. In field training (initial on-the-job-training), encountering violence is often what causes some to rethink their career choice. Law enforcement can be an ugly business and the environment can become toxic. Discovering that evil is something real, and not just stuff seen in movies, is a real eye opener. Most people never get into a fight as an adult. For some new officers, they can't handle the physical danger involved in our career so some decide to move on. It does not mean that they are not good people, they're just not suited for police work.

Q: I had some friends over who I admit are kinda questionable, where we were playing our music sorta loud in our back yard and, yes, it was a little late. This caused the police to come to my house. We were told if we didn't turn it down we could be charged with "disturbing the peace." One of my friends got into a huge argument with the officers because no one was anywhere near where we could be disturbing them. Could they really arrest us? I think the police were just hassling us because they didn't like my friends or our kind of music.

A: Yes, in Indiana and Michigan City disturbing the peace laws are covered under state statute and local ordinance. While disturbing the peace is not considered a serious criminal offense, it is an offense that is punishable by jail time, monetary fine, or both. Disturbing the peace covers a variety of conduct that is a violation of city ordinances. It turns into a criminal offense when the person or persons engage in some form of disorderly conduct, such as fighting, threatening to fight in public, causing excessively loud noise, by shouting, playing loud music, or even allowing a dog to bark for prolonged periods of time. Exercising common courtesy will help prevent anyone from being arrested or cited, or as the not so famous quote... "Don't do stupid things in stupid places with stupid people."

Q: I was in a local store and was approached by a plain clothes officer wanting to talk to me. I asked him to see his badge and he wouldn't show it to me. Doesn't he have to show it if I ask him?

A: Absolutely! This may have not been a police officer, but maybe a security or loss prevention officer. If a police officer is acting in any official capacity and is not in uniform, you can certainly ask to see their credentials. For example, a plainclothes detective arrives at your home and asks to enter or speak with you, please ensure they have proper photo identification besides a badge to insure who they are. If you have any doubts — and I mean any — politely explain that you need to confirm their identity. This is where I suggest you call the non-emergency line for the police department and make sure the officer is from the department they are representing themselves to be.

The winner of the $30 gas card sponsored by Melinda Nagel of Edward Jones Investments of Michigan City was Sandy Galinowski of Michigan City. In last column's riddle of what was the 10 digit combination to Melinda's safe in her office? Well the answer was 8319427056!

The sponsor for this week's riddle is Pat and Dennis Mahaffey of L & R Body Shop at 221 E. Harrison St. in Michigan City. The winner receives a $30 gas card.

A police officer is right behind a man he's never met before and witnesses him driving under the influence, and while the man is clearly drunk, the officer just allows the man to leave and follows right behind him. The officer witnesses this 17 more times, and still no arrest. How come?

The 9th 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 #333, or e-mail ASKACOP@emichigancity.com.

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